Todd Houseman wins 2024 RBC Emerging Artist Award

A young Cree man with dark eyes and long dark hair cascading around his shoulders.
Todd Houseman (Kaskitew Asiniy) © Maxime Côté
Two artists with white face paint and brown skin pull away from each other, linked by a single white sheet that is tied around both of their waists.
Todd Houseman and Lady Vanessa Cardona in the short film Whiteface. © Emily Randall

Todd Houseman, also known as Kaskitew Asiniy, is a Nêhiyaw (Cree) actor, writer, and improviser from Amiskwaciy (Edmonton). He received the 2024 RBC Emerging Artist Award for his significant contributions to theatre and his community. His work focuses on decolonization by prioritizing Indigenous narratives through satire, political commentary, and traditional/contemporary storytelling.

"Winning this prize makes me feel grateful, humbled, and complex. Throughout my career, I have felt a lot of imposter syndrome so it’s sometimes difficult to accept a compliment,” Todd confided.

But Todd is no stranger to awards. A player and instructor with Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre improv company for over a decade, Todd has already been honoured with a “Rosie” at the Alberta Film and Television Awards and named as one of the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation’s Top 30 Under 30.

Kevin Loring, the NAC’s Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre, nominated Todd for the award. Kevin has nothing but praise for the National Theatre School of Canada graduate and teacher. “Todd's exceptional talent, professionalism, dedication to his craft, and commitment to using his platform to highlight Indigenous issues and inspire the next generation of artists makes him an exemplary choice for this prestigious award,” Kevin said.

Todd’s award will be celebrated during the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards on June 8, of which RBC is the Presenting Sponsor.

Mark Beckles, Vice President, Social Impact and Innovation, RBC said, “Artists help build strong economies and vibrant communities – that is why, for more than two decades, RBC has helped equip the next generation of artists with skills for a thriving future. This year, we are proud to congratulate Todd Houseman on receiving the RBC Emerging Artist Award – Todd is actively pushing boundaries and finding contemporary ways to express Indigenous culture. He is smart, talented and articulate, and an up-and-coming leader in the community.”

Currently, Todd is working with Toronto’s Outside the March on a new play called The Children of the Bear, which is being developed into a large-scale immersive experience. His work often blends traditional Indigenous stories with contemporary themes, showcasing his unique perspective and honouring his heritage.

Reflecting on his journey, Todd shared, “I’m grateful for this recognition and I give thanks to all the people who came before me who forged this path that I am following. I only hope to make the most of this moment and this prize by continuing to make work that I think would make my ancestors proud. Kinanâskomitin ekwa hiy hiy.”

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