All posts by Native Earth

Brian Solomon: “Let’s Get Frightened Together”

Native Earth’s annual Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 is not just about new written work, but also explores new movement pieces. Another talented artist we’re thrilled to have with us is Brian Solomon, Dora and Gemini Award nominated dancer of Métis-Anishnaabe descent.

Brian Solomon is from the Northern Ontario village Killarney-Shebanoning. He is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and holds a MA of performance from the Laban Center.
Solomon has presented his works (Visual Art, Theatre, Dance) across Canada, Berlin, Ingolstadt, Bamberg, Amsterdam and London.

For Weesageechak Begins to Dance, Solomon is working with Justin Many Fingers on What’s Left of Us, a new piece featured on the festival’s night of dance.  “Mr. Manyfingers approached me about creating a work that would investigate our ‘deformed’ left hands,” says Solomon. “This frightened the crap out of me. So I said yes — lets get frightened together.”

“Re-shaping the cultural landscape of Turtle Island.”

As a creator, Solomon is passionate about helping people relearn the infinite possibilities of their ‘forgotten bodies’, and guiding them to take back the space those bodies occupy. Rarely present in Toronto, Solomon says bringing his work to the Weesageechak festival is about participating in the its extensive history of investment in new Indigenous works.

“There is a fantastic representation of artists from across the country. These artists are fresh, and re-shaping the cultural landscape of Turtle Island. Who doesn’t want to be apart of that?”

Solomon and co-creator, German visual artist Judy Ross, won best prize for experimental film at the Watch Out! film festival in Macedonia this past year for their film The Filmmaker.  Solomon has performed for a multitude of choreographers and companies across Canada, the US and Europe. He has also taught for several arts institutions and companies, including one of Europe’s foremost universities for acting, H.F.S. Ernst Busch (Berlin).


Some bits and bobs about Brian Solomon

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do? Study as many different forms as possible, becoming a master of at least one. Make a fire to destroy them. Mix the ashes with water and begin to paint your stories.

What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
Relating to society, and giving back to it

Thanks Brian!


Read about fellow Dancers:
Santee Smith, Justin ManyFingers, & Starr Muranko

You can catch What’s Left of Us on Friday, Nov 21st @ 7:30pm with a Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 Festival Pass.
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Santee Smith: “Land, Body, and Spirit”

Native Earth’s annual Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 is not just about new written work, but also explores new movement pieces. This year we’re thrilled to have Santee Smith, award-winning choreographer, dancer, and the founding Artistic Director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre join us.

Santee Smith, who had her theatrical debut with Native Earth Performing Arts in Baby Blues by Drew Hayden Taylor at Theatre Passe Muraille in 1997, joins us in the second week of the festival to share her newest work.

“Being a part of Weesageechak Begins to Dance allows my dreaming to be a part of the imaginative weaving of new Indigenous performance, and to be included in the collective voice that emanates from our land, body, and spirit.”

Smith will be showcasing a glimpse at her piece, Re-Quickening, which examines Indigenous women’s issues and rejuvenates the seeds of feminine power. “It explores how to awaken, restore, and reconnect the powerful and sacred spaces within Konkwehón:we (women),” says Smith. “How can we re-quicken the essential intact feminine?”

“Imaginative weaving of new Indigenous performance”

Smith’s dance journey began early, attending Canada’s National Ballet School. She holds Kinesiology and Psychology degrees from McMaster University and an M.A in Dance from York University, and produced her first choreography, Kaha:wi in 2004, before going on to found Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. Smith performs internationally and was a recent recipient of a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Choreography in the Dance Division.

Smith’s artistic work speaks about identity and humanity, and feels at home in the Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival. “Weesageechak opens space to dream, to learn, and to experience. Audiences become a witness to the visioning process that celebrates Indigenous voice and story.”

Smith is celebrating ten years of creating and producing dance performance as the founding Artistic Director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (KDT). Smith will be keeping busy with this year’s KDT season, which is packed including their national tenth anniversary tour of TransMigration, Pan Am’s Panamania commission of sport/dance fusion Tkaronto Bounce, touring of NeoIndigenA; Powwow Boot Camps and more.


Some bits and bobs about Santee Smith

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do? Train, be a life-long learner and work/play with passion. Open your heart and spirit to the creative force and boldly pursue your vision. Be thankful and acknowledge your gifts everyday.

Describe your ideal environment for creating.
Working in a movement based art practice, my ideal environment would be an open, activated, supported and inspired space such as a calm studio or outdoors in the natural world and to be working with artists that are receptive and generous.

What are you thinking right before you begin a play?
I invite myself to dance in the place between worlds, move amidst the seen and unseen, channeling dreams and visioning. Visioning unfolds when my thinking mind slips sideways, so I try to bypass the thoughts and access creative energies. The night before I start rehearsal, I can’t sleep, like it’s the first day of school.

Where is your favorite place to be?
Travelling the world with my daughter, basically anywhere close to my girl. Our favorite place is Kyoto, Japan.

The one word your best friend would use to describe you?
Muppet

Thanks Santee!


Read about fellow Dancers:
Starr Murkanko, Brian Solomon, & Justin Many Fingers

You can catch Re-Quickening on Friday, Nov 21st @ 7:30pm.
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Naja Dyrendom Graugaard: “Pride, Support and Community”

Audiences are already talking about the incredibly talented line-up for Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27.  Not only are there talented artists from across Turtle Island, but also from across the pond, like emerging Danish/Inuit playwright Naja Dyrendom Graugaard.

Naja Dyrendom Graugaard HeadshotWith a Masters Degree focusing on a combination of Inuit knowledge and Indigenous performance and storytelling, Naja Dyrendom Graugaard is a perfect fit for Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27. “Where I come from (Denmark and Greenland) we lack festivals and forums like Weesageechak Begins to Dance where the work of both established and emerging Indigenous artists is celebrated,” says Dyrendom Graugaard. “This is a unique opportunity!”

Inua, Dyrendom Graugaard explains, is a story based on the life and memories of her Inuit grandmother from Greenland, the colonial legacies in her family, and the experiences as a mixed-race woman in Denmark. Dyrendom Graugaard was compelled to write this piece as part of building and creating a “living memory” of Inuit experiences, pressuring neo-colonial narratives and re-creating Inuit ways of life.

“I hope that my two-year old daughter will also experience and learn the importance of her own future work to express and celebrate her experiences as a Danish-Inuit-Anishinaabe woman of the next generation – and feel pride, support and community!”

“This is a unique opportunity!”

In the past few years, Naja Dyrendom Graugaard has explored various ways in which theatre can be a space of decolonization, recreation and co-creation. She has co-written and acted in various community theatre performances, and worked and trained with Judith Koltai-Peavy (Victoria), Odin Teatret (Denmark), and Alternative Living Theatre (India). In 2013, Naja was a guest teacher at Greenland’s National Theatre School in Nuuk (Greenland) where she taught movement, voice and “collective creation.”


Some bits and bobs about Naja Dyrendom Graugaard

What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
To create art in balance with Mother Earth, to resist reproducing hierarchies in the theatre, and to continue to free our voices from oppressive and dualistic ways of narrating the world.

Where is your favorite place to be?
Hiking the mountains and valleys around my family village in Arsuk (South-West Greenland) – or in a boat on its coastline or in its fjords.

What’s your favourite dessert?
Liqourice!

Thanks Naja!


You can catch Inua on Tuesday, November 18th @ 7:30pm, a part Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 Festival Pass. More About Tickets

Yvette Nolan: “There Will Be Dancing!”

Audiences will certainly be familiar with this next award-winning artist. Joining us in Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 is Yvette Nolan (Algonquin), renowned playwright, dramaturge and director.

As Former Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts, Nolan has a great history with the Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival.

“Weesageechak is the sneak preview of what will be happening in Indigenous performance in the next few years,” explains Nolan.  “It is the opportunity to see so much Indigenous talent in one place, at one time, inter-generational, multidisciplinary.”

In this year’s festival, Nolan will be working on three projects at three different stages of development.  As dramaturge, Nolan will work with Kenneth T. Williams and his “ink-still-wet” drama In Care, about how we create organisations without imitating the colonizer, how we protect our children, how we heal our communities.

She will also work with emerging playwright Naja Dyrendom Graugaard on her piece Inua, which Dyrendom Graugaard wrote as part of her Masters at York. Dyrendom Graugaard has not yet had the opportunity to see this work “on its feet”, but with the support of Nolan, the Weesageechak festival and its company of artists, Dyrendom Graugaard will get just that.

“We have been dreaming together for a few years,” says Yvette. “There will be dancing!”

As a creator at this year’s festival, Nolan will be working with the Māori and Pacific Island (New Zealand) artists of Tawata Productions on a project called Waka/Ciimaan. Waka and Ciimaan are the Māori and Anishinaabemowin words for “canoe” and this piece will explore water as a driving force in both creation stories and ultimately the connecting link between all of humanity. “We have been dreaming together for a few years,” says Yvette. “There will be dancing!”

Next up for Nolan will be Falen Johnson’s Salt Baby at the Globe in Regina, for which she is director. In March 2015, Nolan’s play The Unplugging will be co-produced by Native Earth and Factory Theatre. Also this spring, her book Medicine Shows, about Native theatre in Canada, will be published.

Nolan’s plays include BLADE, Job’s Wife, Annie Mae’s Movement, Scattering Jake and The Unplugging. Directing credits include Tombs of the Vanishing Indian, Salt Baby, A Very Polite Genocide, Death of a Chief, Tales of An Urban Indian, The Unnatural and Accidental Women, Annie Mae’s Movement (Native Earth), The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (WCTC/National Arts Centre), The Only Good Indian…, The Triple Truth (Turtle Gals).


Some bits and bobs about Yvette Nolan

What was your first job in theatre?
I am a theatre rat. I have hung lights, built props, stage managed dance, built sound tapes (on reel-to-reel, yet), laid dance floor, written program copy, played the dead mother in LOOT, coordinated costumes, ran a theatre company…

What’s your favourite dessert?
Cheese. A cheese plate.
Three kinds: a soft, a blue and a hard.

What’s your favorite line from a play?
“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are…if you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little…”
Henry in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?
You don’t have to do it all at once. Just write for forty-five minutes.

Who are some of your favorite writers? favorite playwrights? Margaret Atwood, Judith Thompson, Joseph Boyden, Michael Crummey, Miriam Toews, Marie Clements.

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?  A Geography of Blood by Candace Savage, The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King, The Book of Jessica by Maria Campbell and Linda Griffiths.

What are you reading right now?
The most recent New Yorker.

What are you thinking right before you begin a play?
I wonder if I should do the dishes.

Thanks Yvette!


You can catch Waka/Ciimaan on Thursday, Nov 20th @ 7:30pm with a Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 Festival Pass.
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Nicole Joy-Fraser: “My Idea of Happiness”

Returning to the Aki Studio stage for Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 is performance artist Nicole Joy-Fraser. Toronto-based artist of Woodland Cree, Métis and European descent.

Nicole Joy-Fraser is thrilled to be returning to the Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival immediately after performing in Keith Barkerʼs The Hours That Remain at Magnus Theatre in Thunder Bay.

“The opportunity to create, discuss, explore the Indigenous experience through storytelling is a lifetime passion of mine and doing this with other like-minded artists and then sharing that expression with an audience is my idea of happiness,” says Joy-Fraser.

“I am always open to lending my voice, body and spirit to helping tell a fellow Indigenous artists’ story. Becoming a vessel to relay a message and make an impact is part of what moves me as an artist and to have have that exchange with an audience is totally rewarding.”

“Becoming a vessel to relay a message and make an impact”

With the recent rise of Indigenous rights making headlines, and the environmental crisis becoming more and more apparent, Joy-Fraser believes audiences owe it to themselves to come to see the work at Weesageechak Begins to Dance.  It’s a chance “to understand how we as a people have come to be in this world, to understand our perspective, because that will bridge our relationship to the land and ultimately to each other and all of creation.”

Some of Joy-Fraser’s recent credits include: Stag and Doe, Kitchen Radio, World Premieres (Blyth Festival); A Man A Fish, World Premiere (Persephone Theatre); Anne of Green Gables, Evangeline World Premiere (The Charlottetown Festival). Selected Credits: The Penelopiad (Nightwood Theatre); Raven Stole the Sun (Red Sky/Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad); Tombs of the Vanishing Indian (Native Earth/Red Diva) Giiwedin-A First Nations Opera (Native Earth/AIRR)


Some bits and bobs about Nicole Joy-Fraser

What was your first job in theatre?
I was exempted from my final term of training at the Randolph Academy to join the original North American cast of Mamma Mia! at the Royal Alex Theatre which was totally a dream come true.

What’s next for you?
A workshop of “Evangeline” with Citadel Theatre and Charlottetown Festival and then Spy Denomné-Welch’s workshop of his next opera which will be sung in Anishnaabe-mowin, French and English.

Thanks Nicole!


You can catch Nicole Joy-Fraser on various nights throughout the festival with a Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 Festival Pass. More About Tickets

Kitsuné Soleil: “A Fire in My Heart”

Returning to the Aki Studio stage for Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 is award-winning Cree performance artist, and recent graduate of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Kitsuné Soleil.

Kitsuné Soleil is an actor & model from Mistawasis First Nations, who enjoys engaging in community arts & her Indigenous culture.

“There’s a fire in my heart that has a special burn for theatre, the right-in-the-moment urgency that unfolds before your eyes that can’t be captured in a book or on film; moreover, the Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival has Indigenous roots,” says Soleil. “I have volunteered for the festivities, and in recent years been part of the acting company for the festival.”

Soleil, who appeared in The Portkey directed by Muriel Miguel, enjoys participating in the festival, and believes it is important that Indigenous stories are told. “Plus, it makes me feel super special to share the stage with all these wonderful, juicy Natives!”

Winner of the Best Actress at the Dreamspeakers Film Festival for her role in Close to Death, directed by Brandi Boulet, Soleil appeared in Clay & Paper Theatre’s Our Last Best Hope, directed by David Anderson.  She is also a fan of dark & surreal themes, which she will be exploring in a couple future works with musical elements. Next Soleil is working on a couple stories, doing the auditioning thing, and knitting her cats some sweaters.


Some bits and bobs about Kitsuné Soleil

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do? Just play and have fun with whatever you do in life, if you want to act, be an artist, writer, etc… you won’t know until you get your hands dirty. Talk to people who are doing what you want to do, read articles about it, take classes, and all that jazz.

Describe your ideal writing environment.
There’s not too much that distracts me when it comes to writing, I am constantly writing notes on my phone, if I have pen/paper I have to put it down immediately, otherwise it floats away. Even when it comes to songs, I need to record it on my phone, doesn’t matter where I am, walking, on the bus, even at work I keep a notepad nearby, etc… I’m there with phone in hand trapping melodies in virtual space before it escapes!

What was your first job in theatre?
That would be when I got to be a part of Clay & Paper Theatre’s summer ensemble a couple years back. I played the Garbage Man, and it was a community theatre experience with shows in the park, masks, puppets, and balls, that’s right I got to wear a pair of balls!

What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
Getting started, having motivation. You really have to keep your train running because it’s so easy to slip behind,
but that’s every profession I guess…

What’s your favourite dessert?
Cheesecake or coconut ice cream thingies.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?
Well, when I had my piece read to a new group of writers, the entire room lit up with smiles and excitement. I thought that was funny because I was cringing in my seat at how vulgar some of my characters were. The advice I got from it was “keep it up”.

Where is your favorite place to be?
In the wilderness looking at birds.

What is one of your pet peeves?
Not being able to find my other shoe.

Who is one of your heroes?
Hands down, Bettie Page!

The one word your best friend would use to describe you? Samuraipizzacat

Who would you most like to have dinner with?
Dusty Rose, that tumbleweed!

Thanks Kitsuné!


You can catch Kitsuné Soleil on various nights throughout the festival with a Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 Festival Pass.
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Brian Quirt: “Intriguing and Exciting Work”

Helping to bring to light work in Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27  are a great number of extraordinary dramaturg/directors. One of these is Brian Quirt, who will be directing an excerpt of Uprooted, by Animikiig Training Program playwright Cheyenne Scott.

Brian Quirt is the Artistic Director of Nightswimming and Director of the Banff Centre Playwrights Colony. Two-time recipient of the LMDA’s Elliott Hayes Award for Dramaturgy, and two-time Dora Mavor Award nominee for direction, Quirt is excited to be working as dramaturg/director with an emerging playwright in the Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival.

“I’ve always loved this festival for its tremendous creative energy, the quality of the work and the chance to meet artists from across the country,” says Quirt. “It generates some of the most intriguing and exciting work in Canada!”

“It generates some of the most intriguing and exciting work in Canada!”

Quirt has been Dramaturg at Factory Theatre and The Theatre Centre, and Dramaturgical Associate at the Canadian Stage Company, and he has created seven of his own plays, most recently Why We Are Here! (with Martin Julien).

This season he will be directing Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box at Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre and the premiere of Anita Majumdar’s Fish Eyes Trilogy at GCTC, PuSh Festival, Belfry Theatre and the Banff Centre.


Some bits and bobs about Brian Quirt

What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
Commanding relevance on our own terms.

Who are some of your favorite playwrights?
Suzan-Lori Parks. Caryl Churchill. Anosh Irani. Don Druick.

What’s your favorite line from a  play?
From Don Druick’s Through the Eyes: “The disappointment of expectations makes us foreign to our own universe.”

Where is your favorite place to be?
By a lake.

Thanks Brian!


Catch Cheyenne Scott’s Uprooted on Wednesday, November 19th @ 7:30pm, a part of the Animikiig Emerging Artists’ Evening with a Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 Festival Pass. More About Tickets

Jani Lauzon: “A Great Way to Inspire”

Featured in the first week of Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27is founding member of Turtle Gals,  Jani Lauzon. A multifaceted artist, Lauzon is  a three-time Dora Mavor Moore nominated actress, a three-time Juno nominated singer/songwriter and a Gemini Award winning puppeteer.

Jani Lauzon is of Métis heritage, and originally from East Kootenay, British Columbia. She returns to Native Earth’s annual festival to present her piece I Call Myself Princess, a play with music, which she has been developing as Playwright-in-Residence with Cahoots Theatre Company, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

“I am at an age where looking back is inherent. But not to dwell, to inspire. The play borrows from Tsianina Redfeather’s life as a touring Mezzo-Soprano in a world construct that was, in part, more complicated than what we experience now,” explains Lauzon. “By examining her choices, a young Métis Opera student is able to better contextualize his own life experience.”

Lauzon is honoured to be working with Ruth Madoc-Jones as Director, Marjorie Chan as Dramaturge and Kevin McGugan as Musical Director on this amazing and important story. She explains that returning to Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival is about community. “[It’s] a safe place to present the work in it’s tender stage of development. This is the birth of new ideas. The most important part of the creation process. And, a great way to inspire the creative process within ourselves.”

“This is the birth of new ideas. The most important part of the creation process.”

Lauzon has countless theatre, film and radio credits to her name. Her memorable theatre appearances include; Cordelia/Fool in King Lear and Yvette in the Mother Courage (NAC); White Girl in Almighty Voice and His Wife (GCTC), and Shylock in Merchant of Venice (SITR). Television guest appearances include Saving Hope, Hard Rock Medical, Destiny Ridge and Conspiracy of Silence.

In January 2015, she will produce her play A Side of Dreams at the Aki Studio. She will also further develop her one woman performance art exploration Prophecy Fog at the Banff Playwrights Colony in April.


Some bits and bobs about Jani Lauzon

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do? Train and take classes. If I was to hire you as an actor I would want to know that you have a set of skills.

Who are some of your favorite writers? favorite playwrights?
David Mamet, Shakespeare, Marie Clements,
Lynn Riggs, Hone Kouka.

Describe your ideal writing environment.
In the bush, with a fireplace.
But that is hardly possible so my home is now my sanctuary.

What was your first job in theatre?
I started as a street performer. Busking. Great actors training.

What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
The “isms”. Ageism, racism, ….

What ability would you like to steal from another writer?
The use of metaphor in the language.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?
Be disciplined.

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?
Three Day Road, The book of Jessica, Anything on the history of John A MacDonald from an Aboriginal perspective.

What is one of your pet peeves?
Assumed privilege.

The one word your best friend would use to describe you?
Intense.

Who are your heroes?
My mom, Buffy St. Marie (my role model growing up),
and my daughter Tara.

Thanks Jani!


Catch I Call Myself Princess on Thursday, November 13th @ 7:30pm with a Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 Festival Pass.
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Michaela Washburn: “Home Away from Home”

Returning to the Aki Studio stage for Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 is performance artist and two-time Dora Mavor Award nominee Michaela Washburn Of English, Irish, French and Cree descent, this Métis artist hails from Leduc, Alberta and is now based in Toronto, Ontario.

“Native Earth is a home away from home for me, and it is always an honour to be a part of the birth of new creations, especially those expanding the canon of Indigenous voices in the arts.”

Michaela Washburn is a graduate, on scholarship, from Toronto’s Second City’s Conservatory Program. Washburn has not only graced the Aki Studio stage, but her work has taken her across the country and internationally, including festivals and theatres in Wales, Aruba and throughout the United States.

Washburn has a particular appreciation for those who attend the theatre, “Audiences are precious and as storytellers we need you.” When preparing to go on stage Washburn makes certain to acknowledge them.

“Audiences are precious and as storytellers we need you.”

“Right before going on the deck, I gather up energy from all directions, give thanks for the opportunity, and ask that the exchange between the audience and storytellers be full of breath and inspiration and that it happens in a good way. Then I break the energy in two, toss one out to the audience and one to the stage.”

For this year’s Weesageechak Begins to Dance  festival Washburn will work alongside director/dramaturg Yvette Nolan, actor Kieth Barker, and playwright Kenneth T. Williams, and to this she says, “BOO YAH…Ever Lucky Me!!!”

Happy to be home with Native Earth once again, once the Weesageechak festival wraps up Washburn will head North for Yvette Nolan’s The Unplugging (North Road Theatre) in January. Then audiences can catch her with VideoCabaret’s Trudeau and the FLQ in rep with Trudeau and the PQ this spring at Soulpepper.


Some bits and bobs about Michaela Washburn

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do? Instant forgiveness. Be willing to work hard, listen deeply, believe in yourself and never lose the heart of a beginner…always remain curious and teachable.

Who are some of your favorite writers? favorite playwrights?
Darrell Dennis and Richard Wagamese are two of my favorite writers, and some of my favorite playwrights are Tara Beagan, Kevin Loring, Yvette Nolan and Judith Thompson.

Describe your ideal writing environment.
In a cozy cedar log cabin in the woods, with a wood-burning fireplace and swimmable water near by.

What was your first job in theatre?
My first paid theatre gig was Daniel David Moses’ The Dreaming Beauty with De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre Group.

What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
In Canada, I think one of our biggest struggles is funding for the arts, and our federal government’s lack of support and understanding for the importance of arts and culture in creating and maintaining a healthy society.

What ability would you like to steal from another writer?
The courage and discipline to just show up with the quantity and trust the Creator to help me with the quality.

What’s your favorite line from a book, or play, or favourite lyric from a song? “There’s a difference between being an elder and just being old.” Darrell Dennis, Tales of an Urban Indian.

Who is one of your heroes?
My fiancée. She is one of the bravest people I know.

Who would you most like to have dinner with?
If Michelle Polak isn’t available, then Ellen DeGeneres.

Thanks Michaela!


You can catch Michaela Washburn on various nights throughout the festival with a Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 Festival Pass.
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Daniel David Moses: “Joys and Anguish”

Another household name in Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 is playwright and poet Daniel David Moses A trailblazer among Canada’s First Nations writers, Moses hails from the Six Nations Grand River.

Author of Almighty Voice and His Wife, part of the canon of great Canadian drama and now included in The Norton Anthology of Drama, 2nd Edition, Volume 2: The Nineteenth Century to the Present, Daniel David Moses brings to Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 his latest work Crazy Dave Goes to Town.

“This play is inspired by the memoir Crazy Dave by great Anishinnaabe storyteller Basil Johnston, which was inspired by his Uncle David, a guy with Downs Syndrome, and his Grandmother Rosa, and the life they and the rest of their family led at Cape Croker between the World Wars,” explains Moses. “A cunning way to tell a community’s history with both its joys and anguish.”

Moses’s plays include The Dreaming Beauty (a winner of the 1990 Theatre Canada National Playwrighting Competition), and Coyote City (a nominee for the 1991 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama), his first stage play, which saw early development in a Native Earth workshop in 1987.

“A cunning way to tell a community’s history with both its joys and anguish.”

“Even after all these twenty seven plus years, [the Weesageechak festival] is still the place you can be sure your story about First Nations folks will get a hearing and maybe a showing,” says Moses. “The audience doesn’t have to be only entertained, although we do that too…”

Moses continues to write poetry, and his most recent collections are River Range (a CD with original music by David Deleary) and A Small Essay on the Largeness of Light and Other Poems (2012).


Some bits and bobs about Daniel David Moses

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do? Be good to your actors. This is a team sport. Give them neat things to perform. They’ll make your words as big as they can be,
even the small talk parts.

Describe your ideal writing environment.
The morning, after breakfast, with a cup of coffee
and the sun on the rise.

Why should audiences come to the Weesageechak festival?
You should ask for four reasons. This is an Aboriginal festival.
Four directions? So I guess my answer is you get to look at those other three directions, beside the forward one.
Past is present, too, at the event, as is spirit and thought.
Audiences appreciate being able to do that.

What’s next for you?
I can’t tell you that. The contract hasn’t been signed yet.
Don’t want to jinx it.

Thanks Daniel!


You can catch Crazy Dave Goes to Town on Thursday, Nov 20th @ 7:30pm with a Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 Festival Pass.
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