All posts by Native Earth

The Longest Way Around

The Longest Way Around
by Heather Marie Annis
with direction & dramaturgy by Spy Dénommé-Welch

William Elias the child of two intersecting paths – that of traditional Ojibwa living and imported Christian values. At the epitome of a crossroads, what must he lose when faced with an ultimatum?

Featured in the Animikiig / Thundering Voices night of the festival
Saturday, Nov. 23rd @ 8pm* 
Aki Studio Theatre

*Followed by an Indigenous Networking After-Party sponsored by
the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance

Back to Weesageechak 26


by Cathy Elliot with direction & dramaturgy by Herbie Barnes

The Chenoo of Mi’qmak tradition is a monster of inconceivable proportions, consuming whole communities. This story is interwoven with a contemporary tale to ask: did Anna Mae Pictou Aquash fall to a similar beast?

Featured in the Animikiig / Thundering Voices night of the festival
Saturday, Nov. 23rd @ 8pm* 
Aki Studio Theatre

*Followed by an Indigenous Networking After-Party sponsored by
the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance

Back to Weesageechak 26

La Maleta (The Suitcase)

by Beatriz Pizano with direction by Andrew Lamb in association with Roseneath Theatre

La Maleta (The Suitcase) is the story of Roca, a ten-year old refugee who escapes her native Colombia clutching her suitcase – inside of which she believes her grandmother is hiding. Struggling to adapt to a new city, a new school and a new way of life, Roca befriends Paz, a boy with a secret who is being bullied by their classmates.

Opening Night of the festival
Thursday, November 21st @ 8pm 
Aki Studio Theatre – 585 Dundas St. East

Back to Weesageechak 26

Good Grief

Good Grief
by Lorrie Gallant and Lisa VanEvery
with direction and dramaturgy by Jessica Carmichael

Everybody deserves a fitting farewell, but if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.  Six friends come together to plan their own funerals in this surprisingly joyful comedy about their final farewell.

Featured in the Animikiig / Thundering Voices night of the festival
Saturday, Nov. 23rd @ 8pm* 
Aki Studio Theatre

*Followed by an Indigenous Networking After-Party sponsored by
the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance

Back to Weesageechak 26


by Garrett C. Smith with direction & dramaturgy by Tara Beagan

The Blackfoot Nations have long been inventive survivors and creative trades people who found their strength in the Buffalo. Does losing the Buffalo mean losing our strength?

Featured in the Animikiig / Thundering Voices night of the festival
Saturday, Nov. 23rd @ 8pm* 
Aki Studio Theatre

*Followed by an Indigenous Networking After-Party sponsored by
the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance

Back to Weesageechak 26

What I learned from a decade of fear

What I learned from a decade of fear
by Trevor Schwellnus

A Karmic Accounting / Interrogation Ritual to explore how to own a decade of repression, war, and security paranoia.   Did we let them change the world in order to preserve it? Could it be incriminating, to have an average life?  What if we believe it, when we are told, “this was done for us?”

Opening Night of the festival
Thursday, November 21st @ 8pm 
Aki Studio Theatre – 585 Dundas St. East

Back to Weesageechak 26

In Spirit

Created/Written by Tara Beagan
and the original SummerWorks creative team
Direction: Tara Beagan
Performer: Sera-Lys McArthur
Production Design: Andy Moro
Stage Manager: Mike Lewandowski
Assistant Director: Jessica Carmichael

Western Canada Tour
Talking Stick Festival
 in Vancouver, February 19-20, 2014

Limited run in Toronto
Rutas Panamericanas Festival, Toronto March 3-8 2014
the production extends beyond Rutas in the Aki Studio Theatre, Toronto March 11-16, 2014

Buy Tickets Now

Tara, Andy, Sera-Lys photo by Juan CP

“I don’t remember growing up. Not really. I remember school shopping but I don’t remember ever thinking, Wow, my feet are bigger today, better get new shoes!” 


In Spirit (formerly Quilchena)

Spring, 1979. A young girl is mere days away from celebrating her birthday. Her dad can’t keep the secret of her gift any longer, so proudly presents her with a new bike- well… new to her.

Sharing in his excitement, birthday girl and bike make their debut trip along the nearest paved road. Failing to return for dinner, a makeshift search party finds only the bike, tossed to the roadside. Years pass and family and friends hope and pray for a return. There is no sign of their young, bright girl until one terrible day when partial remains are officially identified. The community tries to release her spirit into the next world, unsettled though they are by not knowing how this awful thing has happened. In that ceremony of communing, the missing girl does her best to push through to her loved ones, sharing her shattered recollections in shards. This fictionalized journey into love and loss is inspired by all too many true stories.


Sera-Lys and bike Juan C P

Native Earth’s featured production is the much-acclaimed In Spirit, directed by former NEPA Artistic Director Tara Beagan. Created by Beagan and the original creative team, In Spirit is a fiercely haunting work inspired by a true story. Production Designer Andy Moro returns with a fearsome videoscape along with the sound and lighting he conceived of in the SummerWorks production where “he seared our eyes and ears.” (NOW Magazine, ’07 Top Ten Theatre Artists of the year.) Actor Sera-Lys McArthur (Where the Blood Mixes, CBC’s Arctic Air, Hard Core Logo II) joins Beagan and Moro as the sole performer, rounding out the all-Indigenous creative team. The work will go on tour in February to Kingcome Inlet and debut at Talking Stick Festival on February 19th, before returning to the Aki Studio Theatre and Rutas Panamericanas Festival.

Mooney on Theatre
Urban Native Magazine
NOW Magazine

Technical information for presenters In Spirit technical rider feb 2014.

Click here for the In Spirit  Package Theatres.

2012/2013 Treason Season

For Immediate Release:  September 27, 2012

Media Reference: Janet Antone

Phone: (416) 531.1402 Fax: (416) 531.6377



Native Earth: Treason Season


The 2012/2013 treason season comes at the crest of the celebration of the war of 1812, in which Native Earth is respectfully declining any participation. As Artistic Director Tara Beagan stated in our season announcement, “We instead want to make this season a dedication to those who educate others about true diversity by living an extraordinary life, against the odds. You, who fortify our international community by bridging continents with TransIndigenous cross-pollination. Those who practice our indomitable right to tell our stories. Those who seek to realize justice in spite of detrimental systemic structures that purport to do the same.’” This is all reflected and honoured in our 2012/2013 season and enhanced by the fact that this will be our 30th anniversary as North America’s first professional Indigenous theatrical creation and production company.

We have always strived to be a venue for First Nation artists, both locally and internationally.

We are thrilled to announce the opening of our new home, located at the recently named Daniels Spectrum building (585 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON). Our new home includes our new office and theatre space, appropriately named Aki Studio Theatre, which means “land, place, earth” in Anishnaabemowin. Aki Studio Theatre is a transformable, 120 seat black box theatre, which is available for rent. Contact for more information.

This season’s dedication includes:


Scotiabank Nuit Blanche


“For those who can’t resist a good story”

Photo by Juan Camilo Palacio featuring Nicole Joy Fraser

September 29, 2012

For this year’s Nuit Blanche festival themed “The Lights are on” Native Earth has chosen to ignite our season by inviting First Nations artists working in all disciplines to create interpretations of Thomas King’s A Short History of Indians in Canada. Which tells the story of a businessman’s first time in Toronto and his unsettling experience with the Urban Indian. This story is an exploration on how First Peoples are perceived in Canada; mystic, misunderstood and fleeting. Thomas King will kick off the evening at 7:00pm with a reading of his work that was the inspiration for the artist’s interpretations. Aki Studio Theatre comes alive with a video installation featuring interpretative responses to Thomas King’s story by participating artists enrolled in Native Earth’s Animikiig and Thundering Voices Program, students at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, established artists, Storytellers and community members.

Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival XXV


“For those who practice our indomitable right to tell our stories”

Photo by Juan Camilo Palacio featuring PJ Prudat

November 14-17, 2012


Besides being our 25th year of showcasing exciting new work from Indigenous artists across Turtle Island, this year’s festival will also see alluring new works by Montreal-based dancer/choreographer Lara Kramer, a searing satire by new playwright Andréa Ledding and a gorgeous collaboration by South Asian Canadian Sharada K. Eswar and Cree artist Rosary Spence. We are eager to see the work from the participants from our Animikiig and Thundering Voices program, always our most popular night.

Café Daughter

“For those who educate”

Photo by Juan Camilo Palacio featuring PJ Prudat


January 15-20, 2013



Produced by Gwaandak Theatre

Written by Kenneth T. Williams

Directed by Yvette Nolan

Featuring PJ Prudat


Café Daughter is a one-woman virtuosic performance, based on the life Dr. Lillian E. Quan Dyck. This is a family friendly show about a Chinese Canadian Cree girl growing up in rural Saskatchewan. The story begins in 1957: 10-year-old Yvette Wong helps out in her parents’ café. Her mother has charged her with a secret – to never tell anyone she’s part Cree. She’s incredibly bright and dreams of becoming a doctor, but is put in the slow learners’ class because of her skin colour. This is at a time when Aboriginal children were forced into residential schools, provincial law forbade white women from working in Chinese-owned businesses, and Chinese-Canadian men struggled to bring families to Canada.

Will Yvette flourish in the face of adversity and embrace her full identity?

Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way

“For those who fortify”

Photo by Juan Camilo Palacio featuring Monique Mojica

January 31-Feburary 3, 2013

Produced by Chocolate Woman Collective

Written by Monique Mojica

Directed by José Á. Colman

Featuring Monique Mojica and Gloria Miguel

Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way written and performed by Toronto based stage maven Monique Mojica and performed with the fierce and ever-pioneering Gloria Miguel of New York’s Spiderwoman Theater. This dynamic mother/daughter team is directed by renowned Guna theatre artist José Á. Colman. Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way layers the stories of a girl soldier, Daughter from the Stars, and Sky Woman Falling (First Woman) with retellings of cultural stories of the Grandmothers of Creation. The play weaves realities to create a daring, dream provoking performance. It is a dramatic narrative in a tapestry of creation, conflict and healing towards wholeness. Chocolate Woman Collective reclaims Indigenous cultures through the artistic process.


The Deserters

“For those who seek to realize”

Photo by Juan Camilo Palacio featuring Tamara Podemski

April 26-May 12, 2013

Written by Kenneth T. Williams

Directed by Tara Beagan

Set, Lights and Projection Design by Andy Moro

Fight Choreography by Christian Feliciano

Sound by Lucie Idlout and Andrew Penner

Starring Tamara Podemski, featuring Michelle Latimer, Nicola Correia-Damude, & Meegwun Fairbrother

In a time when global war threatens to extinguish the dominant female population, three women of opposing factions find themselves detained in a makeshift military holding cell. In close quarters, the soldiers must set their ideologies aside in order to survive. Seemingly left for dead, plans of escape jam to a halt when that rarest of creatures – a man – is dropped into their midst. Starring award-winning actor, Broadway-vet and certified Krav Maga instructor Tamara Podemski, Kenneth T. Williams’ play promises to shake up any complacent tendency to regard epic-scale wars as mere history.



Photo by Juan Camilo Palacio featuring Keith Barker


2012/2013 Season

Our playwright-in-residence is Keith Barker, an actor/director/youth facilitator who launched his playwriting career with The Hours That Remain through Native Earth while facilitating the Animikiig and Thundering Voices program (previously Young Voices) and Weesageechak festival over the past few years. Barker’s play will debut as a co-production between New Harlem Productions and Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company, this October, proudly introducing our new Aki studio theatre to Toronto. Barker will debut more of his writing throughout the season.

Our artist-in-residence is Archer Pechawis¸ a talented multi-media artist who affirms that his laptop is his drum, when it comes to traditional storytelling meeting the forever evolving technology of today whose work has been supported by Native Earth, through the Weesageechak festival with his piece Horse. Archer Pechawis is a published poet, his work “Bones” was featured for the City of Toronto’s 175th anniversary. Archer will be developing his works Elegy and Our Beautiful Future.

Our elder-in-residence Ernie Sandy is a fluent speaker in his Ojibway language, a teacher of Aboriginal studies, and a strong advocate for the revitalization and retention of Indigenous languages. Ernie lives his life within Native Earth’s 7 core values, which is why he is such a great fit. We welcome Ernie and are grateful for his guidance as we move forward with all of this year’s plans.

Check out our website often to see updates on presentations from both Archer and Keith.


We continue to proudly provide a home for artists from all mediums and are proud to serve as a platform to these fine artists for the season. We invite you to catch their work at the Weesageechak Festival and throughout their time with us.

2012/2013 Treason Season

Native Earth & Aki Studio Theatre at Daniels Spectrum

585 Dundas St E.

Toronto, ON

M5A 3B1

Box Office

Phone 416.531.1402


Group Bookings

Aqua, Outreach Coordinator

Phone 416.531.1402


For more information


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Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival XXV

Native Earth is happy to present the Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival XXV!

photo of PJ Prudat by Juan Camilo Palacio

Aki Studio Theatre, Daniels Spectrum Building

585 Dundas Street East  Toronto, ON M5A 2B7

NOV 14 NOV 15 NOV 16 NOV 17 – 2 shows!

8PM at Aki Studio Theatre


by Andréa Ledding
director/dramaturg: David Geary

featuring Herbie Barnes, Rick Campbell, Nicole Joy-Fraser, Falen Johnson

Following Dominion, at the Paintbox Bistro, 555 Dundas St. East

Turtlesback Launch

8PM at Aki Studio Theatre


by Daina Ashbee
Michael Greyeyes

featuring Daina Ashbee, Maxine Chadburn, Emily Law, Mariana Meinke

*Contains nudity, not recommend for children

8PM at Aki Studio Theatre

Animikiig/ Thundering Voices


by Emilie Monnet
Cole Alvis

featuring Falen Johnson

Jack the Ripper

by Dakota Hebert
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

featuring Aqua, Lisa Charleyboy, Meegwun Fairbrother, Jiv Parasram, Jeremy Proulx, PJ Prudat, Theresa Stevenson


by Justin Many Fingers
director/dramaturg: Derek Garza, Michael Greyeyes

featuring Michael Caldwell, Carlos Rivera


by Cathy Elliot
director/dramaturg: Herbie Barnes

featuring Aqua, Cole Alvis, Nicole Joy-Fraser, Dakota Hebert, Jeremy Proulx

2:30 PM at Aki Studio Theatre

When the Fish Met the Turtle

by Sharada K. Eswar & Rosary Spence
Jani Lauzon

featuring Sharada K. Eswar, Rosary Spence

8PM at Aki Studio Theatre

Heat Lightning

by Drew Hayden Taylor
director/dramaturg: Tara Beagan

featuring Jasmine Chen, Derek Garza, Moynan King, Monique Mojica

NEPA Admin and Production Announcement

Native Earth on New Ground

Native Earth Performing Arts is in a time of great transformation and renewal. After thirty years of supporting the network of a global Indigenous arts community, and weaving the traditional with the contemporary, we extend to you, our community, tremendous thanks.

It is with a sense of gratitude and responsibility to you, our supporters, our fellow Daniels Spectrum colleagues, the neighbourhood of Regent Park, the city of Toronto and the national theatrical community that we share our latest update.

The 2012/13 season has, thus far, celebrated the launch of the Aki Studio Theatre with the run of the debut from from our playwright-in-residence, Keith Barker. The Hours That Remain was a shining collaboration of NEPA sister companies New Harlem Productions and Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company. The 25th Weesageechak

Festival was a remarkable mix of workshops and presentations of dance and theatre works of great diversity. We have presented two very successfully received shows in collaboration with Gwaandak Theatre, and Chocolate Woman Collective.   Aki Theatre hosted the Idle No More version of Wrecking Ball, and anticipates greatness from resident companies fu-GEN and Cahoots’ upcoming productions. We are delighted to have embarked on this new chapter  with courage and success.

Our move to Daniel’s Spectrum in August is the realization of the vision we have had for NEPA, for many years. The transition marks a major leap for the company. Along with producing and developing important performing arts, we are taking on the task of managing a facility that houses productions by politically-minded theatre practitioners at subsidized rates. The on-the-job learning of these additional roles is a steep learning curve we are proud to be climbing.

As we continue to make progress through this transition, our immediate goals are to strengthen box office and venue management systems. We are also committed to creating works of theatre and  nurturing artists who do so. To successfully achieve these goals, we are making adjustments to our current staffing model and our production schedule.

You will see fewer people working in the office on a full-time basis. You will also notice that we have temporarily postponed the upcoming world premiere of Kenneth T. William’s Deserters. Native Earth remains committed to

Deserters and the great many artists who have invested creatively in this project.  These short-term, strategic tactics will allow us to remain aligned with our objective to grow on a solid foundation.

Native Earth is a thriving hub for Indigenous performing artists and we are excited by the opportunities before us. We sincerely thank all of you for being part of our ongoing evolution.


Yours in Humility, Generosity, Wisdom, Strength of Character, Tolerance, Patience and Courage,

Tara Beagan, Artistic Director