New stories continue to bring Steveston history to life

Tune in tomorrow evening to catch a preview of the Steveston Historical Society’s refreshed Steveston Alive walking tour script.

First created in 2017, Steveston Alive was a way to expand the historical society’s heritage programming into the arts realm, explains executive director Rachel Meloche.

“Every year we learn something new from the vignettes in how to make it work better the following year, even as the scripts stayed the same,” she says. “We created a new partnership with Steveston-London Secondary School’s drama club in 2019, and we’ve loved seeing the spin their students and drama teacher put on the show.”

Wanting to keep the show fresh, Meloche sat down with playwright Andrew Wade to review and fact-check the old script. They discussed stories that hadn’t initially been included, and new ways to tell stories that had. Wade revised the scripts and wrote new ones.

“The intention is for this to be an ongoing project, so in future years students will be able to choose which vignettes work best for them so the show is constantly evolving and growing,” says Meloche. “We also wanted to bring in sensitivity readers to ensure that we’re telling these difficult histories in a way that’s respectful of the communities.”

The new scripts have been sent out to one sensitivity reader already, with more planned. And Steveston-London secondary students were part of a table read where they also provided feedback.

“We’re also looking to add more scripts in the coming years, and we’d love to hear from playwrights who can help us better tell their cultures’ stories,” says Meloche.

She’s excited to introduce audiences to two new characters this year. And Wade has added a historically accurate song to fill the space between vignettes, as well as a story from E. Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake’s 1911 book.

“We’re also trying new types of storytelling within the vignettes, and we’re looking forward to audiences’ feedback, says Meloche.
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