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Finding Wolastoq Voice

The debut work from New Brunswick aboriginal artist-turned-playwright Samaqani Cocahq (Natalie Sappier) of Tobique First Nation.

New Brunswick aboriginal artist Natalie Sappier makes her playwriting debut with Finding Wolastoq Voice, a powerful dance-theatre hybrid performance that explores the personal discovery, identity and culture of a young Wolastoqiyik woman awakened by the voices of her ancestors.

Playwright and Composer Samaqani Cocahq (Natalie Sappier)
Directed by Thomas Morgan Jones
Featuring: Aria Evans
Set and Lighting Designer: Andy Moro
Sound Designer: Michael Doherty
Production photo by: Matt Carter

Individual tickets for all performances go on sale July 24, 2017.

March 8

Open Space Theatre | 55 Whiting Road | 7:30 pm | Buy Tickets

March 9

Open Space Theatre | 55 Whiting Road | 7:30 pm | Buy Tickets

March 10

Open Space Theatre | 55 Whiting Road | 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm | Buy Tickets

March 11

Open Space Theatre | 55 Whiting Road | 2:00 pm | Pay What You Wish

March 15

Open Space Theatre | 55 Whiting Road | 7:30 pm | Buy Tickets

March 16

Open Space Theatre | 55 Whiting Road | 7:30 pm | Buy Tickets

March 17

Open Space Theatre | 55 Whiting Road | 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm | Buy Tickets

March 18

Open Space Theatre | 55 Whiting Road | 2:00 pm | Buy Tickets

On Tour*

March 21, 2018

W. C. O'Neill Arena Theatre | St. Andrews, NB | 7:30 pm | Buy Tickets

March 22, 2018

BMO Theatre | Saint John, NB | 7:30 pm | Buy Tickets

March 23, 2018

théatre l'Escaouette | Moncton, NB | 7:30 pm | Buy Tickets

March 24, 2018

The Old Post Office | Bathurst, NB | 7:30 pm | Ticket info TBA

March 25, 2018

Kins Centre | Miramichi, NB | 7:30 pm | Buy Tickets

March 26, 2018

Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts | Sackville, NB | 7:30 pm | Buy Tickets

April 4, 2018

McCain Theatre | Woodstock, NB | 7:30 pm | Buy Tickets

Additional performances will be announced fall 2017.

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Samaqani Cocahq (The Water Spirit) Natalie Sappier

Playwright and Composer

My name is Natalie Sappier-Samaqani Cocahq (The Water Spirit) I am a Wolastoqiyik Indigenous multidisciplinary artist from Tobique First Nation. Much of the teachings carry along the Wolastoq waters and it lead me into art community in Fredericton-where my arts practice is currently based and a place I call home also.

I have always had a creative spirit-I remember being young and always being captured by the surroundings and people in my community. I would find stories in the forests and waters-some would say I was child full of imagination and was always expressing myself through spoken word, song and dance.

I began my visual arts practice in early 2000 when I enrolled at New Brunswick College of Craft and Design where I met Sagatay (Gwen Bear)-She became a very influential person in my life and through her guidance I began learning about traditional ceremonies, teachings, language and medicines. The teachings inspired but also gave a larger understanding of who I am and I began expressing that through painting.

When I paint the Wolastoqiyik motifs naturally became part of my stories, this symbolic movement in my artwork is what I call “dancing the four directions” which represents emotions, dance, of spirit and of song through Wabanaki roots. My painted stories kept me close my Indigenous ways of being, constantly teaching me and in constant curiosity. I realized early in my painting career that I was not painting just for me but I was painting for my people-I was painting for my ancestors.

Today, I stand in the Wolastoq waters I am witnessing our language being lost, our lands hurting and our water is crying. I feel our stories need to be heard louder than a painting can speak. I began my path to open my spirit to learn courage to share my songs, strength within my voice and within my words for me to continue to share stories expressed with Indigenous heart on stage for the world to see.


Learn more about Natalie's work

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Aria Evans

Dancer/Choreographer

I see myself as a collector, a curator of human stories. I like to examine personal narratives and experiences, presenting them so viewers can identify themselves within a larger world and realize that as a species we are undivided. I believe that identities such as race or gender are meaningless and that we all share common ground. As an identified minority in our society, I use my art to advocate for the banishment of the notions that separate us.​

I am a Toronto-based mixed-race, emerging contemporary dance artist working within performance, choreography and video. In my work, through movement in performance and on film, I strive to express those ideas that are inaccessible to the spoken or written word. Contemporary choreography is the technical foundation for my work while conceptually it draws from my experiences and the experiences of others. I am interested in how dance can tell the story of our lives and bring us together as a society. My choreographic work draws attention to our unity by finding and dissecting the hints provided in our choices, our relationship to others and to ourselves.

By showcasing human stories my intention is to provoke questions about society. My work invites audiences to engage in personal contemplation and discussion. I strive to make the audiences entry into this challenge easier by drawing from and presenting everyday situations. When I create a new work, the point of departure comes from contemporary life. The integrity of my artistic vision is to speak to a diverse audience and I aspire to bring valuable and original contributions to the field of dance and dance film.

Learn more about Aria's work

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Andy Moro

Set and Lighting Designer

A Toronto-based Euro/Cree with roots in Windsor, Moosefactory, Cochrane & Hearst Ontario, northern Italy and somewhere in the Netherlands, Andy has toured extensively, implementing and operating his own designs internationally since 1990. He is a core member of the creative team at the Banff Centreʼs Indigenous Dance Residency, co-founder and director the multi-disciplinary organization Red Pepper Spectacle Arts and facilitated the Production Mentorship Program at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre.

Andy has worked with Native Earth Performing Arts, New Harlem Productions, Young People’s Theatre, VideoCabaret, Red Sky Dance, Dancemakers, Debajehmujig Theatre, Actor’s Repertory Company, Buddies in Bad Times, Sky Gilbert’s Cabaret Company, Daniel MacIvor’s dada kamera, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Western Canada Theatre, Saskatchewan Native Theatre, Halfbreed Productions, Michael Greyeyes’ Signal Theatre, Cliff Cardinal with CultureStorm and many more. He is a multi-award winner and nominee and has twice been named among Toronto’s NOW magazine top-10 theatre artists.

Andy is a proud founder and director, with Tara Beagan, of ARTICLE 11, a new creation and production company that celebrates Article 11 of the UN’s Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through practice.

Learn more about Andy's work

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Thomas Morgan Jones

Director

Thomas is an award winning director, playwright, movement coach, dramaturg, and teacher. For over 15 years he has created theatre nationally and internationally with companies and schools that include: The Stratford Festival, Theatre Direct, Theatre Passe Muraille, The Charlottetown Festival, Carousel Players, Cia Enviezada (Brazil), NTS, Sheridan, and The Randolph Academy. He holds a BA from Guelph, an MA from UofT, and has trained with SITI Company in NYC/Madrid/Paris and SCOT in Japan and Italy.

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Michael Doherty

Sound Designer

Michael is an Atlantic Canadian-based composer, sound designer, producer and musical director. He is a multiple Merritt award nominee and 2007 recipient. He also received the ECMA Musician’s Achievement Award and is the 2014 recipient of The Playhouse Honours. Michael is currently the resident composer & sound designer for Theatre New Brunswick. Recent credits include; Frankenstein-The Man Who Became God, A Christmas Carol, Beaverbrook; Theatre New Brunswick, 39 Steps; Harbourfront Theatre. Other selected credits include; The Lion in Winter, The Rainmaker; Watermark Theatre; Full Dark, Theatre Sheridan; As Ever, Mulgrave Rd; Homage, 2B Theatre; The Mystery of Maddy Heisler, Centaur.

Natalie's courageous piece engages with the idea of self-discovery and also of community. How we care for ourselves, for others, for the land, and for our spirit. This play also helps us as a theatre company meet our responsibility to give indigenous voices a home and a stage to be heard here in New Brunswick. - Thomas Morgan Jones | Artistic Director

LISTEN:

Artistic Director Thomas Morgan Jones shares his thoughts on the debut from Samaqani Cocahq (Natalie Sappier).