Connecting Youth with Water through Theatre in Alberta

Red-winged_blackbird.jpg“The work we do connects with the seventh generation principle that Indigenous communities have been fostering since time immemorial. Respect for the land, water and creatures is at the heart of everything we do.” (~Christina Chase-Warrier, Director of Programming, Evergreen Theatre)

Since 1991, Evergreen Theatre in Calgary has centered its work on education, art, science and community. This OLW Network member connects young people to the natural world through programming in schools across Alberta. 

For all of us, whether young or old, moving from environmental awareness to taking action depends on how empowered we feel. In Christina’s words, “The arts provide an emotional and creative response to environmental challenges. Theatre brings a more empowering interpretive lens to learning. When art reflects life, kids can make a deeper connection and be inspired more, rather than feeling like this is too hard, too scary, or it’s an adult thing. We really emphasize the message that everybody has to work together.”



Check out Evergreen Theatre’s Land Acknowledgement for The Wicked Witch of the Wetlands

Actor 1: One thing that all the characters that Dorothy met on her journey shared in common was a love for the wetlands. And we feel that love for the land and water too.

Actor 2: And we are grateful for the opportunity to gather here on Treaty (6 or 7) land with you all today. Treaty promises remind us that we are in an enduring and lasting relationship with each other for as long as "the sun shines, the grass grows and the river flows".

While Evergreen Theatre’s programs touch on different environmental challenges, water has been a recurring theme for 32 years! As Christina says, “Water affects everything”. The most recent show, “The Wicked Witch of the Wetlands”, addresses the “Alberta Water Nexus”, which refers to the interdependence of food, energy and people on healthy waters. In the play, kids meet Dorothy, who follows the yellow slick toad to track down the Wizard of Bog and save a wetland she loves! The whole experience is fun and engaging, with parodies of well known pop songs, silly costumes and youth volunteer actors.

The best part: Evergreen Theatre’s model really works! Fun drama plants seeds in kids’ hearts and minds. The evidence? The messages stick because parents comment on shows they remember from 30 years ago! (Plus, Evergreen Theatre just won an Alberta Emerald Award for environmental education work.) If you’d like to find out more, visit the theatre’s website and contact the team today.

Note: All images in this story © Evergreen Theatre.




Rebekah Kipp
About Rebekah Kipp
Network Communications Lead, Our Living Waters: mother, freshwater champion, beachcomber, and origami enthusiast
Connecting Youth with Water through Theatre in Alberta
Connecting Youth with Water through Theatre in Alberta
Imagine a Canada where all waters are in good health: