A lesson in tolerance

A Queer Trial - written by UVic professor Dr. Jennifer Wise - tells the story of an openly gay man acquitted of sodomy charges.

  • Mar. 30, 2017 5:00 p.m.

Adrienne Hollerhoek

A new play celebrates the sensational trial of an unsung hero of Victoria’s gay history—on the very site where the event took place.

A Queer Trial, written by University of Victoria professor Dr. Jennifer Wise, tells the real-life story of John Butt, an openly gay man who in 1860 was acquitted of sodomy charges by two successive juries—the first preferred to spend a night in jail rather than convict him.

After learning about the historic event, Wise immersed herself in the archival documents and police-court transcripts. “While researching, I realized that this story would serve as an ideal project for students to learn about site-specific theatre,” says Wise. The Theatre students enrolled in her class have taken on key roles, from acting and singing to dramaturgy and historical research, from musical direction and choreography to costume design. The play also incorporates the research and knowledge of members of BC’s Indigenous, LGBTQ2, Jewish, Black, and legal communities.

“We’re going to be taking this beautiful message of tolerance and humanity right into the heart of the community.” says Wise, recognizing that recent political events have emboldened attacks on these communities at home and abroad.

“As we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary this year, this play highlights an important part of our history and reminds us about how essential this message of tolerance is in our world today.”

The play will be performed Friday, April 14 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in Bastion Square, where it uses the local alleys, doorways, wrought-iron features to maximum effect to celebrate this historic event.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Celebrate Victoria Pride Week

The Victoria Pride Society has organized some stop-notch virtual entertainment, including the Virtual Pride Festival on July 5.

Children’s author honours Oak Bay sisters murdered by father

Proceeds from children’s book go towards child abuse prevention in Greater Victoria

Sidney Museum and Archives reopens brick by brick with Lego exhibit

Museum joins other reopenings including Sidney library, Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

Vancouver Island Symphony, Kerplunks up for Western Canadian Music Awards

Winners to be announced via live stream on Sept. 25

10th annual Nanaimo Fringe Festival to be held online due to COVID-19

Festival will feature six productions by local, regional and international artists

Nanaimo’s Kismet Theatre Academy closes after eight years due to COVID-19

Bonnie Catterson founded the school in 2012 as ‘a place for the oddballs’

Home dance videos to be part of this year’s Infringing Dance Festival

Crimson Coast Dance Society seeking ‘backyard dance’ submissions to compile into video

Ucluelet loses one of town’s oldest art galleries

Mark Penney Gallery shuts down due, in part, to Hwy. 4 closures and COVID-19 pandemic.

Vancouver Island drummers pay belated tribute to Neil Peart of Rush

Canadian Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer died of cancer at age 67 in January

Yukon poet kjmunro headlines Port Alberni’s virtual Words on Fire

Monthly spoken word event continues virtually at Char’s Landing

Most Read