Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre announces new season and new General Manager
- EFN Staff | August 15, 2019
In a tent along the South Saskatchewan River, patrons and friends gathered to hear the Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre (GTNT) 2019/2020 season announcement and meet the company’s new General Manager, Ed Mendez.
Artistic Director, Jennifer Dawn Bishop, has assembled a season with familiar favourites and new and unique productions all by renowned playwrights. “I always love looking forward to what's next,” says Bishop. “I'm excited about the upcoming season because we are trying some new things this year.”
New this season is that it starts with the comedy favourite Rez Christmas Story series production Luff Actually featuring the kohkums of Kiwetinohk.
This season’s Circle of Voices youth production will work with a new playwright to GTNT and the play will be based on the themes of discrimination and implicit bias in the health care system.
“I chose this theme because my Dad has spent a lot of time as a patient at the hospital and all the emotions and frustrations we have being there,” expresses Bishop. “It’s no secret or surprise how Indigenous peoples are treated in the healthcare system. Not by everyone, but from a fair number of them. My Dad was immediately stereotyped and I witnessed how others were treated. These are universal themes and people can connect.”
Also new this season, Kenneth T. Williams’ Paris SK will be a workshop production, a contribution of the on-going development of this new play acknowledging Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre and their Playwrights Lab for the on-going support.
And the season’s final production The Unplugging, by Yvette Nolan won the 2013 Jessie Award for outstanding new script.
There is a new face at GTNT too with the announcement of Ed Mendez as General Manager. Mendez is a proud first generation Canadian of Latino descent born and raised in Treaty 6 territory. His career includes virtually every theatre company in Saskatoon as an actor, administrator, media coordinator or board member including GTNT as acting GM for the past seven months.
“I have always found the productions at GTNT captivating because the immediacy of these stories is so tangible,” says Mendez. “The people represented on stage are your neighbours, your friends and they’re sitting right next to you in the theatre. These are the stories of the land on which we all live and seeing them on stage forges a deep understanding of the people living them every day.”
GTNT 2019/2020 Season
Luff Actually, A Rez Christmas Story
Written by Curtis Peeteetuce
December 10-15, 2019
This Christmas season, everyone on Kiwetinohk First Nation is looking for love … er… ‘luff’ as they say on the rez. All except Sihkos, who wants nothing more than everyone to leave her alone, especially Chief Richard and band accountant Purdy Parsimonias, whom she considers corrupt, ruthless and greedy.
2019/2020 Circle of Voice Production
Written by Logan Martin-Arcand in conjunction with the participants
March 5-13, 2020
Each September, GTNT recruits Indigenous youth between the ages 16 – 25, for the Circle of Voices training program. The program enlists cultural leaders, theatre artists and career development professionals to lead workshops for the participants and culminates with an original production.
Written by Kenneth T. Williams
April 24 - 26, 2020
Welcome to Paris SK, a new play by Kenneth T. Williams. Inspired by events that didn’t happen, Paris SK slices open the political, social and racial underbelly of a city captivated by an unsolved murder. In a style that draws from the movies like The Killers and the Maltese Falcon, Paris SK is a “detective story” written as an homage to the tradition of film noir.
Written by Yvette Nolan
May 28 - June 7, 2020
In a post-apocalyptic world, two aging Indigenous women are cast out of their village and forced to wander the desolate landscape with their only tools of survival: a shared traditional knowledge and deep friendship. When a young man appears and threatens their new way of life, the two women must choose between isolation and community.