The debut work from New Brunswick Indigenous artist-turned-playwright Samaqani Cocahq (Natalie Sappier) of Tobique First Nation.
(Fredericton, NB) New Brunswick Indigenous 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.
“This story is about healing, relationships, family and my experiences as a young girl,” said Sappier.
In this solo dance-theatre hybrid performance, Toronto-based dancer/choreographer Aria Evans interprets the flow and rhythm of Sappier’s words and music. The fictional world of Finding Wolatoq Voice is further brought to life by the work of set and lighting design by Andy Moro and sound designer Michael Doherty. Together they create a culturally diverse theatre experience rich in imagination and relevance.
This production marks Theatre New Brunswick’s first time staging new work by a New Brunswick Indigenous playwright. After aiding in the development of the TNB Young Company production The Eighth Fire (2014) as both set designer and story consultant, Sappier began exploring ways to use theatric elements in her own creative process. With enthusiastic support, dramaturgy, and encouragement from TNB artistic director Thomas Morgan Jones, Finding Wolastoq Voice began to take shape in 2015.
Sappier is at the forefront of contemporary Indigenous art in New Brunswick. As a painter, musician, a singer and now as a playwright, her work is heavily influenced by her relationship with the land and the waterways that crisscross our province.
With support from Canadian Heritage, Sappier will join the provincial tour offering post-show talk backs with the audience.
“I realized I’m at a point in my life now where my stories need to be louder than a painting can speak,” said Sappier. “I think it’s time to bring our stories to the stage and time for them to be heard through dance and movement and song. This is what I always want to do.”
Finding Wolastoq Voice | March 8-18 | Open Space Theatre (Fredericton) | 7:30 p.m. with matinee performances Saturday & Sunday at 2 p.m.
March 21 | St. Andrews, NB | W. C. O’Neil Arena Theatre
March 22 | Saint John, NB | BMO Theatre
March 23 | Moncton, NB | théatre l’Escaouette
March 24 | Bathurst, NB | Bathurst High School
March 25 | Elsipogtog First Nation | Elsipogtog, NB
March 26 | Sackville, NB | Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts
March 29 | Toronto, ON | Native Earth Performing Arts
March 30 | Toronto, ON | Native Earth Performing Arts
March 31 | Toronto, ON | Native Earth Performing Arts
April 4 | Burnt Church First Nation | Burnt Church, NB
April 5 | Tobique First Nation | Tobique, NB
Additional New Brunswick performances TBA.
New Brunswick provincial tour supported by the McCain Provincial Tour Partnership and the Province of New Brunswick.