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High school play about Muskrat Falls turned into documentary

Front Row, L-R: Alison Palliser and Shania Williams. Back Row, Brianna Wolfrey, Nathan Jacque and Robert Jacque.
Front Row, L-R: Alison Palliser and Shania Williams. Back Row, Brianna Wolfrey, Nathan Jacque and Robert Jacque. - Submitted

Northern Lights Academy students created play as part of Labrador Creative Arts Festival

RIGOLET - Students and former students at Northern Lights Academy in Rigolet have turned a play they wrote and performed to express their views on Muskrat Falls into a documentary.

The play titled “This Isn’t Right” was created as part of the 2016 Labrador Creative Arts Festival.

The festival’s theme was “resilience.” The students’ play told the story protests over methylmercury levels from the megaproject known as Muskrat Falls and how the project will affect their food supply.

Ruth Lawrence and Brad Gover – both well known in the province’s arts community – mentored the students in doing the documentary as part of the Nickel Independent Film Festival filmmaking project. The project was made possible thanks to funding from the School Touring Programs funded by ArtsNL and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Cultural Connections Strategy.

When asked how the documentary came about, Lawrence said when she heard about the play, she contacted the school’s drama teacher Jennifer Denty – who helped guide the students through the play-writing process -  to get more information about their project.

“I thought it was incredible that the kids had taken this on,” Lawrence said during a recent phone interview.

It was Lawrence who suggested to Denty that a film be made about the play’s creation.

“We went to Rigolet and to Sheshatshiu and we made films in each community. In doing the documentary (about the Muskrat Falls) play, we (Lawrence and Gover) interviewed everyone who was involved. But the kids did the filming. They recorded each other and they came up with the questions. We also recorded parts of the play for the documentary,” Lawrence said.

The students involved in the play and the documentary were Robert Jacque, Nathan Jacque, Shania Williams, Alison Palliser and Brianna Wolfrey.

Robert Jacque was the play’s student director and played a big role in the writing process, Lawrence said.

“Robert is amazing. All the students are amazing. They were absolutely great to work with.”

Robert graduated from Northern Lights Academy in 2017.

The 18-year-old said the play was well received by the audience and he was happy when the people from the Nickel Independent Film Festival suggested the project be turned into a documentary.

“We all agreed it would be a good idea. It’s a short documentary... it’s a way to teach us about filmmaking. It highlights the play we made and tells why we did what we did. I think it was well made and I’ve heard a lot of good reviews about it,” Robert said.

The documentary’s debut was on June 24, 2017 as part of the Nickel Independent Film Festival.

It was also featured at the Woody Point Writers’ Festival in August.

To view the documentary visit

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