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.

 

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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].

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. 

 

 

 

JUSTICE FOR FIRST NATIONS KIDS: Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rules in favour of Indigenous Children in Canada

Image from Have a Heart Day 2014 on Parliament Hill, Ottawa with former NDP MP for Ottawa Paul Dewar. 

First Nations Child and Caring Family Society of Canada files complaint and wins after a long battle!

Congratulations to Cindy Blackstock and the First Nations Child and Caring Family Society of Canada. Today is an important moment as the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that the Federal Government is guilty of racial discrimination against First Nations, Inuit and Métis children.

On their website, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) has provided the full document of the Tribunal’s decision.

Over and over the federal government, under former prime minister Stephen Harper, tried to stop Blackstock with Department of Justice lawyers doing all they could to have her human rights complaint dismissed.

Each attempt was defeated allowing the complaint to proceed.”  Read full article on APTN

Below is the livestream of the Press Conference following the Tribunal’s announcement with Cindy Blackstock of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations

In the fight for justice for Indigenous children Cindy Blackstock has engaged local youth. Each Valentine’s Day kids arrive on Parliament Hill to give speeches in support of their peers who have been continually denied equitable education. This popular and positive event has leveraged social media and you can find out more by following #HaveAHeartDay on twitter. You can also join this year’s gathering on Wednesday, February 10 from 10:30 – 11:15 am on Parliament Hill.