NAC names art director for Indigenous Theatre
Actor: Full-time department is a step towards reconciliation
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 was announced as the first Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre at the National Arts Centre on Thursday.
Metro | ottawa