The Essence of Theatre as the Foundation of Law




Indigenous legal traditions, Canadian state law, colonialism, environmental protection, theatre, story, legal pluralism


Canada has been described as a pluralistic legal society that recognizes and values both the common law and Indigenous legal orders. However, the predominant legal order in Canada was used as a tool for the attempted colonization of Indigenous cultures across the country and is built upon a normative worldview that fundamentally contradicts Indigenous worldviews. The liberal worldview that guides the common law has concentrated on the individual and has relegated the interrelationship between community, story, and land to a facet of society that holds little importance. This article is an investigation into the relationship between theatre, story, and law, exploring the essence of theatre as a communal site of resistance against the dominant structures of a liberal worldview.  It explores whether theatre, as a creative medium, could have the power to make space for a pluralistic society in which Indigenous laws and the common law are valued as equal and autonomous. This article draws on the work of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Glen Coulthard, and Jarrett Martineau to explore the interconnection between the natural world, story, theatre, and law.