2015/2016 Season

2016 Dora Awards

Congratulations to Cliff Cardinal on receiving two 2016 Dora Mavor Moore Awards.
Cliff was awarded Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Performance by a Male for HUFF, produced in Native Earth’s 2015-2016 Season.

Cliff Cardinal Dora AwardsCliff Cardinal Dora Awards 2

Watch Acceptance Speech

Dora AwardsDora Awards 2

Top Photos by Anne-Marie Krytiuk ©2016 TAPA
Bottom Photos c/o Native Earth Performing Arts

Our production of HUFF by Cliff Cardinal received FOUR Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations!

We are so grateful for the acknowledgement of the hard work that went into producing this important and impactful Indigenous story.

2016 Dora Award Nominations:
Outstanding Production (HUFF)
Outstanding New Play (Cliff Cardinal) – WIN!
Outstanding Performance by a Male (Cliff Cardinal) – WIN!
Outstanding Lighting Design (Michelle Ramsay)

Meegwetch to everyone involved in making this production possible: Cliff Cardinal, Karin Randoja, Jackie Chau, Michelle Ramsay, Alex Williams, Jennifer Stobart, Pip Bradford, Ksneia Ivanova, and the team at Native Earth: June Epstein, Jessica Lea Fleming, Kat Horzempa, Yolanda Bonnell, Philip Turkiewicz, Gloria Mok.

Tansi from Ryan Cunningham & Isaac Thomas!

Also, a big congratulations to all other 2016 nominees!
#nepaHUFF #DORAS2016 TAPA Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts

And congratulations to Andy Moro & Luca Caruso-Moro on their 2016 Dora Mavor Moore Award nomination for Outstanding Sound Design for STITCH by Cliff Cardinal, a Culture Storm production presented by Native Earth Performing Arts.

Stitch Nomination Announcement
Photo Credits: akipari

2015/2016 Season

May 23 – 29, 2016
Buy Tickets Now

Click here to see the
2016 Paprika Festival schedule

Native Earth is proud to partner for the first time with Paprika Festival to bring their youth-led performing arts festival to Aki Studio. The Paprika Festival celebrates the work of young and emerging artists, and operates as a training ground for tomorrow’s professional artists.

Together, through this partnership, Native Earth and Paprika Festival will offer a barrier-free accessible program for Indigenous youth and residents of Regent Park, creating opportunities for young artists to become more engaged than ever before.


Single Tickets $10, available online here.
Tickets for the 15th Anniversary Celebration are $30.
The Three-Show Pass is available by telephone only.
Purchases made online or by telephone are by credit card only.
At the door payments accepted by cash, debit, VISA and Mastercard.
For information on group rates, call the box office at 416-531-1402.

Box Office Telephone: 416-531-1402
Email: boxoffice[at]

More information on ticket pick-up here.

Paprika logo final-01 Paprika is a youth-led performing arts festival celebrating young artists as they create original performances with the support of an entire artistic community.

Read More

2015/2016 Season

Dance Double Bill

Join us for a full night of Indigenous dance
and save 20% off your ticket price!

(Only available by telephone at 416-531-1402)

Luu hlotitxw: Spirit Transforming
by Dancers of Damelahamid
7pm |  Aki Studio | $25

Presented in partnership with DanceWorks, this cross-country three-night showcase of Indigenous dance begins with
Dancers of Damelahamid’s signature new piece, Luu hlotitxw: Spirit Transforming, a meditation on the process of introspection, self- discovery, and change that all people must go through.
More About Luu hlotitxw: Spirit Transforming

Spirit Transforming 3

NGS (Native Girl Syndrome)
by Lara Kramer
9pm | Aki Studio | $25

The evening continues with the hard-hitting and very personal NGS (Native Girl Syndrome), an original work by Ojibwa/Cree dancer and choreographer Lara Kramer. NGS dives into street culture, as enacted in a raw theatrical performance by Karina Iraola and Angie Cheng. Their drug-filled, disassociated personas take the audience on a dynamic journey of addiction, loss, and alienation.
More About NGS (Native Girl Syndrome)



Single Tickets $25 available online.
$40 Double Bill Package available by phone at 416-531-1402.
Thursday-Saturday at 7pm & 9pm.
Purchases made online or by telephone are by credit card only.
At the door payments accepted by cash, debit, VISA and Mastercard.

Box Office Telephone: 416-531-1402 Email: boxoffice[at]

More information on ticket pick-up here.

Dancers of Damelahamid photos by Derek Dix
Lara Kramer Danse photo by Marc J Chalifoux

2015/2016 Season

HUFF in Quebec

We’ve just passed the midway point on our nine-city Huff tour, and we continue to offer a closer look at the nitty-gritty of this adventure. Stage Manager Jennifer Stobart gives us the inside scoop on the ups and downs of such an ambitious tour.

Copy of NYA 13
L-R: Jennifer Stobart (Stage Manager) & June Epstein (Technical Director)

Here we are on day one, week seven, of our nine-week tour of Huff, my day off… I have been asked to contribute to the tour blog. I was told I could write about insider information about touring, what it feels like to tour, what are the challenges of touring. What have you learned on the tour?

Well, when it comes right down to it, the day-to-day of touring, the challenges, frustrations and joys, all seem to fade away. Keeping an even-keel, and looking forward, not backward, helps a tour run smoothly. If you are doing it right – “What do you mean we can’t get on the train with our set? Okay then, um, on to plan B”…”I am sorry? Did you say one of our set bags did not get on this flight?”…”The interview is NOW, at the theatre, I forgot, okay… let me make some calls and see if I can fix my error” – all of those small moments fade away.

Montreal 2
The marquee outside Montreal’s MAI

You might be surprised to hear this, but, the one thing on the road which can make or break a stay in a city… the food. On every tour I have ever done, maintaining a healthy diet has been the most challenging issue. All restaurants assume you are there to eat food as a treat. Generally, the reasonably priced restaurants offer french fries with practically every meal… a salad often is iceberg lettuce and a couple slices of tomato…”fresh” vegetables of the day are usually over cooked… and, although once a week is okay, a breakfast can not be bacon and eggs every morning.

Hotel living necessitates going out for every meal, so on the days when you wish to hole up and sleep and stay in, ordering take out is the only answer, but pizza can not be a steady diet, and no one delivers breakfast.

In each city we have visited I have eaten in one extravagant restaurant per stay, ($30.00 meals… I guess it depends on your definition of extravagant). Despite the beauty of the food and the dinner, more often I end up craving a simple salad with a dressing I can make. I love cooking, eating fresh and savoury foods. However, even when one has a small kitchenette in the hotel room, food creation is restricted. I cannot go out and buy all the spices, oils and ingredients I want, as I hate the waste, and I can not carry all of that on the plane. Anyone who knows the woes of traveller’s stomach will know my story.

Edmonton 1
Cliff Cardinal takes an interview over a meal.

Cliff will attest to how often I can whine about wanting vegetables, and “real” food. But only I can attest to the fact that taking Huff on the road is worth every missed opportunity to eat really well.

– Jennifer Stobart
Stage Manager

Next stop on the Huff Tour: The team travels to Manitoulin Island, home to the Debajehmujig Theatre Group. Then a return to British Columbia, with a stop at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna, and the SPARK Festival at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria.

Feature image of Cliff Cardinal preparing for opening
at Théâtre Périscope in Quebec City, Quebec.

2015/2016 Season

HUFF in Alberta

You’ve probably heard by now that Huff is on tour (nine cities!), and now we’re excited to offer a closer look at the nitty-gritty of this adventure.  In looking back at the first two legs in Alberta, Artistic Director Ryan Cunningham shares some insight of taking this production on tour.

We couldn’t have had a better place to launch this tour than the High Performance Rodeo. Produced by One Yellow Rabbit in Calgary this is Canada’s biggest, boldest and longest running International Arts Festival, and one of my favorite festivals in the country. Not just for the incredible programming but for how well they treat their artists. Everyone is so welcoming and generous. And it’s a month long!

Calgary Load-In
Loading into the West Village Theatre in Calgary. L-R: June Epstein, Jennifer Stobart

I’ve always been jealous of Calgary audiences who get to see so many amazing productions from around the globe every year. And this year, Huff is among them. It is such an honor to be a part of their 30th anniversary, and to pay our respects to such a wonderful Spirit who co-created so much incredible art with the Rabbits and fostered so much talent in Canada: our dear friend Michael Green; Elk Shadow. Cheers to you my friend and another fantastic Rodeo. Thank you for nurturing, guiding and teaching so many of us.

One of the most exciting parts about going on tour is the ‘unknown’ factor. There will always be something that comes up that has never been an issue before. It’s never a question of if, it’s always when. Which is inevitable when you are putting up a play in different venues. You actually have to re-design the show for each venue and we are doing this show in nine venues over nine weeks.

Calgary Load-In Chaos
The HUFF team gets a little riotous at Q2Q. L-R: Jennifer Stobart, June Epstein, Ryan Cunningham, Karin Randoja

Thank you to our incredible and supportive design team; the fantastic Michelle Ramsay who has been re-designing our lights for each venue; the awesome set design from Jackie Chau that perfectly re-creates the world of the play, and yet is able to accommodate the various venues we find ourselves in; our incredible sound designer, Alex Williams, who added more sound cues before we left and lent us an amazing meter, that auto adjusts sound levels and volume. This small thing may not sound amazing but this one little detail has saved us much time in each load-in. And when you only have twelve hours to put up a show, that means a lot. All of your work and attention to detail continues to support us along the way. Thank you!

Huge thanks to the work of our technical director, June Epstein. She put in long hours in our first two cities as we refined the process and figured out the needs of the production as a touring production. Thank you, Jennifer Stobart our incredible stage manager; your touring experience has all ready been invaluable on this tour. And big thanks to our Native Earth team back in Toronto for all the work, planning and continued support for the show; Isaac, Kat, Yolanda and Pip. THANK YOU!

June Epstein setting lighting levels in Edmonton’s Milner Library Theatre.

And finally… a BIG shout out to Cliff. It is such a heart-wrenching joy to witness the different reactions from audiences to your performance. I continue to be impressed by your professionalism, your work ethic and your rigor as an actor. I am so proud of this production and honored that Native Earth can continue to bring this awesome piece of theatre to audiences across Canada.

Next stop: We’ll be in Vancouver for the PuSh Festival, and then we make a short stop at home (North York) before continuing east to Quebec. Can’t wait!

Ryan Cunningham, Artistic Director

Feature image of Ryan Cunningham & Cliff Cardinal during a talk-back at High Performance Rodeo in Calgary, Alberta.


2015/2016 Season

Jess Fleming Heads West

Thanks to Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program Jessica Lea Fleming is spending this winter in Vancouver, British Columbia training in artistic producing & programming at Full Circle: First Nations Performance.

I’m off to a blazing start here at Full Circle: First Nations Performance, working with mentors Margo Kane (Cree-Saulteaux) and Tanja Dixon-Warren. As is usually the case with festival work, there are many pieces to pull together for the 16th annual Talking Stick Festival, February 18 – 28, 2016 here on Coast Salish territory! Luckily, we are on track (phew!) and I look forward to spending 10 days with friends and artists from across Turtle Island.

Jess West 2
Jessica Lea Fleming and the team at Full Circle (counter clockwise top left, Margo Kane, JLF, Kwasuun Sarah-Veden, Dannielle Piper, Duane Grant)

My primary focus as Associate Artistic Producer and Programmer has been on planning, promoting and executing the Iyá7yulh Industry Series with Margo and a fabulous team of curators and advisors. Iyá7yulh (“Ee-ya-chote-yo-lh”), translates to “get aboard our canoe”, and this year includes galas, shows, workshops, conversations and events. It’s an exciting and ambitious program, to say the least, with canoe teachings focused on “pulling together” imbued throughout each day.

Jess West 5
“A little mood lighting… #night #sky #magic #vancouver” @jessflamingo on Instagram

One of the most rewarding parts about my work so far at Full Circle is the inclusion of Indigenous traditions and protocol in the everyday. We recently welcomed friends and colleagues from Australia’s ILBIJERRI Theatre (currently touring Jack Charles V. the Crown). As hosts, we invited the Australian delegation for a gathering and blanketing ceremony to celebrate our guests, and ensure their safe journey home. I was honoured to assist Elder Sahplek Bob Baker (Squamish) in the ceremony and have been carrying the teachings with me.

Jess West 6
On tour with HUFF, Artistic Director Ryan Cunningham catches up with Jess at Full Circle

In just one month I have eaten a delicious array of udon noodles, hiked X̱wáýx̱way (Stanley Park), and dropped in on some next-level yoga sessions. I have also gained new skills and knowledge I look forward to sharing with my NEPA family. I just hope by the time I get back I haven’t forgotten how to hustle the 4-1-6 like a pro, and that my desk hasn’t been ransacked for post-its, “good” pens, and most importantly, my keyboard (I’m looking at you, Mr. Cunningham).

Big hugs from the West Coast,


Jessica Lea Fleming is the Weesageechak Festival Producer for Native Earth Performing Arts.

Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program offers financial support for unique and flexible training with a chosen mentor in any theatrical discipline except performance. This program is funded by the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

2015/2016 Season

Huff Tour

After an incredibly successful run in Toronto,
we’re taking HUFF on tour across Canada.
See below for where you can catch the show.


Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts
High Performance Rodeo
January 19-22, 2016


Rubaboo Arts Festival
Alberta Aboriginal Arts
January 27-30, 2016


PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
Firehall Arts Centre
February 2-6, 2016


Toronto Centre for the Arts
North York Arts
February 10-12, 2016


Théâtre Périscope
February 16-20, 2016


MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)
February 24-27, 2016


Debajehmujig Theatre Group
March 3-4, 2016


Rotary Centre for the Arts
The University of British Columbia
March 11-12, 2016


SPARK Festival
Belfry Theatre
March 15-19, 2016


Connect with Native Earth!

2015/2016 Season

Designing for Huff

Thanks to the support of The Collaborations, an initiative of Canada’s National Arts Centre English Theatre, Native Earth brought together an all-star team of designers to re-imagine the world of Huff. Working with Director Karin Randoja was multiple award-winning Lighting Designer Michelle Ramsay, five-time Dora Mavor Award-nominee Set & Costume Designer Jackie Chau, and esteemed Sound Designer Alex Williams.

In addition to work they’ve done separately, Ramsay and Chau have a history designing together for Native Earth productions, including Annie Mae’s Movement, Salt BabyTombs of the Vanishing Indian.  And once again working as a team, re-imagining a familiar world was an intriguing undertaking.

Set & Costume Designer Jackie Chau & Cliff Cardinal

“For this particular show, it had already toured and had a life,” says Chau. “There are already things that work, so I needed to expand on those ideas and inspire some new ones. It’s Huff 2.0.”

“Every script comes with its own unique set of challenges,” adds Ramsay. “However; it certainly helps when you feel that a script is well written, and telling an important story.”

And being familiar to audiences was not the only challenge; for Chau, so was the content. “It’s a really intense one-man show. It’s a type of script that can be hard to imagine put to life until you see it. It’s much, much funnier seeing it.”

Speaking of her process Ramsay explains, “My work is directly linked to the words, movement, and timing so the bulk of my process takes place in the rehearsal hall. My work toward concept necessarily has to begin with the play itself, and then everything else about the production gets layered in from there.”

Lighting Designer Michelle Ramsay & Student John Cabanela

At the helm of this re-imagining was director Karin Randoja, described by Chau as “super kind and collaborative.” Both designers spoke highly of their experience with Randoja. “I am always grateful when an open dialogue is possible with a director,” says Ramsay.

“I also love her laugh,” adds Chau.

Cardinal’s Huff is a dark, biting story about Indigenous brothers coping with their mother’s death, which Chau expects audiences to walk away from with “the need to think and the need to talk.”

The re-imagined design is a key factor in how the audiences experience this story. “The director and designers are working toward some striking and cohesive visual storytelling, to support what is already a strong script,” says Ramsay.

To hear more from Jackie Chau & Michelle Ramsay join us for a Pre-Show Chat on Tuesday October 20th with Managing Director Isaac Thomas. Tickets available online.

Click here to listen to a podcast with Sound Designer Alex Williams.


What’s What with
Jackie Chau & Michelle Ramsay

designer header

What was your first job in theatre?
JC: Designing for a few Fringe and Summerworks shows.
MR: Technician at Vanier Hall in Prince George, BC.

What advice would you give to someone
who wants to do what you do?
 Find designers whose aesthetic you like and don’t be afraid to contact them. Volunteer to shadow them. See as many shows you can. Work as a technician so you can understand the equipment, and what other people will need from you as a designer.

JC: Well, if you already went to school for say design, then:
Plant seeds. Get your portfolio together and just see theatre companies, and each one you see, ask for 3 more names. Hustle, don’t give up and enjoy the ride

What’s your dream travel destination?
JC: Spain; I get to go this spring!

What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
MR: I know I am not alone in the design community when I say that periods of having to take on a lot of shows at once can make it very challenging to take care of yourself, and your regular life stuff.

What’s your go-to ice cream flavour?
JC: Pistachio

What’s next for you?
JC: A kids show and being a mom.
MR: The Road to Paradise – Human Cargo/Crow’s Theatre
(at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre)

Huff runs in Aki Studio October 10 – 25, 2015
Tickets $15 – $30


2015/2016 Season

Karin Randoja

Native Earth invites audiences to Aki Studio to celebrate our 33rd season with Huff, an award-winning play by Cree playwright Cliff Cardinal. Raw, hard-hitting, and fast-paced, Huff is a solo show about brothers struggling to cope with the death of their mother.

At the helm of this production is award-winning director Karin Randoja, first introduced to Native Earth audiences at last year’s Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival, where she worked as director/dramaturg for Cardinal’s play-in-development romanceship.

Cliff Cardinal & Karin Randoja recording a NEPA podcast

Randoja and Cardinal began their dramaturg/playwright partnership during the development stages of Huff before its 2012 award-winning debut at SummerWorks (directed by Randoja), and the synergy of their working relationship continues to thrive today.

“Right from the start of our process, Cliff has trusted me to question, change and edit his script throughout rehearsals. I find this can be rare and it’s really generous of him,” says Randoja.

“Cliff lets me envision what is happening physically, emotionally, rhythmically, on stage, and will re-work the script to help bring that vision to life. All in all, it’s pretty awesome.”

Laced with Cardinal’s signature dark humour, Huff is a raw play that addresses real issues for Indigenous peoples in Canada and it’s sure to have a lasting impact on audiences.  “This show has proven to be a powerful experience for many people who have seen it,” recalls Randoja. “It’s something about how the show re-arranges something in the viewer – something in their brain, or their DNA or their heart or a combination. Many people walk out changed and not the same person they were when they walked into the theatre.”

“This show has proven to be a powerful experience for many people who have seen it… Many people walk out changed and not the same person they were when they walked into the theatre.”

Having a full team of designers re-imagining the world of Huff alongside her is an exciting change for Randoja. “I really like them as people. And this is important! I think they are good people that I trust and can talk with.”

Randoja is talking about her all-star design team Jackie Chau (Set and Costume), Alex Williams (Sound) and the award-winning Michelle Ramsay (Lighting). “They are all sensitive, generous, and like to laugh. I’m lucky to be working with super skilled, super talented but grounded, open artists.”

In addition to directing, Randoja teaches theatre at Humber College and The Centre for Indigenous Theatre. She is also currently developing three very different shows: Gertrude and Alice with Independent Auntie (Buddies in Bad Times, March 2016); a flamenco piece with Carmen Romero that combines dance/theatre; and a project at The Theatre Centre based on a script developed by Tony Diamanti, a man with severe Cerebral Palsy, about his love and sex life, that will be premiering in November of 2016.

To hear more from Karin Randoja join us for a Dinner & Show on Saturday October 17th with a formal Q & A discussion. Tickets available online.


What’s What with Karin Randoja

What was your first job in theatre?
A play that shall remain nameless which my friends have labeled “perhaps the worst unknown musical in the history of Canadian theatre”… one friend kept coming back to see it,
completely reveling in how awful it was.

What are you reading right now?
Pema Chodron, and Runaway, by Alice Munro plus lots more.
I read lots of books all at once.

What’s your go-to ice cream flavour?
Peanut Butter Chocolate.

What was your childhood nickname?
One was “Baby Vein Head”.

What’s your favourite Toronto neighbourhood?
I like strawberries and blueberries and apples and kiwis and bananas. I like them all equally and find them tasty in their own succulent way. Same goes for Toronto and its excellent, endless selection of neighbourhoods.

Huff runs in Aki Studio October 10 – 25, 2015
Tickets $15 – $35

2015/2016 Season

announces line-up for
an Annual Festival of Indigenous Works

Aki Studio, November 11 – 21, 2015

TORONTO, ON – Native Earth Performing Arts announces the line-up for its 28th annual festival of Indigenous work, Weesageechak Begins to Dance.  The festival, which showcases new works and works in development by Indigenous performing artists, spans two weeks from November 11th to 21st, 2015.

With work from artists across Turtle Island, we kick off this year’s festival with a staged reading of Vancouver’s Raes Calvert (Métis) and Sean Harris Oliver’s Red Patch. Set in Canada and France, Red Patch is a gripping historical drama following the life of a young Métis soldier during WWI.

Festival audiences will be treated to an exclusive double bill of Gemini Award-winning, and legendary Indigenous artists, Jani Lauzon (Métis) and Michelle Thrush (Cree). British Columbia-born and Toronto-based three-time Dora Mavor Moore-nominee, Jani Lauzon (Métis) brings audiences Prophecy Fog, a personal account of place, identity and prophecies inspired by Lauzon’s journey to Giant Rock in the Mojave Desert. The evening continues with Find Your Own Inner Elder, in which Canadian Screen Award-nominee and Alberta artist Michelle Thrush shares memories, teachings and humour.

Returning from Weesageechak 27 is award-winning Cree playwright and filmmaker from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan, Kenneth T. Williams. Williams joins us with an expanded version of his overwhelming success, In Care, the emotional drama about a mother’s fight to get her children out of foster care and her struggles with the system she is up against.

Audiences may recognize past festival company members featured as playwrights in this year’s festival: Waawaate Fobister (Anishnaabe), Herbie Barnes (Ojibway), and Garret C. Smith (Blackfoot). Dora Award-winning Fobister brings Red Lady, Red Chief, reD rED RED Lady, a comical take on band election politics; Manitoulin Island-born Barnes tells a coming-of-age story centered around an unlikely hero in his play Bent Boy; and Smith’s Deadbeats focuses on three Blackfoot warriors who have volunteered to travel south in search of the ever-decreasing buffalo two years after the signing of Treaty 7 in 1877.

Selected emerging writers graduating from Native Earth’s Animikiig Playwrights Program will showcase the continued development of their pieces Aluasa’sit by Cathy Elliott (Irish/Mi’kmaq/Acadian) and White Man’s Indian by Darla Contois (Cree). Native Earth is also proud to introduce Weesageechak audiences to emerging Obijbwe playwright, Thunder Bay-born Humber graduate, Yolanda Bonnell, and her heartbreaking piece, bug, which explores abandonment and addiction.

As always, Weesageechak is not only a festival for theatre, but also for dance, and this year Native Earth is stepping it up a notch with dance making up nearly half of this year’s festival programming.

Native Earth welcomes Montreal-based dancer and choreographer Lara Kramer (Ojibwa/Cree), presenting the Toronto premiere of her piece Tame on two nights in the festival. Tame is a chaotic, voyeuristic examination of boundaries, fears and desires.

We’ve also invited Vancouver’s Raven Spirit Dance back to the festival with Earth Song, a double-bill featuring two ambitious dance works from choreographers Starr Muranko (Moose Cree First Nation) and the award-winning Michelle Olson (Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation). Muranko’s Spine of the Mother, is an innovative collaboration between Indigenous artists in Canada and Peru, and Olson’s Northern Journey, is a duet following a trail back into memory.

Other works from Vancover-based dancers include Steppin’ by Jeanette Kotowich (Cree-Métis), Equating Echoes by Nyla Carpentier (Tahltan/Kaska) and David Newberry, and Compass by Olivia C. Davies (Anishnawbe-Métis). Native Earth is also proud to introduce Weesageechak audiences to North Carolina-born, Cherokee/Mattamuskeet dancer Maura Garcia and her piece Ahwisgvsgo’i.

Festival audiences who remember the last year’s dynamic duet by Dora Mavor Moore and Gemini Award-nominated dancer Brian Solomon (Métis/Anishnaabe/Irish) and Blackfoot dancer Justin Many Fingers will be excited to see the work the two are bringing to Weesageechak 28. Dancing separately, Ontario-born Solomon offers an inspiring view of the Cree world view in 1974 in his piece the NDN way, and Many Fingers explores the Baker Massacre of his home province of Alberta with his exciting new piece OKATOKS.

Finally, for its 28th year, Native Earth is introducing a new addition to Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival: the Weesageechak Professional Development Series, featuring workshops, panels, and other special initiatives aimed at training and informing the Indigenous and theatre communities of Toronto. More details on this exciting initiative to come.

Wednesday November 11 @ 7:30 pm
Red Patch by Raes Calvert & Sean Harris Oliver
Thursday November 12 & Saturday November 14 @ 7:30 pm
Tame by Lara Kramer
Friday November 13 @ 7:30 pm
bug by Yolanda Bonnell
Red Lady, Red Chief, reD rED RED Lady by Waawaate Fobister
Bent Boy by Herbie Barnes
Sunday November 15 @ 12:00 pm
The Exchange Experience:
Validating 500 Years of First Nation History
a Workshop with Suzanne Keeptwo

Tuesday November 17 @ 7:30 pm
Aluasa’sit by Cathy Elliott
White Man’s Indian by Darla Contois
Wednesday November 18 @ 7:30 pm
Steppin’ by Jeannette Kotowich
the NDN way by Brian Solomon
Equating Echoes by Nyla Carpentier & David Newberry
Compass by Olivia C. Davies
Ahwisgvsgo’i by Maura Garcia
Thursday November 19 @ 7:30 pm
Prophecy Fog by Jani Lauzon
Find Your Own Inner Elder by Michelle Thrush
Friday November 20 @ 7:30 pm
Earth Song by Raven Spirit
OKATOKS by Justin Many Fingers
Saturday November 21 @ 7:30 pm
Deadbeats by Garret C. Smith
In Care by Kenneth T. Williams

Evening Tickets: $15
Workshop: Pay-What-You-Can
Festival Pass: $60

Aki Studio | Daniels Spectrum
585 Dundas Street East
Box Office: 416-531-1402 or [email protected]

Connect with Native Earth!
NativeEarthInsta  • #Weesageechak

See Full Schedule
Download the Press Release

2015/2016 Season

by Cliff Cardinal

October 10-25, 2015
Aki Studio

On Tour January 2016

Directed by Karin Randoja
Starring Cliff Cardinal

Fresh off the critical success of Stitch, Native Earth kicks off their 33rd season with another daring solo show by award-winning Indigenous playwright Cliff Cardinal, one of the most exciting new voices in Canadian theatre.


Huff took my breath away.”
– J. Kelly Nestruck

“strong, uncompromising storytelling”
NOW Magazine

4 Stars
Huff is a heartbreaker.”

4 Stars
“Cardinal is an artist to watch”
– Stage Door

3 stars
An “unflinching solo show”
Globe and Mail

Proper 3 stars
“a charming kind of chemistry”
Toronto Star

“Excellent” – Sprockets and Greasepaint

“Must-See Theatre”  – Paula Citron

“so poignant & so very important” – Hye Musings

Huff is the wrenching, yet darkly comic tale of Wind and his brothers, caught in a torrent of solvent abuse and struggling to cope with the death of their mother.

Wind’s fantastic dream world bleeds into his haunting reality, as he’s preyed on by the Trickster through the hallways at school, the abandoned motel he loves more than home, and his own fragile psyche.

With his signature biting humour and raw, vivid imagery, Cardinal expertly portrays over a dozen characters in his captivating solo performance.

Winner of the 2015 RBC Tarragon Emerging Playwright Prize;  Winner of 2012 Buddies in Bad Times Vanguard Award for Risk & Innovation.

Huff has been developed, in part, through The Collaborations, an initiative of Canada’s National Arts Centre English Theatre.

The development of Huff has also been supported by VideoCabaret.

Set & Costume Design by Jackie Chau
Lighting Design by Michelle Ramsay
Sound Design by Alex Williams
Stage Managed by Jennifer Stobart

“Soon the trickster preyed on him in his dreams.”

Audience Advisory: Explicit Content. Mature Audiences Only.
Running Time: 70 mins with No Intermission.

Photos by akipari


“You know you’re not in for the usual sort of theatre.”
–  NOW Magazine

“To be a little Indian kid in some of these situations… You have to stand there and feel like you’re not good enough. ” – CBC

“Chaos breeds more chaos.” – Mooney on Theatre


Playwright & Performer – Cliff Cardinal

Cliff Cardinal made his theatrical debut with Native Earth in Freeman’s Wake by Yvette Nolan in the ’05 Rhubarb Festival. Cliff’s work has been recognized across the country including a Jessie Richardson Memorial Theatre Award nomination for Outstanding Performance for Tales Of An Urban Indian by Darrell Dennis with Green Thumb Theatre. Cliff’s first play Stitch premiered Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival to great acclaim, winning both The Spotlight Award for Performance and Theatre Passe Muraille’s Emerging Artist Award for notable artistic impression and Huff was awarded the 2012 Buddies in Bad Times Vanguard Award for Risk & Innovation. Of Cardinal’s play Maria Gets A New Life, NOW Magazine said “This captivating tale of an off-grid mother solidifies Cardinal as one of the most talented and intriguing writers in the country.”

Huff Tour

From January to March of 2016, Huff can be seen in cities across Canada. From Vancouver to Montreal and beyond,
Huff will take the country by storm.

2015/2016 Season


Re-imagining Las Americas
Re-Imaginando las Américas

November 3-8, 2015
Evening Tickets $15-$20
Festival Pass $50

Aki Studio &
Ada Slaight Hall

Buy Tickets

Aluna Theatre is thrilled to present a new multi-arts initiative, CAMINOS, a week of performance experiments, in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts. Fresh ideas come together from some of the most exciting local voices representing the Americas.

This week of performances also features: cabaret evenings; conversations on translation and cultural interpretation with artists, social innovators, and academics; and presentations of approaches to translation by Aluna’s bilingual ensemble.

For all the details, including festival line-up,
visit the CAMINOS website.


3 a 8 de noviembre, 2015
Entrada $15-$20/noche o
compre un pasaporte para
la semana entera por sólo $50

Aki Studio &
Ada Slaight Hall

Compre Billetes

Aluna Theatre se complace en presentar CAMINOS, una semana de exploraciones de nuevas ideas en teatro, danza, música, monólogos de comedia, y spoken word por artistas de nuestras comunidades.

Presentado en colaboración con Native Earth Performing Arts, CAMINOS incluye performances, cabarés, conversatorios sobre traducción e interpretación cultural con artistas, innovadoras e innovadores sociales, e intelectuales, y presentaciones especiales sobre abordajes a la traducción por el equipo bilingüe de Aluna.

CAMINOS le ofrece la oportunidad de presenciar y participar en la creación de nuevas performances locales en etapa de maduración.


Tickets $15-$20 available online.
Festival Passes are $50 and can be purchased by telephone.
Tuesday-Friday at 7pm; Saturday at 1pm.
Sunday Showcase is Pay-What-You-Can.
Purchases made online or by telephone are by credit card only.
At the door payments accepted by cash, debit, VISA and Mastercard.

Box Office Telephone: 416-531-1402 Email: boxoffice[at]

More information on ticket pick-up here.


Founded in 2001 as a response to the misrepresentation and under-representation of cultural diversity on our stages, Aluna Theatre aimed to form a new and distinct language of theatrical presentation. For over a decade, Aluna Theatre has been attempting to shift the scales of imbalance by bringing social justice, equality and human rights to the forefront of all productions.

Aluna Theatre fue fundada en el 2001 con el objetivo de desarrollar un lenguaje teatral original y como respuesta a la poca y mala representación de artistas de diversas culturas en la escena canadiense, especialmente artistas inmigrantes de América Latina. Por más de una década, Aluna Theatre ha intentado cambiar las pesas de la balanza abordando los temas de justicia social, igualdad y derechos humanos en todas sus producciones.

Read More / Más de Aluna Theatre

2015/2016 Season

2015-2016 Season at-a-glance


Directed by Karin Randoja and starring Cliff Cardinal
October 10-25, 2015, Aki Studio
Single Tickets $15-$30


Presented in partnership with Aluna Theatre
November 3-7, 2015, Aki Studio
Single Tickets $15-$20, Festival Pass $50


November 11-21, 2015, Aki Studio
Single Tickets $15, Festival Pass $60


Presented in partnership with DanceWorks
April 21-23, 2016, Aki Studio
Single Tickets $25, Double Bill $40


May 2016, Aki Studio

Connect with Native Earth!