The First Stone
October 6–23, 2022
“Don’t be fooled by stillness — listening is an action. Listening is an action too.”
— Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, playwright
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents a New Harlem Productions and Great Canadian Theatre Company production
An epic exploration of history, war, and forgiveness, The First Stone delves into the exploitation of child abductees, the communities from which these children are stolen, the determination to bring them home, and the hard road to reconciliation that follows. Through poetry and song, this world-premiere production follows one family’s effort to reunite, measuring the cost of holding on, and of letting go.
The run of The First Stone has been extended to October 23.
photo of Daniel Jelani Ellis and Makambe K. Simamba by Dylan Mitro
styling by Cat Calica, hair and makeup by Robert Weir
graphic design by Awake Studio
The show has been extended for an additional week of performances, now closing October 23.
Sunday, October 2 // 7:30PM (preview)
Tuesday, October 4 // 7:30PM (preview)*
Wednesday, October 5 // 7:30PM (preview)
Thursday, October 6 // 7:30PM (opening night)
Friday, October 7 // 7:30PM
Saturday, October 8 // 7:30PM
Sunday, October 9 // 2PM
Wednesday, October 12 // 7:30PM**
Thursday, October 13 // 7:30PM*
Friday, October 14 // 7:30PM
Saturday, October 15 // 7:30PM
Sunday, October 16 // 2PM***
Wednesday, October 19 // 7:30PM*
Thursday, October 20 // 7:30PM
Friday, October 21 // 7:30PM
Saturday, October 22 // 7:30PM
Sunday, October 23 // 2PM
*Reduced Capacity Performances – October 4 , 13 + 19: The capacity of the house will be reduced to 50% of its usual total for the performances on Tuesday, October 4, and Thursday, October 13, and Wednesday, October 19. This smaller-capacity performance is scheduled with immuno-compromised audience members in mind, as well as those who do not yet feel comfortable in a full theatre. Proof of vaccination will be required for attendees on these evenings. Masking and COVID screening continues to be mandatory for audience members at all performances.
**Black Out Night – Wednesday, October 12, 7:30PM: Black Out Nights are designed to create a safer space for Black community members to come together and engage with works by Black artists. The performance on October 12 is exclusively for Black audiences. Advance tickets can be booked online, with PWYC tickets available at the door. After the show, there will be a moderated discussion with the creative team.
*** Post-show (4PM). Award-winning playwright, emcee, agitator, artist and writer of The First Stone DM St. Bernard hosts an interview with Uganda poet Otoniya J. Okot Bitek upon the release of her new book A is For Acholi. Books will be available onsite. Anyone is welcome to attend whether or not you are seeing the show that day.
The show is 100 mins long, with no intermission.
Read artist bios, notes from the creative team, and more in our digital house programme.
Donna-Michelle St Bernard // playwright
Yvette Nolan // director
Indrit Kasapi // production choreographer
Pulga Muchochoma // associate choreographer
Michelle Ramsay // lighting design
Maddie Bautista // sound design, composition + choir director
River Oliviera // associate sound design
Cameron Davis // projection
Jackie Chau // set design + props *Design Mentor
Sarah Yuen // props assistant *Design Mentee
Des’ree Gray // costume design
Sarah O’Brien // stage manager
Heather Bellingham // assistant stage manager
Alison Wong // producer
Charissa Wilcox // production manager
Shanae Sodhi // production associate
Sarah Waisvisz // chorus consultant (Toronto) + chorus director (Ottawa)
Tsholo Khalema // Ancestor
Michael-Lamont Lytle // Grandad
Uche Ama // Auntie
Dorothy A. Atabong // Mom
Makambe K Simamba // Girl
Daniel Jelani Ellis // Boy
Nawa Nicole Simon // Uma
Courage Bacchus // Ancestor Echo
Paul Smith // Kidogo
Taija Shonee Chung // Chorus
Gloria Mampuya // Chorus
Kendelle Parks // Chorus
Megan Legesse // Chorus
Tavaree Daniel-Simms // Chorus
Willow Martin // Chorus
*The services of Jackie Chau (mentor) and Sarah Yeun (mentee) were made possible through the Associated Designers of Canada Mentorship Program funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.
Access for Deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences
All performances of The First Stone include projected pre-synopses describing each-scene, as well as a recorded ASL video echoing the text of the Ancestor character as well as song lyrics.
The First Stone does not feature typical word-for-word ASL interpretation.
Access for Blind and low-vision patrons
An audio description track and a touch tour of some set and costume pieces will be available for audiences October 12-16. We recommend arriving at 6:45PM in order to experience the touch tour as well as pre-show descriptions. If you wish to book a headset for audio description, please write in the “access notes” section when booking your ticket, or contact our box office at 416-975-8555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The performances of The First Stone on Thursday, October 13 and Wednesday, October 19 will be relaxed performances. Relaxed performances are designed to welcome audience members who will benefit from a more relaxed performance environment, including house lights being left on at a low level, more freedom to come and go from the space, and an alternate space to take a break from the show. Please note that these are also reduced-capacity performances, and proof of vaccination will be required at the door.
The show is 100 mins long, with no intermission.
To view our show guide, click here.
Black Out Night – Wednesday, October 12, 7:30PM: Black Out Nights are designed to create a safer space for Black community members to come together and engage with works by Black artists. The performance on October 12 is exclusively for Black audiences. Advance tickets can be booked online, with PWYC tickets available at the door. After the show, there will be a discussion moderated by Tawiah M’Carthy.
Pay-It-Forward tickets are available for this show. This option exists to help pay for someone else for whom cost is a barrier. If you have the means, please consider using the Coupon Code PIF at checkout in order to add $15 to your cart, and the funds will cover someone else’s ticket anonymously.
If you are in need of a Pay-It-Forward ticket, please click here to fill out the form to let us know when you’d like to attend and how to reach you as tickets become available! If you have questions, please e-mail email@example.com.
Please note that all Pay-It-Forward tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Filling out this form does not guarantee ticket availability; a box office staff member will reach out to book your tickets if there are any available.
Great Canadian Theatre Company is Ottawa’s largest professional, independent theatre with the mandate to foster, produce and promote excellent theatre that provokes examination of Canadian life and our place in the world. Under the leadership of Interim Artistic Director Sarah Kitz and Managing Director Hugh Neilson, GCTC offers a wide range of artistic programming: 6 main stage plays every year; a variety of theatre-for-young-audiences; artist workshops; and even the occasional pop-up restaurant with nationally renowned chefs.
New Harlem Productions is a project-based arts organization that prioritizes marginalized narratives. It is concerned with its impact on people, places and things; projects are undertaken with consideration for sustainability, solidarity, professional development, equitable resource distribution, social implications and front-line experiences.
We want you to come see the show, and we want you to be safe from harm. We trust you to exercise your own judgment about how much you need to know to safely attend, given the context of your personal experience.
To view the content warnings for this show, click here.
Dates & Times
October 2, 4 + 5
For each of our mainstage shows this season, we’re offering tickets at a range of price points, though seating is general admission, and every seat is just as good as the next. If cost is a barrier, this is your chance to get an affordable ticket. If you are able to pay more, this is your change to increase your support for the work onstage and ensure it stays affordable for those who need it.
Please note that we continue to ask all patrons, artists, and staff to mask while in the space. Audience members will be asked to provide proof of vaccination at reduced capacity performances.
For more information on our COVID safety measures, click here.
*Reduced Capacity Performances – October 4 + 13: The capacity of the house will be reduced to 50% of its usual total for the performances on Tuesday, October 4, and Thursday, October 13. This smaller-capacity performance is scheduled with immuno-compromised audience members in mind, as well as those who do not yet feel comfortable in a full theatre.