Banff Centre Hosts
Indigenous Dramaturgies Gathering: Lead Faculty Members and Mentors
Dr. Lindsay Lachance
Dr. Lindsay Lachance is currently working as the Artistic Associate of Indigenous Theatre at the National Arts Centre. Lindsay is from an Algonquin Anishinaabe and mixed Canadian family and has loved storytelling and theatre from a young age. She earned a PhD in Theatre from the University of British Columbia and in January 2018 successfully defended her dissertation titled “The Embodied Politics of Relational Indigenous Dramaturgies.” Lindsay’s academic work exists at the intersections of Indigenous Theatre and Critical Indigenous Studies, where she celebrates and supports Indigenous theatre art and artists. Her dissertation explores Indigenous approaches to developing Indigenous theatre, as practiced by her in her dramaturgical processes with Indigenous and non-Indigenous theatre artists and students. Lindsay works as a dramaturg, supporting new play development, through a practice that centers the knowledges, skills and gifts of her collaborators that honours each process. She has published articles, shared her ideas at various conferences and offered responses to performances she has witnessed.
Lindsay has developed and taught courses in both First Nations & Indigenous Studies and Theatre Studies at the University of British Columbia and at Simon Fraser University. She is the first in her family to have attended university and she recognizes both the privileges and difficulties in attending post-secondary institutions. Lindsay has been working with youth for over 15 years at summer camps, community centres, The Native Youth Program at the UBC Museum of Anthropology and the Indigenous Youth Residency Program at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She has participated at events hosted by The National Arts Centre, The PuSh Festival, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Audain Gallery at SFU, Carleton University and The Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas Association.
Lindsay is a granddaughter, a daughter, a niece, a cousin, a sister, an auntie and a partner. She honours the gifts, offerings and teachings that Indigenous women before her have offered and is motivated to honour and support the next generation of leaders.
Kenneth T. Williams
Kenneth T. Williams once Googled “Kenneth Williams” and he got a million hits about “famous dead gay British playwrights.” He didn’t want anyone to think he was British or dead, so he added his middle initial to his professional name. Now his name sounds like Tennessee Williams with a lisp. Go ahead. Sound it out, you know you want to. He is a Cree playwright and dramaturge from the George Gordon First Nation in the Treaty 4 Territory. He is the first Indigenous person to earn an M.F.A. in playwriting from the University of Alberta, where he now teaches in the Drama Department. He tweets about drama and Indigenous peoples under his handle, @feralplaywright. He lives in Edmonton with his partner, Dr. Melissa Stoops, and their hamster, The Grand Duke Maple Walnut, and their cat, Augustus Caesar McFuzzyboots. As a university instructor, playwriting teacher and dramaturge, Kenneth has mentored about 80 playwrights. His plays In Care, Caf. Daughter, Gordon Winter, Thunderstick, Bannock Republic, Suicide Notes and Three Little Birds have been produced across Canada.
Reneltta is an Inuvialuit, Dene and Cree woman from the Northwest Territories. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting program and founder of Akpik Theatre, the only professional Indigenous Theatre company in the NWT. Akpik Theatre focuses on establishing an authentic Northern Indigenous voice through theatre and storytelling. Raised by her grandparents on the trap-line until school age, this nomadic environment gave Reneltta the skills to become the multi-disciplined artist she is now. Reneltta has taken part in or initiated the creation of Indigenous Theatre across Canada and overseas. Arluk is committed to stories inspired by Indigenous language and has worked in depth with Indigenous and minority youth through her theatre advocacy work. Under Akpik Theatre, Reneltta has written, produced, and performed various works focusing on decolonization and using theatre as a tool for reconciliation. This includes Paw.kan Macbeth, a Plains Cree adaptation of Macbeth written by Arluk on Treaty 6 territory. Paw.kan Macbeth was inspired by working with Owen Morris and his students on the Frog Lake reserve. In 2017, Reneltta became the first Inuit and first Indigenous woman to direct at The Stratford Festival. She was awarded the Tyrone Guthrie - Derek F. Mitchell Artistic Director’s Award for her direction of the The Breathing Hole by Governor General Award-winning playwright, Colleen Murphy. Reneltta is now Director of Indigenous Arts at BANFF Centre for the Arts.
For the Banff Centre
Nathan Medd is a Canadian and American arts manager from a west coast town island called Qualicum (a name that comes from a Coast Salish word meaning “where the chum salmon run”.) He serves as managing director for performing arts at Banff Centre, overseeing residency programming in theatre, dance, opera, and music including jazz, classical, contemporary and popular music. He joined this season from the National Arts Centre, where as managing director he oversaw the theatre team in its work with artists across Canada to increase its impact as a national theatre. This included the initiative to create the world’s first national Indigenous theatre company. In British Columbia, Nathan co-founded the Metro Studio, a vibrant venue on Vancouver Island that is home to many events including the world’s first festival of Solo Performance – UNO, the Victoria Fringe, and a queer performance festival called Outstages. In Vancouver, Nathan also co-founded Progress Lab 1422, a performance creation studio whose tenants include Electric Company, an Olivier award-winning, interdisciplinary ensemble that he also guided, as managing producer, through an exciting period that included three productions with the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad, as well as a movie adaptation of its play about Eadweard Muybridge, Studies in Motion. Nathan has served as a stage manager around the Pacific Northwest at venues like Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival, and he also worked in public funding as an officer for theatre and festivals at the British Columbia Arts Council. Nathan’s work has been profiled on the cover of International Arts Manager Magazine, and his training includes a fine arts degree in theatre and English literature from University of Victoria, as well as a masters degree in management from the extension school at Harvard University.