By Lindsay Monture
Are you a lover of theatre and dance? Romance and history? Music and … hypnotism? There is plenty of that and more to discover with the International Multicultural Platform for Alternative Contemporary Theatre (IMPACT) by MT Space, and Culture Days at Chiefswood National Historic Site. Both are hosting arts and culture events this weekend.
IMPACT is an arts and culture festival based in the Waterloo Region. The festival is produced by MT Space in collaboration with the University of Waterloo and their powwow committee, as well as the Kaleidoscope Collective. Now in its 4th year, IMPACT 15 is ready to bring local and international talent together in celebration of creative and cultural diversity and inspiration.
“Right from the beginning we just had a really strong commitment to wanting to make sure that even though this is considered a multicultural festival, that it centralized an Indigenous voice as part of a commitment to not put an Indigenous voice under a multicultural banner, but to make that really strong statement that it doesn’t make sense to not have that voice central to the programming” says Heather Majaury, an Artistic Associate at MT Space.
IMPACT 15 runs from September 22 to September 27, and highlights such works as Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s powerful piece The Honouring, a multi-disciplinary performance that honours the First Nations warriors of the War of 1812. Return Home from Return Home Collective and Salish Sea Productions is about an Anishinaabe woman and a Palestinian woman who draw on their own narratives of colonization and occupation while struggling to define their identities in relationship to the land, exile and love.
The festival also features a number of works by Raven Spirit Dance. Frost Exploding Trees Moon is a solo piece, which follows the journey of a woman traveling her trap line. Northern Journey is a contemporary dance performance inspired by the internal landscapes that shape us. Lastly, there will be an excerpt from Spine of the Mother, a collaborative work with Indigenous artists in Canada and Peru.
The Festival also features an Industry Conference that includes a special performance by Cree playwright Tomson Highway.
A special advantage to the Festival this year is that it coincides with the University of Waterloo’s annual powwow on Saturday, which can be enjoyed without conflict to the festival schedule.
IMPACT tickets available at ticketscene.ca. See mtspace.ca for more info.
CULTURE DAYS AT CHIEFSWOOD
If you wish to discover something new but closer to home, the Chiefswood National Historic Site is hosting a weekend of Six Nations history and mixed media works as part of Culture Days, a free cultural arts festival happening this Friday to Sunday, 2pm – 6pm.
“Culture days is a non-profit organization whose mission is to make Canadian citizens feel like guardians of their culture. To realize that they’re not just passive in life, but they’re active participants in arts and culture,” says Brittany Bomberry, Program Coordinator. Programming includes free tours of the museum, a love letter exhibit, music from Lacey Hill and A.K. Mcleod and Spenny T, as well as campfire stories and native folklore and the history of Pauline Johnson’s homestead.
Friday’s love letter exhibit with a poetry workshop with Tyler Pennock will give people the opportunity to learn about Chief George Johnson and Emily Howells’ secret romance. “I’m going to tell the story of how they had to keep their secret engagement and their love hidden. They actually wrote each other love letters and hid them in a hollowed out tree at the Tuscarora Parsonage, so that’s how they would communicate. I think it’s a beautiful story”, Brittany shares. Participants will have the opportunity to write love letters of their own, which will be featured in a future exhibit.
Saturday is Music in the Museum and free tours. Local musicians Lacey Hill, A.K. Mcleod and Spenny T will perform Blues and Folk tunes while enlightening their audience on their experiences as emerging artists.
On Sunday, Kelly Greene will be holding a Creation Story art exhibit. There will also be campfire storytelling in honor of John Smoke Johnson, who was a well-known orator and storyteller who held generations of stories and was influential to Pauline Johnson’s own work. Participants will learn about the history of the Johnson homestead as well as native folklore and legends.
CUTLINES: Lacey Hill is pictured here just outside of Chiefswood National Historic Site’s indigenous plants meadow. Lacey will be performing at Chiefswood this weekend as a part of Culture Days. Submitted photo.
CUTLINES: The Honouring by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre will be showcased this Friday and Saturday at IMPACT 15. The Honouring is a site-specific multi-disciplinary performance honouring First Nations warriors of the War of 1812 and features Onkwehonwe families who sacrificed to protect Haudenosaunee sovereignty, culture and land. Submitted photo.