FEB 18 â€“ MARCH 1 Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre A Red Sky Performance Production Presented by Canadian Stage
Direction and Concept
RICK SACKS JOYCE TO
in collaboration with performers
ELIOT BRITTON RICK SACKS Dramaturg
NEIL COPPEN Lighting Designer
CHRIS MALKOWSKI Costume Designer
KINOO ARCENTALES Production Stage Manager
PIP BRADFORD Dancers
EDDIE ELLIOTT MIYEKO FERGUSON THOMAS FONUA MARRIN JESSOME MICHAEL ROURKE SELA VAI THIS PRODUCTION RUNS APPROXIMATELY 55 MINUTES WITH NO INTERMISSION
Hair and Makeup Artist Recorded Artists
GABE GAUDET MARIE GAUDET NELSON TAGOONA TANYA TAGAQ TRIBE CALLED RED Anishinaabe Speaker
ALBERT OWL Head Technician
SALLY ROBERTS Stage Employees of Canadian Stage are represented by Local 58 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
This production is generously underwritten by the Shishler Family A Berkeley Street Companyin-Residence Berkeley Street Companies-inResidence Sponsor
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR’S NOTE
Inspired by the seven fire prophecies of the Anishinaabe, AF speaks to the forces that have shaped the lives of people on Turtle Island. Each “fire” (or epoch) is depicted through seven movements of contemporary dance and compelling physical storytelling. Rather than reinterpreting the dark path of an Orwellian dystopia, AF seeks inspiration and illumination from Anishinaabe mythologies, archetypes and futurism to imagine a new fire for the future. A huge thank you to Brendan Healy, Monica Esteves, Lynanne Sparrow, and all of the incredible Canadian Stage staff for having us in our third year as a Berkeley Street Company-in-Residence. Chi-miigwetch to the artists involved in the creative process and for their generosity of spirit, dance, and music. A huge thank you to Kathy Morrison and Leila Darragh from the Red Sky team. Chi-miigwetch to Senator Murray Sinclair and Lee Maracle for visiting our rehearsal hall and for sharing their elder wisdom. AF is dedicated to the loving memory of ᐊᓬᐁᐠᐢ ᒪᑫᔾ Alex McKay, a long-time Anishinaabe wisdom keeper with Red Sky Performance.
ABOUT RED SKY PERFORMANCE Red Sky Performance is a leading company of contemporary Indigenous performance in Canada and worldwide. Led by Artistic Director Sandra Laronde of the Teme-Augama Anishinaabe (People of the Deep Water), they are currently in their 20th year of dance, theatre, and music. Red Sky’s mission is to create inspiring experiences of contemporary Indigenous arts and culture that transform society. They create, produce, and tour original work to expand the ecology of contemporary Indigenous performance. They are dedicated to working with emerging and established artists as they hone their artistic practice, particularly through an Indigenous lens, offering unique opportunities for their artists to thrive creatively and professionally. Touring since 2003, Red Sky has delivered over 2,758 performances across Canada including 198 international performances in 17 countries on four continents, including such landmark events as two Cultural Olympiads (Beijing and Vancouver), World Expo in Shanghai, Venice Biennale, and Jacob’s Pillow. At the same time, they have remained deeply rooted and invested on a grassroots level and regularly perform in urban, rural and reserve communities across Turtle Island. Red Sky is the recipient of 12 Dora Mavor Moore awards and nominations, two Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, three International Youth Drama Awards from Shenzhen, China, and the Smithsonian Expressive Award, among other recognitions. www.redskyperformance.com
Director and Concept Sandra Laronde is the Founder and Artistic Director of Red Sky Performance. Sandra is from the TemeAugama-Anishinaabe (People of the Deep Water) and is a highly accomplished arts innovator and leader in Canada. Sandra founded Red Sky Performance in 2000, and has conceived, developed, produced, and toured award-winning productions that are Indigenous, multi and inter-disciplinary, and intergenerational. She creates exceptional new work and powerful transformational arts experiences that expand and elevate the ecology of Indigenous arts and culture. In 2017, Sandra was also a Curator for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra celebrating Canada’s diverse musical landscape. From 2007-2018 she was the Director of Indigenous Arts at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. During her nine-year tenure as Director, Sandra created exceptional cutting-edge programming informed by Indigenous cultures and worldviews and excelled at bringing world-class faculty to the Centre. Substantial growth for Indigenous Arts at the Banff Centre was achieved under her leadership including an innovative new approach to programming involving hundreds of Indigenous artists from across Canada and the globe. Sandra has been widely recognized with numerous awards and distinctions and plays a pivotal role in the Indigenous cultural resurgence of Canada.
Composer & Sound Design Eliot Britton integrates electronic and instrumental music through an energetic and colorful personal language. His creative output expresses an eclectic musical experience from gramophones to video games, drum machines, orchestra to electronic chamber music. A proud member of the Manitoba Métis Federation, Eliot recently completed his PhD at Schulich School of Music at McGill University. He is the recipient of numerous prizes, including the SSHRC Bombardier Scholarship, Louis Riel Scholarship, and the Hugh Le Caine and Serge Garant SOCAN awards. Eliot is the composer of Adizokan, a TSO-commission and a co-production with Red Sky Performance. In 2019, Eliot won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Composition & Sound Design for Trace (Red Sky). He is currently an assistant professor of composition at the University of Toronto, co-director of the Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival, and continues to produce music for a variety of labels and music companies.
THOMAS FONUA Choreographer and Performer Born and raised in New Zealand, Thomas Fonua is of Indigenous Samoan/Tongan descent. He started dancing at the age of seven, and at 16 was offered a twoyear apprenticeship with Black Grace Dance Company. This led to Thomas performing as a leading part of the ensemble and touring numerous works internationally for five years. Thomas also worked with the Banff Centre through Indigenous Arts for several years as a performer and as faculty. Throughout his career, he has performed for world renowned companies such as Sydney Dance Company, Red Sky Performance, Black Grace and Australian Dance Theatre. His choreographic body of work consists of full length works MALAGA (2015), Aitu (2017) and Fafa (2019/20). Thomas is the recipient of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Award for Arts and Creativity (2014), the Australian Critics Circle Award for ‘Emerging Artist Of The Year’ for his work MALAGA (2015), and the Out For Australia’s 30 under 30 leadership award (2018) which recognizes young leaders across the country.
RICK SACKS Composer & Musician Rick Sacks is a Toronto-based percussionist and composer with a Master’s in Music. Rick has performed with ensembles worldwide including The New Orchestra, Newband, The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble and The Composer’s Ensemble. He has performed at Carnegie Recital, NY Shakespeare Theatre and Alice Tully Hall as a percussionist. After teaching at Bennington College, Vermont, Rick travelled to Toronto to perform with the Canadian Opera Company. He has composed for chamber ensemble, solo and orchestra, and created sound design for many Toronto theatre companies as well as being a long-time collaborator with Red Sky Performance. His sound composition for Red Sky’s Backbone was nominated for a Dora Award, and he won a Dora for Red Sky’s Tono. Rick was Artistic Director of Arraymusic from 2011 to 2016. He is now Array’s Technical Director.
NEIL COPPEN Dramaturg Neil Coppen is a South African theatre-maker and activist who has won several awards for his playwriting, design and direction, including the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Drama and the Olive Schreiner prize for Drama. Among Neil’s notable works are Tin Bucket Drum, Tree Boy,
Abnormal Loads, Izipopolo, and NewFoundLand, and a South African, all-female adaptation of Orwell’s Animal Farm which toured South Africa for over five-years. In 2018, he co-directed and designed Cape Town opera’s word-premiere of Tsotsi - The musical. In 2014, Neil co-founded a social-justice theatre-making methodology and company titled Empatheatre which forges innovative theatrical responses to pressing social issues. Under his artistic direction, Empatheatre has produced Soil & Ash, Ulwembu, The Last Country, Boxes and Lalela ulwandle. In 2020, Neil will oversee the creation of two new Empatheatre projects in Ghana and Namibia before directing and designing Hamlet for the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town.
CHRIS MALKOWSKI Lighting Designer Chris Malkowski is a professional lighting designer based in Toronto. He designs lighting for dance, drama, opera, musical theatre and live events across Canada and around the world. Selected credits include: Pass Over (Lighting Designer, Obsidian Theatre 2019), Suitcase (Lighting Designer, Passe Muraille 2020), The Black Drum (Lighting Designer, Soulpepper/Deaf Culture Centre 2019), Backbone European Tour (Lighting Director, Red Sky Performance 2019), AMAL, Last 15 Seconds (Associate Design, Tunisia/Egypt Tour 2019), In the Continuum (Black Ink Collective 2017), ANTIGONE, Pantalone’s Palace (Brock U), and Director’s Project (Shaw Festival). Chris is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Performance Production Program and is an associate member of the Associated Designers of Canada.
KINOO ARCENTALES Costume Designer Kinoo Arcentales is a costume designer of South American Indigenous (Kichwa) and Mestizo heritage. Born into a family of artists, Kinoo was exposed to the arts from an early age. His main role models are his grandmothers on both sides of his family: one being a hotel business owner, and the other a retired fashion designer. Living a semi-nomadic lifestyle for most of his life, he has travelled throughout Canada and Ecuador, which has inspired most of his work. He was awarded with The Rowenta Best in Show Award at Redefining Design 2016. His recent costume design work includes Almighty Voice and His Wife (Soulpepper Theatre, 2019), Shanawdithit (Tapestry Opera, 2019), and Trace (Red Sky Performance, 2018).
PIP BRADFORD Production Manager Pip Bradford is a production manager, and stage manager for many companies in Toronto, including Why Not Theatre, the Blyth Festival, Toronto Dance Theatre, Crow’s Theatre, Summerworks Performance Festival, Red Sky Performance, Stand Up Dance, Native Earth Performing Arts, and The Theatre Centre. Pip also creates installation art with Rebecca Vandevelde as Art Is Hard Productions.
EDDIE ELLIOTT Performer Eddie Elliott is Maori from Tainui, New Zealand and an Associate Artist with Red Sky Performance. A graduate of UNITEC in Contemporary Dance in 2013, Eddie was nominated for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and the 2014 “I Am Auckland Awards” which won him the Youth Active Award. He has worked with leading dance companies in New Zealand including Black Grace, Atamira, Okareka Dance Company, Douglas Wright Dance, and the New Zealand Dance Company. Eddie is the 2017 recipient of both the Ellen Norris Scholarship and Creative New Zealand’s Toi Tipu Rea grant to mentor with Sandra Laronde at Red Sky Performance. He has performed in the world premieres of Backbone, Trace, Miigis, Adizokan, and Great Lakes, all with Red Sky Performance which toured extensively across Canada, the United States and Europe.
MIYEKO FERGUSON Performer Miyeko Ferguson is a Toronto-based artist. In 2016, she received her BFA degree in Performance Dance from Ryerson University. She has attended professional training programs with the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Kenny Pearl, ProArteDanza, Springboard Danse Montréal, Kaeja D’dance, Adelheid, and Alias Dance Project. She has also performed works by Ohad Naharin, Chuck Wilt, Hanna Kiel, James Kudelka, Naishi Wang, Kate Hilliard, Apolonia Velasqez, Jera Wolfe, David Earle, Alysa Pires, Robert Glumbek, Meagan O’Shea and Ryan Lee. Miyeko is an active member of Nostos Collectives. Miyeko continues to work with Red Sky Performance and most recently performed in Trace at Jacob’s Pillow followed by a Western Canada Tour 2019.
Performer Sela Vai is a Sydney-based movement artist who creates sensuous alchemy through movement. She is resident choreographer for the theatre company Black Birds and choreographed opening performances for Pacific Runway Fashion Show Carriageworks 2017 and 2018; all of which dignify her Pacific Islander heritage. Sela performed for Solange Knowles in 2018 at The Sydney Opera House and was featured in Jessica Mauboy’s music video “Sunday”. She has choreographed for Australian artists Ngaiire, Thelma Plum, Wallace, L-Fresh the Lion, Kase Avila and Kid Fiction. Sela was invited to showcase at TedX Sydney, Sydney Fringe Festival, First VI Kinjaz production, World of Dance, and Australian Dance Festival. Recently, she choreographed for “Apple Pay” TVC for Apple and Commbank, “Team Girls” TVC for Suncorp, Disney Channel and Heaps Gay. Sela was a part of The Dream Dance Company’s ‘UNTOLD’ ,‘PRODIGY’ and ‘GODDESS’; Amrita Hepi’s ‘A Caltex Spectrum’; and toured with Dancing For Jane’s production ‘ONE’.
Percussionist Joyce To is a percussionist whose creative practices involve chamber, improvisational and experimental styles. She is passionate about performing new works and supporting emerging creatives, and actively commissions, collaborates, and records with local composers and musicians. In 2019, Joyce co-founded Concept Ensemble, a Brisbane-based contemporaryexperimental chamber ensemble. Concept Ensemble has been at the forefront of the Brisbane new music scene with their collaborative call-for-scores project. In their first year alone, the ensemble performed 20 world premieres and 10 Australian premieres. As a soloist and chamber musician, Joyce performs and works with a range of local and international artists. In her most recent project, Fukushima – In Search of New Light, Joyce engaged in discussion panels and performances across Fukushima, Japan with poet, Wago Ryoichi and eurythmist, Jan Baker-Finch. With the generous support of the University of Toronto Fellowship, Joyce is currently completing her Masters in Performance at the University of Toronto.
MARRIN JESSOME Performer Marrin Jessome was born and raised in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. She began dancing at the age of 11 and went on to complete a BFA in Performance Dance at Ryerson University in 2019. Marrin has performed in works by Alysa Pires, Matjash Mrozewski, Peter Chin, Christopher Knowles, Louis Laberge-Côté, Ryan Lee and Near&Far Projects. Her first stage work Cove premiered in Ryerson’s Springworks (2019). She teaches her choreography at studios across the Maritimes, including Connie Parsons School of Dance, Precision Dance Company, West Kings Drama Club and Digby Dance. Marrin is excited to be joining Red Sky Performance for the world premiere of AF.
MICHAEL ROURKE Performer Michael Rourke is a Toronto-based artist. Michael grew up in Kitchener, Ontario and began dancing at the age of 4, training in multiple styles. At the age of 17, he began performing in Nick Tull’s company Airtight Entertainment, based in Toronto. Michael went on to complete his BFA in Performance Dance at Ryerson University in 2019. He was a member of the 2018/2019 Toronto Raptors North Side Crew, dancing at the NBA finals games for artists such as Tory Lanez and for New Kids on the Block on their Mixtape tour stop in Toronto. Most recently, Michael performed in Anne Plamondon’s Fiddle Embrace at Fall for Dance North in 2019.
JENIFER BROUSSEAU Vocalist Jenifer Brousseau is an Anishnaabe/Cree and French interdisciplinary artist hailing from the traditional territory of Serpent River Nation in Ontario, Canada. Based in Vancouver, Jenifer is the Executive/Artistic Director of imagi’NATION Collective, television Host of APTN’s Wild Archaeology, and a long-time vocalist of Indigenous singing ensemble, M’girl Music. An accomplished writer and director and theatre actor, she has journeyed throughout Canada and the world for over twenty-five years, undertaking and producing many arts-based programs and initiatives throughout hundreds of Indigenous communities. Jenifer fuses passion, art and creativity with social justice and compassionate education to create her own unique blend of powerful change.
ALICE NORTON Makeup Artist Alice Norton has worked in the Trinidadian Carnival tradition, helping to design and build masquerade (“mas”) bands in Port of Spain and Toronto. This experience and knowledge are complemented by more formal and traditional theatre settings such as Video Cabaret: The History of the Village of Small Huts, among others. Alice was the make-up artist for Red Sky’s Backbone, Miigis, Trace, and Great Lakes.
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