Playwright visits UFV for staged reading of The Rez Sisters

Nine performers will reunite this Sunday to perform excerpts from Tomson Highway’s play “The Rez Sisters.”

Nine performers will reunite this Sunday to perform excerpts from Tomson Highway’s play “The Rez Sisters.” But this time, they’ll be performing with the playwright in the audience.

Highway will visit the Fraser Valley University campus in Chilliwack for a staged reading of his noted play Oct. 23. The event will include an introduction, reception, piano performance and candid story-telling from the author.

The sold-out performance will depict Highway’s story of seven women who each offer their own perspective of life on the reservation.

It will bring together the women who first performed the play 11 years ago, what Sandy Tait calls a sisterhood.

“I’m thrilled that we’ll be meeting Tomson Highway and honoured that he’ll be present at our stage reading,” said Tait, who played character Philomena Moosetail in the 2000 performance. Tait is currently the production manager for the Theatre Department at the UFV campus in Chilliwack.

“The only reason I worked up the nerve to audition for the play in the first place was because I loved that play so much.”

Cast members include actors Sandy Tait, Theresa Neel, Judy Becker, Thelma Orgill, Desta Branham, Deanna Reder, Allison Hotti, and Toivo Hutikka. All of the performers except one are of First Nations heritage.

Rick Mawson, the publicity manager for UFV Chilliwack, will again fulfill the role of director.

The play won the Dora Mavor Award for best new play in Toronto’s theatre season and was a runner-up for the Floyd F. Chalmers Award for most outstanding play when it debuted in 1986.

Other notable plays by Highway include, “Dry Lips Oughta Move To Kapuskasing,” “Rose,” “Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout” and his best-selling novel “Kiss of the Fur Queen.”

Highway ran an aboriginal theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts, in Toronto for many years.

No reservations or tickets are required for a second event on Monday Oct. 24 at the UFV campus in Abbotsford, 33844 King Rd.

Highway will be in Room B121 at 12:30 p.m. for a meet-and-greet and a book reading and signing at 1:30 p.m.

Contact the UFV theatre box office at or call 604-795-2814 to be put on a tickets waiting list for the Sunday performance.