Carousel Theater Explores Indigenous Reconciliation + Environmentalism in West Coast Premiere of FROZEN RIVER

The Carousel Theater for Young People (CYTP) opens its 2022/23 season with the West Coast premiere of Manitoba Theater for Young People’s award-winning play Frozen River (nîkwatin sîpiy), at the Waterfront Theater on Granville Island (1412 Cartwright St. ), from September 28 to October 16, 2022.

A poignant and powerful play about reconciliation, environmentalism and interdependence, Frozen River tackles meaningful issues through engaging storytelling, whimsical puppets and age-appropriate narrative – suitable for children and young people of all ages (5 years and over) – on the generational impact of our actions on the environment and our communities.

“We are delighted to open our season with Frozen River, which offers a beautiful depiction of the complexity of relationships with nature, with animals, and with each other, through the eyes of two 11-year-old children who come from two very different worlds.” says Dave Deveau Co-Artistic and General Managers of the Carrousel Theater for Young People.

Adds Jennica Grienke, co-artist and General Managers of the Carousel Theater for Young People: “A vital story that spans centuries, Frozen River doesn’t shy away from asking important questions about the true meaning of reconciliation and how we can all play an active and hopeful to honor Indigenous reconciliation and protect our environment.”

In a forest destined to become modern Manitoba, a compassionate narrator, Grandmother Moon, guides the audience through the story of two 11-year-old children, Wâpam, who is Cree, and Eilidh, who is Scottish. Born under the same blood moon, they form an instant kinship, despite their differences and lack of a common language. As Grandmother Moon shares their story, introducing terms from the maskeko-ininiwak (swamp cry) language, we discover an unfulfilled promise that leaves a lasting impact on generations. Jumping forward to the present day, we meet two young people, descendants of Wâpam and Eilidh. Past wrongdoings are repaired through an open mind and curiosity to learn from those who have managed the waterways for centuries.

Hailed by the Winnipeg Free Press as “timely” and full of “warmth and kindness”, Frozen River offers audiences a vulnerable and impactful look at what connects us to others and how we can learn important lessons from life of our ancestors. With moments of light-hearted fantasy, creatively enhanced by shadow and rod puppets, and devastating heartbreak, Frozen River approaches mature concepts with gentleness and grace.

The play had its world premiere in Treaty 1 territory (colonial known as Manitoba) in February 2022. Co-written by Michaela WashburnJoelle Peters and Carrie Costello, the trio received the 2021 Sharon Enkin Plays for Young People award from the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

Directed by Katie German, the play stars Krystle Pederson as Grandmother Moon, Keely McPeek as Wâpam and their descendant, and Mallory James as Eilidh and her descendant.

Language keeper is Cameron Robertson, set and prop designer is Andrew Moro, costume designer is Jay Havens, lighting designer is Dean Cowieson, and composer and sound designer is MJ Dandeneau.

The CTYP would like to thank the premiere of Frozen River on the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueam nations.

The opening show for Frozen River, which falls on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30), will kick off a series of community events, in partnership with CMHC Granville Island, the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, the Vancouver Writers Fest, the Vancouver Fringe Festival and 3 Crows Productions. For a list of events, visit

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