A play created by a Strathmore drama teacher is getting a musical boost from a global music icon Thursday night.
New Bloodwhich tells the true story of a residential school survivor, blends the Blackfoot tradition and the music of Peter Gabriel.
Deanne Bertsch created the play several years ago, after a visit to Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park, where she learned about the lost history of the Blackfoot people.
“The show has been a continuous journey of learning about Indigenous cultures, specifically Blackfoot culture,” said Bertsch.
The play features a cast that includes Indigenous and non-Indigenous dancers and actors and is being presented on one of the city’s biggest stages at Jack Singer Hall, with proceeds from the show going to charities supporting residential school survivors.
“I’m sure a lot of students and cast are very excited to be a part of this show here,” said Eddie Wolf Child, who dances in New Blood. “And I think it’ll be an eye opener for the (Calgary) Civic Symphony to see what we’re doing.”
Music will be performed by the Calgary Civic Symphony, including a number of tunes by Peter Gabriel, who Bertsch reached out to for permission nine years ago when he created it, inspired, in part, by Gabriel’s 2011 album New Blood.
When Gabriel heard about Bertsch’s project (she co-directs with Eulalia Running Rabbit), he gave the show his blessing and provided his music at no charge.
Peter Gabriel sent a message to the cast and creators of New Blood, saying he hopes to see it one day
“I’m very honored to be part of the New Blood show you’ve created,” Gabriel says in a video message. “I’ve always had enormous interest and respect for First Nations people.”
A single performance of New Blood is being presented at 7:30 pm Thursday night at Jack Singer Hall in Arts Commons.