Drew Hayden Taylor: “The Cream of the Crop”

Audiences will certainly be familiar with this next playwright. Joining us in Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 is Drew Hayden Taylor, an award-winning playwright, novelist, scriptwriter and journalist from the Curve Lake First Nation.  His plays have seen over 80 productions, and some of his twenty-six books have been translated into Spanish, Slovenian, Italian and German.

Drew Hayden Taylor has a long history with Weesageechak Begins to Dance – he participated in the very first one,  which he fondly refers to as “a thousand years ago.”  Taylor returns to the festival because he believes it’s “an opportunity to see the next generation of Native theatre before anybody else does, in its embryonic state.”

“It is a wonderful opportunity for experienced and up-and-coming artists to rub shoulders, and further develop their craft,” says Taylor. “I have always viewed the Weesageechak Festival as the public’s chance to see what is new and cutting edge these days in Native theatre.”

“Where else can you see the cream of the crop, in terms of Aboriginal theatre artists, all grouped together in one place!?”

Indeed, this year audiences will be able to see the work of sixteen playwrights, six dancers, four Animikiig Training Program artists, and international companies Tawata Productions (New Zealand) and La MaMa (New York).  Taylor asks, “Where else can you see the cream of the crop, in terms of Aboriginal theatre artists, all grouped together in one place!?”

This year, Taylor is sharing his new comedy The Boneyard Blues with Weesgeechak audiences, a story “dealing with repatriation of both traditional artifacts, and the heart,” explains Taylor. The piece is a part of his ongoing series of Aboriginal comedies celebrating the Aboriginal sense of humour.

Some bits and bobs about Drew Hayden Taylor

What was your first job in theatre?
Literally, it was being Writer-in-Residence for Native Earth Performing Arts. Prior to that I had written some television and worked on contract for a few arts organizations (like CBC Radio and the Canadian Native Arts Foundation) but never theatre. Tomson neaded a WIR and I needed a job.
It seemed like a match made in heaven.

What are you reading right now?
I am reading Tom King’s On The Back of The Turtle. He’s a good friend of mine and I was thinking I should read it, especially since I had to read a segment for him at the G.G. nomination party last week when he was on the road.

What’s next for you?
Two things, the continuation of my Me series (Me Funny, Me Sexy) called Me Artsy, that explores and deconstructs the Aboriginal artistic experience, and currently I am writing a collection of
Native Science Fiction short stories.

Thanks Drew!

You can catch The Boneyard Blues on Saturday, Nov 22nd @ 7:30pm with a Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 Festival Pass.
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