On Saturday September 14 hundreds of people gathered by the Rideau Canal just outside of the National Arts Centre to witness a great, long awaited moment. On this beautiful day, the audiences, artists and Indigenous peoples across Canada and around the world officially welcomed Indigenous Theatre to Canada’s national stage.
An Algonquin-led flotilla that included members of the local Indigenous arts community and representatives from the new Indigenous Theatre department ushered in a new era at the NAC. As the canoers paddled toward the crowd, they were met with heartfelt cheers.
This celebratory Grand Entry marked the official opening of the Mòshkamo festival, a two-and-a-half-week “takeover” of the National Arts Centre. It showcased some of the best Indigenous music, theatre and dance and gave audiences an exhilarating preview of the year ahead.
Highlights of Mòshkamo included an Indigenous Theatre/English Theatre co-production of The Unnatural and Accidental Women by the Métis-Dene playwright Marie Clements, the Dancers of Damelahamid performance, Mînowin, in collaboration with NAC Dance, and Là où le sang se mêle/Where the Blood Mixes by Indigenous Theatre Artistic Director Kevin Loring.
The 2019–2020 season is celebrating Indigenous women and features more than 10 Indigenous languages. It is the first national Indigenous Theatre of its kind in the world, and was made possible thanks to donor support.
Lois Jacobs & David Nahwegabow, two loyal NAC Foundation supporters, have given to NAC programming that features and celebrate Indigenous culture since 2012. “We are so happy to see Indigenous inclusion and participation in all art forms and especially on Canada’s stage,” says Lois. “Having our people represented at this level is providing a leading edge toward reconciliation. We applaud the NAC for their efforts.”
Thank you to all NAC Foundation supporters who championed Indigenous Theatre’s inaugural season. We couldn’t have done it without you!