Residential School experiences inspire World Premiere at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Aug 27 2014 | Posted in Press Releases

Winnipeg, MB – (August 27, 2014) Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet proudly announces the World Premiere of Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation from October 1-5. Based on a story by Canadian author Joseph Boyden, the RWB’s new creation is a representation of the many stories, both told and untold, by Indian Residential School Survivors and their families. Debuting in Winnipeg at the Centennial Concert Hall, the World Premiere of this new work will also launch the RWB’s 75th Anniversary season.

Commissioned by RWB’s Artistic Director André Lewis and supported by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation features an original score composed by Juno Award-winning composer Christos Hatzis and includes appearances from Aboriginal Award-winning Inuk Throat Singer Tanya Tagaq, and Steve Wood and the Northern Cree Singers.

At RWB’s Season Launch for the 2014/15 Season (April 3, 2014), The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, commended the RWB for creating a ballet that highlights the courage and resilience of Aboriginal peoples.

“These are profound, compelling themes, not just for Aboriginal families and communities, but for all Canadians.” - The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

The work of renowned Canadian choreographer Mark Godden (Dracula, Svengali, The Magic Flute) pairs with costumes by Canadian dance designer Paul Daigle bringing Boyden’s story to life. Former Member of Parliament, media producer and actress Tina Keeper acts as Associate Producer and Winnipeg’s own multidisciplinary Aboriginal artist KC Adams joins the creative team as set designer. The work of these artists is brought to life by the world class talent and passionate artistry of the dancers of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

“Ballet cuts right to the heart of what’s most beautiful, physically in humanity and what’s most beautiful in story. We are taking a very European form and introducing it to a First Nations experience. We’ll find a way to meld this meeting of these two very different places in a fascinating way on the stage.” - Joseph Boyden, Canadian novelist

The opening night performance will feature an on-stage pre-show discussion featuring TRC Commissioners Dr Marie Wilson and Chief Wilton Littlechild as they speak about this ballet as an expression of the work that the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada has done over the years. It is the RWB’s hope that this ballet can be a means of communication and connection among the Survivors of the Indian Residential School system, the First Nations Community and all Canadians on the path towards reconciliation.

Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation

Creative Team

Choreography: Mark Godden
Story by Joseph Boyden
Music composed by Christos Hatzis, the RWB commissioned score will be performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and features the music of Tanya Tagaq and Steve Wood & the Northern Cree Singers
Costume Design: Paul Daigle
Set Design: KC Adams
Lighting Design: Pierre Lavoie
Projection Design: Sean Nieuwenhuis


Press Kit includes RWB background information and full creative team biographical information.

To obtain press kit, high resolution images, press room login information, and to arrange interviews please contact Jane Puchniak by phone at 204.957.3456 or by email at


Media is welcome to attend an open rehearsal in-studio at the RWB (380 Graham Avenue, Winnipeg) on Friday, September 19 at 7pm. Due to the capacity of the venue, media must RSVP in advance in order to attend. Please RSVP to Jane Puchniak by phone at 204.957.3456 or by email at


A media call will be held on Tuesday, September 30, time TBC. Photography and video are permitted and interviews with the creative team, RWB artistic staff and dancers are available based on their availability.


What: Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation
Location: Centennial Concert Hall, 555 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date: Wednesday, October 1 to Sunday, October 5, 2014
Time: 7:30pm October 1, 2, 3, 4; matinee at 2:00pm on October 5
Tickets: Tickets for Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation start as low as $29.00 plus taxes and fees and can be purchased online at, in person through the RWB Customer Service Office at 380 Graham Avenue or by calling 204.956.2792 or toll free 1.800.667.4792. Groups of ten or more should contact the RWB Customer Service Office for more information on group discounts.

About Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation:

Commissioned by Artistic Director André Lewis with the support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Going Home Star - Truth and Reconciliation explores the world of Annie, a young, urban First Nations woman adrift in a contemporary life of youthful excess. But when she meets Gordon, a longhaired trickster disguised as a homeless man, she’s propelled into a world she’s always sensed but never seen. Not only do they travel the streets of this place but also the roads of their ancestors, learning to accept the other’s burdens as the two walk through the past and towards the future. Together, both Annie and Gordon learn that without truth there is no reconciliation.

Based on a story by acclaimed author Joseph Boyden, Going Home Star - Truth and Reconciliation is a representation of the emotions and experiences both told and untold by residential school Survivors and their families.

About Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (

Founded in 1939, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet holds the double distinction of being Canada’s premiere ballet company and one of the oldest ballet companies in North America. Versatility, technical excellence and a captivating style are the trademarks of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, qualities that have garnered both critical and audience acclaim. RWB’s superlative standards keep the Company in demand around the globe as it presents more than 150 performances every season across Canada and in the United States, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Japan, Asia and Mexico. Under the artistic direction of André Lewis for 18 years, the Company is said to have never looked more resplendent, more assured, and more ravishing.


For further media information, please contact
Jane Puchniak I RWB Public Relations Coordinator
T. 204.957.3456 I C. 204.223.4010