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Announcing our WrightSpace Participants for 2017

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This year’s WrightSpace (Dec. 6-16, 2017) brings four writers together with dramaturgs, actors, designers, and cultural consultants to crack open four scripts through bespoke dramaturgical processes. Tania Carter, Joseph Dandurand, and Taran Kootenhayoo are all from the greater Vancouver area, while Frances Koncan will come in from Winnipeg.

This year, with Lindsay Lachance as our Guest Dramaturg, we attracted enough strong theatrical work from Indigenous playwrights to create our first ever Indigenous  workshop. The opportunity to work with writers of four different nations will help us design protocols and processes for cross-cultural work that respects the specific needs of each playwright while creating a community for shared conversation and insights.

Tania Carter’s play In the Wreckage is Beauty is a poetic physicalization of sexual violence and healing in a young woman’s life. White Noise is Taran Kootenhayoo’s comedy about what happens when an upscale white family invites their new brown neighbours for dinner. Joseph Dandurand is working on his play I am Healer territory which uses traditional Kwantlen legends and Judeo-Christian mythology to explore the extent and power of love. Frances Koncan is working furiously on her new cabaret-style satire, which she is calling The Fur Trade.

Tania Carter: This playwright Colony is one more step towards the goal of producing my own plays that inscribe a way of being that I have always felt, but not always lived. I am a Master of Arts graduate. It was a lot of hard work. Yet the most significant influences on my work are childhood memories of the longhouse that my mother brought me to, and of my grandmother and the times at her house. The dancers, the speakers, the proximity of people, the lush landscape, the close mountains, the thought of bears around and don’t forget the blackberries. I am Coast Salish and many other cultures and I cherish them all. It has taken many years to see the value in all of nature. The respect that arrives once one cherishes oneself and others is fascinating. Tradition and many people and ways of teaching have changed my life. I have learned to listen and open my eyes to new ways of seeing. I thank my teachers, Lee Maracle, Leonard George, my grandma, my sister and my child, Kwanita Cohen and theatre teacher David Secunda; without them I would not be who I am today.

Joseph A. Dandurand is a member of Kwantlen First Nation located on the Fraser River about 20 minutes east of Vancouver. He resides there with his 3 children: Danessa, Marlysse and Jace. Joseph is the Director of the Kwantlen Cultural Centre. He received a Diploma in Performing Arts from Algonquin College and studied Theatre and Direction at the University of Ottawa. He recently published 2 books of poetry: I Want by Leaf Press (2015) and Hear and Foretell by BookLand Press (2015). His newest book of poems, The Rumour, will be published by BookLand Press in October 2017.

Frances Koncan is an Anishinaabe interdisciplinary theatre artist from Couchiching First Nation. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from the City University of New York – Brooklyn College and a BA in Psychology from The University of Manitoba. Her work as a playwright focuses on the reclamation of Indigenous heritage within contemporary landscapes, almost always includes the use of the word “hella”, and draws from the guiding principal of short Millennial attention spans. Her plays include Riot Resist Revolt Repeat, zahgidiwin/love, After the Ball is Over, How to Talk to Human Beings, The Dance-off of Conscious Uncoupling, and Little Red. In 2017 she was the recipient of a REVEAL Indigenous Art Award and the Winnipeg Arts Council’s RBC On The Rise Award for emerging artists. She is currently based in Winnipeg. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat under @franceskoncan.

Taran Kootenhayoo is a Denésuliné and Nakoda Sioux actor, spoken word poet and playwright. Born in Cold Lake, AB (1993), he is now based out of Vancouver, BC. He received his Acting for Stage & Screen diploma from Capilano University in 2015, is signed with Premiere Talent Management, and is in Full Circle’s First Nations Performance Ensemble. Past written projects have included work with the SOAR Aboriginal Arts Program, Cuywsti and Tom Cone’s: Sacred Space Festival.