Featuring award-winning Métis actor, John D. Huston, and inspired by actual reports, writings & speeches...

William Blank, a federal bureaucrat resurrected from 1907, thinks something isn’t right. With gusto and charm, poetry and conviction, he tries to defend the indefensible: the Indian Residential Schools. But only when he yields to what he’s known all along does the truth reveal itself: that something was horrifically wrong!

CIVILIZED, a play about the banality of evil and putting it right, explores how the Canadian government failed to prevent the abuse, and in many cases, deaths suffered by Natives at the Indian Residential Schools. The last Indian Residential School didn’t close until 1996! During those years, thousands of children died, many, as we are now finding out, were buried in unmarked graves. Many more children were scarred mentally and physically for life. All told 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were taken from their families and forced to attend these church-run, government-funded schools. In 1907, Dr. Peter Bryce, the Chief Medical Officer of the Departments of the Interior and Indian Affairs, reported that the Indian Residential Schools of Canada were “dangerous to health” with “an almost total lack of ventilation with Indian boys and girls dying in overcrowded, unhygienic school-rooms and dormitories.” The Canadian government was funding these institutions and clearly had an obligation to ensure they were properly run and safe, yet the government failed to act. Why?

CIVILIZED attempts to answer this question by resurrecting a fictional government bureaucrat, William Blank, from the past to explain. Using actual government reports, writings, and speeches from the period, one uncovers a contemptuous and superior attitude of the Canadian government. CIVILIZED is a compelling look at how colonialist ideas of what it means to be "civilized" were responsible for the horrors inflicted on the First Nations People.

Here is what the media has written about “CIVILIZED” this year.

"CIVILIZED may be one of the most important things you ever see on stage!" Apt613 review, Ottawa Fringe Festival 2022.

"CIVILIZED is one of the best plays I've seen at this year's Fringe and is very timely given the cultural reckoning Canada is now undergoing. Go see it!" UMFM Radio review, Winnipeg Fringe Festival 2022.

“Outstanding! This show should be required viewing in this country!" The Visitorium review, Ottawa Fringe Festival 2022 CIVILIZED is written by Keir Cutler and directed by Paul Hopkins.


A Theatre Kingston Performance