Toronto – Native Earth Performing Arts (NEPA) celebrates local Indigenous theatre with the 26th annual Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival.
From November 21st – 23rd, NEPA gathered theatre artists to read, perform and share stories and works in development for indigenous theatre.
The opening night commenced with NEPA’s Artistic Director, Tara Beagan offering thanks to the ancestors of the land (Mississaugas, Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Cree, etc.) Ojibway elder, Ernie Sandy shared an opening in Anishnaabemwin, which he translated as a passionate encouragement of supporting and participating in native theatre. “Our stories being told through theatre conveys a message from deep within. It is a gift” Sandy likened native theatre to a role model, “it is setting footprints for others to follow.”
The opening night featured excerpts from What I learned from a decade of fear created and directed by Trevor Schwellnus in association with Aluna Theatre, La Maleta (The Suitcase) created by Bea Pizano, and Quilchena created by Tara Beagan. These three plays will be featured in the upcoming partnership with Aluna Theatre’s Rutas Panamericanas Festival from Feb 27th- March 9th 2014.
Other nights of the festival showcased works by Jani Lauzon, Pj Prudat, Garret C. Smith, Cathy Elliot, Lorrie Gallant, L.M. VanEvery, Tjay Henhawk, and Heather Marie Annis.
For more information on Native Earth Performing arts and upcoming opportunities to see native theatre: www.nativeearth.ca