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February 27, 2012
For immediate release

Black History Month comes to life in Island classrooms

Education and Early Childhood Development

Students are being immersed in a story of culture and history thanks to a new DVD production of a play about Prince Edward Island’s black history, says Educational and Early Childhood development Minister Alan McIsaac.

“A new DVD of the play The Old Stock is now included in the history curriculum and to help students learn about an important part of the Island’s past,” said Minister McIsaac. “This educational opportunity will help students gain a better understanding of Prince Edward Island’s black history and allow them to have a better appreciation for the cultural diversity of our province.”

In April, 2011, Island social studies classes were given the opportunity to see a live performance of The Old Stock, a play by Ron Irving and Harry Baglole, featuring music from award-winning singer/songwriter Scott Parsons. Writer/producer Sean McQuaid joined filmmaker Brian Pollard, educators Bethany Doiron and Laura Ann Noye, and a culturally diverse cast of actors and musicians to form The Old Stock Players. The goal is to educate and entertain through theatre.

Jim Hornby’s book, Black Islanders, provided important historical details for the play. The Old Stock follows a young Island bride-to-be who discovers her ancestry is much more interesting than she suspected, taking her on an educational journey through the little-known history of the Island’s early black residents.

“Prince Edward Island is rich in artistic talent and our artists showcase our province’s diverse heritage and culture through a variety of mediums,” said Robert Henderson, Minister of Tourism and Culture. “The Old Stock is a great example of how the arts can be incorporated into classroom learning.”

The Old Stock was first presented on stage in 2009 during the Baraka Festival in celebration of Black History Month. A series of school performances were held across Prince Edward Island in the spring of 2011. The DVD and learning materials are now available to support new Island history courses at the Grade 6 and 12 levels.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development provided $2,000 toward the production of the play as well as in-kind services such as consultation regarding curriculum links and developing learning materials that support the play.

Media Contact: Laura Steeves
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