Dean Gabourie: “the voices that will save our society.”

Weesageechak Begins to Dance 29 has opened and each night we will continue to share new work by incredibly talented Indigenous creators. Thursday night we welcome a line-up of playwrights with work in very early stages, including work by director, teacher, actor, writer and Founding Artistic Director of the award-winning ACME Theatre Co., Dean Gabourie.

Gabourie has been creating provocative theatre in Canada and abroad for over twenty-five years. Graduate of Ryerson Theatre School, and past Assistant / Associate Artistic Director at the Stratford Festival, this Métis theatre practitioner makes his debut in the Weesageechak festival with Wounded Heart Stampede.

The Sun Tree in Indian Village at the Calgary Stampede. 1950.

A play in its earliest stages, Wounded Heart Stampede is centered on a man who wakes up, still drunk, under the Sun Tree in Indian Village at the Calgary Stampede. Gabourie describes the play as “a journey taken by many of mixed blood, a story of self-mockery, self-indulgence and self-discovery.”

Gabourie was inspired to create the piece on his journey to Calgary, Alberta for the One Yellow Rabbit Summer Lab in 2005. But, at the time, that is where it ended. “I purchased the props, outlined the story arc and almost immediately stopped, ” he explained. “I wrote and performed an entirely different piece.”

Over a decade later, he is ready to return to the play, and for Gabourie there is no question that Native Earth’s Weesageechak festival is the place for that development. “For me, it was the only place I felt I could share this piece, otherwise it would have never seen the light of day.”

Though this marks Gabourie’s first time presenting work in the Weesageechak festival, he has been deeply involved with Native Earth Performing Arts in the past. Gabourie believes in the need to make space for Indigenous performing arts, and asserts that “these are the voices that will save our society.”

See Dean Gabourie’s Wounded Heart Stampede on Thursday, November 10th at 7:30 pm in Aki Studio, along with readings of works by Shandra Spears Bombay, Josh Languedoc and Craig Lauzon.

Some More from Dean Gabourie

What are you looking forward to seeing at Weesageechak 29?
Brad Fraser’s Ménage à Trois.
I adore and respect his work.

Who is an Indigenous role model of yours?
How do they inspire you?
August Schellenberg and his creative courage and ability
to achieve at anything he attempted.

Is there a traditional teaching that you most identify with?
Courage, to have the mental and physical strength to overcome fears.

What are your thoughts on addressing
political topics through Indigenous art?
Everything is political, on some level… address away.

What superpower would you like to have?
Invisibility, the ability to disappear and reappear would be so useful on so many levels.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Your words and opinions are not worth hurting another’s feelings.

What is your favourite pastime?

What is your most memorable performance?
A one-man Medea at Middlesex University.

What are you craving right now?

What is coming up next for you?
Directing Hamlet for Shakespeare in Detroit

To me, art is:
To inform and delight.

See Dean Gabourie’s Wounded Heart Stampede on
Thursday, November 10th @ 7:30pm