On July 15th & 16th I stalked (with permission) the Confederate Players in Charlottetown, P.E.I. The players were formed in 1989 as part of the 125th celebration of the Charlottetown Conference and they have been running as a summer programme ever since. They have fallen under the supervision of several different bodies over the years but are currently affiliated with the Confederation Centre. Province House in the downtown is where the Players can be found doing three types of interpretive work. They perform several scripted vignettes as historical characters (such as John. A Macdonald, George-Etienne Cartier, etc), and mingle with tourists around Province House, Victorian Row and along Great George Street, also in character. Additionally, they give several tours a day in period dress but as themselves. These tours include information about historical areas of the downtown, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, and the replica of the chamber in Province House in which the Charlottetown Conference took place. This replica has been build because the whole of Province House will be under renovation for the next 3-5 years.
The Confederation Players interest me for several reasons. They are not Parks Canada interpreters although Province House is a Parks Canada site and has its own (non-costumed) interpreters onsite who can also talk to tourists about the history of Province House and Confederation Centre. Similarly, although they are under the Confederation Centre umbrella they operate largely independently of the Centre's theatre programming. What does this mean for them, and for the historical narrative(s) they animate? If they are not Parks Canada how does their training differ? How much or how little autonomy do they have from the Confederation Centre? What exactly does 'sharing resources' mean?
Also, this replica space! This replica space! It seems like this project will have me looking at a lot of inauthentic spaces offering authentic experiences.