Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre-Media Centre
Kelsey Kanatan Wavey, Kathleen MacLean, Elizabeth Whitbread in Women of the Fur Trade. Set & Costume Designer Linda Beech. Lighting Designer Hugh Conacher. Photo by Dylan Hewlett.


Led by Governor General Award-winning playwright Ian Ross, and assisted by Katie German, six artists – established in their own artistic practices but new to playwriting – were invited to join the inaugural Pimootayowin Creators Circle to each develop a play for the stage.

The Creators Circle brought together a powerful array of Indigenous voices from the community: Lynette Bonin, Jim Compton, Rosanna Deerchild, Kathleen MacLean, Dave McLeod and Tracey Nepinak.

Pimootayowin is an Anishinaabemowin word meaning Journey, a word chosen by Ross who says, “The creation of new art is often described as a journey, so too, our lives. In any journey, we often don’t know what lies ahead but we can emerge enriched by them. I look forward to mentoring these talented, gifted creators who have fascinating, relevant stories to tell.” Artistic Director Kelly Thornton adds, “I’m honoured to work with Ian Ross, and all of the esteemed artists he has assembled, to support Indigenous theatre creation in Manitoba as part of our journey as the oldest English-language regional theatre in Canada.”

The Creators Circle met from November 2020 to May 2021, culminating in a successful play-reading series – Pimootayowin: A Festival of New Work from June 8–12, 2021.

Program Director: Ian Ross
Assistant Program Director: Katie German

20/21 Participants: Lynette Bonin, Jim Compton, Rosanna Deerchild, Kathleen MacLean, Dave McLeod and Tracey Nepinak

The Asper Foundation

The Creators Circle


Ian Ross

Ian Ross was born in McCreary, Manitoba. He calls the First Nation of Pinaymootang, the Métis community of Kinosota and the city of Winnipeg, home. His play fareWel won the Governor General’s Award for English Drama in 1997. His commentaries as Joe from Winnipeg on CBC radio and television, as well as NCI, were very popular. Ian has also been a drama instructor and educator for several years. He continues to write and live in Winnipeg.


Katie German

Katie is a Métis performer, director and educator. She graduated from Grant MacEwan University for theatre performance and is currently working as the director of Junior Musical Theatre Company (JMTC), artistic associate with Manitoba Theatre for Young People, voice director and character voice for Wolf Joe premiering in January, and a mother to a creative 5-year-old who shares her love of storytelling. Recent directing and performance credits include: A Year with Frog and Toad (MTYP); Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (Rainbow Stage). Directing: Embodying Power and Place Workshop (Nightwood Theatre & Harlem Productions), Canadian premiere of Tuck Everlasting (JMTC).

Lynette-Bonin.jpgLynette Bonin

Lynette Bonin found her home on the stage when she was eight years old. Ever since, she has loved the theatre because it has continued to be a home for her and for many others – regardless of location, community and social distancing policies. Over this past summer, Lynette project led and directed The Roommates, an award-winning play she also wrote. The performance was livestreamed using an online platform and the proceeds were donated to a local charity. Growing up, she was heavily involved with Manitoba Theatre for Young People, and as an adult, with the Black Hole Theatre Company at the University of Manitoba. Lynette is a Métis student who has completed her psychology honours thesis and is presently completing her double major in theatre. She is currently directing a new play for the Fire in the Hole Festival, which will be performed over Zoom in December. Lynette is presently employed as a research assistant and child assessor in the Hearts and Minds Lab wherein she is also working on an Indigenous youth wellness study. Lynette aims to focus her master’s degree on the biobehavioural effects of drama-based therapies upon children’s stress physiology.

Jim-Compton.jpgJim Compton

Jim Compton is a storyteller. His career as filmmaker and journalist spans over five decades. His work includes tomes of newspaper articles, well over 300 Documentaries, four feature films and one feature-length entertainment special. His list of productions spans four decades. Company profile: Wahbung Anung Productions is world renown. It is one of the first to collaborate on an international co-pro with New Zealand and Maori TV. Wabung was nominated for a Gemini award for Sparkle, An evening with Andrea Menard. Kitohcikew – One who makes music is a recent award-winning documentary. It tells the story of Winston Wuttunee… a singer, songwriter and educator. On the drama end Frenchie is the closest to his heart as it tells the true story of his cousin, Frenchie. Frenchie, a young, gay prostitute, caught up in the Child Welfare system, struggles with love, abuse, and identity and the aching need to find his long-lost mother. He has also acted in many plays with Native Theatre Productions as the lead actor.

Rosanna-Deerchild.jpgRosanna Deerchild

Rosanna Deerchild is Cree from O-pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation in northern Manitoba. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Treaty One Territory. An accomplished and recognized poet and broadcaster, this will be her first time writing a play. 


Kathleen-MacLean.jpgKathleen MacLean

Kathleen MacLean is a 2Spirit, Metis-Settler artist from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Acting program and is currently working to finish her undergrad in Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Her recent credits include Women of the Fur Trade by Frances Koncan at Royal MTC and The Third Colour by Ian Ross at Prairie Theatre Exchange. This is Kathleen’s first attempt at playwriting, but her past writing adventures include her own stand-up set and a monologue about a dying, stoner beaver. 

David-McLeod.jpgDave McLeod

David McLeod is a member of the Pine Creek First Nation, with family roots also in the Métis village of Camperville, Manitoba. Since 2000, he’s been actively involved within various stage productions and writing projects. He appeared in the late Doug Nepinak’s Incident at Oka Manitoba Stages during the Winnipeg Fringe Festival as well as a CBC Radio broadcast. He’s appeared in Shakespeare In The Red which was staged at the Prairie Theatre Exchange. David also took to the stage during the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, once as a comedy troupe member and another performing a stand-up piece written by Darrell Dennis. His writing has appeared in several anthologies, including Let the Drum Be My Heartbeat, Prairie Fire and Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water, as well as several chapbooks. He was also involved in Winnipeg’s spoken word scene for several years, winning the Winnipeg Centennial Library’s inaugural spoken word contest. He enjoys bringing about a mixture of humour with political commentary.

Tracey-Nepinak.jpgTracey Nepinak

Tracey has Cree/Scottish roots in the Peguis First Nation. She is the daughter of a residential school survivor. Tracey grew up in the fallout of a failed residential school system, yet still believes in reconciliation, creating understanding and awareness through theatre. Tracey began her theatre training in Vancouver in the late 80s at Spirit Song Native Theatre School. She moved home to Manitoba, completed a BA Honours degree in theatre, and has worked professionally since 1994. Recent theatre, film and directing credits include: Katharsis - Dori (Prairie Theatre Exchange); Songidè ewin -  Director (Sarasvàti), Burden of Truth - Rose (Eagle Vision).


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