Wednesday November 24

Michelle Thrush in conversation: Making Treaty 7‘s Indigenous-led Creation Model

Michelle Thrush, Artistic Director of Making Treaty 7
Michelle Thrush
, who is Cree with French and Scottish intermingled was born and raised in Mohkinstis also known as Calgary Alberta. She is the recently appointed Artistic Director of Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society as well as a founding member, past director and actor of this theatre company which began in 2012. She is best known for her film work and for her leading role as Gail Stoney in BLACKSTONE. In 2011 she won the Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role. Michelle has been an actor writer and director in film, television and theatre for over 30 years. She believes that is is through the arts we are able to shine light into places that help us heal as Indigenous peoples. She is invested in how the arts can build bridges and bring voices together.”It is hugely important, as the Artistic Director, to create a safe place for artists to be vulnerable and to become a community to each other. Using an Indigenous-led process will always be the strength of what makes MT7 so successful.”

Michelle has spent the last few years touring with her highly successful newest solo show Inner Elder. A comedy about the challenges of growing up as a brown girl, with alcoholic parents in a city of white privilege. Her 2020 tour this award-winning show was meant to open at the National Arts Centre as part of their Indigenous programming season but was cancelled due to Covid Besides working many years in the film industry Michelle is best known for her work in communities across Canada with youth and children, which is her greatest passion. She created characters such as “Majica”, the Indigenous Healing Clown, and “Kookum Martha”, a sprite old Indian Elder which she takes to reserves to explore healing through performance and laughter. She continues to write, direct, and produce theatre, and has played many leading roles on stage across Canada. Her most important production to date is her two beautiful daughters which Michelle admits was a co-production.

Neil Fleming, Executive Director of Making Treaty 7
Originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Neil Fleming grew up in Anishinaabe territory of the Robinson-Huron Treaty. He is honoured to be part of the Making Treaty 7 team, helping amplify the Indigenous stories, practices and cultures of the Treaty 7 peoples.

Neil is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter based in Calgary. Neil is best known for his work at Lunchbox Theatre including – Outside, Anomaly, Security, Last Christmas, The After Party, He Said, She Said (with Glenda Stirling), and Spare Parts

(Stage One 2018). Neil is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Past President of the Alberta Playwrights’ Network, and a tenacious winger most mornings between 7-8am.

Sometimes referred to as The Swiss Army Knife of Theatre, Neil is also a theatrical designer. Some past design credits include: Okotoks, 509 (MT7 & Niitsitapi Dance), Come Home (Urban Stories), Gruesome Playground Injuries (Ground Zero, Hit & Myth), In A World Created By A Drunken God, And So It Goes, Goodness, Bone Cage, (Downstage). A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream (CYPT), The Vajayjay Monologues (Pot of Jam, Urban Curves), Snowblind, Last Christmas, Shopaholic Husband Hunt (Lunchbox Theatre), An Almost Perfect Thing, The Kitchen Witches, The Attic, the Pearls, and Three Fine Girls (New West Theatre).

Liz Breaker, Artistic Associate at Making Treating 7
Originally from Siksika Nation, Elizabeth is a proud Niitsitapi from both Treaty 7 and Treaty 8 territories. Liz has studied at the University of Lethbridge’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program, where she specialized in performance. She is now a Calgary based artist focusing on theatre and dance; specifically traditional jingle dress and other contemporary forms, and most recently became the Artistic Associate for Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society. Aside from the arts, Liz shares a passion for politics and community development by providing youth programming. She was also chosen as one of 70 Indigenous women across Canada to represent her riding and take a seat within the House of Commons on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

Caleigh Crow, Artistic Associate at Making Treating 7
Caleigh Crow is a queer playwright and performer from Mohkinstsis of Metis and settler heritage. Her work tends towards themes of metaphysics, class struggle, and joy. She is currently researching the magnetosphere.