Stage Door News

Barrie: “Tales of an Urban Indian” will receive its 500th performance while on tour in Australia

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Talk Is Free Theatre (TIFT) will perform its hit production of Tales of an Urban Indian for the 500th time during the upcoming Australian tour.

Tales of an Urban Indian is the story of Simon Douglas, a contemporary Indigenous man, who grows up on both the reserve in British Columbia and in Vancouver. The play conjures up many characters that appear in Simon's life as seen through his eyes, all played by one actor. Patrons are passengers on the bus, bearing witness to Simon’s journey and ultimately to his healing. Tales of an Urban Indian is staged on a moving city bus, which drives through a city and visits locations matching those of the play's plot.

Says playwright Darrell Dennis: "I am so proud that TIFT's production of Tales of an Urban is celebrating its 500th performance. Although this is a semi-autobiographical play, its longevity suggests that Simon's story is universal, and his quest for belonging, identity and acceptance is a struggle that we all share. May we all find what we are looking for on our shared pathways."

TIFT's production debuted triumphantly in 2009, extending its original run six times.  “Until that time the play had only been presented in a conventional theatre setting. It was only when we lost our venue, due to the construction, that the idea of staging it on a bus moving through the community was born. The rest, as they say, is history,” reminds TIFT's Artistic Producer Arkady Spivak.  The production was subsequently revived twice in Barrie, followed by sold out tours to Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver, Iqaluit, Saint John, and Hannibal, USA, among other destinations.

The upcoming Australian tour this will be the production's first foray off North America. Tales of an Urban Indian will appear at two international festivals. It will first play at the Yirramboi Festival in Melbourne from May 3 to 5, 2019. The YIRRAMBOI is Australia’s premier First Nations arts and cultural event  featuring over 200 First Nations artists from across Victoria, Australia and the world.

The production's next stop will be Anywhere Festival in Brisbane from May 10 to 19, 2019. Anywhere Festival takes traditional story-telling out of theatre buildings and presents them back to where life really takes place, in the community. With an incredible 96 shows being performed across the region and in all manners of space no other festival connects audiences, locations and shows in quite the same way.

The performance of Tales of an Urban Indian on Saturday on May 11 at 2pm will be the production's 500th.

Tales of an Urban Indian is written by Darrell Dennis, directed by Herbie Barnes and stars Craig Lauzon.

For ticket booking information and detailed schedule, please refer to as follows:

Yirramboi Festival: 

Anywhere Festival:

About Talk Is Free Theatre (

Talk Is Free Theatre (TIFT) was founded in 2003 in Barrie, Ontario, and has since produced 89 works. The company is Central Ontario’s only professional Equity company with a full winter season. TIFT produces a wide range of work from the periphery of mainstream, concentrating on new writing, forgotten classics and drastic re-examinations of established repertoire. TIFT is particularly dedicated to esoteric works of musical theatre and in forging new types of site-specific, immersive creation, among others. Most recently, TIFT produced The Curious Voyage, the 3-day long immersive experience which began in Barrie, Canada and took the audience, quite literally, to London, UK.  As part of its 2018–2019 season in Barrie, TIFT also presented Hedwig and the Angry Inch and The Gamblers, while its co-production of The Wedding Party was seen at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Photo: Craig Lauzon in Tales of an Urban Indian.