Inner Elder

Written and performed by Michelle Thrush

© Ben Laird
Indigenous arts Theatre
  • In-person event

  • English
  • Ages 14+

  • Approx. 55 minutes
Performance options Start time Language Availability
Friday, April 12, 2024 11:00 am English sold out

“(Michelle Thrush) has a compelling story to tell, but it’s the elegant, sly way she weaves it that makes Inner Elder such a treat.”

Louis B. Hobson, Calgary Herald

In this autobiographically inspired piece, Inner Elder recounts one woman’s transformation from a young girl navigating the shambles of her family life to Gemini Award-winning actor and artist. Michelle Thrush weaves the seemingly disparate anecdotes from her life into powerful and hilarious testimony that will open your eyes, sear your heart, and have you laughing out loud.

The first section of the play, rooted in a place of truth and historical perspective, explores how a child interprets, navigates, and internalizes culture, identity, and the challenges of growing up Cree in Alberta during the 1970s and 1980s. We are reminded that imagination can be a powerful vehicle for hope and survival in a child’s quest to find the answers to the questions: Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? Where do I belong? 

During the second half of the play, we are introduced to a universal Kookum (grandmother) figure, an Inner Elder symbol that represents strength, ancient knowledge, and the stories that are passed down through generations. This hilariously witty and mischievous character will not only have everyone laughing but reiterates the importance of coming together to learn from one another in a place of love.

This powerful award-nominated one-woman show beautifully communicates how the generational strength of the Inner Elder plays an important role in healing the Inner Child within. 


  • Creator/Performer Michelle Thrush
  • Director Karen Hines
  • 03-sandi-somers
    Lighting/Scenic Designer Sandi Somers
  • Composer Sandy Scofield
  • 05-dianne-goodman
    Company Manager Dianne Goodman
  • 06-neil-fleming
    Technical Director Neil Fleming
  • Producer Grant Burns

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Learning and engagement at Canada’s National Arts Centre is made possible through the support of many generous individuals and organizations from across the country. Arts Alive is generously supported by the Azrieli Foundation, the Government of Nunavut, Canadian North, Calm Air, The River Philip Foundation, The Turnbull Family Community Building Foundation, and The Thomas Sill Foundation. Thank you also to Grant and Alice Burton, Canada Life, A Donor-Advised Fund at the Community Foundation of Ottawa, Friends of the NAC Orchestra, Donors to the NAC Foundation's Future Fund, The Janice and Earle O’Born Fund for Artistic Excellence, and the donors and sponsors of the NAC’s National Youth and Education Trust, the primary resource for youth and education funding at the National Arts Centre.