Theatre Projects Manitoba Presents ‘Reservations’ by Steven Ratzlaff

Co-Directors: Emma Tibaldo & Ian Ross

Featuring: Sarah Constible, Tracy Nepinak & Steven Ratzlaff

Theatre Projects Manitoba is presenting the world premiere of Reservations, by Steven Ratzlaff running March 10 – 20, 2016 at the Rachel Browne Theatre in Winnipeg. 

One of Manitoba’s most political playwrights, Ratzlaff’s play Dionysus in Stony Mountain (TPM, 2012) focussed on criminal justice, while Last Man in Puntarenas (TPM, 2010) tackled the health care system. Through Reservations, he continues to explore issues of immediate concern, potentially making a very real change in the audience’s understanding of at-risk children and restitution for First Nations.

On the heels of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) report and recommendations, the Phoenix Sinclair Inquiry, and the continual stories of tragedy for children at risk and in care in our communities, Reservations is a deeply relevant and timely play which delves into in the difficult territory of Indigenous/ Settler relations.

“The most meaningful work of reconciliation, however, will lie in small, face-to-face initiatives for which the imperative is greatest where communities exist in close proximity.”  — Roger Epp, We Are All Treaty People 

In Ratzlaff’s new play, two such places of proximity are Winnipeg and a rural community near the Siksika Nation in Alberta. Two flashpoints of contention are children and land.

Part one, Pete’s Reserve, explores acts of restitution through Pete, a Mennonite farmer whose failing health has brought him to a decision; to give most of his land to a neighbouring First Nation. This will be a difficult conversation with his daughter Anna. Through this decision, we are delivered into the familiar but profound dilemma of family loyalty and loyalty to that which transcends family. 

In the second act, Standing Reserve explores the issues and arguments around fostering indigenous children. The story follows a white foster couple that struggles to embrace the views of the First Nations Child and Family services agency they have been working with and the challenges of providing for the cultural needs of the children in their care.

An outstanding team of Canadian artists will bring Reservations to the stage. Ian Ross co-directs the piece, with an extensive background as a Manitoban First Nations theatre artist. Ross is an experienced drama educator, radio personality and recipient of the 1997 Governor General’s Award for his play, fareWel. Also Co-Directing is Emma Tibaldo, Artistic and Executive Director of Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal and a founding member of Quebec’s Talisman Theatre. Original music and sound design by Andrew Balfour, a highly accomplished Manitoban Cree composer of and the founder and Artistic Director of experimental vocal ensemble, Camerata Nova.  Filling out the Reservations design team is Grant Guy (Sets), Hugh Conacher (Lighting & Projections Design) with Costume Design by emerging talent, Angela Vaags.

Playwright and actor Ratzlaff is joined onstage by Tracy Nepinak and Sarah Constible. Nepinak is a Winnipeg-based Cree actor who recently appeared in Anthony and Cleopatra at SIR and The Rez Sisters at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria. Constible is a mainstay in Winnipeg’s professional theatre community, most recently in Things We Do For Love at RMTC.

Reservations runs March 10th to March 20th at the Rachel Browne Theatre at 211 Bannatyne Avenue. Tickets range from $15-25 and are available by calling the box office at 204-989-2400 or by visiting