Equity in Action: Access to the Fire
This past week has been jam packed with awesome. I was able to attend the Kamloopa Pow Wow with Kaitlyn Yott last weekend limelet Western Canada Theatre for getting us there. One aspect of creating Indigenous theatre is valuing the entire creation process, when you sit at a fire it just doesn't suddenly appear, elements are thoughtfully gathered and placed to get to the result of a flame and each part of the process is instrumental to every stage of the result. So having WCT prioritize our bodies being in the space of the Pow Wow to me, is just as important as having us their for the performance because one is not possible, not more important than the other.
It's a sign of respect to the people to attend the Pow Wow and it is a part of working towards equity in the sector. If you're reading this, it means we have had some privilege in our lives to even get here and with that privilege I think it is our responsibility to ensure that people who may not have access know about what it is we're doing. I don't think Canadian Theatre has done a very good job of being accessible, nimble, responsive or equitable. We're starting to but it's sometimes seen as an "inconvenience" or "extra" work but if we don't become more nimble, like the dinosaurs we will or maybe we already have become irrelevant and extinct.
So I've got some news that I would love for you to share on your social media, with your friends and with whomever you think might not have access. It's been interesting reading the data from this blog about posts, I don't want to nerd out on everything I'm learning about what gains peoples attention and of course data is one quantitative metric but I will share with you this: the top 3 viewed and shared posts have to do with trauma and violence against Indigenous women. Now I wrote them and that's fine but this post is about centring the health and prosperity of Indigenous women and getting Indigenous women to Kamloopa and I need your help in doing that.
The Cultch has a promo code for self identifying Indigenous peoples to come to Kamloopa for the low low price of $10 bucks! Just hit this link and use the promo code FIRE. It's available for the entire run and for any seat! This is equity in action.
Western Canada Theatre is also giving tickets away for $10 bucks for self identifying Indigenous peoples and you can hit this link and use the promo code TRICKSTER. This deal is available for the entire run and don't we just love the two promo code words!
One thing we're also trying to do with Kamloopa is saturate ourselves with the lives and accomplishments of Indigenous women so in the lobbies we're going to be illuminating and celebrating Indigenous women with posters and digital signage and we need your help in finding all the awesome women! So if you know so kickass Indigenous women for the Vancouver run please send Lisa Mennell, Communications Associate firstname.lastname@example.org an email with information about your nominee before Sept 14, 2018. For Western Canada Theatre please email our Indigenous community engager Laura Evans at email@example.com. If you could include in your nomination 1-2 sentences about the person that would be lovely!
We're looking for Indigenous women from all aspects of our community, I want our Grandma's, our teachers, our friends, Aunties - the women who are sometimes not scene or not appreciated enough. Kamloopa is about presencing Indigenous women throughout the entire process and this aspect is super important to me. You better believe I'm getting my Mamma's face up there - these Indigenous women are our hero's the ones protecting us, caring for us and the loves of our lives that I want the rest of the community to see.
I had the privilege of going for lunch with Lori Marchand while I was in Odawa a while back and she said this to me, "Kim I've been waiting for over 18 years for a play like Kamloopa because you've written something where being Indigenous isn't the tragic flaw, them being Indigenous is what makes them heroic." She made me cry because she verbalized something I knew I wanted to accomplish but didn't realize I did. So please send in your hero's, I want to celebrate them!
The other thing I wanted to share is that by sharing this post and purchasing a ticket not only are you supporting Indigenous women's work and presencing but you're also supporting each theatre companies youth programs. Playwrights get a portion of the box office and in my contract it's 10% at each venue. I've decided to donate 5% back to each company, specifically to their programs for Indigenous Youth.
The 5% of sales at WCT will be to sponsor Indigenous Youth's fees for their Stage One Theatre School programs. At the Cultch the 5% of sales will go to their Indigenous Youth Initiative program which works towards giving access to professional theatre to Indigenous youth in the metro Vancouver area. In Saskatoon with Persephone and Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre the 5% will be going to their Playhouse program which is a weekly noon hour program for inner city schools.
So please share this post and help make a big smoke signal that is about Indigenous women living lives full of accomplishment and love. That's what Kamloopa is for me, it is my love letter to all the Indigenous women out there. In an era where I feel like we could all use a bit more love, please help me in making sure our Indigenous women know how much we love them for exactly who they are right now.
With gratitude, humility and decolonial love,
p.s I was so tired last night I fell asleep with pizza in my bed and I ate it this morning because that was less work than making breakfast. #NoRegrets