The spectacular launch of Indigenous Theatre

Lori Marchand © Photo: Red Works Photography

Don’t miss Mòshkamo: Indigenous Arts Rising, the two-week All-Indigenous Takeover at the NAC this fall 

Lori Marchand and Kevin Loring first met almost 20 years ago and quickly connected over a shared vision.  It’s a vision they continue to share today as together they set the stage for the inaugural season of Indigenous Theatre at the National Arts Centre this fall. 

And it’s a vision that has inspired gifts of all sizes from across the country—in particular from Canada’s theatre community.

“We both want our work—our Indigenous stories—to reflect that our culture is our superpower and not our tragic flaw,” says Lori, Managing Director, Indigenous Theatre.  “The first season of Indigenous Theatre will have stories that reflect resilience, positivity and hope for the future.  Through solid writing, they’ll show the resilience of the Indigenous people and in particular Indigenous women.”

Those same themes—resilience, positivity and hope—will surely be present from September 11 to 29 during Mòshkamo: Indigenous Arts Rising, an All-Indigenous Takeover of the public spaces and stages at the NAC. In ceremony with Elders from Kitigan Zibi, the name Mòshkamo was gifted to Indigenous Theatre at the NAC in honour of the work they are presenting. Mòshkamo embodies the art of appearing out of water and invites others to bear witness to its arrival.

“We’re very excited to be animating all our stages with work that will be of national and international interest.  We’re also planning a lot of activities in our open spaces that will invite in a new audience,” says Lori. 

The two-week festival will include music, cultural activities such as arts workshops and a Powwow Bootcamp, visual art exhibits and other activities visitors to the NAC can enjoy free of charge.  “It’s really going to showcase the new building as well as the land behind it,” promises Lori.  “Architectural rejuvenation was to open the building to the city and I think this is going to emphasize that the NAC exists even beyond the physical walls.”

Lori is also excited about the artists who will perform on the NAC’s stages during the Mòshkamo.  “Everyone is so committed to bringing our vision to life,” she says.  “I think that really reflects the excitement the artists themselves have about the festival and the season.”

It’s a season that promises to be worthy of its spectacular launch.  “The quality of work is going to be extraordinary,” Lori says.  “We feel the productions we have planned are reflective of our mandate and our desire to have work we’ve curated from a broad range of perspectives from coast-to-coast-to-coast.  We’ll have plays that reflect East Coast, Plains, West Coast and the Inuit experience and we’re really proud to bring that work to our stages.”

Outreach will also be a big focus this season.  Lori, along with artistic director Kevin Loring, want to ensure Indigenous people recognize the NAC as a safe, welcoming space, respectful of the Indigenous experience.

“One of the things that has always driven my personal activities has been the strong belief that Indigenous voices have a place at the table—an equal and effective voice that’s considered in all the decisions,” says Lori.  “I feel that acknowledging the Indigenous mandate at the NAC alongside English and French Theatre provides an opportunity for audiences and artists to have important discussions.”

We are grateful that so many Canadians agree with Lori, and have given generously to support Indigenous Theatre.

Lori and Kevin look forward to welcoming you to the NAC for the first season of Indigenous Theatre.  In the meantime, please circle September 14 on your calendar.  “That’s the date of our big, official grand opening,” Lori says.  “We invite you to come out and join us at the NAC.”

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