We’ve all heard of “foster kids,” children shuttled between group homes and foster families after living with their birth parents was deemed unsafe or otherwise not in their best interests. But when they enter adulthood, when they “age out,” what do they have to say about their time in care and transitioning out of it? What are their experiences in their own words? NO WHITE PICKET FENCE sheds light on the lives of real foster kids who are now young women living well.

“I have a very different view of what I think family is. I don’t think of it, it’s mom and dad, a couple kids, a dog, and white picket fence.” (Emma)

WHEN: February 1-4 (Wed-Sat), 2017 at 7:30pm (plus a 2:00pm Saturday matinee)
DURATION: 95 minutes, plus a post-show talkback
LOCATION: Black Box Theatre, Sir James Dunn Hall (67 Dineen Drive), St. Thomas University
BUY TICKETS AT THE DOOR: $5 students/seniors, $10 general
RESERVE TICKETS BY EMAIL: theatrestthomas@gmail.com 
CONTACT: Dr. Robin C. Whittaker, TST Artistic Producer: rwhit@stu.ca

“One of the greatest challenges about living in care is never really feeling like you belong to anybody. It’s just like, you’re just placed there. And then you’re expected just to live your life.” (Amanda)

This production is a TST first! NO WHITE PICKET FENCE is a remarkable new “verbatim play” in which all of the dialogue originates, verbatim, from interviews with ten women who have experienced the foster care system and are now living well. The language is real and gripping.

“I’m just like proud of my memory. Knowing my whole life that I needed to remember everything … and then like I would write it in my mind, you know and put in a door and like put it away. And I would say when it’s time to go get it, you can go get it and it’ll be there.” (Lotus)

These women’s stories span their time before being taken into care, through their time in care, and to their current lives navigating the world as young adults. Their stories are charged with turmoil and suffering in their original family homes and later during impermanent arrangements in foster care and group homes. Yet, they highlight the women’s persistence moving toward living well on their own terms. These are stories of resistance, resilience, and strength of human spirit.

“We were taken away because someone said we weren’t safe and we need more consistency and we just get one hell swapped for another one.” (Lotus)

“Distilling hundreds of pages of interview transcripts from these amazing women has been a journey of its own,” says TST Artistic Producer Dr. Robin C. Whittaker, who will direct the play as part of a larger study by STU Social Work professor Dr. Sue McKenzie-Mohr and her team.

“I think the more sharing my story and providing the information about what I grew up in, the more educated people are going to be about the process and the more things will change.” (Alisha)

Please Note: This world premiere includes stories featuring emotional and violent experiences. Audience discretion is advised.

Cast and Creative Team
Featuring: Amy Landry, Becca Brooke, Elizabeth Matheson, Emma Dufour, Esther Soucoup, Jessica Murphy, Kira Chisholm, Maddi Downs, Naomi McGowan, Victoria McConnell. Director: Robin C. Whittaker. STU Technical Director: Chris Saad. Set & Video Designers: Chris Saad & Robin C. Whittaker. Lighting Designer: Chris Saad. Costumes: Cheryl Lee Watts. Costume Assistant: Brianna Parker-Tarasco. Music Composition & Sound Design: Zachary Greer. Stage Manager: Amy Baldwin. Assistant Stage Mangers: Jessica McKee, Tristan Tozer, Wei Qing Tan. Stage Crew & Board Operators: Brennan Garnett, Miguel Y. Roy, Patricia Saad. Project Research Assistants: Sarah-Jane Thiessen; Mandy Richard; Andrea Moody. Poster Design: Kara Brauen.

Theatre St. Thomas is STU’s flagship extra-curricular theatre company. Producing theatre for over 60 years (and more than 45 years as “TST”), we have been at home in the Black Box Theatre since 1993. Working under the professional direction of STU faculty and staff, students act and work backstage alongside fellow students, STU alumni, and members of the Fredericton theatre community to learn and develop their stage skills in a fun and enriching experiential, cross-disciplinary environment.