I Forgive You

2023-03-01 20:00 2023-03-11 22:30 60 Canada/Eastern 🎟 NAC: I Forgive You


In-person event

An Artistic Fraud production  In 2013, Nova Scotian choral conductor Scott Jones was left paralyzed after a homophobic attack. Soon after, his story reached international attention for a remarkable reason: he chose to publicly forgive his attacker.  Headlines ran all over the world inspiring thousands moved by Scott's uncommon act, including Artistic Fraud who approached him to co-create a piece of theater based on his experience.   The story of I Forgive You cuts...

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Azrieli Studio,1 Elgin Street,Ottawa,Canada
March 1 - 11, 2023

≈ 2 hours · With intermission

Our programs have gone digital.

Scan the QR code at the venue's entrance to read the program notes before the show begins.

Last updated: March 8, 2023

Have you heard of the idea of Crip time? 

Crip time - a term coined by AlisanKafer - calls attention to the ways in which Disabled, chronically ill, d/Deaf, and neurodivergent people experience time in different ways than non-disabled people. It emboldens us to let go of our shame and guilt in moments when we fall short of society’s ableist definition of productivity. Crip time challenges our expectations of how long a task should take, which are rooted in the belief that only certain bodies and minds have value and are worthy of being heard. Although the term comes from the Disability community, it is a concept that everyone is invited to apply in their own lives.  

- April Hubbard – Disability Advocate  

During the creation process, April Hubbard (Interlocutor), introduced the concept of Crip time to us and shared how her experience as a Disabled artist shapes her worldview. The Artistic Fraud team realized the role they have played in excluding certain artists and adopted a schedule that recognizes the strengths of Disabled approaches and prioritized rest and community care as vital pieces of the creation process. This choice honors each team member’s lived experience and celebrates their creativity, knowledge, and value.

The lives of Disabled people are inherently unpredictable. We may adjust our performance schedule lightly to honor the access needs of our team members. Thank you for your support as we do the work of learning and unlearning and adapt the ways we operate to meet the evolving values of our community.

Director's Note

When I first met with Scott about this project in 2018, both of us shared an instinct that there was a place for children in the show. He came to our first meeting with the vision of a child dancer, and I came with a hope to have a children’s choir. This was not going to be a show suitable for young audiences. So why children? Scott spoke about the spirit of the child part of him that was lost – the child who loved to dance. I questioned which child has the potential to become a person who could manifest great acts of horror and which child has the potential for great acts of grace.  And with these beautiful Ottawa children - what lives will they manifest? What is their possibility? Through dance and music and warmup games, we did our best to fill the rehearsals with fun and joy.  We carefully and gently brought the children through Scott's experience throughout the rehearsal process and Q and A’s, and their dedication to Scott and his musical excellence is profound. So much love and so much work has been put into the crafting of this piece – from the very beginnings of the music integration, to the profound and fearless dedication of the actors, to the producing efforts to keep the snack table full in the room, and now as it begins to tour, the guidance of the great Robert Fillion and the inspiring dedication of the choir and their families. Scott’s act of grace that began in the courtroom in 2014 still ripples out.  Our hope is that its grace reaches you too.  

A Note From Scott Jones

What can be written about an experience as profound as this one? The words won’t be adequate, but the power of this journey, the growth of this project, and the culmination of a family of dear artistic visionaries (writers, directors, and dramaturges) that have helped me process the unimaginable, actors who have spoken these words and shared their music with such care and deep respect, a music director and her assistant director with hearts of gold and magic that flow from their fingers to a chorus of young and incredibly talented, wise, and beautiful human beings who simultaneously grounded me throughout a challenging process and filled my heart with joy to the point of levitation, an Icelandic band and an arranger who allowed for such a beautiful musical backdrop to this show, a choreographer and a young dancer who, through movement, painted the stage with such spirit, an advocate who questioned the process with integrity and provided consistent guidance and counsel throughout, and a production company and crew that believed in this story from the very beginning… The power is immense and cannot be contained. They have all wrapped me and this process in love. They have helped me navigate some of my most difficult and conflicting emotions surrounding the complexity of forgiveness in the aftermath of such horrific violence and fear. These words, I’m sure, may seem loaded and hyperbolic to anyone reading this, but I promise you they do not even come close to capturing the profundity of it all. I am indebted to every one of you and you have been embedded in my heart forever. Just look at what we have created together.  

To my family – Cara Jones, Sherise Jones, and Gabrielle Waugh – who have generously allowed me to explore and create something so intimate and have supported me on this path: I thank you with every living, breathing cell in my body. And finally, a heartfelt dedication to my mom, Lois Waugh, who allowed me to be. She allowed me to be me. I love you, mom. I carry you in my heart and soul forever, for you are a part of my very existence on Earth and in the next life as well. 

Track List

Music by Sigur Rós; arr. by Ingi Garðar Erlendsson  

Act 1

  1. Fljótavík I  
  2. með blóðnasir  
  3. Excerpt from Inní mér syngur vitleysingur   
  4. Viðrar vel til loftárása  
  5. Inní mér syngur vitleysingur  
  6. Fjögur píanó I  
  7. Dauðalogn  
  8. Straumnes / Fljótavík  
  9. Árabátur  
  10. Fjögur píanó II  

Act 2

  1. Aria from Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by J.S. Bach  
  2. Debata Mandire  
  3. Varúð  
  4. Excerpt from Árabátur  
  5. Varðeldur  
  6. Untitled #1 (Vaka)  
  7. Andvari  
  8. Straumnes II  
  9. Untitled #3  
  10. Excerpt from Fljótavík  

Program Notes

Please be advised that this production comes with the following content warnings:

- Brief sexual content (referenced)  
- Homophobia  
- References to death/murder  
- Detailed descriptions of physical violence  
- Detailed descriptions of medical trauma, medical procedures, and bodily fluids  
- References to drinking and other substance use  
- Strong language 

Please also note that there will be special effect haze used in this production.

Although children are involved in this production, they have been specifically counselled and Artistic Fraud has worked with them and their parents to absorb the content of the show. The production is not for young audiences. 

Big edgy theatre from the edge of a big country

Artistic Fraud was formed in St. John’s in 1995. In the years since, the company has come to be hailed as one of English Canada’s most daring and innovative companies. The works of Artistic Fraud and its creators, director Jillian Keiley and Robert Chafe, have played across the country to high acclaim and have garnered Jill the 2004 Siminovitch Prize for directing and Robert the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. Since its inception, the company has been developing a unique brand of choral stage work, the goal of which is deeply rooted in the theatrical possibilities of ensemble performance. With often minimal setting, props and technical elements, the ensemble chorus is given full reign and responsibility for all visual and aural elements. Though carefully plotted and meticulously assembled, the goal of the work is the effortlessly organic — a performer driven stage where spectacle meets story. 

We would like to recognize the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation, on whose traditional unceded territory the National Arts Centre is located. We gratefully acknowledge them as the past, present and future stewards of this land. 

Artistic Fraud is based in what is now known as St. John’s, Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland). We recognize our work and lives take place on the unceded ancestral homelands of the Beothuk and Mi’kmaq people of Ktaqmkuk. We also respectfully acknowledge the Inuit of Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut, and the Innu of Nitassinan, as the First Peoples of Labrador.  


Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland and the National Arts Centre gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the Centre d’excellence artistique de l’Ontario at École secondaire publique De La Salle and the Conseil des Écoles Publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario. We applaud their dedication to the artistic development of young students.  

The creative team would like to thank Lois Waugh and Erin Casey for providing additional writing to I Forgive You, as well as Santiago Guzmán and Azal Dosanjh for their generous and considerate feedback during the rehearsal process.  

Special thanks to: 

Marion Brown, Sarah Churchill-Goodman, Annette Clarke, Mary Fay Coady, Sarah Conn, Jean Paul Courtier, Chris Dearlove, Hugh Donnan, Brianna Gosse, Lesley Hartman, George Hodder, David and Karen Hood, Blanche Isräel, Darlene Jackman, Dahlia Katz, Jesse LaVercombe, Sarah McDonald, Colleen McCarthy, Martin Ledrew, Charlotte Marchesseault, Janet McDonald, Judi Pearl, Jamie Peddle, Edna Pletchetero, Claire Simmons, Justin Simms, Ralph Singh (Universal Music), Robert Smith, Laura Marie Wayne, CAMMAC  


  • Director Jillian Keiley
  • robert-chafe-headshot
    Co-Writer Robert Chafe
  • Co-Writer and Performance Conductor Scott Jones
  • Production Dramaturge Sarah Garton Stanley (SGS)
  • Composer Sigur Rós
  • Music Arrangement Ingi Garðar Erlendsson
  • Music Director Kellie Walsh
  • robert-filion-headshot
    Ottawa Music Director Robert Filion
  • Assistant Ottawa Music Director Theresa Clarke
  • christopher-house-headshot
    Movement Director Christopher House
  • Associate Movement Director Josh Murphy
  • Set & Costume Designer Alison Helmer
  • don-ellis-headshot
    Sound Designer Don Ellis
  • Lighting Designer Bonnie Beecher
  • jpybus
    Assistant Lighting Designer Jeff Pybus
  • Technical Director Reg Hoskins
  • Stage Manager Kai-Yueh Chen
  • Assistant Stage Manager Arielle Voght
  • pat-purpleshirt
    Producer Patrick Foran
  • Associate Producer Crystal Laffoley
  • Interlocutor Graham Scott
  • Marketing & Communications Emma Cole
  • Child Supervisor Krista Fowler
  • Child Supervisor Nathan McConnell
  • jeff-ho
    Character 1/Additional Dramaturgy Ho Ka Kei (Jeff Ho)
  • Character 2 Nathan Carroll
  • Chorus Michèle Barker
  • Chorus Emma Barrette
  • Chorus Leah Christie
  • Chorus Elliott Doulet
  • Chorus Tamara Emond
  • Chorus Alexia Ferrand
  • Chorus César Gauthier
  • Chorus Adrian Grinberg-Chambers
  • Chorus Maeve Hickey
  • Chorus Annie Hume
  • Chorus Sarah Hume
  • Chorus Hanan Kaekiza
  • Chorus Clémence Kanyoka
  • Chorus Melina Kovacheff
  • Chorus Eponine Lee
  • Chorus Sophie Letcher
  • Chorus Carmen Rose Nicholson
  • Chorus Bethany Olszewski
  • Chorus Maya Peters
  • Chorus/Dancer Lennox Blue Powell
  • noah-schnarr-headshot
    Chorus Noah Schnarr
  • Chorus Henri Trépanier

Artistic Fraud thanks their donors:

  • James & Susan Adams  
  • Chris Brookes  
  • Rhona Buchan  
  • Sharon K Buehler  
  • Christine Care  
  • Mary Courage  
  • Nancy Dahn  
  • Barbara Fong  
  • Tom & Susan Foran  
  • John Frecker  
  • Bruce Grant  
  • Noreen Golfman  
  • Matt & Sarah Goodman  
  • Tom Gordon & Mary O'Keefe  
  • Michael Harrington & Evelyn Reid  
  • Jack Harris & Ann Martin  
  • David & Karen Hood  
  • Eric Hood  
  • Jol & Maura Hunter
  • Danielle Irvine
  • Peter Jones
  • Sarojini Lang
  • Denyse Lynde & Peter Ayers 
  • Michelle Maloney 
  • Christopher & Janet March
  • Carolyn Seeley Mayo
  • Antonio McGrath 
  • Robert Mellin
  • Lorraine Michael
  • Mercer Lunz Foundation
  • Heather & Daniel O'Connell
  • Michael Pena 
  • Ridley Properties, Inc. 
  • Maureen Ryan
  • Geoff Seymour 
  • Susan Sherk
  • Bryar Smith
  • David Somers
  • Sarah Garton Stanley
  • Eugenia Sussex
  • Paul Wakeham
  • Steven Wolinetz
  • Lynda & Ban Younghusband

For the Dr. Lanier Phillips Memorial Scholarship: 

  • Rhona Buchan
  • Sharon K. Buehler
  • Susan & James Flynn
  • Foran Management Consulting
  • David & Karen Hood
  • Lorraine Michaels
  • Niall O'Dea  
  • Vonzia Phillips  
  • Eugenia Sussex  
  • Douglas Wright  
  • Jenny Smith  
  • Chris Brookes  
  • David Somers  
  • Patrick Foran  
  • Crystal Laffoley  
  • Shawn Kerwin  
  • Mark Dobbin  
  • Erin French  
  • Christopher & Janet March  
  • Jol & Mara Hunter  

And our anonymous contributors!  

Funders & Sponsors 

I Forgive You has been developed with the assistance of the  National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts, Arts NL, the City of St. John’s, Canadian Stage, Nordic Bridges. 

National Creation Fund

The National Creation Fund’s investment of $160,000 brought the full creative team together for an extended development period, including additional music, text and choreography workshops, and supported the access needs for the creation.

Artistic Fraud

Board of Directors 

Chair – John Drover, B.A. LLB  
Treasurer – David Hood, C.A.  
Director – Chris Brookes, C.M.  
Director – Erin French, B.A.  
Director – Jenny Smith, B.A. M.A.  
Director – David Somers B.Sc (Mech. Engineering) 


Robert Chafe – Artistic Director, Playwright  
Patrick Foran – Managing Producer  
Crystal Laffoley – Associate Producer  
Jillian Keiley – Founding Artistic Director, Director  
Mike Hammond - Production Assistant  
Emma Cole - Marketing and Communications


Co-Creator/Show Conductor
Scott Jones
Robert Chafe
Jillian Keiley
Production Dramaturge
Sarah Garton Stanley
Assistant Director
Sharon King-Campbell
Jeff Ho, Nathan Carroll; Chorus Michèle Barker, Emma Barrette , Leah Christie, Elliott Doulet, Tamara Emond, Alexia Ferrand, César Gauthier, Adrian Grinberg-Chambers, Maeve Hickey , Annie Hume,  Sarah Hume. Hanan Kaekiza, Clémence Kanyoka, Melina Kovacheff, Eponine Lee, Sophie Letcher, Carmen Rose Nicholson, Bethany Olszewski, Maya Peters, Lennox Blue Powell, Noah Schnarr, Henri Trépanier ; 
Sigur Rós
Music Arrangement
Ingi Garðar Erlendsson
Musical Director
Kellie Walsh
Ottawa Music Director
Robert Filion
Ottawa Assistant Music Director
Theresa Clarke
Movement Director
Christopher House
Associate Movement Director
Josh Murphy
Set & Costume Designer
Alison Helmer
Sound Designer
Don Ellis
Lighting Designer
Bonnie Beecher
Assistant Lighting Designer
Jeff Pybus; 
Technical Director
Reg Hoskins;
Stage Manager
Kai-Yueh Chen*,
Assistant Stage Manager
Arielle Voght

* The participation of these Artists are arranged by permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance•Opera•Theatre Policy


Azrieli Studio Team

Head Technician
Stephane Boyer

Head technician
Leigh Utley Assistant

Ray Budavari

Head Wardrobe
Sarah Waghorn

Carol Gagnon 

Head of Wardrobe workshop
Normand Theriault

Projectionists, Wardrobe Mistresses, Masters and Attendants are members of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 471. 

The National Arts Centre is a member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres and engages, under the terms of the Canadian Theatre Agreement, professional artists who are members of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association. 

NAC English Theatre

Managing Director  
David Abel 

Artistic Director  
Nina Lee Aquino 

Community Outreach Lead  
Rose-Ingrid Benjamin 

Learning Coordinator  
Aimee Bouchard 

ASL Interpreter Consultant  

Marketing Strategist  
Bar Clement 

Communications Strategist  
Sean Fitzpatrick 

Senior Producer  
Alexandra Lunney 

Senior Marketing Manager  
Bridget Mooney 

Associate Producer, Artistic Projects  
Judi Pearl 

Company Manager  
Samira Rose 

Administrative Coordinator  
Monika Seiler 

Technical Director 
Cynthia Shaw

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees