For the second summer in a row, the Confederation Centre of Arts has cancelled performances of the Confederation Players.
The players were a group of actors who roamed through downtown Charlottetown dressed as the Fathers of Confederation and their wives. Last year, the troupe took a break while a research group looked for more inclusive stories they could tell about the history of Confederation, which began in 1864 with the Charlottetown Conference.
Steve Bellamy, CEO of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, said a lot of research was completed, but it's still too soon to determine the best way for the Confederation Players to move forward.
"It's not as straightforward as just dressing up like the Fathers of Confederation and then telling stories of other people," Bellamy said.
"We're trying to work with all the communities to say, well, what is the right way to tell the story? When are costumes appropriate? When are they not appropriate?"
We're just trying to work on a path forward that's much more culturally sensitive and inclusive of Indigenous people and perspectives. — Steve Bellamy
Bellamy said the research group consulted with Junior Peter-Paul and other local Mi'kmaw elders to understand the perspectives of communities that weren't represented in the players' performances.
"We're just trying to work on a path forward that's much more culturally sensitive and inclusive of Indigenous people and perspectives," Bellamy said.
'Enormous number of stories to be told'
Bellamy said there are different ways the research done by the Centre could be presented, whether it's through new skits from the Confederation Players, visual art programs or an interpretive centre.
"There are an enormous number of stories to be told," Bellamy said.
"It's challenging to tread new ground and it can be scary for people because no one wants to make a mistake, and we all have to create safe spaces for people to make mistakes and learn."
For now in the summer, two veteran tour guides will offer walking tours of Great George Street in both French and English, and will also do ghost tours every Friday evening. Tickets for both can be booked at the centre's box office. Mask-wearing will be mandatory.
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