Friday November 27

Join us for an evening of dynamic theatrical and
multi-disciplinary performances-in-development by emerging
Indigenous creators! Learn about Animikiig Creators Unit here.

by Jimmy Blais

Wardo follows an Indigenous adolescent boy Dylan into his 17th foster home. He is hardened and shut down, his guard is up and seemingly impenetrable until…his new, charmingly eccentric mom Dottie finds her way in; Shakespeare. Using the child welfare system as a metaphoric parallel, Wardo examines the complexity surrounding our admiration of Shakespeare’s work and puts into question the significance of the space and time we dedicate to what many consider to be cultural imperialism.

Jimmy Blais is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, he is of Plains Cree and French settler heritage.

Born and raised in Montreal, Jimmy graduated from Concordia’s Theatre Performance Program. He is a seasoned stage and film actor. He has worked professionally for over 10 years, for companies like The Stratford Festival, The Centaur, Geordie Productions, Porte Parole and La Licorne. Jimmy’s most notable tv role was playing Watio for five seasons in APTN’s hit series Mohawk Girls. Jimmy is also a writer, director, mentor and coach. He spent several years as a visiting artist/associate professor at Concordia University and as a mentor in Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program. He was the Indigenous Artist in Residence for the 2016 Students On Ice Expedition to the Arctic. Jimmy just successfully completed the Indigenous Artist In Residence at The National Theatre School of Canada, where he spent 18 months focusing on creation and playwriting. His play Sonny’s Way was presented at Native Earth’s Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival in Toronto in November 2019.

Savage is a Word in the English Dictionary
by Brefny Caribou

Savage is a Word in the English Dictionary explores the myths of Canadian history, the horror show of colonization, and how they manifest as all too real dangers in lives of Indigenous peoples today told through the eyes of one young Cree woman who finds herself literally haunted by the disembodied head of the statue of John A. MacDonald.

Brefny Caribou is a Cree/Irish-Settler performer and creator from Toronto, ON. She holds an MFA in Acting from York University. With curiosity, patience, and lots of humour, Brefny focuses her attention on works surrounding identity, culture, decolonization, and strives to interrogate and evolve her artistic practice on the regular. Brefny was apart of Cahoots Theatre’s 2018/19 Hot House Creators Unit and is co-creator of The Solitudes (Aluna Theatre/Nightwood Theatre), a collective creation piece centred around the histories of 8 ensemble members inspired by the world of 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcias Marquez, which had its world premiere in January 2020.

by Joelle Peters

A lot can change over the course of a summer. Niish is a coming-of-age story that explores themes of love, familial ties, identity, and community.

Joelle Peters is an Anishinaabe & Miami actor/playwright that grew up on Walpole Island First Nation in Southwestern Ontario. She is a graduate of Seneca College’s Acting for Camera and Voice program and is now involved in theatre, film, television, playwriting, and improv, mostly in Toronto; although she has performed across Canada at festivals and theatres such as Western Canada Theatre, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Factory Theatre, Summerworks Festival, Theatre Passe Muraille, and more.

Vignettes of an Utterly Colonial Lyfe
by Kelsey Kanatan Wavey

Vignettes is a creative exploration of what it takes to decolonize urban NDN life. Decolonize is a hip hop happening buzz word but wtf does it actually mean and how we embody anti-colonial practices even when it feels impossible. Drawn from Kelsey’s journal entries, and real-life experiences, Vignettes of an Utterly Colonial Lyfe is uncensored, what you see is what you get to look at life, sexuality, love, and fear.

Kelsey Kanatan Wavey is a proud member of Tataskweyak Cree Nation and was raised as an urban NDN on Treaty 1 Territory in Winnipeg. Kelsey moved to what is colonially known as Vancouver to pursue a career in Acting for Theatre and Film, and now is expanding her creative career to include writing, music festival producing, and costume design among other things! Kelsey is a cancer, her fave movie is Kill Bill Vol.1 and 2 back to back, and her celebrity crush is Mark Ruffalo (no offence to Keanu Reeves).

Within the Layers
by Animikiikwe Couchie-Waukey

This piece looks at all the parts of who we are, the land we come from and the ancestors we are apart of. This piece also looks at all those places in between, what we know of our self and what we don’t know. It is a journey of connection, seeking out those special people that help to illuminate beautiful parts of our self, so we can grow together.

Animikiikwe Couchie is an emerging multidisciplinary dance artist from Nipissing First Nation. She has worked across a number of disciplines and artistic genres. Most notably, she has engaged and worked with a number of large-scale community arts projects, including Like an Old Tale / Jumblies Theatre and Dances of Resistance / Aanmitaagzi. In 2013, Animikiikwe worked within acclaimed choreographer Penny Couchie’s dance theatre piece entitled “When Will You Rage?”. She narrated and danced within her mother’s piece. It was the most influential project that Nimikii has the privilege of working on, and also her first professional theatre project. In 2015 she worked on a project called Dances of Resistance with Aanmitaagzi, which was a three-year-long process. This project involved working with a team of skilled artists who put their energy and time into seeing the vision be brought to life. She attended 3 years of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s 4-week summer dance intensive. In 2015 she completed her studies at the Canadore College Theatre Arts Program. In May 2018 she completed her training at the Ecole de Danse Contemporaine de Montreal. In September 2019, she was apart of the cast of Unnatural and Accidental Women, marking the opening of the inaugural season of the National Arts Centre’s new Indigenous Theatre department.

She would like to thank her parents, Penny Couchie and Sid Bobb, among many other arts organizations and artists for giving her the space to explore her art form within these projects.