Poster Painted & Designed by Travis Murphy

This is How We Got Here

By Keith Barker

“Your story lives in me and my story lives in you.” – Lucille, This is How We Got Here

It’s been a year since Paul and Lucille’s son Craig committed suicide, and their once-solid family bonds are starting to break down. While the now-separated couple tries to honour their son, Lucille’s sister Liset and her husband Jim refuse to discuss their nephew. The ties that keep the four together as sisters, best friends, and spouses are strained by grief and guilt… until a visit from a fox changes everything.

Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, This Is How We Got Here follows a close-knit family as they deal with an unexpected loss. A mother, father, aunt, and uncle must learn how to move forward after the trauma and re-learn how to interact with one another with forgiveness, humour, and love.

“The dextrous telling of a familiar story…how reconnecting is not only possible but necessary.”

NOW MagazineLisa McKeown

“While the material of This is How We Got Here is deep, the show didn’t leave me feeling anything dark. Instead, I was happy to have experienced the talent of everyone involved, and to have gained perspective on what I felt were honest and true reactions to the tragedy of suicide.”

Mooney on TheatreJeff Kerr

★★★½ (out of 4)

"Playwright Keith Barker has written a down-to-earth drama that is as hopeful as it is mournful, full of life and lovable characters. It even provides a few good laughs"

"Suicide is a tragedy that can touch any family...It’s brave of Barker to stare that terrible reality in the face without flinching, but audiences will walk away remembering the beauty and love in what he’s written most of all."

The Globe and MailJ. Kelly Nestruck

“The writing in 'This is How We Got Here' is so realistic and true to life that anyone can relate to the story regardless of whether they experienced a profound loss or not. You can take any line from the play, and I am sure you have either said it yourself or had it said to you.”

FoxClouds Blog

“Keith Barker’s script has a warm heart”

NOW MagazineGlenn Sumi

“…nothing short of breath catching”

My Entertainment WorldKelly Bedard

“Keith Barker has a voice that deserves attention.”

IntermissionDerrick Chua

“Keith is a phenomenal writer when it comes to speaking with real heart.”

ArtsvoxAdam Lazarus

"The play’s abundant humour is not an easy escape from the pain of its characters, but allows for a fuller understanding of it. It is, like the people it carefully observes, both tough and loving."

Istvan ReviewsIstvan Dugalin

"...very thought provoking...I found the piece utterly compelling and one of the best new pieces of theatre I’ve seen in a while."

Opera Ramblings Blog

“[The play] is, existentially, a much bigger, more complex, mystifying and inexplicable phenomenon…a real story, beautifully told.”

Toronto StarCarly Maga

“Keith Barker’s meditation on grief is lyrical and haunting [The] production gives the script the sensitive treatment it deserves, resulting in an experience that feels both sorrowful and healing.”

Mooney on TheatreIlana Lucas

“Subtle, compelling, destined to be an instant classic, beautifully nuanced performances deliver an insightful and surprising script full of humanity. It tells us a story of resilience and loss from the perspective of those left behind. There are no easy answers, no artificial solutions. This is amongst the best new plays by a First Nations writer I have seen anywhere in the world.”

Wesley EnochArtistic Director Sydney Festival

“This is How We Got Here’ is beautiful in its fragility and unforgettably haunting at its emotional core.”

OnStage BlogJoseph Szekeres

“Native Earth rounds up the perfect quartet to burrow for truth in what it means to be human in a story that’s every bit funny as it is uplifting when compassion is warmly discovered on the other side.”


“[The play] lifts the spirit, opens the heart, and deepens the desire to connect with each other.”

Arpita Ghosal, Sesaya

“Entirely relatable, heart-wrenchingly frank, and dazzlingly honest. What makes it special is how deftly Barker navigates emotional sucker punches, while each of his characters deal with their own shortcomings and gifts, and utterly without judgement from the author.”

Tara Beagantheatre artist & co-founder of ARTICLE 11

Production Details

2 Male

2 Female

90 minutes, no intermission (1 Act)

By Keith Barker

Purchase Play Script

June 10, 2011

PAST EVENT: This Is How We Got Here – Native Earth Performing Arts, January 26 – February 16, 2020

May 7, 2011

PAST EVENT: This Is How We Got Here – Magnus Theatre Company, October 24 – November 9, 2019

Production History

Developed with support from Native Earth Gwaandak Theatre, Stratford Festival & dramturge Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

First Produced: by Theatre Continuum and New Harlem Productions as part of the SummerWorks Performance Festival at Factory Theatre in Toronto, ON from August 4 -14th, 2016. The production was directed by Eli Ham and featured actors Peggy Coffey, Deb Drakeford, James Downing and Martin Julien and designers Deanna Choi, Ryan Howard Clement and Isidra Cruz

Published by Playwrights Canada Press, 2017

Nominated for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama

The play was also a finalist for The Indigenous Voices Awards in the alternative format category, 2018

The Gore Bay Community Theatre won Outstanding Production for their production of This Is How We Got Here at the QUONTA drama festival in March 2019 and will go on to the Theatre Ontario Festival in May.

Poster Painted & Designed by Travis Murphy

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