Indigenous Space Making
I am putting a pin in talking about the lack of tangible mobilization for supporting Indigenous theatre artists with long term funding and living wage resources from the non-Indigenous community but that doesn't mean you should. Take a look at this video that speaks about the performative notions of white feminism.
I'm going to use this space to talk about some cool events I'm taking part in. A central part of being an ally is showing up when opportunities present themselves - so put your town clothes on and come engage with these stories and spaces!
First up, I stopped actively seeking acting opportunities about 2 years ago, turning down "good acting opportunities" from the big Canadian institutions and festivals that were, from my point of view, not worth my time, emotional labour and or boring. I wanted to focus on balancing the scales and working on equitable opportunities for Indigenous women, so unless a gig was achieving that outcome and or was not boring - I refused to act....UNTIL NOW!!!!
Jiv Parasram, Rumble Theatres Artistic Director and the most compelling import from Tkaronto since I've been in the theatre community has asked me to be in the Canadian premiere of BLANK by Nassim Soleimanpour, "an interactive experience where Audience and Performer collide and collaborate to spark a new, moving life story each night."
"Acclaimed Iranian playwright Soleimanpour (White Rabbit Red Rabbit) takes it to new extremes with BLANK. A script riddled with blanks leaves the audience in charge of how the story will unfold. The concept might be simple, but the result is nothing short of empowering as a random audience member sees their own future determined by the imagination of others."
I know very little about what is going to happen, I get the script like 40 hours in advance and I just show up with you. It's a one night only gig on Saturday May 4th @ 8pm and there are only about 30 seats, so get ya mother loving tickets here and now cause I'm a hustle this night to sell out.
Happy to share that I will be the key note speaker at the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance 2019 Making a Scene Conference on May 28th. Executive Director Kenji Maeda and I met a few months ago and he was generous about the space making for me to use this time to address and intersect ideas, theories and embodied Indigenous centered pedagogies that I believe is crucial for the broader GVPTA community to be engaging with. Opinions guaranteed and laughter because if vulnerability is the pathway to courage, I believe laughter is the most accessible door to that path.
I will also be sitting on a keynote panel with Dr. Lindsay Lachance (Algonquin Anishinabe) and Quelemia Sparrow (Musqueam) facilitated by Dory Nason (Anishinaabe) on Tues June 4th at 10:45 am out at UBC at the Canadian Association for Theatre Research called, Re-Matriating Indigenous Theatre Through Our Minds, Bodies, and Spirits.
"The central interest of this panel is to showcase Indigenous women who are redefining their theatre-making practices and dramaturgies to include relational processes that connect us to the people, places, ancestors and other beings involved in the work. The artists will present their relational and matriarchal dramaturgical processes that exemplify a flourishing of Indigenous presence, actions and knowledges through embodied and collaborative theatrical processes."
You can find out more information about it here. I highly recommend that if you plan on engaging with Indigenous artists and theatre makers you attend. These are the opportunities for you to learn, without exhausting Indigenous artists who get requests time and time again and are usually far too generous and sit down with one non-Indigenous person at a time to do this work and educating. This is also an important opportunity to hear the varied approaches from 4 Matriarchs from different nations, which will illuminate the cultural nuances and specific differences to refuse pan-Indigeneity.
I was also asked by Karen Fricker who is a freelance theatre critic for The Star and an associate professor of Dramatic Arts at Brock University to participate in a seminar at the CATR called Theatre Criticism in the digital age: Practicing new critical models in Canada.
"The ongoing shift from print-based to digital forms of media is opening up opportunities for critics and scholars to engage critically with all art forms – including the live performing arts – in new ways. Many of these new modes of engagement offer a productive challenge to received understandings of critical authority and critical distance. As such these new approaches to criticism have the potential to destabilise hierarchies, centre under-represented voices, and participate in the decolonization of theatre and performance practices."
I will be spending some time speaking to the process I went through of putting an embargo of Settler reviews of Kamloopa and sharing Indigenous focused ways of engaging with artistic ceremony such as my response to Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools.
I'm also heading up to Ktunaxa (one of my Nations), Niitsítapi (ᖹᐟᒧᐧᒣᑯ, Blackfoot), Stoney and the Tsuu T'ina territory to share space with the 2nd cohort of the Banff Cultural Leadership Program on June 10th. I will be speaking about the creation of the Treaty, giving an update and speaking to why it's integral for marginalized artists to reimagine systems of creation outside of oppressive white hegemonic frameworks and why Settlers need to create the space and embrace these alternate modalities of relationality. I also get to share space with the remarkable Matriarch Reneltta Arluk. I am not sure ya'll can come to this one but I really do love speaking about this area of my practice so if you're interested please get in touch.
Another update is that for the next little while my focus is on getting my copy edit for Kamloopa back to Talon and then prepping for these engagements and stepping into directing 3 workshops for Q's show over the next 4 months, as well as folding in my own artistic creations which takes me to end of July.
So, an offer is that if you need an email response from me, 3 weeks is about the time it's taking, they are prioritized by the content of the email (I don't have time to be searching around for what you're asking of me), renumeration and BIPOC's will be prioritized first. I still am sticking to meetings and admin emails on Monday's and Tuesdays only. Some people are being sneaky and trying to circumnavigate this process and sending me DM's on social media but I respectfully ask you to just know I will be getting back to you when it works for me and or recognize and respect that a no response - is the response.
I'm also taking August adminsitratively off for land and cultural work and to do a small impermanent migration on the Coast Salish territory - which I will give you more details in my next blog.
Limelet to all the people and organizations making space for Indigenous voices, bodies and spirits to be give priority and platforms. If you're not doing that - inconvenience yourself and get to work.
with Indigenous love,
p.s on my recent trip to Chinook territory, I remembered how amazing french toast is. If you haven't had it for a while, do yourself a favour and go get some. Banditas has a great gluten free option. Seriously they were so good! I think they might make people a lot happier to tackle some of these issues. French toast - get into it. Special limelet to Ryan for your hospitality!
This photo was taken just before we entered Castle Fun Park to play mini golf because us dirtbags refused to pay $25 for a tulip festival.