Native Earth poised to open a new chapter
Native Earth launches its 28th season, which is themed Still Here, with the announcement that Artistic Director Yvette Nolan will leave the company at the close of the Weesageechak Festival in January. “Yvette Nolan has been the driving force in making Native Earth Performing Arts the leading Aboriginal cultural organization in Canada and I thank her for her tireless efforts and wish her all the best as she starts on a new path,” Board President Jesse Wente says. “Native Earth looks forward to inviting a new visionary to guide the organization into its expansive future.” The Board of Directors is currently accepting applications from fierce artists whose leadership vision embraces the seven guiding principles of Generosity, Courage, Tolerance, Strength of Character, Humility, Patience, and Wisdom.
Canada’s oldest Aboriginal performing arts organization has been helmed in the past by such luminaries as Daniel David Moses, Jani Lauzon, Drew Hayden Taylor, Tomson Highway and founders Denis Lacroix and Bunny Sicard. Over its 28 year history, Native Earth has trained, developed and presented the work of this country’s leading Aboriginal artists.
Nolan’s leadership has established the organization as a powerhouse of artistic vision and integrity. Over her tenure the company has grown four-fold, increasing staff, revenues, reach and community through several ambitious initiatives, including:
• Honouring Theatre, a tri-nation alliance mapping global pathways for indigenous work, which took the company’s work to Australia, New Zealand and England,
• the Young Voices Program which trains emerging artists in a number of disciplines with an emphasis on playwrights,
• Made to Order, which brings Aboriginal perspectives into schools and communities,
• Death of a Chief, an Aboriginal adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar featuring a cast of nine, co-produced with the National Arts Centre, creatively driven by Nolan and Kennedy C. MacKinnon.
Nolan, best known as a playwright (Annie Mae’s Movement, Blade, Two Old Women, Job’s Wife) and director (George Ryga’s The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, Marie Clements’ The Unnatural and Accidental Women, Philip Adams’ Free’s Point), was recently honoured with the City of Toronto’s Access Equity and Human Rights Award and named one of Toronto’s Vital People by the Toronto Community Foundation. She is a Past President of the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Playwrights Union of Canada (now Playwrights Guild), and Playwrights Canada Press, as well as editor for Playwrights Canada Press of Beyond the Pale: Dramatic Writing from First Nations Writers and Writers of Colour.
“Organisations need change. No theatre is ever about one person, it is about a community,” says Nolan, “and that is especially true of Native Earth. Someone with energy and a vision for the community will lead this theatre into the next decade”.
As Native Earth prepares to open a new chapter, Nolan heads off to author a book of her own – one which will document and honour the legacy of Aboriginal performance that she has spent the last eight years working to elevate.
For more information visit the website at www.nativeearth.ca or call 416.531.1402.