Gwaandak Theatre thanks Northwestel for making our first Northwestel Behind the Curtain Series a resounding success this past season, bringing theatre storytelling to over 600 people in four Yukon communities. Northwestel joined us as title sponsor of the series with a genuine commitment to greater mental health awareness and promotion, and building a healthier, more compassionate community.
We passionately believe that sharing our stories in the performing arts enriches the lives of all of us. We are grateful that leaders in our business community share this vision and are willing to invest, for the benefit of all. Kwanaschis. Gunalchish.
Mahsi. Thank you.
As part of the series, Gwaandak Theatre and MT Space shared my new Yukon play Paradise for teens and adults, in association with Yukon Arts Centre, last March at the Arts Centre and St. Elias Convention Centre in Haines Junction, presented by Junction Arts & Music. This play explored issues around mental health as well as addictions and poverty. Northwestel was a leading player in our community focus group, post-show talk-backs and promotion of mental health resources, along with community partners Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition, Second Opinion Society, and Mental Health Association of Yukon.
The Northwestel Behind the Curtain Series with Gwaandak also featured popular Aboriginal Summer Play Readings. These showcased indigenous playwrights with powerful stories about love, dignity and standing up for what’s right in the face of abuse and discrimination, brought to life by talented Yukon theatre artists of all backgrounds.
In Tara Beagan’s The Ministry of Grace, a First Nations healer is recruited into an evangelical road show while her children are at residential school. Drew Hayden Taylor’s Crees in the Caribbean is a heartfelt tale of two Cree “near-elders” celebrating their second honeymoon in Mexico. Sharon Shorty’s Trickster Visits the Old Folks Home chronicles a feisty Tlingit Elder transitioning from her lifelong Teslin home to a sterile old folks home in the city.
It was a joy to share these stories with so many people in our beautiful territory:
* National Aboriginal Day in Mayo, with First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun, YAC;
* Three evenings of readings on the Whitehorse riverfront, at the Old Fire Hall and as part of Adaka Cultural Festival;
* Ha Kus Teyea Celebration in Teslin in July, with Teslin Tlingit Council, YAC.
We take this opportunity to thank sponsors and partners which helped make our 2014-2015 season possible: Air North, TD, Driving Force, Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, What’s Up Yukon and Yukon News. Also, the Mauro Family Foundation and many donors made valued contributions.
Gwaandak Theatre develops, produces and tours professional plays to empower indigenous and northern voices. Gwaandak Theatre’s programming includes new play development, readings, productions, tours, and community workshops. Stay tuned at gwaandaktheatre.ca for details of our 15th anniversary season this year!
Managing artistic director, Gwaandak Theatre