My name is Natalie Sappier-Samaqani Cocahq (The Water Spirit). I am a Wolastoqiyik Indigenous multidisciplinary artist from Tobique First Nation. Much of the teachings carry along the Wolastoq waters that have led me into the community of Fredericton where my arts practice is currently based. I believe if I’m always by the Wolastoq, I am home.
I have always had a creative spirit. I remember being young and always being captivated by the surroundings and people in my community. I would find stories in the forests and waters – some would say I was a child full of imagination and was always expressing myself through spoken word, song and dance.
I began my visual arts practice in early 2000 when I enrolled at New Brunswick College of Craft and Design where I met Sagatay (Gwen Bear). She became a very influential person in my life and through her guidance I began learning about traditional ceremonies, teachings, language and medicines. The teachings inspired me but also gave a larger understanding of who I am and I began expressing that through painting.
The Wolastoqiyik motifs naturally became part of my stories. This symbolic movement in my artwork is what I call “dancing the four directions” which represent emotions, dance, of spirit and of song through Wabanaki roots. My painted stories kept me close to my Indigenous ways of being, constantly teaching me and encouraging me to learn more. I realized early in my painting career that I was not painting just for me but I was painting for my people. I was painting for my ancestors.
Today, as I stand in the Wolastoq waters I am witnessing our language being lost, our lands hurting and our water is crying. I feel our stories need to be heard louder than a painting can speak. I began my path to open my spirit to learn courage to share my songs, strength within my voice and within my words for me to continue to share stories expressed with Indigenous heart on stage for the world to see.
Aria Evans works in dance; creation, performance and film. She draws on her experiences as a woman of mixed race (Mi’kmaq, African, settler) as well as her BFA to capture meaningful social and cultural themes through her interactive art. She is Artistic Director of Political Movement where collaboration is the departure point for the work she facilitates. She has collaborated with many of the nation’s leading arts organizations, institutions and independent artists. Her works have been presented on Turtle Island and abroad.
Thomas is an award winning director, playwright, movement coach, dramaturg, and teacher. For over 15 years he has created theatre nationally and internationally with companies and schools that include the Stratford Festival, Theatre Direct, Theatre Passe Muraille, the Charlottetown Festival, Carousel Players, Cia EnvieZada (Brazil), NTS, Sheridan College and the Randolph Academy. He holds a BA from Guelph, an MA from UofT, and has trained with SITI Company in NYC/Madrid/Paris and SCOT in Japan and Italy.
Andy Moro is a mixed Euro/Cree multi-disciplinary artist. He collaborates extensively with companies from coast to coast to coast. He is Co-founder/Artistic Director of ARTICLE 11 with partner Tara Beagan, named for the UNDRIP article protecting the right to practice, revitalize, protect and develop all manifestations of culture, such as historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature. This summer, ARTICLE 11’s newest work Deer Woman met critical acclaim in Edinburgh, Kia Mau, Aotearoa the Sydney Festival, and Arts Centre Melbourne, Australia. Deer Woman makes its Turtle Island premiere in Calgary in November 2019.
Michael Doherty is an Atlantic Canada and Toronto based composer, sound designer and music director. Recent credits include; The Penelopiad, The Wedding Singer (St. Lawrence College); Goodbye Marianne, A Herman Tale, Marion Bridge, The Space Between, Vigil, You Play Beautifully, A Christmas Carol (Theatre New Brunswick); Shrek, The Drowsy Chaperone, Guys and Dolls (Theatre New Brunswick Theatre School); Armstrong’s War, It’s a Wonderful Life, Hockey Dreams, For Life, A Christmas Carol, Red, Miracle on 34th Street (Sudbury Theatre Centre); Grace Notes, Angel’s River (The Notable Acts Theatre Festival) Michael is the composer and co-lyricist of two full length musicals; A Christmas Carol adapted with Caleb Marshall and For Life with Norm Foster. He is a multiple Merritt award (Theatre Nova Scotia) nominee and winner. He was honoured with the musician’s achievement award at East Coast Music Awards in 2008 and received the Playhouse Honours award from the Fredericton Playhouse in 2014.
Sherry is the costume designer for Theatre New Brunswick (TNB) Young Company and the TNB Theatre School as well as the Head of Wardrobe for all branches of the company. Sherry most recently designed costumes for A Brief History of the Maritimes and Everywhere Else, A Christmas Carol, Fortune of Wolves,The Boat, The Snow Queen, A Sunday Affair, Marion Bridge, Vigil and The Eighth Fire, as well as The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, The Drowsy Chaperon, Guys & Dolls, West Side Story, Les Misérables for TNB’s musical theatre, and has created costumes for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Frankenstein, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, Little Shop of Horrors, Gifts of the Magi, The Dollar Woman, Treasure Island and many other TNB productions over the past 12 years.
Tammy has worked in several theatres across the Maritimes including Theatre New Brunswick, Neptune Theatre, Harbourfront Theatre, Ship’s Company Theatre and Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. She has been Stage Managing for TNB for over a decade and has worked on many productions including Finding Wolastoq Voice (2017), The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, A Christmas Carol, Fortune of Wolves, Ghost Light, The Snow Queen, Little Women – The Broadway Musical and Little Shop of Horrors. Other selected theatre credits include: Beauty and the Beast (Stage Manager, Neptune Theatre), Forever Plaid (Stage Manager, Harbourfront Theatre), Goodnight Moon and the Runaway Bunny, Swimmy, Frederick & Inch By Inch (Stage Manager, Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia); Leonard Cohen World Tour 2008 (Wardrobe Assistant). Many thanks Tabatha for her never-ending love and support.