Stage Door News

Toronto: Nightwood Theatre and Native Earth present “Embodying Power and Place” March 27-April 11

Thursday, March 4, 2021

This spring Nightwood Theatre and Native Earth Performing Arts are honoured to present Embodying Power and Place, curated by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard and New Harlem Productions. In 2019, the federal commission on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released their final report, Reclaiming Power and Place. In 2020 over a dozen artists from a wide range of disciplines were commissioned by New Harlem Productions to read and respond to specific chapters of the report. This digital iteration of Embodying Power and Place offers twelve audio-visual works that seek to honour the lives of the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, Trans, and Two-Spirit people, and strives to create a sacred space in which to reflect, heal, and find renewed hope.

Incorporating text, sound and imagery, Embodying Power and Place features work by incredible Indigenous creators such as Janet Antone, Reneltta Arluk, Tara Beagan, Yolanda Bonnell, Darla Contois, Deborah Courchene, Aria Evans, Eekwol Lindsay Knight, Jessica Lea Fleming, Falen Johnson, Émilie Monnet, Yvette Nolan, Michelle Olson, Natalie Sappier, jaye simpson and Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone. 

This digital experience, launching on World Theatre Day (March 27th), will feature twelve 5-10 minute pieces directed by Cole Alvis, Jessica Carmichael and Katie German and starring Cole Alvis, Reneltta Arluk, Tara Beagan, Samantha Brown, Eekwol Lindsay Knight, Monique Mojica, Joelle Peters, Tara Sky, and Michaela Washburn, with Sound Design and Composition by Olivia Shortt and Cosette Pin, and Multimedia Interpretations by Kaylyn and Kassiday Bernard of Patuo'kn.

All performances are free to access, though we encourage donations to the Native Women’s Association of Canada –  an aggregate of Indigenous women’s organizations across Canada, advocating for Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people and It Starts with Us – a community initiative that was founded to honour and document the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, Trans, and Two-Spirited people.

Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) reports, “The number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada is disproportionately high. NWAC’s research indicates that, between 2000 and 2008, Aboriginal women and girls represented approximately 10% of all female homicides in Canada. However, Aboriginal women make up only 3% of the female population.”

Playwright, director, dramaturg, former Artistic Director of Native Earth, and creator of the piece Caribou Fence for Embodying Power and Place Yvette Nolan shares, “When Donna-Michelle told me I was using Chapter 4, Colonization as Gendered Oppression, as a jumping-off point for Embodying, I had to sit and think a long time. We all know the cost of colonization, but to have to drill down, to recognize that colonization was even more oppressive for women...I wondered how to deal with the knowledge without performing our trauma. How could I make this chapter into a way of healing? In the end, it is the art - the dance, the song - the resilience of women...We make sense of the world through art, through theatre. We keep our stories and our teachings there. Embodying does all of that.”

Available through the Embodying Power and Place site:


As Canada’s foremost feminist theatre, Nightwood Theatre is driven by artistic excellence, advocacy, and the successful training and development of artists that self-identify as having lived experience touched by womanhood – this includes but is not limited to trans, cis, Two-Spirit and non-binary folks. Founded in 1979, Nightwood Theatre has created and produced award-winning plays, which have won Dora Mavor Moore, Chalmers, Trillium and Governor General’s Awards.


Native Earth Performing Arts is Canada’s oldest professional Indigenous performing arts company. Currently in our 38th year, we are dedicated to developing, producing and presenting professional artistic expressions of the Indigenous experience in Canada. Through stage productions (theatre, dance and multidisciplinary art), new script development, apprenticeships and internships, Native Earth seeks to fulfill a community of artistic visions. It is a vision that is inclusive and reflective of the artistic directions of members of the Indigenous community who actively participate in the arts.

Illustration: Water Ceremony. © 2021 Natalie Sappier.