Centaur Theatre has put out a call for submissions for an Indigenous artist in residency, who is invited to "[tell] stories that reflect the Indigenous heritage of the Island of Montreal and the Province of Quebec."
Working with the Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM) and Indigenous artist Charles Bender, the theatre hopes to provide the opportunity for a local artist to workshop and develop a new piece that adds to an important larger conversation.
"We know that there are voices missing from the stories we tell," says Eda Holmes, Artistic and Executive Director of Centaur Theatre.
"While we have been inclusive of the stories of several cultural communities in Montreal we have not included the Indigenous voice in our programming in any comprehensive way. This is a stark absence on our stages," she told MTL Blog.
The residency will help creatively support and develop a new piece
The theatre will provide a commissioning fee and other materials, such as an Indigenous dramaturg and space for workshopping and experimenting.
Specifically, the call lays out the following allocation of funds:
- $10,000 for the commission (includes time for research and development of the project)
- $2,000 for travel
- $2,500 for dramaturgical support
- $8,000 for collaborating artists
- $10,000 for production support
- $1,500 for outreach activities
Submissions can be from an artist, company or collective.
"We have structured the residency to include time to do research, support from a professional culturally specific mentor and access to our stages for development of the work and support for presentation of the outcome," says Holmes.
"We are hoping to build up the canon of Indigenous stories that are specific to this territory in an effort to broaden our understanding of the larger Indigenous history that is present in our country."
The selection process will include a jury with two Indigenous theatre artists
Anyone interested in the residency should send their proposal of the project and an estimated timeline, as well as a list of other Indigenous artists that would be ideal to work with. An up-to-date resume should also be included.
Submissions may be emailed or mailed-in (Centaur Theatre Company, 453, rue St. François-Xavier, Montréal, Quebec, H2Y 2T1).
Video submissions will also be accepted.
Those selected will be invited to meet with a jury of two Indigenous theatre artists and Holmes, either in-person or virtually.
Applications are open until January 31. Any artist who makes a submission will hear the answer by February 15.
The residency highlights a key element missing from the conversation
"Long before Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence and encountered a nation of Iroquoian people in a place called Hochelaga, the island which the European settlers chose to call Montreal had been a point of conflict, conference, creativity and exchange since time immemorial for many Indigenous peoples including the Anishinaabe, Huron/Wendat, and Abénaki nations," Holmes explained.
"The people of the Kanienkéha:ka Nation — known in English as the Mohawk — are now considered the caretakers of the land and water around Montreal. In their language, this island bears the name of Tiohtià:ke, which means 'broken in two', because of the way the river breaks around it."
"I love how this Indigenous language identifies the island as part of the river, because it reminds me that we are all in the flow of a much larger story. This mighty river has for centuries carried people here from all over the world in search of new opportunities and new lives and the Lachine Rapids that sit just off the western tip of this island have given pause to many of those journeys."
"The river has made contemporary Montreal into a vibrantly diverse city. I find that diversity inspiring because it is by telling each other our stories that we build bridges between our different cultures and languages."
"And so I offer you stories at Centaur Theatre that I hope can build a bridge to you along with everyone in the audience no matter where you come from. They are all stories that explore our hearts and hopefully open our minds to affirm our collective humanity."