'Sila,' a play inspired by climate change, debuts at University Theatre

The 2014-15 season of University Theatre will debut with “Sila,” a play set in the Arctic Circle that explores the relationship between climate change and the local Inuit population.

Written by Chantal Bilodeau, the play is the first of its kind, incorporating Inuit myth with Artic Circle policy. “Sila” is directed by Theresa May, a professor of theatre arts who has directed several University Theatre plays and the Earth Matters on Stage ecodrama festival.

“Sila” will debut April 16 with shows on April 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. and a final show April 26 at 2 pm. There will be no late seating for any of the show times. Playwright Bilodeau will participate in post-show discussions on April 24 and 25.

“I chose this play because as a theatre artist, I believe that our art has something unique and important to contribute to the ecological challenges that face us,” May said in a press release.

“Sila” is set in the territory of Nunavut on Baffin Island and follows the lives of a climate scientist, two Canadian Coast Guard officers, an Inuit activist and her daughter, two polar bears and an Inuit elder. This is the West Coast premiere of “Sila,” which uses poetry, projections and puppetry in three different languages. Sila is an Inuktitut word meaning breath.

May said, “This is not a children’s play, despite the portrayal of polar bears. The play is a brave attempt to explore the complex emotional, cultural and ecological aspects of climate change.”

Tickets are available on University Theatre’s website.

―By Corinne Boyer, Public Affairs Communications intern