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Indigenous, First Nations, Native Theatre

In this section, content focuses on the work of Indigenous, First Nations, and Native theatremakers. Mary Kathryn Nagle’s series Native Voices is a great starting point, as are series specifically focusing on the performance practices of Kānaka Maoli, the Indigenous people of Hawai‘i, and on Alaska Native theatre.

The Latest

Reclaiming Sovereignty in Theatre with Murielle Borst Tarrant
Podcast
Reclaiming Sovereignty in Theatre with Murielle Borst Tarrant
by Yura Sapi, Murielle Borst Tarrant
6 June 2024
Elevating Indigenous Perspectives with Rhiana Yazzie
Podcast
Elevating Indigenous Perspectives with Rhiana Yazzie
by Yura Sapi, Rhiana Yazzie
18 April 2024
On Between Two Knees, or About Other Futures
Essay
On Between Two Knees, or About Other Futures
by Sebastián Eddowes-Vargas
17 April 2024
Promotional graphic for building our own tables featuring Murielle Borst Tarrant
Reclaiming Sovereignty in Theatre with Murielle Borst Tarrant
Podcast

Reclaiming Sovereignty in Theatre with Murielle Borst Tarrant

6 June 2024

In this episode, Native theatremaker and founder of Safe Harbors NYC, Murielle Borst Tarrant shares her journey and vision. Safe Harbors NYC supports Indigenous performing arts, providing a creative sanctuary and advocating for cultural equity. Discover strategies to overcome industry frustrations, build inclusive spaces, and see the light ahead. Tune in for wisdom and inspiration to create meaningful change in the theatre industry.

A promotional graphic for Building Our Own Tables.
Elevating Indigenous Perspectives with Rhiana Yazzie
Podcast

Elevating Indigenous Perspectives with Rhiana Yazzie

18 April 2024

In this episode, Rhiana Yazzie shares her journey of founding New Native Theatre and the importance of Indigenous storytelling. She reflects on the challenges and rewards of carving her own path in the theatre world, emphasizing the significance of staying true to one's cultural identity and values. Rhiana discusses the transformative power of art, community, and connection to the earth and invites listeners to support and engage with New Native Theatre's work.

A performer holds a large bag tagged PLOT DEVICE onstage.
On Between Two Knees, or About Other Futures
Essay

On Between Two Knees, or About Other Futures

17 April 2024

In Between Two Knees, the 1491s use comedy to destabilize rigid ideas of history. Sebastián Eddowes Vargas discusses the Perelman Performing Arts Center production, highlighting the narrative and political potency of laughing in the face of trauma.  

A promotional graphic for Building Our Own Tables.
Theatre as Medicine with CJ Ochoco
Podcast

Theatre as Medicine with CJ Ochoco

11 April 2024

In this episode, we delve into CJ's origin story, tracing her journey from pre-med student to theatre major and founder of Breaking Wave Theatre Company in Guam. Yura and CJ explore the transformative power of theatre as a healing space, the importance of community and accessibility, and the revolutionary potential of reimagining organizational structures. With passion and insight, we envision a future where storytelling and connection thrive.

Building Our Own Tables teaser image with guest headshot.
Cultivating Abundance Through Community Care with Nicole C. Limón
Podcast

Cultivating Abundance Through Community Care with Nicole C. Limón

4 April 2024

In this episode, Nicole C. Limón shares her origin story, tracing back to pivotal moments of realizing her worth and breaking through societal invisibility in the theatre world. From co-founding Movimiento Molcajete to birthing Matriarchy Theatre, Nicole unveils her journey, embodying resilience and community care. Tune in to explore the transformative power of authenticity, the art of manifesting abundance, and the future of leadership in the evolving theatre industry. 

Teaser image advertising a panel discussion
The Living Presence of Our History Part X
Video

The Living Presence of Our History Part X

The Ohketeau Cultural Center and co-producer Double Edge Theatre host a panel with Indigenous leaders and scholars

Sunday 10 March 2024
Massachusetts

The Ohketeau Cultural Center and our co-producer Double Edge Theatre will be hosting "The Living Presence of Our History Part X: A panel of Indigenous leaders and scholars will delve into the intricacies and complications regarding Native appropriation." 

An actor in a denim jacket stands center, speaking to a group of seated actors.
Indigenous Theatre Reclaims the Center at Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater
Essay

Indigenous Theatre Reclaims the Center at Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater

4 December 2023

When Ty Defoe and Larissa FastHorse’s For the People premiered at the Guthrie Theater this fall, it became the theatre’s first mainstage production by Indigenous authors. Robert Hubbard reviews the play, lauding its comedy, spectacle, and commitment to the Native community of the Twin Cities.

event poster for A Conversation with Indigenous Screenwriters Regarding Representation on Screen.
The Living Presence of Our History Part IX
Video

The Living Presence of Our History Part IX

A Conversation with Indigenous Screenwriters Regarding Representation on Screen

Sunday 15 October 2023
Massachusetts

In this conversation with Native American screenwriters on the importance of seeing Indigenous narratives on screen, the panelists explored how these narratives affect Native and non-Native communities today and the possible steps to educate, decolonize, and make changes using an Indigenous lens.

Promotional graphic for "Black and Indigenous Futures Aligning".
Black and Indigenous Futures: Aligning Our Visions and Activism
Video

Black and Indigenous Futures: Aligning Our Visions and Activism

Thursday 21 September 2023
Boston, Massachusetts

This discussion explored visions of activism, advocacy, co-leadership, and solidarity in Afro-Indigenous, Black, and Indigenous futures.

Promotional graphic for "Black and Indigenous Histories to the Now".
Black and Indigenous Histories to the Now: How We Carry Our Past into the Present
Video

Black and Indigenous Histories to the Now: How We Carry Our Past into the Present

Wednesday 20 September 2023
Boston, Massachusetts

This discussion explored the foundations of Black and Indigenous co-leadership solidarity, shared understanding, and movement building.

Three separate headshots for three artists, stitched together.
Kinship, Solidarity, and Working Towards Everyone’s Survival
Essay

Kinship, Solidarity, and Working Towards Everyone’s Survival

14 September 2023

As part of the Black and Indigenous Futures series, this conversation convenes Samora Pinderhughes, Storme Webber, and Mary Amanda McNeil to consider the ways that kinship and solidarity across broader collectives can coexist and mutually enrich one another through intentional practice.

Two photos merged, depicting a woman and man side by side.
On Black and Indigenous Shared Kinship Futures
Essay

On Black and Indigenous Shared Kinship Futures

13 September 2023

As part of the Black and Indigenous Futures series, Amber Starks and Kyle Mays discuss the siloing of Afro-Indigenous identity, the opportunities and challenges of developing Black and Indigenous solidarity, and the potential to build a future more deeply rooted in kinship.

A man holding cards for a speech and a woman who smiles and claps stand together on stage.
Decolonizing Arts Leadership Through Shared Black and Indigenous Leadership
Essay

Decolonizing Arts Leadership Through Shared Black and Indigenous Leadership

12 September 2023

David Howse and Ronee Penoi, co-leaders of ArtsEmerson, introduce the Black and Indigenous Futures Series with an essay that discusses their commitment to a shared leadership approach that foregrounds solidarity between Black and Indigenous communities.

Four actors sit on chairs on a set made to look like a children's classroom, smiling and talking with one another.
How Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play Lays the Groundwork for Native Artists Like Me
Essay

How Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play Lays the Groundwork for Native Artists Like Me

28 August 2023

After directing Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play at her midwestern college, Indigenous theatremaker Sierra Rosetta traveled to New York to see the same play on Broadway. She discusses the way this milestone production—which made FastHorse the first known Native American woman playwright on Broadway—and her own work push for a future in which Native theatremakers’ presence on professional stages is standard, not novel.

A performer proudly wields a prop weight overhead during a show.
Cornerstone Theater Company Brings Larissa FastHorse’s Wicoun Home
Essay

Cornerstone Theater Company Brings Larissa FastHorse’s Wicoun Home

11 July 2023

Robert Hubbard reviews Larissa FastHorse’s Wicoun, a transformative story of a teen finding power through gender and cultural identity—with the support of some Lakota superheroes.

headshots of Tammy Haili'ōpua Baker and Markus Wessendorf.
Indigenous Performance and Hana Keaka (Hawaiian Theatre)
Video

Indigenous Performance and Hana Keaka (Hawaiian Theatre)

A Conversation with Tammy Haili'ōpua Baker and Markus Wessendorf

Monday 10 July 2023
United States

A conversation with Tammy Haili'ōpua Baker and Markus Wessendorf about the history, curriculum, theatre productions, research, and current projects of the Hana Keaka (Hawaiian Theatre) program at the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM). The MFA in Hawaiian Theatre was established in the fall of 2012 and has already received national and international recognition. A new PhD concentration in Hawaiian and Indigenous Performance at UHM starts this fall. These two tracks are the only graduate programs in the United States with a specific focus on Indigenous performance.

event poster for IETM Aarhus Plenary Meeting 2023.
IETM Aarhus Plenary Meeting 2023
Video

IETM Aarhus Plenary Meeting 2023

Living on the Edge

Monday 12 June and Wednesday 14 June 2023
Aarhus, Denmark

The IETM Aarhus Plenary Meeting 2023 invited its participants to discuss and digest the ethical and practical role of the performing arts—and of the artist—in the face of climate emergency. It presented a program that aims to provoke new thoughts and inspire action, awareness, and positive impact.

Four actors sit in a classroom set.
Larissa FastHorse on Indigenizing Theatre
Essay

Larissa FastHorse on Indigenizing Theatre

6 June 2023

Holly L. Derr talks with Larissa FastHorse about Indigeneity and misogyny in The Thanksgiving Play, using satire to create change, and rewriting Peter Pan.

Event poster for safe havens freedom talk Indigenous Languages: Memory, Poetry, and Music.
Indigenous Languages: Memory, Poetry, and Music
Video

Indigenous Languages: Memory, Poetry, and Music

A Safe Havens Freedom Talk

Tuesday 30 May 2023
Mexico City

The power of language, memory, and creativity are intertwined in this performance featuring readings of poetry written in Zoque, Tzotzil, and Spanish accompanied by music composed and arranged by musicians from the Chiapanec culture, an extinct language but one that continues to manifest itself culturally in rituals and festive practices.

From the Ground Up Podcast Teaser image.
Maintaining Connections from the Hyperlocal to the International
Podcast

Maintaining Connections from the Hyperlocal to the International

5 April 2023

Carlos Uriona and Jennifer Johnson, co-artistic directors at Double Edge Theatre, connect with Jeffrey Mosser to discuss how working in rural Massachusetts for over thirty years has enabled them to share art on the world stage.

event poster for A Conversation with Indigenous Authors Regarding Representation in Literature.
The Living Presence of Our History: Part VIII
Video

The Living Presence of Our History: Part VIII

A Conversation with Indigenous Authors Regarding Representation in Literature

Sunday 26 March 2023
Massachusetts, United States

A panel of scholars and local Indigenous authors will discuss the importance of our stories in literature. We will explore how these narratives affect Native and non-Native communities today and the possible steps to educate, decolonize, and make changes using an Indigenous lens.

A woman sits and speaks into a microphone while others look at her.
Restorying Our Past and Present, Imagining Our Future
Essay

Restorying Our Past and Present, Imagining Our Future

9 February 2023

Theatremaker and advocate Ronee Penoi shares her inspired keynote speech from the Public Theater’s 2023 Under the Radar Professional Symposium.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image with guest headshot.
Welcome to Season Three with Yura Sapi
Podcast

Welcome to Season Three with Yura Sapi

11 January 2023

How exciting is it to transform our future and be the future ancestors we dream for? Yura Sapi opens the space with a gratitude ritual and shares about what’s to come on the new season of the Building Our Tables podcast. Topics for this season include evolutionary times, the four elements, and sounds of nature.

Critical Stages in Malawian Contemporary Theatre teaser image with the title at the top and a picture of the guest in the middle.
Producing Malawi’s First Multidisciplinary Arts Festival
Podcast

Producing Malawi’s First Multidisciplinary Arts Festival

9 January 2023

When filmmaker Thomas Chibambo founded the Blantyre Arts Festival in 2009, it was Malawi’s first multi-disciplinary arts festival. He joins host Fumbani Innot Phiri, Jr. to discuss the Blantyre Arts Festival’s current plans to better support theatrical performance and his own work to establish an Arts Council in Malawi.

portrait of Murielle Borst-Tarrant.
Tipi Tales from the Stoop: A Performance by Murielle Borst-Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahannock)
Video

Tipi Tales from the Stoop: A Performance by Murielle Borst-Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahannock)

Performance and Post-Show Discussion at Brown University

Tuesday 29 November 2022
United States

My family first came to New York City in the late 1800’s from Virginia and bought a house in Brooklyn and raised four generations. This story is about my family’s blood flow that is here on this land of New York City. How we as a family had to keep tradition alive. The performance and post-show discussion livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network on Tuesday 29 November 2022. This video archive is closed captioned.