For those familiar with Vancouver history, the Livestock Building at Hastings Park hides a much darker past than the petting zoos and pig races you see there might indicate.
In 1942, the red-painted building was used to incarcerate thousands of women and children as part of the Japanese internment. Declared enemy aliens during the Second World War, these people, mostly Canadian citizens, were forced to live in the animal stalls at the western end of this three-acre large building. The stories of the smells, filth, and squalour live on in history books. Later the Japanese Canadians were relocated to internment camps in interior B.C.
This fall, a bold new theatre production called Japanese Problem is getting ready to relive the injustice by staging a site-specific play within the walls of a re-created stall at the Livestock Building.
Universal Theatre plans to stage the show there from September 22 to 30 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Japanese Canadian internment.
Collaborators, including co-creator Yoshie Bancroft, have researched deeply into the period, interviewing people who actually inhabited the stalls. The group says it's aiming to raise awareness of the history.
Tickets are available here; watch for more coverage as the event date nears at Straight.com.