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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

National Institute for Directing and Ensemble Creation (NIDEC)
Video
National Institute for Directing and Ensemble Creation (NIDEC)
A virtual weekend of conversations and workshops
Friday 3 December to Sunday 5 December 2021
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Freedom Talk @ Artistic Freedom Initiative
Video
Freedom Talk @ Artistic Freedom Initiative
Focusing on Indigenous People's Artistic Rights from a Legal Perspective
Tuesday 23 November 2021
United States
The Refusal to be Disappeared: Lukas Avendaño’s Xibalbay
Essay
The Refusal to be Disappeared: Lukas Avendaño’s Xibalbay
by María Regina Firmino-Castillo
28 October 2021
Stylized event promotion.
Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Prefigurative Spaces
Video

Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Prefigurative Spaces

hosted by Unsettling Dramaturgy: Crip & Indigenous Dramaturgies.​

Thursday 30 April 2020
United States

Unsettling Dramaturgy presented Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Prefigurative Spaces livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 30 April 2020 at 3:15 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 5:15 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 6:15 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 20:15 p.m. BST (London, UTC+1) / 21:15 p.m. CEST (Berlin, UTC+2).

two actors onstage
Indigenous Theatre and the Climate Crisis
Essay

Indigenous Theatre and the Climate Crisis

Trickster Mix

29 April 2020

Indigenous playwright David Geary takes us on a journey through his ancestral lineage and land, and highlights the role of the trickster.

black text on a yellow background
Instigating Institutional Change Towards Decolonization
Essay

Instigating Institutional Change Towards Decolonization

13 April 2020

Roya Amirsoleymani and Erin Boberg Doughton of the Portland Institute of for Contemporary Art share the steps they’ve taken toward decolonizing and indigenizing the practices and curatorial processes of their organization, which have been supported by Emily Johnson and the advisory council of the Global First Nations Performance Network.

graphic landscape with text unsettlign dramaturgy
Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Cripping Practice
Video

Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Cripping Practice

hosted by Unsettling Dramaturgy: Crip & Indigenous Dramaturgies ​​​​​​

Friday 10 April 2020
United States

Unsettling Dramaturgy presented Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Cripping Practice livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 10 April 2020 at 2 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 4 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 5 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).

hand sanitizer labeled "don't touch the art"
It Was Always Possible: Centering the Leaders Who Were Here All Along (ASL & Captioned)
Video

It Was Always Possible: Centering the Leaders Who Were Here All Along (ASL & Captioned)

an #ArtistResource talk with Rachel Spencer Hewitt (PAAL); Claudia Alick (CallingUP); Ashley Hanson (Department of Public Transformation); and more

Tuesday 7 April 2020
United States

Livestreaming the #ArtistResource panel It Was Always Possible: Centering the Leaders Who Were Here All Along (ASL & Captioned) on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 7 April 2020 at 8 a.m. HST (Honolulu, UST-10) / 10 a.m. AKDT (Juneau, UTC-8) / 11 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 2 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).

performers dancing in traditional Meranao people clothes (Philippines)
Pananadem (Remembering) by Kinding Sindaw
Video

Pananadem (Remembering) by Kinding Sindaw

Presented by La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club

Sunday 15 March 2020
New York, NY

La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club presented a performance of Pananadem (Remembering) by Kinding Sindaw livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Sunday 15 March 2020 at 3 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 19:00 GMT (London, UTC+0) / 20:00 CET (Berlin, UTC+1) / Monday 16 March at 03:00 PHT (Manilla and Singapore, UTC+8).

two actors onstage
Playwrights Nurturing Cultural Community
Essay

Playwrights Nurturing Cultural Community

Pearl Cleage and Vera Starbard in Conversation, Part II

15 January 2020

In part two of their conversation, Vera Starbard and Pearl Cleage—playwrights-in-residence at Juneau, Alaska’s Perseverance Theatre and Atlanta, Georgia’s Alliance Theatre, respectively—talk about different cultural practices, the white gaze, moving away from anger, and more.

three actors onstage
Vocalizing Difficult Issues as Playwrights in Residence
Essay

Vocalizing Difficult Issues as Playwrights in Residence

Pearl Cleage and Vera Starbard in Conversation, Part I

14 January 2020

In part one of their conversation, playwrights Vera Starbard and Pearl Cleage talk about their respective residencies—at Juneau, Alaska’s Perseverance Theatre and Atlanta, Georgia’s Alliance Theatre, respectively—race and representation at their institutions, not writing for a white audience, and more.

woman with flowers and branches titled The Weeping Woman's Contrived Posture
Livestreaming the National Performance Network Annual Conference 2019
Video

Livestreaming the National Performance Network Annual Conference 2019

from New Orleans, Louisiana

Tuesday 10 December - Friday 13 December 2019
New Orleans, Louisiana

The National Performance Network presents their 2019 Annual Conference livestreaming from New Orleans on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv from Tuesday 10 December to Friday 13 December 2019.

an actor performing outdoors
The National Theater Project (NTP) Appalachia Regional Convening
Video

The National Theater Project (NTP) Appalachia Regional Convening

presented by New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and Carpetbag Theatre

Sunday 1 December 2019
Knoxville, Tennessee

New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and Carpetbag Theatre presented the National Theater Project (NTP) Appalachia Regional Convening livestreamed from Knoxville, Tenessee on the commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Sunday 1 December 2019.

HowlRound Twitter Chat
Event

HowlRound Twitter Chat

Theatre's Response to Global Colonization and Occupation 

26 November 2019
Twitter

Theatremakers, companies, institutions, and communities: How are you responding to the history and present reality of colonization and occupation around the world?

sheet music
To Witness
Essay

To Witness

A Proposal to Build Radical Trust across Difference in the Arts

6 November 2019

Annalisa Dias and Ronee Penoi discuss decolonizing theatre, building trust and relationships across difference, and the act of witnessing.

Future Traditions: Theorizing the Native Avant Garde
Video

Future Traditions: Theorizing the Native Avant Garde

a talk by Emerson College professor Dr. Adam Spry

24 October 2019
Boston, Massachusetts

Emerson College's Media Art Gallery presented Future Traditions: Theorizing the Native Avant Garde,​ a talk by Emerson College professor Dr. Adam Spry, livestreamed from Boston, Massachusetts on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 24 October 2019 at 3 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles, UTC -7) / 5 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 6 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 22:00 UTC +0.

two graphs: Are at least half the characters specified as females by the playwright. Are at least half of the characters specified as non-white by the playwright?
What Our New Plays Really Look Like
Essay

What Our New Plays Really Look Like

A Statistical Guide to US World Premieres in the 2019–20 Season

21 October 2019

Marshall Botvinick shares the results of the research he undertook about new plays premiering across the United States in the 2019–20 season: who is being produced, what characters are appearing on stage, and what forms and themes are common.

a group of actors onstage
Apollo Meets the Climate Youth Movement on Indigenous Ground
Essay

Apollo Meets the Climate Youth Movement on Indigenous Ground

2 October 2019

Playwright and professor Theresa May talks about creating a show about the planet, Sky Woman, and the Youth Climate Movement, and how collaborating with students enhanced the development process.

actors onstage
Anticolonial Creative Collaboration and the Development of Mirror Butterfly
Essay

Anticolonial Creative Collaboration and the Development of Mirror Butterfly

15 August 2019

Ben Barson and Gizelxanath Rodriguez, part of the Afro Yaqui Music Collective, talk about artivism—what it means, what it can look like—in relation to building a jazz opera with various communities around the world.

shelagh magadza headshot
The Winter Nights lecture ‘On Theatre’ by Shelagh Magadza
Video

The Winter Nights lecture ‘On Theatre’ by Shelagh Magadza

The Blue Room Theatre, Perth, Australia

Tuesday 23 July 2019
Perth, Australia

The Blue Room Theatre presents the Winter Nights keynote lecture ‘On Theatre’ by Shelagh Magadza livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network on Tuesday 23 July 2019 at  6:30 a.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 10:30 UTC+0 / 6:30 p.m. AWST (Perth, UTC +8). 

actors onstage
“To the heart, she led them there”
Essay

“To the heart, she led them there”

Native Theatre, Inclusion, and Shakespeare on the Great Plains

18 July 2019

Robert Hubbard discussions Madeline Sayet’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the South Dakota Theatre Festival.

a lake surrounded by mountains
What Does the Play Need?
Essay

What Does the Play Need?

Why I Cancelled a Workshop in Favor of a Two-Week Trip Through Rural Alaska

6 May 2019

Playwright Vera Starbard (Tlingit/Dena’ina) reflects on her journey through rural Alaskan Native communities to reawaken the ancestral spirit of her work, Native Pride (and Prejudice).

two actors onstage in costume
At the Core of Theatre for Young Audiences is Voicing Identity, Intersectionality, and Empathy
Essay

At the Core of Theatre for Young Audiences is Voicing Identity, Intersectionality, and Empathy

20 March 2019

Kim Peter Kovac looks at the way the theatre for young audiences field has changed over the last few years, where it’s at today, and what his hopes are for the future.

The promotional image for a production of Battle of Kuamoʻo
Striving for the Summit
Essay

Striving for the Summit

The Mountain Hawaiian Theatre Artists Must Climb

7 March 2019

Ākea Kahikina traces the geneology of hana keaka (Hawaiian theatre), and muses on the future of the theatrical form.

performers dancing
Hawaiʻi’s Theatre Landscape
Essay

Hawaiʻi’s Theatre Landscape

Majestic and Rugged as its Terrain

6 March 2019

Kiki Rivera talks about the importance of telling stories from underrepresented communities in Hawai‘i’s theatrical landscape.

Perfomers on stage in front of a volcano
Carrying On Our Cultural Responsibility Through Theatre
Essay

Carrying On Our Cultural Responsibility Through Theatre

5 March 2019

Kau‘i Kaina writes about combining her love of theatre with her desire to be part of the Hawaiian language and cultural revitalization. 

performer in traditional Hawai'i clothing
Hanakeaka
Essay

Hanakeaka

Hawaiian Medium Theatre Inspiring Hawaiian Identity

4 March 2019

Kaliko Baker looks at how hanakeaka—Hawaiian medium theatre—has had a huge impact in the Hawaiian language revitalization movement.

group of Hawaiian performers singing onstage
I Ola ka Mo‘olelo
Essay

I Ola ka Mo‘olelo

Perpetuating Our Stories Through Hawaiian Medium Theatre

3 March 2019

Playwright and director Tammy Haili‘ōpua Baker talks about the history, practice, and importance of hana keaka—Hawaiian medium theatre.