Category Archives: 2019/2020 Season

Jimmy Blais: How do we judge the ways people take on the world?

“[It’s] a story about how we choose to see people, how we judge or not judge the way they take on the world.

In Sonny’s Blues by award-winning writer James Baldwin, two brothers who grow up under the same circumstances in Harlem, end up living entirely different lives. As one brother becomes a teacher, the other struggles with addiction, incarceration, and redemption through his musical talent. Jimmy Blais’ adaptation takes the core of this story and explores it through an Indigenous perspective.

Originally developed at The National Theatre School’s Indigenous Artists in Residence program, Sonny’s Way follows two Indigenous brothers, Jeff and Sonny who try to reconnect after life has dealt them many difficult cards. Blais’ new compelling story challenges how we perceive addicts and questions why certain ways of dealing with trauma are considered “better” than others. How do we judge the ways people take on the world — ourselves included? 

Catch Jimmy Blais’ newest creation on the opening night of Weesageechak 32!


Learn more about Jimmy Blais

What inspired you to create the piece you’re bringing to Weesageechak 32?
I saw so many similarities between the characters in James Baldwin’s beautiful short story, Sonny’s Blues and the characters in my life.

Why is Weesageechak the right place to present your work?
An opportunity to work on an Indigenous piece, alongside Indigenous artists and present it in a festival that celebrates new Indigenous works and works-in-development…uh yes, yes and yes…it’s a no brainer.

What kind of reaction or effect do you want your piece to have to the audience?
I want people to laugh when it’s funny, tear up when it’s moving, and think when it’s over.

Where do you find your inspiration for your creative work?
In the banality, the beauty, and the complexity of people.

Who is your role model? How do they inspire you?
The joker who laughs when they are alone. They carry the fire, always.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
You are not stuck in traffic.
You ARE traffic.
Know your place.

What are you craving right now?
A hammock by a lake.

What is coming up next for you?
Tomorrow.
Also, Porte Parole’s The Assembly at The Segal Centre, National Arts Centre and multiple cities in Germany.

Photos by Laurence Plouffe


Wednesday November 13, 2019

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Mimi O’Bonsawin: An intimate and honest place

“I often encourage people who want to walk the path of the artist, to look at the world through creative lenses, to use every sound, story, smell, feeling…they surround us as inspiration for art.”

After her summer tour around Turtle Island, Mimi comes to Toronto for the opening of the 32nd annual Weesageechak festival! A contemporary roots songwriter, Mimi is strongly influenced by her Indigenous and Francophone heritage. Infused with her positive energy, her music embodies the powerful scenery of Northern Ontario and the beauty of its waters.

Mimi was recently awarded the 2019 Best Pop Album at the Indigenous Music Awards for her 2017 album Connected. Some of Mimi’s career highlights include opening for Buffy Sainte-Marie, performing at Cannes, and sharing the stage with Crystal Shawanda, Francesco Yates, Tom Wilson and more. Her newest release, TRILLIUM, is a collection of acoustic songs and a compelling, intimate follow-up to her two previous works. We’re very delighted to have her join us for Weesageechak’s opening stage on November 13th!


Learn more about Mimi O’Bonsawin

Why is Weesageechak the right place to present your work?
For the past 7 years, I have been cutting my teeth and expanding my craft as a songwriter. Putting together A SHOW is something that I have always loved to do and I’m excited to share my art at Weesageechak 2019. While studying performing arts, I realized that performing as a songwriter has many similarities to acting or dance.

What kind of reaction or effect do you want your piece to have to the audience?
If someone can find a reflection in a moment of a song, I will feel fulfilled. My songs are deeply rooted in story and come from an intimate and honest place – a place of Love.

Where do you find your inspiration for your creative work?
My surroundings, my heritage, my family, my passion and my love for the earth. I often encourage people who want to walk the path of the artist, to look at the world through creative lenses to use every sound, story, smell, feeling … they surround us as inspiration for art.

Who is your role model? How do they inspire you?
Musically, many people inspire my craft. My band mates, my teachers/elders, the people I meet and share moments with – those are my true inspiration.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
RISK IT

What are you craving right now?
Peace, tranquility, quiet.

What is coming up next for you?
Growing, learning, and creating. I am going to be recording and composing new material, setting up more touring and continuing to find my way through art.


Wednesday November 13, 2019

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2-Spirit Cabaret Call for Submissions

in partnership with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Native Earth and Buddies partner once again to bring back another exciting evening of the 2-Spirit Cabaret as part of Weesageechak Begins to Dance 32. A celebration of the strength, beauty, and talent of queer and 2-Spirit Indigenous people, the Cabaret features music, dance, drag, performance art, spoken word, poetry and comedy curated by award-winning 2-Spirit theatre artist Michaela Washburn.

Sold-out for three years in a row, the fourth edition of the Cabaret will be held on Saturday November 16, 2019 at The Chamber, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Please submit a one-page Letter of Interest describing your proposed performance piece (5-10 minutes in length) and connection to 2-Spirit and/or queer / trans experience or identity.

Please also include with your submission:

  • Name, Address, Phone number, Email address;
  • High resolution headshot in JPG, PNG or EPS format;
  • 100 word bio;
  • Your Indigenous identity and/or Nation;
  • A writing sample (up to 5 pages) or video (up to 5 minutes) for the proposed piece.

About: The 32nd annual Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival is a celebration of new works and works in development produced by Native Earth Performing Arts, Canada’s oldest professional Indigenous theatre company. Each November, Native Earth selects dance, theatre and interdisciplinary works reflecting Indigenous performing arts in Canada and internationally, and provide development support and a workshop production during the two-week festival. In order for a submission to be eligible, the primary artist(s) must identify as Indigenous.

Learn more about the 2-Spirit Cabaret here, and Weesageechak festival here.

Please submit your Letter of Interest and the required support material by mail or email:

Native Earth Performing Arts
#250 – 585 Dundas Street East
Toronto, ON
M5A 2B7
festival@nativeearth.ca

For questions related to the 2-Spirit Cabaret submission process, please call 416-531-1402.

Click here to download the PDF.


See 2-Spirit Cabaret 2018 Line-Up

Photos by Dahlia Katz


See 2-Spirit Cabaret 2017 Line-Up

Photos by Jake Jamieson


See 2-Spirit Cabaret 2016 Line-Up

Photos by Connie Tsang


Native Earth and Buddies

Header image features Michaela Washburn, photo by Tanja Tiziana

Ways to Save

Here are ways you can save to see some of our 2019/20 shows:


THEATRE PACKAGE: 2 SHOWS FOR $45*
Includes one ticket to each of the following productions:
This Is How We Got Here by Keith Barker 
Sir John A by Drew Hayden Taylor

*Regular single tickets are $25-$30. Price include HST.


DANCE PACKAGE: 2 SHOWS FOR $45*
Includes one ticket to each of the following productions:
Omaagomaan by Waawaate Fobister
Maggie & Me: A Healing Dance by Christine Friday

*Regular single tickets are $25-$30. Price include HST.


SEASON BUNDLE: 4 SHOWS FOR $80*
Includes one ticket to each of the following productions:
This Is How We Got Here by Keith Barker 
Omaagomaan by Waawaate Fobister
Maggie & Me: A Healing Dance by Christine Friday

Sir John A by Drew Hayden Taylor

*Regular single tickets are $25-$30. Price include HST.


ADD WEESAGEECHAK 32 FESTIVAL PASS FOR $50**!
Full W32 artist line-up will be announced in August 1, 2019.
**Festival Pass is available until October 20, 2019. Regular price is $60. Price include HST. We will send out an email in September 2019 with the full festival schedule.


Please Note: We will send out an email in Fall 2020 with the full show times for you to choose which dates you would like to attend. 

ONLY AVAILABLE UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2019.