We called Skyborn the big beautiful beast. That's the thing about Transformers, when you invite them into the story they will push you, that's their role.
Skyborn is about the journey and courage it takes to be at peace and it's been an honour to be a part of making an offer to people that supports illuminating this vital personal transformation.
Reclaiming land is one of our greatest responsibilities to our past and future Ancestors, to say the place names of this territory, to honour sʔiɬqey̓, the two-headed serpent, Xels the Transformer, the Cedar teachings and to land in Xway Xway the sacred place of the mask, goes much beyond a play, it gives life to ancient ceremonies.
A soul canoe journey is an Ancestral practice to retrieve a soul and this team worked and worked and worked to make that happen, we retrieved an Indigenous way of telling story.
Skyborn is a new artistic ceremony, our humble contribution to participate in Salish cultural evolution. It is an act of resistance and persistence against colonial state persecution.
Placing stories in our sacred places is incredibly important to me, and why I pick projects to work on. Kamloopa was set in a Long Lodge, Skyborn in a Longhouse and both stories we asked people to bear witness, to experience our histories to inform a more equitable present.
And I have so many people in the process to thank, for their work and activation to presence and center Indigenous ways of working.
Chelsea McPeake Carlson for leading this production with Kevin Loring's Savage Society, thank you both for working to meet every ask, I never, ever felt like I had to battle for the needs of the company to be met. I know you were both working hard to try and get us the tools and support we needed. To Alexandria Bay and Tai Grauman.
The Cultch and Heather Redfern, Nicole Mcluckie, Lisa Minnel for always generously supporting Indigenous theatre.
Andrew Pye, Heidi Quicke for assembling the summer workshop and supporting the development process. Sherri Yoon and Jay Dodge and the Boca family.
The Push family.
Sherri Sadler for getting butts in the seat!
Daryl Cloran and Mindy Parfitt for the guidance.
To the Skyborn company, a deep limelte for your ability to be so responsive to the needs of the show and your work ethics, holy fuck.
Matt Oviatt for being bloody rockstar and the hardest working PM I've met.
Conor Moore for being so present and generous, your support and belief is immeasurable,
To the mighty Lois Dawson, we could not have done this without you. Skyborn has around 500 cues, which works out to be a call every 6 seconds. She's calling a show she can't even watch, like what in the actual fuck?! You're my hero and I feel privileged to bear witness to your leadership.
We set ourselves up for almost an impossible task, a world premiere with an enormous amount of technological integration, with less than 2 days of tech. With challenges in the rehearsal hall, we ended up with less than 10 hours of tech and cue to cue time.
I am not joking or exaggerating when I say we pulled off something ridiculous, and I won't ever do that again and put designers in that position but I am proud of what we accomplished.
Mishelle Cuttler for your sound design, you lifted this show and held space for a team of people to fully realize what I was asking for. Russell Wallace, Christie Lee, Chelsea Rose, Renee Morrisseau, Kaitlyn Yott, holy smokes come see this show and listen to what you created! And yes the sound department has 5 people that Mishelle led, with over 230 sound cues!
Emily Soussana for killing it on the projections again!!! You bring these visions to life. Carrielynn Victor and Chrystal Sparrow for generously gifting us with the visual narratives for Emily to animate.
Stephanie Elgersma rocking the puppet making and puppetry Direction. You give and give and give and hold powerful space. You directed the shit out of those puppets!
Andy Moro for designing a set that breathes, transforms and collapses time and launches us into space.
Itai for the illumination and understanding the visual focus on projecting.
Evan Ducharme for your elegance and potency in suiting up Q.
Lindsay Lachance for framing this odyssey and always holding space for the deep opportunities to ground Indigenous theatre.
To the Cultch Crew and Brody Halfe for the deep execution of the beast.
To Kelsey Wavey for your spirituous storytelling and your spectacular ability to work through and transform.
And to Q for creating the space and gifting us with your story. What a courageous act.
To my Mom and Dad for all the support, gas in my car tank, food and love. I could not have done this without you.
Everyday there were almost 20 people in the room to support, this ceremony demanded a lot. Indigenous theatre for me is about a process that decentralizes the focus on just the performers, it is deeply important that every person on the team has the space and opportunity to be agents of their journey, to be seen and heard and supported. To go beyond the contractual obligations of a "director" and to be a supporter of all artists.
Space. It's about the space we make and create and the accountability we have to be responsible for the impact we have on others.
I've worked 80 hours in these last 4 days. I've never worked so hard on a show. I have been working with almost no breaks since 2017, I'm going to take space to focus on the next phase of my work.
I have 2 commissions to complete, to which I'm very excited about. I have a Masters to complete and I cannot wait to just focus on my pedagogical practice for the process of Indigenous Theatre, plus I want to hang out with Kevin Kerr my grad supervisor! I'm also writing a 6 part mini series based on Kamloopa and I also have my dirtbag book of poetry to complete - the world needs works of poetical hotdogs.
I'd like to raise my hands to the Ancestors who came before us, who fought off the genocide by the canadian state, for I would not be here without you. I feel your strength and with deep humility continue your work everyday.
Go bear witness to Skyborn, remember the truth of these lands.
With deep love,
p.s get your tickets here now, a few of the shows are already sold out!
Photo by Emily Cooper.