NAC names art di­rec­tor for In­dige­nous Theatre

Ac­tor: Full-time depart­ment is a step to­wards rec­on­cil­i­a­tion

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page - Ryan tu­milty

The National Arts Cen­tre named its first-ever artis­tic di­rec­tor of In­dige­nous Theatre Thurs­day, cre­at­ing a per­ma­nent place for In­dige­nous sto­ries on the national stage.

Kevin Lor­ing, a Van­cou­ver ac­tor, teacher and play­wright who won the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral’s Award in 2009, will take the post. He said a per­ma­nent depart­ment at the NAC is a small step to­wards rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, be­cause it will help to re­pair some of the dam­age done to In­dige­nous cul­ture.

“The things that were bro­ken must be fixed. I be­lieve the cre­ation of this In­dige­nous theatre depart­ment at the NAC is a small but im­por­tant step along the path to repa­ra­tion,” he said. “Our sto­ries are medicine, they can help to heal the wounds his­tory leaves on us.”

The first sea­son of the new theatre will be in 2019-2020 and Lor­ing said he doesn’t yet know what he will put on the stage.

“In­dige­nous theatre is sim­ply this: they are our sto­ries, told and per­formed through the lens of In­dige­nous peo­ple.”

He said there will be pro­duc­tions in­volv­ing tra­di­tional In­dige­nous cul­ture and per­for­mances, but he also wants to see “hy­bridiza­tions” draw­ing and adapt­ing tra­di­tional cul­ture.

He added that he hopes there will be a whole new gen­er­a­tion of In­dige­nous ac­tors, di­rec­tors, writ­ers, de­sign­ers and tech­ni­cians who come for­ward.

“It’s my hope it will act as a beacon to young artists across the coun­try. That it will in­spire them to imag­ine their sto­ries on our stages.”

The NAC fol­lowed a unique hir­ing process for Lor­ing’s po­si­tion, meet­ing with In­dige­nous chiefs and elders who helped ad­vise on the po­si­tion and on can­di­dates.

The cen­tre’s CEO Peter Her­rn­dorf said he was pleased to have made In­dige­nous cul­ture a per­ma­nent part of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“I wish this day had come much sooner. In fact I wish when we had opened our doors in 1969, an In­dige­nous theatre depart­ment had been part of the fab­ric of this in­sti­tu­tion.”

Our sto­ries are medicine, they can help to heal the wounds.

Kevin Lor­ing

RYAN TU­MILTY/METRO

Kevin Lor­ing was an­nounced as the first Artis­tic Di­rec­tor of In­dige­nous Theatre at the National Arts Cen­tre on Thurs­day.

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