Touring production opens dialogue about Residential Schools

BRANTFORD – Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts presents the acclaimed stage adaptation of the book Fatty Legs on Tuesday November 7 at 7:30 p.m.

The production tells the story of one young girl’s experience in Indian Residential School and is touring Southern and South-Eastern Ontario.

Based on the book Fatty Legs by Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and Christy Jordan-Fenton with illustrations by Liz Amini-Holmes, the show retells Margaret’s true story, including the five-day journey from her home in the high arctic to the school, having her name changed by the nuns, and the itchy red wool socks a teacher made her wear as an example of her “unworthiness.” The socks make Margaret’s legs appear bigger than they were, and in turn make Margaret the target of ridicule from her peers. Fatty Legs is a profound yet accessible story that brings to light the suffering endured at residential schools while celebrating the deep strength of a young girl who refused to be broken by her experiences.

Originally commissioned as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Atlantic National Event in 2011, the performance is a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists that aims to promote dialogue and reconciliation. After the show, audience members will have a chance to dialogue with the performers and learn more about Margaret, who is now an Inuit elder in her 80s.

Anishinaabe contemporary dancer Sarain Carson-Fox and Mi’kmaw poet-laureate of Halifax Rebecca Thomas will jointly play the role of Margaret through dance and narration, while Xara Choral Theatre will use choral music and movement to depict the physical and emotional terrain of the story. The performance will also feature lighting design by Matthew Downey.

The company is in its third tour of the production and will also play in Brampton, Oakville, Burlington, Kingston, and Ottawa. The Brantford performance of Fatty Legs is on Tuesday November 7 at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets are $35 and available at 519-758-8090, 1-800-265-0710, online at or at 88 Dalhousie Street, Brantford Monday to Saturday 12 to 5 p.m.

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