NAC ANNOUNCES #INDIGENOUS #THEATRE DIRECTOR: #Ottawa welcomes Kevin Loring to the National Arts Centre

Kevin Loring, the NAC’s new Indigenous Theatre Director in Children of God at the NAC. (www.nac-cna.ca)

Last year the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa announced they would be adding an Indigenous Theatre department to join their already strong English and Théâtre français / French Theatre departments. This decision was announced on “March 24, 2016 when the NAC unveiled details of its Strategic Plan entitled Canada is Our Stage: 2015-2020.”

The NAC, as a national institution, has been a leader in providing programming that serves the diversity of audiences in Canada but they realized they needed to do more.

“When the National Arts Centre first opened in 1969 it reflected the way Canada understood itself at the time, as a bi-cultural and bilingual country,” said Peter A. Herrndorf, the President and CEO of the NAC. “We opened with a French Theatre, English Theatre, Music and Dance Departments. Thankfully that understanding of Canada is changing through the extraordinary work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and through the work of many artists across the country. We are very pleased to be opening the first Indigenous Theatre in the NAC’s history and we look forward to meeting extraordinary candidates from across Canada who will build the new Indigenous Theatre Department.”

Yesterday the NAC announced the name of the new director – Kevin Loring, Nlaka’pamux from the Lytton First Nation. Kevin is no stranger to the NAC. In 2010 Kevin was the NAC Playwright-in-Residence and this past week and half he has been performing at the NAC as part of the cast of the Children of God, a poignant play about the history of residential schools. I had the opportunity to see the performance last week and Kevin’s performance was riveting.

Kevin was also part of the 2012 NAC production of King Lear in the role of Edmund. Outside of his work with the NAC he is also known for his play Where the Blood Mixes which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama in 2009.

Congratulations to NAC for their announcement and to Kevin for his new position as part of this important initiative!

See Kevin perform in Children of God closing this weekend. Performance times as follows:

FRIDAY 7:30 pm
SATURDAY 2 pm Matinee and 7:30 pm
SUNDAY 2 pm Matinee

For tickets and more information click here

Promotional image for Children of God. (www.nac-cna.ca)

ABOUT CHILDREN OF GOD

From the NAC website: 

Children of God is a gorgeous, powerful musical about an Oji-Cree family whose children were taken away to a residential school in Northern Ontario. The story of Rita, a mother who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, Tom and Julia, who never knew she came, pushes toward redemption. Children of God offers a thrilling blend of ancient traditions and contemporary realities, celebrating resilience and the power of the Indigenous cultural spirit. Inspired by First Nations music, Payette’s profoundly moving score also includes echoes of provocative Broadway masterpieces such as Fun Home and Next to Normal.


Audience Advisory:
 Mature themes. Some audience members may find certain scenes disturbing.
Emotional Support Workers are available to provide counseling to audience members who may require it. All are welcome in our support room. Please see an usher for directions.

 

_________________________________________________________________________

National Arts Centre. (2017). The NAC Names First Ever Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre [Press release].

National Arts Centre. (2016). The NAC Recruits First Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre [Press release].

#OTTAWA TODAY: #WalkTheTalk for implementation of #UNDRIP Rally at #HumanRights #monument

A Mennonite-led Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights walks to Ottawa.

Today at 2 pm at the Human Rights Monument Ottawa come to welcome the WALK THE TALK group who arrived from Kitchener (they walked the whole way!) in order to bring attention to the fact that the Government of Canada is still not complying with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as promised. This 600 km trek began at Sterling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener and the Walkers arrived last night at Ottawa Mennonite Church. Many Mennonite churches in Canada have offered their support in solidarity with this issue calling on the Liberal government to follow through on their words to implement the UNDRIP. 

Along with the rally there will also be a Teach-In tonight at Ottawa Mennonite Church, 1830 Kilborn Ave.

RALLY FOR BILL C-262
WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2017 @ 2 pm
WHERE: Human Rights Monument (Ottawa City Hall), Elgin Street, Ottawa

TEACH IN
WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2017 @ 7-9 pm
WHERE: 1830 Kilborn Avenue, Ottawa

For more info visit the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights website as well as coverage on APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) and the CBC.

FROM THE WALK THE TALK FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

While the pilgrimage is in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action (#48, see below) directed to churches and people of faith, all are welcome to attend this rally and subsequent walk through downtown Ottawa, where we will read out key sections of the TRC Calls to Action as well as the UN Declaration.

For too long, too many have spoken fine words of truth and reconciliation, but not matched those fine words with just actions. The pilgrimage, and this final day of activity, are a call to account for political leaders, church leaders, and all segments of Canadian society to meaningfully discuss and then act upon what it means to decolonize a society built on what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission clearly identified as “cultural genocide.”

Please join us to Walk the Talk May 13 with your own signs and banners, in the loving, transformational spirit that builds compassion, connection and community.

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Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action 43, 44, 48 and 49
43. We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.

44. We call upon the Government of Canada to develop a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

48. We call upon the church parties to the Settlement Agreement, and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada who have not already done so, to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a
framework for reconciliation. This would include, but not be limited to, the following commitments:

i. Ensuring that their institutions, policies, programs, and practices comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

ii. Respecting Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination in spiritual matters, including the right to practise, develop, and teach their own spiritual and religious traditions, customs, and ceremonies, consistent with Article 12:1 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

iii. Engaging in ongoing public dialogue and actions to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

iv. Issuing a statement no later than March 31, 2016, from all religious denominations and faith groups, as to how they will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

49. We call upon all religious denominations and faith groups who have not already done so to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius.

IN REMEMBRANCE OF CHANIE WENJACK: CBC Airs Gord Downie’s “Secret Path” Tonight at 9 pm

This week Gord Downie premieres his project The Secret Path at the National Arts Centre and on CBC

I had the opportunity to attend the premiere of The Secret Path this past Tuesday at the National Arts Centre. It was not an easy event to get through. Gord Downie along with illustrator Jeff Lemire have created a work that invokes discomfort and deep pain – as it should.

Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack was a young Anishinaabe boy from Marten Falls First Nation. He was only one of 150,000 children that were taken from their parents and placed into residential schools often thousands of kilometres away. Far in physical and emotional distance, a large percentage of these children, an estimated 6000, never returned home.

The Wenjack family was present at the NAC and has been a part of this project to bring awareness not only to the past but also to the present – many Indigenous teenagers must leave their community to attend high school. Having high schools on all reserves would allow for kids to stay in their home communities. This is part of the message of Pearl Wenjack, Chanie’s sister, who shared with the audience at the NAC her memories of her little brother and her hope for his legacy.

Along with the production of The Secret Path video and album a foundation (The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Foundation) has also been established to raise money for projects that promote opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue between Non-Indigenous and Indigenous communities. In the spirit of reconciliation, as Gord Downie says “It’s time to get started folks, we had the last 150 years, now we have the next.”

Tonight, Sunday, October 23 at 9 pm CBC will be airing The Secret Path.

To donate to the Wenjack foundation visit www.downiewenjack.ca.

Images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

 

 

 

FINAL WEEKEND: After a full week celebrating dance in Canada #CDF2016 closes in Ottawa

Standing ovation for Frédérick Gravel’s Usually Beauty Fails opening night at NAC

This weekend is your final chance to participate in Canada Dance Festival 2016!

Last Saturday Canada Dance Festival launched the week long festival with a provocative performance – Frédérick Gravel’s Usually Beauty Fails.

“Like Gravel’s previous works, Usually Beauty Fails was created in close collaboration with the dancers and musicians of Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup. In this surrealist and unbridled metaphor on our relation to beauty, Gravel creates an intensely physical exploration of everyday movement. The dancer’s combinations of physical restraint and furious motion collide with their charming sweetness and casual bravado to produce an invigorating work that challenges our perspectives on dance, beauty and society itself.”

Esmeralda Enrique will perform as part of Saturday’s Older & Reckless

Tomorrow night the Festival closes with Older & Reckless at the Arts Court Theatre.

“Making its Canada Dance Festival debut, Older & Reckless is an acclaimed dance series gaining notoriety for its celebration of mature dance artists and their tenacious life-long pursuit of physical expression.  Appealing not only to a senior audience, but to all generations, Older & Reckless shines a light on those Canadian dance artists who have dared to approach mastery in their art form.”

Also, on the agenda this week was a Roundtable on Pluralism hosted by the Canadian Dance Assembly (CDA) and CDA’s Pluralism Committee. “Pluralism, diversity, and equity are urgent issues; the dance sector is seen as a leader compared to other disciplines, but what do we really know? ” The result was important discussion on the role CDA can play in taking the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and implement them into policy, process and performance at the CDA.

There are still tickets available for today and tomorrow’s performances. Check the full schedule here also follow along on twitter at #CDF2016.  

Images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

WORLD PREMIERE: “Life Reflected” at the National Arts Centre Ottawa

More important and inspiring programming by the NAC

This winter, as part of  the National Arts Centre’s programming for Art and ReconciliationI Lost My Talk premiered. This incredible and poignant performance included the beautiful choreography of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre‘s Santee Smith and stunning visual design by Montreal’s Normal. Tomorrow evening I Lost My Talk will be part of three other orchestral works premiering as part of Life Reflected. The National Art Centre Orchestra’s Director Alexander Shelley “brought together four remarkable Canadian composers to collaborate with Donna Feore to create an immersive symphonic experience celebrating youth, promise and courage, revealed in the compelling and diverse portraits of four women.”

Tomorrow’s performance will include:

ALICE MUNRO – Dear Life with music composed by Zosha Di Castri
“Dear Life” by Alice Munro, is a reflection on memory, childhood and the formative stages of life. The NAC Orchestra’s Dear Life was composed by Zosha Di Castri.”

AMANDA TODD – My Name is Amanda Todd with music composed by Jocelyn Morlock
My Name is Amanda Todd tells the story of a vibrant 15-year-old who, after suffering for years from cyber abuse, spoke out against harassment and bullying on YouTube. Music composed for the NAC Orchestra by Jocelyn Morlock. 

ROBERTA BONDAR – Bondarsphere with music composed by Nicole Lizée
Dr. Roberta Bondar’s remarkable expertise as an astronaut, physician, scientific researcher, and photographer have been interpreted in Bondarsphere by Nicole Lizée for the NAC Orchestra through soundtrack and video.

RITA JOE – I Lost My Talk with music composed by John Estacio
“I Lost My Talk” – by Mi’kmaw elder and poet Rita Joe, C.M. expresses her experience at Residential School. The NAC Orchestra’s I Lost My Talk was composed by John Estacio.

Read more about Life Reflected & purchase tickets available here.

Image from National Art Centre website

“NOT MY HERITAGE”: Conversations on New Identities / Voices in Conservation hosted by Carleton University

Saturday, April 23 Carleton University will convene conversations on conservation

Last year I attended an engaging symposium on heritage conservation put on by Carleton University Students. Last year’s theme was Unsettling Heritage. This year the conversation will be focused on New Identities / Voices in Conservation and will pose the questions:

  • Whose heritage are we conserving?
  • Whose heritage is being unrepresented or underrepresented in the heritage conservation discourse of the 21st century?

“This theme aims to critically address missing identities and voices in the heritage field and/or highlight alternative stories and perspectives in heritage conservation.”

“In recent years, the identification and conservation of cultural heritage resources—the built environment, cultural landscapes, or intangible heritage—by heritage professionals, has needed to expand and broaden its understanding of community histories to address the plurality and the multi-narratives that exist in our communities. Events such as: the release of the Final Report on Residential Schools by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Occupy movement, the protests for gender equality rights, the push for youth engagement in civic duties (voting), and the global issue of refugees and immigration, have recently highlighted some of these ignored or unknown identities and voices that exist, and which have been underrepresented or unrepresented in the field of heritage conservation.” Read more…

Online registration closes tomorrow at noon. Tickets will also be available at the venue door Mill Street Brewery, 555 Wellington Street, Ottawa.

View Full Schedule Here

WHERE: Mill Street Brewery, 555 Wellington Street
WHEN: Saturday, April 23 from 9:00 am to 4 pm
COST: $15 Students / $45 General Admission (Online Registration) $20 Students / $50 General Admission (At the Door)

MORE ART & RECONCILIATION AT THE NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE OTTAWA: Going Home Star, Florent Vollant, & 100 Years of Loss Exhibit closes a full month of Indigenous programming

TRC Commissioner Marie Wilson moderates a panel of cultural provocateurs speaking on Art & Reconciliation. 

“It’s time for the rest of Canada to do the heavy lifting” ~ I Lost My Talk composer John Estacio

On Thursday, January 14 the National Arts Centre hosted a panel discussion on ART & RECONCILIATION prior to the opening night of I Lost My Talk, a performance inspired by the poetry of Mi’kmaq elder and poet Rita Joe. The response to this event was tremendous. Hundreds of people swelled up the stairs from the lobby where the 100 Years of Loss exhibit on the impact of Residential Schools is installed until the end of this week. The event also drew political support. In attendance was the Prime Minister’s wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, the Governor General’s wife Sharon Johnston, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde and former Prime Minister The Right Honourable Joe Clark. I Lost My Talk was a commission by Clark’s family for his 75th birthday. A moving and lovely gift that we all got a chance to participate in and benefit from.

Canadian writer Joseph Boyden speaks on his commission to write the libretto for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Going Home Star. 

It’s encouraging to see a National cultural institution take such a leadership role in implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. It’s also poignantly symbolic to have a National cultural institution recognize, in the present moment, a fact that history has tried to obscure. Both the panel and the performance of I Lost My Talk opened with the National Arts Centre acknowledging that “we are on UNCEDED Algonquin territory.”

On the panel, along with Canadian writer Joseph Boyden and John Estacio, the composer for the musical score of I Lost My Talkwas Rachel Maza, “acclaimed Australian theatre director of Jack Charles V The Crown.”  I had the opportunity to attend this incredible play that delved into the impact of assimilation policies on Indigenous people in Australia. Over the course of 75 minutes Jack charmed us with his beautiful way of presenting his biography – a life full of identity confusion and much loss but also an amazing amount of grace due to Jack’s own incredible resilience. I left with many mixed emotions. Find out more about the play…

Jack Charles receives a standing ovation at the closing of his performance of Jack Charles V The Crown at the NAC. 

Going Home Star opens this week in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre.

As this month draws to a close the NAC is hosting Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s production of Going Home Star. 

“Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation is the brilliant result of a star-studded collaboration between the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, award-winning Canadian author Joseph Boyden, acclaimed choreographer Mark Godden, and renowned Canadian composer Christos Hatzis. Going Home Star was ten years in the making, first envisioned by late Cree elder/activist Mary Richard and RWB Artistic Director André Lewis. Searing and sensitive, this powerfully emotional classical ballet is the deeply resonant love story of Annie and Gordon, a pair of contemporary Aboriginal young people coming to terms with a souldestroying past. Hatzis’s multi-layered score incorporates music by Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq (winner of the 2014 Polaris Music Prize), Steve Wood, and the Northern Cree Singers.” Read more…

The creative team and performers of Going Home Star speak at the NAC about the ballet during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission gathering in May/June 2015

Going Home Star runs from Thursday, January 28 to Saturday, January 30 and then will continue its tour in Vancouver. Click here for performance dates and tickets. Tickets will be given to Residential School Survivors, more information can be found here.

Also, this weekend at the NAC is Innu author, composer and singer Florent Vollant performing on Saturday, January 30.

“born in Labrador in 1959 and grew up on a reserve named Maliotenam, east of Sept-Îles. He began his musical career in the middle of the 80s and helped to create the Festival Innu Nikamu, which, since its founding, has brought together many musicians and singers from various Amerindian nations.” read more…

And the National Arts Centre has more in store so be sure to follow along with their 2016 programming around Indigenous Storytelling on their website, Facebook  and Twitter @CanadasNAC.

Photography by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

 

NATIONAL ABORIGINAL DAY: Celebrating women who are making a difference for Mixed Bag Mag’s coverage of the TRC

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Walk for Reconciliation Ottawa, Rideau Hall Ceremony for Survivors and Buffy Sainte-Marie.

There is always that one little girl, at whatever march or demonstration I am attending, that grabs my attention. I begin to follow along to her skips and steps in an effort to come close to the lightness she contains in her little being. She is at once a promise but also a ghost of all the other little spirits who came before her, with similar promise, but who didn’t make it.

It’s been a few weeks now since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had their final series of events here in Ottawa closing the process of investigating and documenting the Residential School experience on generations of Indigenous children in Canada. Much has been written and said about the TRC. As I attended the events each day I came to the realization that what I witnessing was going to best be expressed without the use of words so here I deliver a message through the images of women. Throughout the four days I ran into many friends and made some new ones. One thing was clear, that despite the heaviness of what we were participating in, there was a lightness contained inside each of the women who you see here and that lightness will continue on as a promise for a different type of tomorrow.

Below are women, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, who are putting their energies into ensuring this country will be accountable to the children lost and to the children yet to arrive.

All images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

OTTAWA THIS WEEKEND IN SOLIDARITY: May 30 #BlackLivesMatter & May 31 TRC Walk for Reconciliation

SATURDAY MAY 30th #BlackLivesMatter Ottawa March

WHEN: 5 pm
WHERE: Meet at the U.S.Embassy 490 Sussex Drive & walk to the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street

“BlakCollectiv invites you to join us in our Black Lives Matter March. We will be meeting at 5:00pm in front of the U.S. Embassy, 490 Sussex Dr. on May 30th 2015. We will be marching in remembrance of the Black lives lost to police brutality, including cis and trans black women.

We would like everyone to join us in this march to shed light to the issues that our communities are currently facing, and to let the world know that we will not be silent!

This is a peaceful protest so feel free to bring your own posters, family and friends to support. However , we do ask that any organizations that attend to please refrain from using this march as a promotional opportunity. This march is meant for healing and remembering the lives lost, do not come with intentions to disrespect this message.

Allyship: an active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person of privilege seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group of people. Allyship is not an identity—it is a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalized individuals and/or groups of people.”

More info on ways you can help or donate here.

#BlackLivesMatter

SUNDAY MAY 31th Truth and Reconciliation Commission “Walk for Reconciliation”

WHEN: 11 am program begins & 12 pm starts
WHERE: The Walk will start from École secondaire de l’Île, 255 rue Saint-Rédempteur Street in Gatineau (next to the Robert Guertin Arena, where there will be parking) and the walk will end at The Walk will end at Marion Dewar Plaza (Ottawa CIty Hall), 110 Laurier Ave. West.

SHUTTLE BUSES FROM TORONTO & MONTREAL: Round trip buses for youth depart from downtown Toronto @ 6:00 am & Montreal @ 8:00 am and will depart home for Toronto & Montreal @ 6PM

We invite youth to confirm your space contact:
trcwalk2015@canadianroots.ca or bolduc.jessica@gmail.com

“The Walk for Reconciliation is designed to transform and renew the very essence of relationships among Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians. It sounds so simple, but just the act of gathering and walking and sharing our stories can join us all in a shared commitment to creating a new way forward in our relationships with each other. Our future depends on being able to simply get along, respecting each other for the unique gifts we bring.

On May 31, we will walk together in Ottawa to express our determination in rebuilding the relationships among Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians. Join Us.”

More info on the Facebook Event Page and the Truth & Reconciliation Commission website.

#2Reconcile