Final weekend for acclaimed play "Salmon Row"
There are only four nights left to catch Kwantlen Polytechnic University instructor Nicola Harwood’s highly acclaimed play, Salmon Row, put on by theatre company Mortal Coil Performance Society at Steveston’s historic Britannia Shipyard.
This is the second installment of the play, which ran at the same location back in 2011, and sold out within days. This summer’s second run – made possible by $100,000 in funding from the City of Richmond – ends September 1. And so far, Harwood says it’s gone very well.
The play explores the interrelated topics that are an intrinsic part of B.C.’s history – immigration, ethnic conflict, gender, labour history, nature – through the stories of First Nations peoples, and Chinese, Japanese and European immigrants. First Nations dancers, live music, local talent and an interactive set that moves audience members to various locations in the heritage shipyard, bring an authentic west coast feel to the theatrical retelling of Steveston’s past 150 years.
“There were strikes, huge strikes, between cannery owners and the cannery workers,” Harwood, who spent years researching and writing the play, said to the Georgia Straight. “With very strong, discrete communities out there—the Japanese, white, and aboriginal men fishing, the Chinese and aboriginal women primarily working in the canneries, and the European workers and cannery bosses—the ethnic divisions would be used in labour conflicts to whoever’s advantage they worked the most.”
“It always really surprises me that we don’t know our history. These stories are so dramatic and, as Canadians, we just don’t mythologize ourselves,” she said.