Stage Door News

Toronto: IRCPA presents Tomson Highway in Zoom conversation on November 6

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Internationally celebrated Canadian playwright Tomson Highway, also a gifted pianist, songwriter and novelist, is the next guest in a series of pandemic Zoom chats presented by the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists.

Highway converses with IRCPA host Debra Chandler, Friday, November 6 at 12:30 p.m.   He describes how his talents were discovered and developed, challenges he has faced, and important influences on his life and career, and discusses changing attitudes amongst the non-indigenous towards First Nations people.  He also offers advice to young artists starting their careers and to those in mid-career looking for a change.

Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required, with an RSVP to  The Zoom link will be provided closer to the date.  More information is available at

Tomson Highway ( is internationally known as a playwright, novelist, concert pianist and songwriter (born December 6, 1951 in northwestern Manitoba).  He is a Member of the Order of Canada (first Indigenous writer to be included) and named in Maclean's magazine as one of the 100 most important people in Canadian history.  His written works speak to important issues affecting First Nations peoples in Canadian history, including residential schools, reserve life, Indigenous identity, and more. 

He first gained recognition with his play The Rez Sisters, and went on to create other stage works including Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, and the libretto for the opera in Cree and English, Pimooteewin (The Journey), commissioned and premiered by Soundstreams with music by Melissa Hui.  His 2017 presentation Songs in the Key of Cree features songs he has written for his plays. He also has two CDs of his music, one of them JUNO-nominated.

This is the IRCPA’s fourth free Zoom Conversation during COVID-19.  Earlier this spring and summer, Debra Chandler spoke with soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, music journalist Joseph So with Canadian Opera Company General Director Alexander Neef, and singer Ori Dagan with legendary jazz singer Sheila Jordan.

The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) is a charitable organization that serves emerging professional musicians in their search for excellence and international careers. since 1983.  As the IRCPA is part of the support system in the Music Industry, it works behind the scenes helping artists keep their skills sharpened, become savvy professionals in the industry and start their own small businesses, thereby reducing the GAP between training and employment.  The organization encourages proactive entrepreneurial thinking and experiential, lifelong learning, and provides access to the world's top experienced artists who generously give them the benefit of their experience.  

Photo: Tomson Highway.