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

Just Posted

Dance Victoria: The Trocks are in town!

Dance Days 2020 performance roster includes two powerhouse presentations

Pacific Opera Victoria exec member earns major honour

Yvette Guigueno to attend prestigious OPERA America leadership program this month in New York

Famed character actor Bill Nighy to be part of 2020 Victoria Film Festival

Nighy to chat with CTV’s Richard Crouse after Feb. 8 screening of the film Hope Gap

ALLAN REID: Like fresh food? Find it in Cook Street Village

Hawaiian-inspired Poke Fresh offers right raw food combination for Monday reviewer’s liking

Victoria’s David Ferguson earns second Chrystal Dance Prize

Dance Victoria awards Suddenly Dance Theatre co-artistic director $20,000 for new project

Fashion Fridays: Look your best this year

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Winners announced for inaugural Victoria Arts Council/Monday poetry contest

More than 100 entries received in five categories

Canadian polar bears’ ‘ingenious’ survival seen in BBC Earth series

Film crews also go to Tofino to watch black bears snap up crabs under massive boulders

Spring author’s reading series kicks off early in Sidney

Sidney and Peninsula Literary Society hosting Yasuko Thanh and Carla Funk for Feb. 7 event

The winners of London Drugs’ 2019 Amateur Photographer of the Year contest are…

After more than 26,000 entries, the winners have been selected across Western Canada.

‘How to Train Your Dragon’ filmmaker Dean DeBlois among Canadian Oscar nominees

Multiple Oscar-nominated Canadian talents on Academy Award hopefuls list

Grammy winner Lucinda Williams to play Vancouver Island MusicFest

Singer-songwriter has been on artistic director Doug Cox’s wish list for years

Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain on temporary location

Theatre will operate one screen in former Sidney Buy & Sell space for the next 30 months or so

Most Read