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Theatre Network Commission of Indigenous Plays supported by Syncrude Canada

Theatre Network, with the support of Syncrude Canada, is honoured to become stewards of a new work creation program called the Theatre Network Commission of Indigenous Plays supported by Syncrude Canada. In partnership with Indigenous writers, we will commission, develop, and support new plays to be produced as a part of our future mainstage seasons in The New Roxy Theatre.

Collectively, we are building on Theatre Network’s history of producing work by Indigenous storytellers – such as Where the Blood Mixes by Kevin Loring, and Métis Mutt by Sheldon Elter – to grow into a contributing player, supporting new additions to the canon of Indigenous stories to be told onstage. We have developed this program as a key component of our ongoing exploration of what it means to be in relationship with the lands and histories that amiskwaciwâskahikan, or Edmonton, weaves together.

Syncrude’s operations are located solely in Alberta and the company has shown its dedication to supporting and sharing stories written by Alberta playwrights through its ongoing relationship with Theatre Network.

We are delighted to announce that two of the three commissions are already underway and include câpân by Jacquelyn and Hunter Cardinal – recently featured in Theatre Network’s virtual Works in Progress Series – and a new play (title unknown) by Kenneth T. Williams.

Theatre Network is thrilled to be working with this team of local artists to continue our commitment to sharing local and national stories, providing professional growth for artists, and providing a platform for important voices to be heard. Theatre Network and Syncrude Canada know that we both share a role in showcasing Indigenous stories and perspectives, as well as providing career opportunities and development opportunities for Indigenous Artists.

câpân by Jacquelyn & Hunter Cardinal

More Info on câpân
The Authors:
Jacquelyn Cardinal is a sakāwithiniwak (Woodland Cree) playwright and producer hailing from Sucker Creek Cree First Nation who, in all aspects of her life, seeks to equip communities with the means to support themselves and each other while walking together on a shared path, a sentiment passed down to her through the generations. In her art, Jacquelyn explores her culture’s concept of infinity; misewa. Misewa refers to our connection to all that was, all that is, and all that will be. It is the understanding that all of the stories we have today exist in a sea of stories alongside those that have yet to be told in our place and time, and that all are equally important. She writes to unearth the stories that have yet to come so they can be called upon as much-needed tools in times of need by current and future generations to help them move through their complex and unique problems. Though she has engaged with the arts from an early age, she began her professional practice when she embarked on the journey to develop her first play, Indigenous one-person show, Lake of the Strangers, in February 2018. She continues to be incredibly grateful to her community for their ongoing support, with her most notable achievement to date being the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding New Play given to Lake of the Strangers in 2019.
Hunter Cardinal is a sakāwithiniwak (Woodland Cree) theatrical artist hailing from Sucker Creek Cree First Nation and currently based in Edmonton, Alberta. Holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Alberta, class of 2015, Hunter has performed across Canada and off-Broadway in New York. Recent stage credits include Titus Bouffonious (Theatre Network), Lake of the Strangers (Naheyawin and Fringe Theatre) and Hamlet (Freewill Shakespeare Festival). He is humbled by the steadfast support of his community, with notable achievements to date including the 2020 Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role in a Comedy for his work as Fink in The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonious, the 2019 Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding New Play given to Lake of the Strangers, his first play co-written with his sister, and dubbed Edmonton’s Best Actor by Vue Weekly in 2018.
The play:


To learn more about this new play in development, visit our Works in Progress page where you can watch a past live-stream of Hunter Cardinal (joined by collaborators Harper and Jason Borys of AG47) talk about the play.

câpân will be produced by Theatre Network in a future season at the New Roxy Theatre.

Kenneth T. Williams

More Info on Kenneth T. Williams
The Author:
Kenneth T. Williams calls his professional path a “guidance counselor’s nightmare.” He’s been a soldier, bartender, rock musician, and door-to-door encyclopedia salesman. He took a playwriting class in university and immediately dropped his plans to go to law school. As a journalist, he was a member of the very first news team for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. He also managed to write a few plays. In Care, Café Daughter, Gordon Winter, Thunderstick, Bannock Republic, Street Corner Playwright, Suicide Notes and Three Little Birds have been produced across Canada. Paris SK was streamed live by the Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre. The Herd was recently presented as part of Tarragon Theatre’s Acoustic series. He lives in Edmonton with his partner, Dr. Melissa Stoops, with their cats, Augustus and Drusilla, and is an assistant professor in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta. He is a member of the George Gordon First Nation in the Treaty 4 territory.
The Play:

Check back for more info on Kenneth T. Williams’ new work as part of this commission.