All posts by Native Earth

Karin Randoja

Native Earth invites audiences to Aki Studio to celebrate our 33rd season with Huff, an award-winning play by Cree playwright Cliff Cardinal. Raw, hard-hitting, and fast-paced, Huff is a solo show about brothers struggling to cope with the death of their mother.

At the helm of this production is award-winning director Karin Randoja, first introduced to Native Earth audiences at last year’s Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival, where she worked as director/dramaturg for Cardinal’s play-in-development romanceship.

Cliff Cardinal & Karin Randoja recording a NEPA podcast

Randoja and Cardinal began their dramaturg/playwright partnership during the development stages of Huff before its 2012 award-winning debut at SummerWorks (directed by Randoja), and the synergy of their working relationship continues to thrive today.

“Right from the start of our process, Cliff has trusted me to question, change and edit his script throughout rehearsals. I find this can be rare and it’s really generous of him,” says Randoja.

“Cliff lets me envision what is happening physically, emotionally, rhythmically, on stage, and will re-work the script to help bring that vision to life. All in all, it’s pretty awesome.”

Laced with Cardinal’s signature dark humour, Huff is a raw play that addresses real issues for Indigenous peoples in Canada and it’s sure to have a lasting impact on audiences.  “This show has proven to be a powerful experience for many people who have seen it,” recalls Randoja. “It’s something about how the show re-arranges something in the viewer – something in their brain, or their DNA or their heart or a combination. Many people walk out changed and not the same person they were when they walked into the theatre.”

“This show has proven to be a powerful experience for many people who have seen it… Many people walk out changed and not the same person they were when they walked into the theatre.”

Having a full team of designers re-imagining the world of Huff alongside her is an exciting change for Randoja. “I really like them as people. And this is important! I think they are good people that I trust and can talk with.”

Randoja is talking about her all-star design team Jackie Chau (Set and Costume), Alex Williams (Sound) and the award-winning Michelle Ramsay (Lighting). “They are all sensitive, generous, and like to laugh. I’m lucky to be working with super skilled, super talented but grounded, open artists.”

In addition to directing, Randoja teaches theatre at Humber College and The Centre for Indigenous Theatre. She is also currently developing three very different shows: Gertrude and Alice with Independent Auntie (Buddies in Bad Times, March 2016); a flamenco piece with Carmen Romero that combines dance/theatre; and a project at The Theatre Centre based on a script developed by Tony Diamanti, a man with severe Cerebral Palsy, about his love and sex life, that will be premiering in November of 2016.

To hear more from Karin Randoja join us for a Dinner & Show on Saturday October 17th with a formal Q & A discussion. Tickets available online.


What’s What with Karin Randoja

What was your first job in theatre?
A play that shall remain nameless which my friends have labeled “perhaps the worst unknown musical in the history of Canadian theatre”… one friend kept coming back to see it,
completely reveling in how awful it was.

What are you reading right now?
Pema Chodron, and Runaway, by Alice Munro plus lots more.
I read lots of books all at once.

What’s your go-to ice cream flavour?
Peanut Butter Chocolate.

What was your childhood nickname?
One was “Baby Vein Head”.

What’s your favourite Toronto neighbourhood?
I like strawberries and blueberries and apples and kiwis and bananas. I like them all equally and find them tasty in their own succulent way. Same goes for Toronto and its excellent, endless selection of neighbourhoods.

Huff runs in Aki Studio October 10 – 25, 2015
Tickets $15 – $35

announces line-up for
an Annual Festival of Indigenous Works

Aki Studio, November 11 – 21, 2015

TORONTO, ON – Native Earth Performing Arts announces the line-up for its 28th annual festival of Indigenous work, Weesageechak Begins to Dance.  The festival, which showcases new works and works in development by Indigenous performing artists, spans two weeks from November 11th to 21st, 2015.

With work from artists across Turtle Island, we kick off this year’s festival with a staged reading of Vancouver’s Raes Calvert (Métis) and Sean Harris Oliver’s Red Patch. Set in Canada and France, Red Patch is a gripping historical drama following the life of a young Métis soldier during WWI.

Festival audiences will be treated to an exclusive double bill of Gemini Award-winning, and legendary Indigenous artists, Jani Lauzon (Métis) and Michelle Thrush (Cree). British Columbia-born and Toronto-based three-time Dora Mavor Moore-nominee, Jani Lauzon (Métis) brings audiences Prophecy Fog, a personal account of place, identity and prophecies inspired by Lauzon’s journey to Giant Rock in the Mojave Desert. The evening continues with Find Your Own Inner Elder, in which Canadian Screen Award-nominee and Alberta artist Michelle Thrush shares memories, teachings and humour.

Returning from Weesageechak 27 is award-winning Cree playwright and filmmaker from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan, Kenneth T. Williams. Williams joins us with an expanded version of his overwhelming success, In Care, the emotional drama about a mother’s fight to get her children out of foster care and her struggles with the system she is up against.

Audiences may recognize past festival company members featured as playwrights in this year’s festival: Waawaate Fobister (Anishnaabe), Herbie Barnes (Ojibway), and Garret C. Smith (Blackfoot). Dora Award-winning Fobister brings Red Lady, Red Chief, reD rED RED Lady, a comical take on band election politics; Manitoulin Island-born Barnes tells a coming-of-age story centered around an unlikely hero in his play Bent Boy; and Smith’s Deadbeats focuses on three Blackfoot warriors who have volunteered to travel south in search of the ever-decreasing buffalo two years after the signing of Treaty 7 in 1877.

Selected emerging writers graduating from Native Earth’s Animikiig Playwrights Program will showcase the continued development of their pieces Aluasa’sit by Cathy Elliott (Irish/Mi’kmaq/Acadian) and White Man’s Indian by Darla Contois (Cree). Native Earth is also proud to introduce Weesageechak audiences to emerging Obijbwe playwright, Thunder Bay-born Humber graduate, Yolanda Bonnell, and her heartbreaking piece, bug, which explores abandonment and addiction.

As always, Weesageechak is not only a festival for theatre, but also for dance, and this year Native Earth is stepping it up a notch with dance making up nearly half of this year’s festival programming.

Native Earth welcomes Montreal-based dancer and choreographer Lara Kramer (Ojibwa/Cree), presenting the Toronto premiere of her piece Tame on two nights in the festival. Tame is a chaotic, voyeuristic examination of boundaries, fears and desires.

We’ve also invited Vancouver’s Raven Spirit Dance back to the festival with Earth Song, a double-bill featuring two ambitious dance works from choreographers Starr Muranko (Moose Cree First Nation) and the award-winning Michelle Olson (Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation). Muranko’s Spine of the Mother, is an innovative collaboration between Indigenous artists in Canada and Peru, and Olson’s Northern Journey, is a duet following a trail back into memory.

Other works from Vancover-based dancers include Steppin’ by Jeanette Kotowich (Cree-Métis), Equating Echoes by Nyla Carpentier (Tahltan/Kaska) and David Newberry, and Compass by Olivia C. Davies (Anishnawbe-Métis). Native Earth is also proud to introduce Weesageechak audiences to North Carolina-born, Cherokee/Mattamuskeet dancer Maura Garcia and her piece Ahwisgvsgo’i.

Festival audiences who remember the last year’s dynamic duet by Dora Mavor Moore and Gemini Award-nominated dancer Brian Solomon (Métis/Anishnaabe/Irish) and Blackfoot dancer Justin Many Fingers will be excited to see the work the two are bringing to Weesageechak 28. Dancing separately, Ontario-born Solomon offers an inspiring view of the Cree world view in 1974 in his piece the NDN way, and Many Fingers explores the Baker Massacre of his home province of Alberta with his exciting new piece OKATOKS.

Finally, for its 28th year, Native Earth is introducing a new addition to Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival: the Weesageechak Professional Development Series, featuring workshops, panels, and other special initiatives aimed at training and informing the Indigenous and theatre communities of Toronto. More details on this exciting initiative to come.

Wednesday November 11 @ 7:30 pm
Red Patch by Raes Calvert & Sean Harris Oliver
Thursday November 12 & Saturday November 14 @ 7:30 pm
Tame by Lara Kramer
Friday November 13 @ 7:30 pm
bug by Yolanda Bonnell
Red Lady, Red Chief, reD rED RED Lady by Waawaate Fobister
Bent Boy by Herbie Barnes
Sunday November 15 @ 12:00 pm
The Exchange Experience:
Validating 500 Years of First Nation History
a Workshop with Suzanne Keeptwo

Tuesday November 17 @ 7:30 pm
Aluasa’sit by Cathy Elliott
White Man’s Indian by Darla Contois
Wednesday November 18 @ 7:30 pm
Steppin’ by Jeannette Kotowich
the NDN way by Brian Solomon
Equating Echoes by Nyla Carpentier & David Newberry
Compass by Olivia C. Davies
Ahwisgvsgo’i by Maura Garcia
Thursday November 19 @ 7:30 pm
Prophecy Fog by Jani Lauzon
Find Your Own Inner Elder by Michelle Thrush
Friday November 20 @ 7:30 pm
Earth Song by Raven Spirit
OKATOKS by Justin Many Fingers
Saturday November 21 @ 7:30 pm
Deadbeats by Garret C. Smith
In Care by Kenneth T. Williams

Evening Tickets: $15
Workshop: Pay-What-You-Can
Festival Pass: $60

Aki Studio | Daniels Spectrum
585 Dundas Street East
Box Office: 416-531-1402 or

Connect with Native Earth!
NativeEarthInsta  • #Weesageechak

See Full Schedule
Download the Press Release

by Cliff Cardinal

October 10-25, 2015
Aki Studio

On Tour January 2016

Directed by Karin Randoja
Starring Cliff Cardinal

Fresh off the critical success of Stitch, Native Earth kicks off their 33rd season with another daring solo show by award-winning Indigenous playwright Cliff Cardinal, one of the most exciting new voices in Canadian theatre.


Huff took my breath away.”
– J. Kelly Nestruck

“strong, uncompromising storytelling”
NOW Magazine

4 Stars
Huff is a heartbreaker.”

4 Stars
“Cardinal is an artist to watch”
– Stage Door

3 stars
An “unflinching solo show”
Globe and Mail

Proper 3 stars
“a charming kind of chemistry”
Toronto Star

“Excellent” – Sprockets and Greasepaint

“Must-See Theatre”  – Paula Citron

“so poignant & so very important” – Hye Musings

Huff is the wrenching, yet darkly comic tale of Wind and his brothers, caught in a torrent of solvent abuse and struggling to cope with the death of their mother.

Wind’s fantastic dream world bleeds into his haunting reality, as he’s preyed on by the Trickster through the hallways at school, the abandoned motel he loves more than home, and his own fragile psyche.

With his signature biting humour and raw, vivid imagery, Cardinal expertly portrays over a dozen characters in his captivating solo performance.

Winner of the 2015 RBC Tarragon Emerging Playwright Prize;  Winner of 2012 Buddies in Bad Times Vanguard Award for Risk & Innovation.

Huff has been developed, in part, through The Collaborations, an initiative of Canada’s National Arts Centre English Theatre.

The development of Huff has also been supported by VideoCabaret.

Set & Costume Design by Jackie Chau
Lighting Design by Michelle Ramsay
Sound Design by Alex Williams
Stage Managed by Jennifer Stobart

“Soon the trickster preyed on him in his dreams.”

Audience Advisory: Explicit Content. Mature Audiences Only.
Running Time: 70 mins with No Intermission.

Photos by akipari


“You know you’re not in for the usual sort of theatre.”
–  NOW Magazine

“To be a little Indian kid in some of these situations… You have to stand there and feel like you’re not good enough. ” – CBC

“Chaos breeds more chaos.” – Mooney on Theatre


Playwright & Performer – Cliff Cardinal

Cliff Cardinal made his theatrical debut with Native Earth in Freeman’s Wake by Yvette Nolan in the ’05 Rhubarb Festival. Cliff’s work has been recognized across the country including a Jessie Richardson Memorial Theatre Award nomination for Outstanding Performance for Tales Of An Urban Indian by Darrell Dennis with Green Thumb Theatre. Cliff’s first play Stitch premiered Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival to great acclaim, winning both The Spotlight Award for Performance and Theatre Passe Muraille’s Emerging Artist Award for notable artistic impression and Huff was awarded the 2012 Buddies in Bad Times Vanguard Award for Risk & Innovation. Of Cardinal’s play Maria Gets A New Life, NOW Magazine said “This captivating tale of an off-grid mother solidifies Cardinal as one of the most talented and intriguing writers in the country.”

Huff Tour

From January to March of 2016, Huff can be seen in cities across Canada. From Vancouver to Montreal and beyond,
Huff will take the country by storm.


Re-imagining Las Americas
Re-Imaginando las Américas

November 3-8, 2015
Evening Tickets $15-$20
Festival Pass $50

Aki Studio &
Ada Slaight Hall

Buy Tickets

Aluna Theatre is thrilled to present a new multi-arts initiative, CAMINOS, a week of performance experiments, in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts. Fresh ideas come together from some of the most exciting local voices representing the Americas.

This week of performances also features: cabaret evenings; conversations on translation and cultural interpretation with artists, social innovators, and academics; and presentations of approaches to translation by Aluna’s bilingual ensemble.

For all the details, including festival line-up,
visit the CAMINOS website.


3 a 8 de noviembre, 2015
Entrada $15-$20/noche o
compre un pasaporte para
la semana entera por sólo $50

Aki Studio &
Ada Slaight Hall

Compre Billetes

Aluna Theatre se complace en presentar CAMINOS, una semana de exploraciones de nuevas ideas en teatro, danza, música, monólogos de comedia, y spoken word por artistas de nuestras comunidades.

Presentado en colaboración con Native Earth Performing Arts, CAMINOS incluye performances, cabarés, conversatorios sobre traducción e interpretación cultural con artistas, innovadoras e innovadores sociales, e intelectuales, y presentaciones especiales sobre abordajes a la traducción por el equipo bilingüe de Aluna.

CAMINOS le ofrece la oportunidad de presenciar y participar en la creación de nuevas performances locales en etapa de maduración.


Tickets $15-$20 available online.
Festival Passes are $50 and can be purchased by telephone.
Tuesday-Friday at 7pm; Saturday at 1pm.
Sunday Showcase is Pay-What-You-Can.
Purchases made online or by telephone are by credit card only.
At the door payments accepted by cash, debit, VISA and Mastercard.

Box Office Telephone: 416-531-1402 Email: boxoffice[at]

More information on ticket pick-up here.


Founded in 2001 as a response to the misrepresentation and under-representation of cultural diversity on our stages, Aluna Theatre aimed to form a new and distinct language of theatrical presentation. For over a decade, Aluna Theatre has been attempting to shift the scales of imbalance by bringing social justice, equality and human rights to the forefront of all productions.

Aluna Theatre fue fundada en el 2001 con el objetivo de desarrollar un lenguaje teatral original y como respuesta a la poca y mala representación de artistas de diversas culturas en la escena canadiense, especialmente artistas inmigrantes de América Latina. Por más de una década, Aluna Theatre ha intentado cambiar las pesas de la balanza abordando los temas de justicia social, igualdad y derechos humanos en todas sus producciones.

Read More / Más de Aluna Theatre

2015-2016 Season at-a-glance


Directed by Karin Randoja and starring Cliff Cardinal
October 10-25, 2015, Aki Studio
Single Tickets $15-$30


Presented in partnership with Aluna Theatre
November 3-7, 2015, Aki Studio
Single Tickets $15-$20, Festival Pass $50


November 11-21, 2015, Aki Studio
Single Tickets $15, Festival Pass $60


Presented in partnership with DanceWorks
April 21-23, 2016, Aki Studio
Single Tickets $25, Double Bill $40


May 2016, Aki Studio

Connect with Native Earth!


Stitch: Georgina Beaty

Native Earth proudly presents the Culture Storm production of Cliff Cardinal’s Stitch, a dark and raw look at the life of a porn star desperate to have her story heard. This one-woman tour-de-force performance is on now in Aki Studio, closing this Sunday June 14th.

“the story of a woman claiming agency in a system that denies her any power”

Georgina Beaty, Toronto-based actor, Co-Artistic Director of Architect Theatre, and graduate of both the University of Alberta and Studio 58, is at the centre of it all. In Stitch, Beaty plays the role of Kylie Grandview, a single mother and porn star whose plight takes center stage. Stitch is “the story of a woman claiming agency in a system that denies her any power,” describes Beaty. “Kylie is a warped ingénue for dark times.”

But Beaty takes on more than just the ingénue. Demonstrating her incredible versatility, Beaty also brings life a multitude of other characters in Kylie’s world – mother, daughter, agent, laywer – just to name a few. “Cliff has written a piece that is a rare gift for a female performer. Every character is particular, funny (in a dark way), and a delight to inhabit,” says Beaty.

Georgina Beaty
Georgina Beaty; photo by akipari

At the helm of this production has been director, and once Stitch dramaturge, Jovanni Sy, who is joined by award-winning Production Designer Andy Moro, and new Composer Luca Caruso-Moro, who makes his debut with the production.

“I love this team. It’s felt like a really collaborative room,” says Beaty. “Because there is only one performer, Andy Moro’s sound and lights are a complete character within the piece, so it feels like I am very much in dialogue with other elements.”

Though Stitch deals with one woman’s experiences in a particular industry, Beaty believes there is more to take from Cardinal’s script than just the story of a porn star.

“It’s a highly specific story about one woman and her journey through the adult film industry, but it also implicates the audience in their appetite to watch the events onstage,” says Beaty. “As a woman in an industry that is male-dominated, for all of the dark humour of the piece, the ride of the story, and theatrical play, there is a relevant conversation about a society that is deeply inequitable and how that broader system can have devastating effects on an individual.”

Audiences who want a chance to hear more from Georgina Beaty can stay after the 8pm performance on Saturday June 13th for a formal post-show Q & A discussion. Tickets are available online.

Stitch Book Tickets

 UnStitched with Georgina Beaty

What are you reading right now?
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano and
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Where is your favorite place to be?
In the mountains hiking. The coast.

What’s next for you?
Like There’s No Tomorrow at SummerWorks.  It is a piece I am creating with my company, Architect Theatre, inspired by interviews along the route of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline in Northwestern BC. Our team includes Anita Rochon, Paula-Jean Prudat, Jonathan Seinen and myself and we are re-imagining an environmental consultation process for a pipeline, but this one includes a talking fish, sunsets, and maybe even a dance party.

Audiences have until Sunday June 14th to see Beaty’s remarkable performance in Cliff Cardinal’s Stitch. Tickets are available online.

A Message About Stitch from Native Earth

Native Earth is pleased to present the Culture Storm production of Stitch by Cliff Cardinal. Since 2013, Culture Storm and Cliff Cardinal have been developing this production in order to bring the talents of Cliff Cardinal, considered one of Canada’s brightest emerging talents, to the stage. When Culture Storm approached Native Earth for support with venue, box office, tech and marketing we were thrilled to support their production. By helping to support like-minded community organizations in their initiatives we are able to share our space through in-kind support with organizations to create a platform for Indigenous writers. Through these types of partnerships we are able to expand our audiences and create cross-culture platforms to expand the visibility of Indigenous talent, like Cliff Cardinal, across Canada.

This is a one-woman play by an Indigenous playwright, where the main character’s ethnicity is unspecified. This presentation was planned and cast before our recent co-production of The Unplugging and the issues raised by the casting of that play. The dialogue about The Unplugging has prompted considerable reflection by the Native Earth management and Board of Directors, resulting in the recent statement, posted on this website, which is our clear intention going forward. In light of that, we wrestled with the potential contradiction that might be seen in our role presenting Stitch, given the script and casting. The most honorable course is to keep our commitment, to proceed with this presentation as planned, and to support all the artists who are part of this production. Native Earth renews our commitment to cast only Indigenous actors in Indigenous roles going forward.

Ryan Cunningham                                    Isaac Thomas
Artistic Director                                         Managing Director


Statement by Heather Haynes, Culture Storm

Artistic Statement by Cliff Cardinal, Playwright

God and The Indian: Renae Morriseau

For our cross-nation partnership with Firehall Arts Centre, we’re bringing Toronto and Vancouver audiences Drew Hayden Taylor’s God and The Indian, in Aki Studio May 2 – 17, 2015. Following the Toronto premiere, the production returns to Vancouver where it runs May 20 – 30, 2015.

After directing the world premiere of God and The Indian in Vancouver in 2013, Renae Morriseau (Cree) returns to bring audiences the Toronto premiere, currently playing in Native Earth’s Aki Studio.

“In our traditional ways the audience is then witnesses to share the story about this dark history about Canadian policy and legislation.”

Originally from Manitoba, Renae is based now in Vancouver where she works to cultivate social justice, inclusiveness and community-building through her work in theatre.  It’s these motivations that inspire Renae to help tell this heartbreaking story about Canada’s residential schools.

“It’s a story that needs to be told,” says Morriseau. “In our traditional ways the audience is then witnesses to share the story about this dark history about Canadian policy and legislation.

Morriseau hopes audiences from all backgrounds will come to see the production. “I think it’s important for all Canadians to see – Native or non-Native. People need to understand the impact that residential schools have had on my people – “my” meaning all the different Nations across Turtle Island which is now called Canada,” Morriseau explains. “We’re talking seven generations of my people that have been impacted. With residential school survivors today, these stories help support the survivors to acknowledge the pain and loss of family and community.”

Morriseau is not the only member of the original Vancouver production working on the Toronto premiere; both designers (Lauchlin Johnston, Alex Denard) also returned to revisit the play.

Listen Renae Morriseau on our
Podcast: gaganoonidiwag

However, this is anything but a remount, as Morriseau has had an opportunity to explore the work with a completely new cast, whom she describes as “talented, intuitive, adaptable and creative.”  The Toronto premiere stars Toronto-based Thomas Hauff as Assistant Bishop George King, and Vancouver-based Lisa C. Ravensbergen (Ojibwe/Swampy Cree) as Johnny.

Audiences interested in a discussion about the issues addressed in the play are invited to check here for a list of pre- and post-show talks with the creative team.

God and The Indian runs in Toronto May 2 – 17, and moves to Vancouver May 20 – 30, 2015.

GI - Book Tickets

Tidbits About Renae Morriseau

What advice would you give to someone
who wants to do what you do?
Be curious. Start with your curiosity of what your passion creatively is. What are the stories that resonate in your heart and your mind and in what manner to do you want to develop your creative source.

What ability would you like to steal from another artist?
Lisa C. Ravensbergen’s acting and tenacity.
Tom Hauff’s uncanny ability to read between the lines.

Where is your favorite place to be?
With my grandson at a lacrosse game.

What’s your favourite dessert?
I make a great pumpkin cheesecake.

Favorite childhood toy?
Burnt bannock used as a hockey puck.

What’s next?
Returning to Vancouver to work with Vancouver Moving Theatre on Tracks: 7th Canadian Community Play and Arts Symposium.

Renae Morriseau: Since the early 1980s, Renae has worked in the arts in Canada, United States and most recently, internationally with her singing group, M’Girl. In theatre, she produced, wrote, directed and acted in a variety of Aboriginal stories contributing her music, dramaturgy, and teaching theatre to the next generation of thespians. In film she produced, wrote, directed and acted in a variety of television dramas, feature films, music videos, and documentary productions with her music licensed to diverse film and television productions. See: Down2Earth

God and The Indian: Lisa C. Ravensbergen

For our cross-nation partnership with Firehall Arts Centre, we’re bringing Toronto and Vancouver audiences Drew Hayden Taylor’s God and The Indian, in Aki Studio May 2 – 17, 2015. Following the Toronto premiere, the production returns to Vancouver where it runs May 20 – 30, 2015.

Lisa C. Ravensbergen joins Thomas Hauff in Taylor’s two-hander, directed by Renae Morriseau. Based out of Vancouver, Ravensbergen, takes on the role of Johnny, a Cree woman, panhandling on the streets who recognizes Anglican Assistant Bishop George King outside a coffee shop. Johnny follows King to his office, where she confronts him about the abuse she suffered as a child in a residential school.

The challenge offered by this role excites the multi-hyphenate and Jessie Award-nominated actor, who describes herself as a tawny mix of Ojibwe/Swampy Cree and English/Irish.1

“I feel privileged and honoured to attempt to bring these voices to life…”

“I feel privileged and honoured to attempt to bring these voices to life and to negotiate with keen-minded collaborators,” says Ravensbergen. “It’s always exciting to work with new people. All three of us have overlapping artistic languages and different languages, as well. It’s fascinating.”

This is not the first time Ravensbergen has worked with Director Renae Morriseau; they previously performed together in George Ryga’s The Ecstasy of Rita Joe. 2 “She’s Cree and I’m Ojibwe/Cree. It’s great to have someone else in the room that shares your culture and can speak to the world view that is implicit in the script, whether Drew meant for it to be there or not. It’s nice to have someone else in the room that can see the cultural resonances.”

“They are tenacious about getting what they want – not just for themselves but from the other person.”

This marks the first time Ravensbergen is working with Hauff, and the two are finding the characters to be quite demanding. “It’s a pretty relentless room; there is no joy for these two characters. They are tenacious about getting what they want – not just for themselves but from the other person,” says Ravensbergen. “Tom is a fierce competitor and comrade and there is no room for me to be off my A-game.”

Though it’s been a number of years, Ravensbergen is no stranger to Native Earth audiences. “I have a long history here and I am really happy and pleased and blushy with honour to be able to be on stage with Native Earth again,” says Ravensbergen. “The last time I was on stage with Native Earth was the 2004 production of The Unnatural and Accidental Women by Marie Clements. It feels nice to return.

Audiences looking to have a discussion about the issues addressed in the play are invited to check here for a list of pre- and post-show talks with the creative team.

God and The Indian runs in Toronto May 2 – 17, and moves to Vancouver May 20 – 30, 2015.

GI - Book Tickets

Tidbits About Lisa C. Ravensbergen

What’s next for you?
A new multi-disc. collaboration with BLAM Collective (with Billy Marchenski and Michael Greyeyes) called The World is The World.

What was your first professional job?
As Rose in the premiere of Marie Clement’s Burning Vision, a
co-pro with urban ink and Rumble Productions.

Where is your favorite place to be?
Under trees, beside water under a big sky. Mountains help.

Who is one of your heroes?
My son, Nodin. I’m learning how to see the world through eyes that are clean and heart-driven and spirit-connected. I find it really humbling and inspiring to give witness to his journey.

What’s your favourite dessert?
Thanks to a slew of allergies, the closest I ever get
to real people dessert is in Fantasy Land.

Favorite childhood toy?
A bright yellow ball that I stole from K-Mart when I was a kid.

1Performance highlights include: Where the Blood Mixes (Theatre North West); The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (Firehall Arts Centre; Western Canada Theatre/National Arts Centre); Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout (Western Canada Theatre), The Unnatural and Accidental Women (Native Earth Performing Arts); Burning Vision (Western Canada Theatre/Rumble Productions).

New theatre/ dance works currently in development: The Seventh Fire; The World is The World (BLAM Collective); The Art of Peace (Pounds per Square Inch).

2 Western Canada Theatre Company (Kamloops) / NAC English Theatre Company co-production.

God and The Indian: Thomas Hauff

For our cross-nation partnership with Firehall Arts Centre, we’re bringing Toronto and Vancouver audiences Drew Hayden Taylor’s God and The Indian, in Aki Studio May 2 – 17, 2015. Following the Toronto premiere, the production returns to Vancouver where it runs May 20 – 30, 2015.

In Taylor’s two-hander, directed by Renae MorriseauToronto-based actor Thomas Hauff takes on the role of Assistant Bishop George King. King is caught off-guard by the sudden arrival of Johnny (played by Lisa C. Ravensbergen), a Cree woman who follows him after recognizing King from her childhood in a residential school.

He’s confronted by someone who believes something about himself that he’s doesn’t believe to be true…

Thomas Hauff has worked professionally as an actor for most of his life,  appearing on stages across Canada and in film, television and commercials.1  He previously performed in Weesageechak Begins to Dance workshops for Yvette Nolan’s Annie Mae’s Movement and Stretching Hide by Dale Lakevold.

In preparing for his role in God and The Indian, Hauff found himself excited by the doubt presented in the script. “[Assistant Bishop King] is a man who is caught in a difficult situation. He’s confronted by someone who believes something about himself that he’s doesn’t believe to be true and he has to convince her otherwise.”

Though the last of the residential schools closed in 1996, Taylor’s God and The Indian brings attention to the issues still affecting Indigenous people in Canada today. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada indicates there are still an estimated 80,000 former students who are living and dealing with the impact of a childhood spent in an institution that sought to eliminate Indigenous culture.

Anything that starts the conversation about this situation and the effects on people of the residential schools is great.

The rehearsal process has been illuminating for Hauff. “It’s been exiting and challenging to explore with everyone. Lisa and Renae both bring a perspective that I don’t have,” he says. “It’s really interesting to sit back and listen to them discuss their ideas of the show. I’m learning from the experience.”

And that is exactly what Hauff hopes audiences will get from the show. “I hope they ask questions. Anything that starts the conversation about this situation and the effects on people of the residential schools is great.”

Audiences looking to have a discussion about the issues addressed in the play are invited to stay after the preview matinee on Sunday May 3rd for a post-show talk with Elder-in-training Christine Gijig and Director of Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice, Anglican Church of Canada, Henriette Thompson.

God and The Indian runs in Toronto May 2 – 17, and moves to Vancouver May 20 – 30, 2015. More Information on Talks

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Tidbits About Thomas Hauff

What advice would you give to someone
who wants to do what you do?
Explore it and find out if you NEED to do it.

First professional role?
As Slightly Soiled, one of the Lost Boys,
in Peter Pan for the Vancouver International Festival.

What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
Getting work and doing it well.

Where is your favorite place to be?
I like to go home and relax after the show.

What ability would you like to steal from another artist?

Do you speak any other languages?
I can speak German.

1 Favourite theatre roles: Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Stratford Festival of Canada), James Tyrone in Moon for the Misbegotten (Theatre New Brunswick), Matthew Cuthbert in Anne (Blyth Festival, Theatre Calgary), James Donnelly in Sticks and Stones (Blyth Festival), both Angus and Morgan in different productions of The Drawer Boy (Theatre Passe Muraille, Waterloo Stage Company), Alfred in Stretching Hide (Manitoba Theatre Projects), and The Haushofmeister in Ariadne Auf Naxos (Canadian Opera Company).

Film: Adoration, Away From Her, Who Has Seen the Wind.

Television: The Listener, Universal Soldier, Sue Thomas F.B. Eye, A Season on the Brink, 9B, Friday the 13th, Top Cops’and Night Heat.