What Was My Backyard?


What Was My Backyard? is a co-production between Jumblies, Theatre Direct and the Community Arts Guild – an interactive musical show for all ages, developed as collaborative touring school and community show. It had a work-in-progress performance at The Ground Floor on January 16th, and a pilot engagement at Willow Park Public School, Scarborough from January 22 to 24, 2020. We are now adapting the show for online school workshops during pandemic times, and live school engagements in 2022 and onwards.

What Was My Backyard? brings awareness of the Indigenous lives and lands of what is now Toronto, and asks us to think about what was here long ago on the land where our homes, playgrounds, parks, streets and backyards now stand, what footprints are below and above the surface of our city streets, and how we can imagine paths forward.

What Was My Backyard? was sparked at a Jumblies’ Composing Community Workshop & Touching Ground Festival
with an original creative team of: Britta Johnson, Beth Helmers, Shifra Cooper, Marc Blouin and Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk.

Artistic & Production Team (Winter 2020):

Composers: Britta Johnson, Biaeshee-Quae Couchie-Nabigon
Director: Beth Helmers
Musical Director: Shifra Cooper
Choreographer: Nimikii Couchie
Guest Writer: Sarah Gartshore

Designers: Ruth Howard, Sherry Guppy
Other Designer-Makers: Oshan Starreveld, Karis Jones Pard, Jamie Oshkabewisens, Tijana Spasich, Adrienne Marcus Raja

Production Stage Manager: Ashley Bomberry
Assistant Stage Manager: Karis Jones Pard
Lighting & Technical Director: Steafan Hannigan
Prop-maker &Technician: Lochlan Cox

Dancers & Performers: Tijana Spasich, Jamie Oshkabewisens, Damien Scott, Kennedy Bomberry, Ruedi Narowski-Vesely, Lanna Moon, Oshan Starreveld, Lisa Marie DiLiberto, Zevon Ketchabaw
Musicians: Pesch Napoose (singer), Daev Clysdale (piano), Georgia Hathaway (fiddle), Zevon Ketchabaw (violin), Naomi McCarroll-Butler (clarinet), Marc Blouin (clarinet), Jamie Oshkabewisens (hand drum) , Gather Round Singers all-abilities community choir.

ASL Interpreter: Miko Zoller Frappier
Documenters: Adrienne Marcus Raja, Charles Ketchabaw, Katherine Fleitas, Bradley Trudeau
Student Production Assistant: Ceilidh Carberry (UofT)
Education & Curriculum Intern: Shifra Cooper (OISE)
Driver: Parker Dirks
Funder: Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Miziwe Biik
Thanks to: Toronto Community Housing