- Purchase/rental options available:
This article analyses theatre project 'Hul'q'umi'num' Heroes: Reclaiming Language through Theatre', which aims to stem the decline of the Hul'q'umi'num' language by bringing traditional stories about heroes to life in dramatic performances that spark and hold the interest of language speakers, language learners, and the general public. The territory of the Hul'q'umi'num' people extends along the Salish Sea from Nanoose to Malahaton Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Today, around forty fluent first-language speakers remain, mostly over the age of 60, and thus Hul'q'umi'num' is considered an endangered language. However, among the population of over 6,000 Hul'q'umi'num', there are many people who desire to learn the language or improve their fluency. By embarking on the next step—turning traditional stories into theatre—the wproject is hoping to bring the language to the eyes and ears of the community, and, for the participants, it will possibly help unlock their ability to speak Hul'q'umi'num'. This article argues that applied theatre can be used to effectively address concerns pertaining to—in this case—the indigenous community the language revitalization work is meant to benefit, even though there are multiple challenges that stand in the way of such a process. The work has a strong focus on traditional and playful artistry and on consensus.