Weesageechak Begins To Dance – 26
November 21-23, 2013
Rutas Panamericanas | Panamerican Routes Festival
February 27 – March 9, 2014
Buy Festival Pass Now!
Individual tickets to go on sale shortly.
Quilchena directed by Tara Beagan
National Tour + Rutas Festival + Production @ The Aki Studio, February & March 2014
Click for more details about the season.
TARA BEAGAN forges ahead
“Artistic Leaders find and weave the connection between the heart, the mind, the soul, and the intellect in society.”
Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo,
2013 Lafontaine-Baldwin Symposium Lecture
In February of 2011, Tara Beagan (Ntlaka’pamux) stepped in to serve her community as Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts (NEPA). After three years of artistic and organizational renewal, Tara will depart from her position in February 2014.
Tara’s tenure at Native Earth was a time of great transition. Previous Artistic Director Yvette Nolan had set the company up on a path for success and, in our 30th season, Native Earth put down roots with our new venue in Regent Park – down the street from Council Fire, Anishnawbe Health and the Native Women’s Resource Centre. In consultation with community members, Tara chose the name Aki Studio Theatre. “Aki” is the Anishnaabemowin word that encompasses “earth, land and place.” The Aki Studio Theatre opened in 2012 with NEPA bringing on resident companies (Cahoots Theatre, fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre, Kaha:wi Dance and Aluna Theatre). This accomplishment made it possible for Canada’s premiere professional Indigenous theatre company to become the home for diverse performance in Canada.
To guide NEPA’s transition to a venued company and the expansion of resources required, Tara and the board of directors brought on Isaac Thomas as General Manager. Isaac brings with him years of experience and a steadfast commitment to NEPA’s mission and guiding principles. He and Tara have worked tirelessly to forge a long term plan that is artistically vibrant and fully engages the community.
“For Tara Beagan the traditional Maori whakatauki, or proverb, holds true – Kaore te kumara e whaaki ana tana reka / The kumara, or sweet potato, does not have to say how sweet it is. She is multi-talented and generous with her many gifts but also humble. A rare combination and indeed a truly sweet person. But also a wahine toa – a brave woman who leads by example and embodies mana wahine – the power, dignity and importance of women in Indigenous culture.” David Geary
Tara’s work with the Indigenous community and deep respect for Elders had a major impact on NEPA’s core operations. The Young Voices playwright program was renamed Animikiig / Thundering Voices in honour of both the late NEPA Elder Helen Thundercloud and outgoing Artistic Director Yvette Nolan. Tara brought back the vital position of NEPA Elder-In-Residence with a commitment from Ojibway Elder Ernie Sandy. She also cultivated a bridge between the Centre for Indigenous Theatre (CIT) and NEPA, a relationship which deepens both organizations.
She continued her success in reaching a younger demographic via the Made To Order program (MTO). Tara was commissioned by the Toronto Catholic District School Board to write a play about the residential school system. While her play They Know Not What They Do was deemed too controversial for the TCDSB, we look forward to many future productions of this crucial work.
Tara Beagan speaks with a young voice — and a remarkable voice for one so young. And hers is a crucial voice for this generation of Native theatre. She is a gift to the Aboriginal community in this time and place. And her work will long hold a place of honour in the canon of Indigenous drama of Turtle Island.” Jill Carter
Tara continued the tradition of political and social activism which Native Earth proudly holds. During the War of 1812 bicentennial, Tara issued a statement that NEPA would abstain from celebrating the conflict out of respect for the wars Aboriginals continue to fight today. Instead, she dedicated the 2012/13 season “to those who practice our indomitable right to tell our stories.” During the IDLE NO MORE movement, when Chief Theresa Spence embarked on a six week hunger strike, Tara created a ‘fast relay’ inviting members of our community to fast for a day in solidarity with Chief Spence.
“Tara Beagan has been a long-time friend and supporter of Native Earth when she was asked to step up and take the helm of the organization. She showed strong artistic leadership during a time when NEPA went from a transient company to one that provides an exciting new venue in the Canadian theatre landscape. Meanwhile she has produced and planned three exciting seasons and secured funding into the future. This is not goodbye. Indeed it will be a long goodbye as we transit into new artistic leadership in the spring of 2014. And Tara will continue to be an important member of the NEPA family.” Jed DeCory, NEPA Board President
Along with Andy Moro, Tara has newly co-founded an Indigenous theatre company called ARTICLE 11. Its mandate is to enact the 11th article in the UN’s Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and will debut its first production The Ministry of Grace in 2015.
We look forward to continuing the important work of unifying and galvanizing the artistic Indigenous community, asserting our voices and telling our stories with passion and fervor.
NATIVE EARTH PERFORMING ARTS celebrates our 31st season.
Actor Sera-Lys McArthur (pictured in a production shot by Juan Camilo Palacio, above) joins us as the featured actor in Quilchena. Stay tuned for info about the tour.
As always you can reach us at office[at]nativeearth.ca