Native Earth Performing Arts celebrates our 31st season.
“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!”
-from Quilchena our 2013/14 featured production
We all had that childhood friend who returned from summer holidays half a foot taller, hints of their adult face emerging in their familiar teenaged face and speaking in a more oaken timbre.
As Native Earth Performing Arts (NEPA) enters its second year at the Aki Studio Theatre, our home in Regent Park, we look back in wonder, paying honour to the lessons accompanied by growing pains and buoyed by rallying family.
Many First Nations have coming-of-age ceremonies. This season is ours.
Our 26th festival of new works returns, animating our Aki Studio Theatre with an illustrious home team. Weesageechak Begins to Dance will feature Toronto-based veteran, mid-career and emerging creators, with roots extending across Turtle Island, including our playwright-in-residence PJ Prudat. Artist-in-residence Archer Pechawis will bring a look at his multi-media work, Nation.
We will work with Aluna to light up the whole of Daniels Spectrum with this vibrant festival, offering Aki Studio Theatre as its beating-heart centre. Aluna and NEPA proudly acknowledge the power of the arts to extol and unify our communities, who, for several hundreds of years, have walked similar rocky and spectacular paths. This multi-arts festival boasts a collaboration between Anishnaabe Émilie Monnet of Montreal and Waira Nina from the Colombian Amazon, a multi-disciplinary exploration of the disappearance of the El Cartucho neighbourhood of Bogotá by Mapa Teatro, and an abundance of flourishing works-in-progress, bold conversatorios, earth-shaking performance art and decidedly unconventional conferences.
Native Earth’s featured production is the much-acclaimed Quilchena, directed by Artistic Director Tara Beagan. Created by Beagan and the original creative team, Quilchena 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 debut in the community of Quilchena itself, touring the west before returning to the Aki Studio Theatre and Rutas Panamericanas.
As we enter our 31st year of professional contemporary Indigenous performing arts, we have community at the centre of our work and welcome you to be a part of our growing family at the Aki Studio Theatre.
Yours in solidarity,
Tara Beagan Isaac Thomas
Artistic Director General Manager