Join us for the celebration of the next generation of creators! Native Earth’s Animikiig Creators Unit is a two-year development program for emerging Indigenous artists. From theatrical to musical, the tenth season of Animikiig features artists from across Turtle Island, including familiar faces of Weesageechak!
Animikiig Creators Unit Director: Diana Belshaw
by Jenn Forgie
Where is Home and what does it mean? Where do we Belong first?How do we release what is held in our cell memory and reintegrate with our whole embodied selves?
This is a story of a woman who finally faces the truths of her past as carried and told through her Body.
Jenn Forgie recently returned to her home province of Ontario after many years living on the West Coast, to reconnect with the arts community and to continue her personal journey to deepen her connection with her Métis and French Canadian roots. Her passion, in her work as an artist and personal life, is to explore our collective and individual experiences around the issues of belonging, identity, and community.
She is proud to be one of the 8 women artists in Aluna Theatre’s upcoming production of The Solitudes under the visionary direction of Bea Pizano. While Jenn has been a writer for most of her life, this is her first time bringing her work to the public.
Dramaturg & Mentor: Marjorie Chan
Movement Collaborator & Mentor: Heidi Strauss
Ensemble: Shandra Spears Bombay, Jenn Forgie, Cheri Maracle, Lisa Nasson
by Smith Purdy
Pouin is a work-in-progress; a play which follows a non-neurotypical protagonist navigating the world of trans health care and activism. It touches on themes of Mi’kmaq spirituality, evolutionary microbiology, and classic French literature, exploring the ways in which disparate elements interact to shape experiences and define identity. The play also seeks to capture a critical moment in trans history and offer an insider glimpse into a period of dramatic change for trans communities.
Smith Purdy is a performer and writer from the Kespu’kwitk district of Mi’Kmaq territory. Their artwork reflects their unique perspective as a Two-Spirited person with autism, looking at familiar subjects from unexpected angles. Lately, Smith has been thinking a lot about insects.
Dramaturg: Dan Watson
Ensemble: Brendan Chandler, Kathleen MacLean, and Ty Sloane
by Ty (Tyler J) Sloane
One exhibition, two choices, and three mothers. Ethan’s exploration of Liminal spaces through photography shape a weekend of new beginnings, closed doors, and choices on identity catalyzed by the need to have tangible proof of one’s intersectional identity.
Ty Sloane is a mixed race (Ojibwe/East Asian/Irish/Iberian) and Queer (Two-Spirit/Non-Binary) multidisciplinary artist. Ty has a focus in performance art as well as theatre having previously participated in Pride Toronto festival stages for political public performances and the Burlesque stage, in the Paprika Festival as a director (Witness of Obsession and Desire), as an actor at Factory Theatre (Scanner), and is presently working with the Switch Project Residency through Buddies in Bad Times Theatre which focuses on political performance.
As an artist, Ty continues to unpack many intersectionalities within their community and identity, and further develop their own understanding and journey on how identity and live performance intersect and marry. Ty’s grateful for the various support from Native Earth, the community, friends, and most importantly their mum. Miigwetch.
Dramaturg: Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
Ensemble: Cole Alvis, Yolanda Bonnell, Brendan Chandler, Jenn Forgie, Jocelyn Kraynyk, Kathleen MacLean, Nick Nahwegahbow
by Olivia Shortt
Olivia Shortt is a Toronto-based saxophonist (Anishinaabe-Irish) from Nipissing First Nation. She has performed with Polaris Prize winner Tanya Tagaq as a member of the Element Choir, opened for Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld in the Dialectica Saxophone Quartet, and recorded Robert Lemay’s Fragments Noirs with her duo Stereoscope two kilometres underground in a Neutrino Lab (SnoLab).
Dramaturg: Ross Manson
by Natalie Sappier
“In my First Nation community, I feel accepted, loved. In my community, I feel Wolastoqiyik; I see on my skin; I feel it in my spirit. But…outside that circle, I am challenged. Unknown blood in me carried by my unknown father. Half Breed blood trailed in my body from scattered lands and unknown ancestors. Half Breed, a world that is vile, mean, painful, and shameful. But I see the word as I feel the word in my Half Breed blood. Mom, tell me how it felt to carry me in your belly.”
Natalie Sappier-Samaqani Cocahq is a Wolastoqiyik Indigenous multidisciplinary artist from Tobique First Nation, New Brunswick. She began her art practice as a painter and designer, painting with style of storytelling that is rooted from Wolastoqiyik motifs. She is inspired by Wabanaki Lands and teachings, a symbolic movement she calls “dancing the four directions” which represent emotions, dance, spirit and song.
Today as she stands in the Wolastoq waters, she is witnessing our language being lost, our lands in pain, and our water crying. She feels that our stories need to be heard louder than a painting can speak. She began her path to open her spirit to learn courage to share her songs, and strength within her voice and words to share stories expressed with Indigenous heart for our people to hear and to others to learn – through our voice, through our movement from our spirit.
Dramaturg: Thomas Morgan Jones
Choreographer/Dancer: Aria Evans
Women of the Fur Trade
by Frances Koncan
The year is eighteen hundred and something something, just before the collapse of the Fur Trade. The characters are three women, trapped in a house, in a fort, on the banks of the Red River. The house may be haunted. The fort is definitely haunted. With the impending arrival of Ottawa’s foremost colonial masterminds, intent on destroying Louis Riel and the Métis and assimilating every Indigenous person they can find, it’s up to these three women to save the world.
Frances Koncan is an Anishinaabe writer and director from Couchiching First Nation. She holds a MFA in Playwrighting from the City University of New York – Brooklyn College. She is the recent winner of 2017 Winnipeg Arts Council RBC On the Rise award. Her play, zahgidiwin/love was developed at Weesageechak 29 and went on to win the 2016 Harry Rintoul Award for Best Play at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. Her most recent play Riot Resist Revolt Repeat was developed at Weesageechak 30.
Dramaturg: Jessica Carmichael
Ensemble: Lisa Nasson, Joelle Peters, and Quelemia Sparrow
Women of Papiyek
by Quelemia Sparrow
The women of Papiyek are called to a gathering of remembering in Martha Smith’s home. They are about to be dispossessed and their homes set on fire and destroyed. Martha Smith, Takood and Elizabeth Silvey must not be erased, cast aside and forgotten forever.
Papiyek is the land now known as Brockton Point in Stanley Park. Xway Xway is the land now known as Stanley Park in Vancouver. Women of Papiyek was created as an act of reclamation of Xway Xway, Quelemia Sparrow’s ancestral land, the land of the Musqueam and Squamish people. This play is in honour and memory of Quelemia’s Great-Grandmother Matilda Cole who lived in Papiyek.
Quelemia Sparrow is an actor, writer, and director from the Musqueam Nation. She graduated from Studio 58’s Acting program and the Langara Film Arts program in Screenwriting.
Writing credits include: A podplay for Neworld Theatre and Raven Spirit Dance called Ashes on the Water; Salmon Girl (Raven Spirit Dance); Women in Papiyek (Full Circle Theatre); The Pipeline Project (Itsazoo and Savage Society); O’wet/Lost Lagoon (Alley Theatre).
Dramaturg: Jani Lauzon
Ensemble: Yolanda Bonnell, Samantha Brown, and Kathleen MacLean