Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre-Media Centre
The Bridge: A Festival of Ideas


Meegwun Fairbrother in Isitwendam, photo by Joe Bucci

Isitwendam (An Understanding)

By Meegwun Fairbrother
Co-created by Jack Grinhaus

Sunday, March 21 at 2pm CDT

“Both chilling and heartbreaking… A piece of theatre that is full of forgiveness, compassion, understanding, and grace. A terrific piece of theatre.” – Slotkin Letter

Isitwendam (An Understanding) is the story of a young man in search of a truth, whose journey leads to a discovery about the father he loathed and lost, and an awakening of himself and his generation.

A fusion of western and Indigenous storytelling that includes Plains Indigenous Sign Language, drumming, ceremony, and song, this powerful, heartwrenching, yet humorous theatrical production explores various perspectives of atrocity and the steps we all need to take to find Isitwendam.

*Isitwendam is a full-length play that will be presented live from our Tom Hendry Warehouse Digital Studio.


Please click here for content warnings and crisis support resources.


A production by Bound to Create
Presented in association with Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre

The development of Isitwendam was supported in part by Native Earth Performing Arts and premiered in their 2018/19 season.
Isitwendam was workshopped at Theatre Northwest as part of their Innovation Series in their 2016/17 season and presented at TNW and the Full Circle Talking Stick Festival in 2020.

Click for festival schedule

Meegwun Fairbrother.jpgMeegwun Fairbrother

Writer / Performer

Meegwun Fairbrother is of Ojibway and Scottish origin, from Grassy Narrows First Nation and Toronto, Ontario. He is a traditional singer and a Northern traditional dancer with a BFA in acting from York University. Recent theatre credits: Isitwendam (An Understanding) (Native Earth Performing Arts); Incident at Vichy (Soulpepper); and Dreary and Izzy (Magnus Theatre). Recent film credits: CBC’s Burden of Truth; CTV’s Carter Files; APTN’s Mohawk Girls; and Syfy series Helix. In 2020 Meegwun took his Dora-nominated solo show Isitwendam (An Understanding) to Talking Stick Festival after a successful premiere in Toronto in 2019. Meegwun lives in Winnipeg where he continues to act and write for film and television. He is honoured and excited to share this show with Treaty 1 Territory. 

Jack Grinhaus.jpgJack Grinhaus

Co-creator / Director / B2C Co-Artistic Director

Jack is an award-winning actor and director who has also worked in various streams as producer, designer, and writer for theatre, TV and film. He was the Artistic Director for the Canadian regional theatre Theatre NorthWest (2014-2019), was part of the 2010 Canadian Stage BASH Directors Residency as well as the inaugural Director’s Lab North at Tarragon Theatre. With over 40 plays produced and over half directed, he is one of Canada’s most prolific artists. Recent Credits include: Isitwendam (An Understanding) (Native Earth Performing Arts/B2C/Four Dora Nominations); Hedda Noir, Million Dollar Quartet, Alice in Wonderland, Half Life, The Secret Mask (Theatre Northwest); ART (Persephone Theatre/SAT Nomination Outstanding Direction); dirty butterfly (Obsidian Theatre/B2C); Phaedra’s Lust (Tapestry New Opera/B2C); Macbeth (Classical Theatre Project). 

Lauren Brotman.jpgLauren Brotman

Artistic Collaborator / Producer / B2C Co-Artistic Director

Lauren is an award-winning actor, creator, facilitator. For B2C: has created/performed or produced since 2004. Associations include Phaedra’s Lust (Tapestry Opera); dirty butterfly (Obsidian); Isitwendam (An Understanding) (Native Earth Performing Arts/Theatre Northwest/Talking Stick/ multi-Dora nominated). While Associate Artist at TNW she performed in 4 seasons including in Hedda Noir (Artist of the Year) and created Painting the Streets and ShakespeareUnfolded. Lauren received a Dora Award for Outstanding Ensemble, a Dora nomination for The Grace Project created with Judith Thompson, the Jessica Fraser Award (Outstanding Contributions to TYA) and the Christopher Plummer Fellowship Award. She recently completed her short film Elle’s Valley and her play She Carries Me Again (upcoming workshop). Gratitude to Royal MTC and the Istiwendam team.

Melissa Joakim.jpgMelissa Joakim

Lighting Designer

Melissa Joakim is a lighting and production designer in Toronto, Canada. She is a recipient of a Dora Award in Scenic Design, a nominee in Lighting Design and Scenic Design and for the Pauline McGibbon Award. Recent credits include: Environmental Design: Prophecy Fog (Theatre Centre and Paper Canoe Projects); This is the Point (Ahuri Theatre/Theatre Centre); Brain Storm (Lucid Ludic/Theatre Why Not). Lighting Design: TOKA (Theatre Passe Muraille/Lemontree Creations); Two Odysseys (Soundstreams/Signal Theatre). Projection Design: Oil (ARC Stage Company); Flashing Lights (Bad New Days/Ahuri Theatre). She is the stage manager and touring lighting designer for Sea Sick (Theatre Centre) which has toured extensively around the world.

Sarah Koehn.jpgSarah Koehn

Production Coordinator

Sarah Koehn completed her BFA in acting (Memorial University), then joined the Soulpepper Academy training program in Toronto. Select theatre credits include: The Royal Comedians (Soulpepper); The Crucible (Soulpepper); Death of a Salesman (Soulpepper); The Great Mountain (RedSky Performance); and A Doll’s House (Soulpepper). Film credits include: Burden of Truth (CBC/eONE); Sweet Dreams (Pearson House Films); Reign (CW Network/CBS) and Handsome Devils (Discovery/OWN). Sarah has recently relocated to Winnipeg and is in the process of creating a production company with several projects already underway. She is thrilled to be part of the Isitwendam team in Winnipeg where she continues to audition for film and tv and is learning to box.

Marc Merilainen.jpgMarc Meriläinen


Over the past 25 years Marc has released six studio albums under the Nadjiwan project with numerous award nominations and chart-topping singles. Marc has produced numerous other artists and composed original music for theatre and film. Marc has had the pleasure of touring this project across Canada and the United States with performances at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Mariposa Folk Festival, Northern Lights Festival Boreal, Hillside Music Festival, Folk On The Rocks, 2015 Pan Am Games, the American Native Music Awards and Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. Recently Marc released a cover version of ‘Rebound Girl’, a tribute to the memory of Kelly Fraser and is currently getting ready to release his next full-length album ‘Star Nation’, a “rock space opera”.

Andy Moro.jpgAndrew Moro

Projection DESIGNER

Andy Moro is a mixed-blood interdisciplinary artist and co-founder of ARTICLE 11 with Tara Beagan. A11’s theatrical Deer Woman has met international acclaim. The National Arts Centre Indigenous Theatre will release a digital iteration by ARTICLE 11 in association with Downstage, Calgary. A11’s performance installations DECLARATION and ROOM have been adapted across Turtle Island. ROOM is presently being reinvented with Making Treaty 7 for a large-scale outdoor iteration in Calgary. Moro’s recent design includes Beagan’s Ministry of Grace for the Belfry, The Third Colour for PTE, Finding Wolastoq Voice at TNB, Dancers of Damelahamid’s Minowin, Spirit & Tradition, Unnatural and Accidental at NACIT and Kaha:wi’s Blood Tides. Upcoming is SkyDancers for A’nó:wara Dance, MTYP’s Frozen River and Tomson Highway’s The (Post) Mistress at Royal MTC.

Carla-Ritchie.jpgCarla Ritchie

Production Manager

Carla is thrilled to be working with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Bound to Create Theatre. She is an accomplished Stage/Production Manager, Technical Director, Designer, Writer, Director, Technician and reluctant Improvisor. Currently the Senior Manager of Member Services and the Digital Media Lab, at Artscape Daniels Launchpad, a hub for creative entrepreneurship. Carla has lived and worked across Canada, in Regina, Calgary, Manitoulin Island and Toronto and has toured to the US and China. Some favourite companies include Red Sky Performance, Tarragon Threatre, Ghost River Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, One Yellow Rabbit, The Only Animal, Debajehmujig-Storytellers and Artscape.

Carlos Rivera.jpgCarLOS RIVERA


Carlos Rivera is a director, choreographer and a performer, originally from Mexico City. He graduated from the National Theatre School in 2018 and is currently enrolled in the MFA in Directing for Theatre at the University of Ottawa. Carlos has worked and collaborated with several companies across Canada, including Red Sky Performance (Toronto), Globe Theatre (Regina), Raven Spirit Dance (Vancouver), MT Space (Kitchener), Puente Theatre (Victoria) and Ondinnok (Montréal). Currently, he is developing his first play, The Little Rooster, through an artistic residency with the support of Necessary Angel in collaboration with Aluna Theatre. He is continuously working on numerous artistic projects as a performer and director.



Recently: Isitwendam (An Understanding) (Bound to Create Theatre/Native Earth Performing Arts/Talking Stick, Dora Nomination for Outstanding Design); Stones in his Pockets (Persephone Theatre – sadly not opened to an audience due to Covid); It's a Wonderful Life, The Drowning Girls (Theatre Northwest); The Sound of Music (Western Canada Theatre); The 39 Steps (Blue Bridge Theatre). Highlights include design for Kevin Loring’s Where The Blood Mixes and The Drowning Girls at Theatre NorthWest. Hans is grateful and excited to be a part of the Isitwendam journey with Bound to Create Theatre and Royal MTC.

Some content includes material that may be sensitive for people. We understand that it may be triggering and for your safety, we have created a list of community resources.

Crisis Support

Residential School Survivor Support Line:  1-866-925-4419

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Emotional, cultural and professional support services are also available to Survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. Services can be accessed on an individual, family or group basis.

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