You and your Grade 11 and 12 students are invited to sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 23 for the following special events…
Funded by Canadian Heritage, we are mounting a cross-country tour celebrating our first Father through interactive display, a theatrical performance and a theatrically-framed debate. I am looking to invite high school students to take part in these exciting events. We will be in Winnipeg on April 17th (MTC-Tom Hendry for the performance) and April 20th, 2015 at the Museum of Human Rights (for the debate). There is no charge to participate in either event, however transport to and from the locations are not included.
The Great Debate
The goal of this event is to engage youth and highlight Sir John A’s notorious public speaking skills, so we are planning a staged debate involving our professional actors, local high school students and a current member of government who would sit as our speaker of the house. We will ideally hold a debate in each province’s legislative assembly to better allow the students to see how democracy was created and still operates today. The bilingual debate will be focused on the unity of Canada - the creation of our country and how this applies important events surrounding it such as the creation of the North West Mounted Police or Louis Riel.
A partner high school (or a couple where space allows) will be selected in each city to participate in the debate event. We will provide a detailed run-down of the event for teachers as well as a study guide and curriculum-linked lesson plans to give students a basis of knowledge of Sir John A’s timeline and political protocols of the day, as well as personal and political background of the prior to the debate.
We will have our cast of politicians (Sir John A., George Brown and George-Étienne Cartier) begin a debate with the students playing other members of the house and audience in the gallery. Two or three students, selected by the school will be given a chance to ask a question of Canada’s First Prime Minister and provide a rebuttal to his answer. This question will be required to be submitted at least a week in advance of our tour start date (March 23). Everything will be pre-scripted and prepared, the teacher(s) will provide us with the question their student representative will ask Sir John A and he will give a prepared answer (guided by our consultant Richard Gwyn) and then the only improvised section-the students may make a rebuttal statement and one from Sir John A as well.
Throughout the debate we want to blur the lines of history and modernity by having the students in the viewing gallery actively participating in the debate with one of our actors (since women were not allowed in the House during Sir John A.’s time) whilst the students on the floor of the house may be given the chance to vote on the motion before them. We are also aiming to provide follow-up resources for teachers to use with their classes to further embed the experience and their knowledge of Canada’s founding fathers and principles, as well as the theatrical and debate techniques explored.
The theatrical performance is a 45 minute, bilingual performance by 4 actors, covering the life and times of Sir John A. Macdonald and exploring in more detail how he became the man whose vision created our country. As an introduction to the time frame, students will enter the theatre by first passing through an interactive display to get them looking through a historical lens, to bring them back to Canada circa the mid 19th-century. The performance will include an original soundscape to support the action on stage while the set will be created by video projections, incorporating historical photos and live-action sand drawings by Québec artist Marie-Linda Bluteau.
Event Host: Confederation Centre of the Arts