The Chemical Valley Project
protest. performance. reconciliation.
In Sarnia, Ontario, an Indigenous community of 800 residents, is smothered by the Canadian petrochemical industry. Two siblings from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Vanessa Gray and Lindsay Beze Gray, have dedicated themselves to fighting environmental racism and to protecting their community’s land, air and water.
A breathtaking blend of documentary-theatre, innovative projection design, a charismatic script and playful solo-performance engage and implicate audiences in The Chemical Valley Project. This urgent production delves gracefully into difficult conversations on Indigenous treaty rights, the nature of contemporary Canadian identity and values, and Canada’s notorious “Chemical Valley”.
Located in Sarnia, Ontario, the Aamjiwnaang First Nations reserve and its 900 residents are smothered by one of Canada’s largest petrochemical corridors: the Chemical Valley. Siblings Vanessa Gray and Lindsay Beze Gray have dedicated their lives to fighting the pollution that threatens their community’s health, safety, and future. Theatre makers and friends Julia Howman and Kevin Matthew Wong document Vanessa and Lindsay’s vital activism and journeys as land defenders and water protectors. Through an innovative blend of projection design, object puppetry, and solo-performance, The Chemical Valley Project seeks to spark conversations on Canadian environmental policy, treaty rights and Indigenous relations, and the current nature of Canadian identity and values.
Co-created by: Kevin Matthew Wong and Julia Howman
Writer / Performer: Kevin Matthew Wong
Production Design / Projections Operation : Julia Howman
Dramaturgy and Advisement: Vanessa Gray
Dramaturgy and Advisement: Lindsay Beze Gray
Lighting Design: John Cabanela and Julia Howman
Sound Design: Frank Incer and Kevin Matthew Wong
Sound Design Assistant: Aidan O’Brien
Original Compositions by: Minha Lee, with contributions from Michael Henley
Stage Management: Heather Bellingham
Producing: Emma Westray, Sabah Haque, and Chantel Watts
The Chemical Valley PRoject: Extended
Check out our full interview with Lindsay Beze Gray, taken during rehearsals in March 2019.
Reviews & Media
Mooney on Theatre:
"I highly recommend seeing this show for the important reality it exposes. To its diligent creators: thank you."
NNNN - Now Magazine Critics' Pick
"Wong has a warm, generous and fully present delivery style, and Howman's imaginative production design goes beyond a slide presentation to create something with a grassroots, humane feel....
Wong is sensitive to the idea of cultural appropriation, and so he lets the siblings talk for themselves in audio interviews; in a video clip, he even shows them the work in progress and asks for suggestions, which he then implements"
alt theatre magazine
"I left The Chemical Valley Project with a sense of the value in stories, and with a model for what it takes to really listen and come to understand others’ lived experience... earnest, accessible, and very well told."
"The Chemical Valley Project is moving and disruptive theatre, a call to action beautifully told and executed, and a must see for any modern Canadian."
The Chemical Valley Project was the winner of Theatre Passe Muraille's fall 2016 Crapshoot! It has also been shown at the 2017 FOOT Festival at the Centre for Drama Theatre and Performance Studies and "Protest in Performance: Solidarity with the Chippewas of the Thames." The work has been generously supported by Theatre Passe Muraille and the Ontario Arts Council through the Theatre Creators' Reserve Program. The Chemical Valley Project was then developed at the 2017 SummerWorks Performance Festival, where the project was a NOW Magazine Critics' Pick. The Chemical Valley Project is being developed as part of Theatre Passe Muraille's 2018 BUZZ Series, supported by the Laidlaw Foundation.
Post-BUZZ Development of The Chemical Valley Project has been supported by Ontario Arts Council Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators from Studio 180 and Theatre Gargantua. The 2019 Toronto debut of the show is supported by the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for booking details and our show package.
Project and Touring History
January 2017 - Art in Solidarity: Performance in Protest, Toronto, ON
February 2017 - FOOT Festival, Toronto, ON
August 2017 - Summerworks Performance Festival, Toronto
September 2017 - Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering, Aamjiwnaang First Nation
January 2018 - Theatre Passe Muraille BUZZ, Toronto, ON
March 2018 - The Registry Theatre, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
May 2018 - Intrepid Theatre, UNO Fest, Victoria B.C.
May 2018 - Ignite Youth Festival, The Cultch, Vancouver B.C.
June 2018 - Festival Theaterformen, Braunschweig, Germany
June 2018 - foldA by SpiderWebShow, Kingston, ON
September 2018 - The Theatre On King, Peterborough, ON
November 2018 - Parliament of the World’s Religions, Toronto, ON
April 2019 - Toronto Premiere at Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto, ON
The Chemical Valley Project is available for touring nationally and internationally.
Contact Emma Westray (General Manager) at
email@example.com for touring inquiries and to bring the show to your community.