Contemporary Indigenous theatre in Canada is just over thirty years old, if one begins counting from the premiere of Linda Griffiths and Maria Campbell’s Jessica in Saskatoon and the establishment of Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto. Since those contemporaneous events in 1982, the Canadian community of Indigenous theatre artists has grown and inspired one another. Medicine Shows: Indigenous Performance Culture traces the work of a host of these artists over the past three decades, illuminating the connections, the artistic genealogy, and the development of a contemporary Indigenous theatre practice. Neither a history nor a chronicle, Medicine Shows examines how theatre has been used to make medicine, reconnecting individuals and communities, giving voice to the silenced and disappeared, staging ceremony, and honouring the ancestors.
Yvette Nolan is a playwright, dramaturg, and director. Her plays include BLADE, Job’s Wife, Video, Annie Mae’s Movement, Scattering Jake, Donne In, and What Befalls the Earth. She is the editor of Beyond the Pale and co-editor, with Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, of Refractions: Solo. She has been the writer-in-residence at Brandon University, Mount Royal College, and the Saskatoon Public Library, as well as playwright-in-residence at the National Arts Centre. She is a past president of Playwrights Union of Canada and of Playwrights Canada Press. Yvette was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to an Algonquin mother and an Irish immigrant father and was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has lived in various parts of Canada, including in the Yukon and Nova Scotia, before moving to Toronto to take helm at Native Earth Performing Arts where she served from until 2011.