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

Play excerpts, Music & ART

Excerpts From the Stage

Friday, March 19 at 7pm CDT

Falen Johnson hosts this evening of excerpts from one-person plays from actors and playwrights who have challenged us to look at the Indigenous world from different viewpoints. Darrell Dennis, star of TV, radio and stage, brings an excerpt from his play Tales of an Urban Indian. Acclaimed actor Cheri Maracle performs an excerpt from Paddle Song, a one-woman play by Dinah Christie and Tom Hill about Mohawk great E. Pauline Johnson; and Michelle Thrush, best known for her role in APTN’s Blackstone, brings out her Inner Elder.

Music of the Land

Saturday, March 20 at 7pm CDT

The Indigenous Music Awards presents a night of musical guests from their Performance Series. Hosted by David McLeod, the general manager of NCI-FM and the producer of the Indigenous Music Countdown, his love of music shines through in his enthusiasm for Indigenous musicians. You will learn what Indigenous music really is. (Hint: It’s not one musical genre.) There will be something for everyone from country to rock to blues.

A Mile in our Moccasins

March 18 – 21, watch anytime

From the warmth and comfort of your own home, join us on a walking tour of Indigenous public art installations and murals in Winnipeg any time during the festival. Multi-disciplinary, award-winning artist KC Adams and Jaimie Isaac, the curator of WAG’s Indigenous and Contemporary Art, invite you to take a stroll with them as they discuss the importance of public art spaces while also sharing the stories and the meanings behind each piece. And they may just have a special surprise in store!

Click for festival schedule


Excerpts from the Stage – HOST

Falen Johnson is Mohawk and Tuscarora (Bear Clan) from Six Nations Grand River Territory. She is a writer, podcaster and radio host. Her plays include Salt Baby, Two Indians and Ipperwash for which she received a Dora nomination. Her writing has been featured in Brick, The Canadian Theatre Review and Granta Magazine. She has also written for Urban Native Girl (APTN) and Merchants of the Wild (APTN) and the 2020 Inspire Awards (CBC) and she was named one to watch in 2020 by Maclean’s magazine. Falen also hosts the Secret Life of Canada (CBC Podcasts) with Leah Simone Bowen and Unreserved (CBC Radio One).

Darrell Dennis.jpgDarrell Dennis

Excerpts from the Stage – Guest

Darrell Dennis is an award winning First Nations writer/actor/director/comedian, with over 30 years of success in the film, television, theatre, radio, and comedy industries. Notably, he is an alumnus of the Sundance Screenwriting Program and was the first ever Native cast member in any of the Second City comedy companies. Currently, Darrell is in development with CBC for an hour-long drama. He is also a writer on the CBC developed series Little Bird. Recently, Darrell was the director, head writer, and cast member of the APTN series The Guilt Free Zone which was nominated for two Canadian Comedy Awards. He was also the co-winner of the 2019 Just For Laughs: Stand up and Pitch Competition for his TV pilot Big Game.

Darrell Dennis.jpgCHERI MARACLE

Excerpts from the Stage – Guest

Cheri Maracle is a multi-award nominated actor/singer/songwriter from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Ontario. She has been performing in Canada, the US and Europe in the last 20 years. Cheri has released three critically acclaimed albums, Closer To Home (2006), If I Am Water (2013), and jazz compilation, Ache of Love (2014). Cheri has many TV, film and stage credits to her name including: Blackstone, DeGrassi, Murdoch Mysteries, Four in the Morning, Dead Man’s Gun, Moccasin Flats and Blackfly, to name a few. Cheri has also co-hosted the Indspire Awards (2007/2014/2017) televised on Global and was a featured actor/singer in NFB documentary The Road Forward. She is a Gemini-nominated actress, and has been nominated twice for the KM Hunter theatre award for her body of theatre work. Her one-woman musical theatre show Paddle Song, based on famed Canadian poet Pauline Johnson, garnered her a best solo performance nomination, at the High Performance Rodeo Festival in Calgary, 2016, and was performed in Norway, and India as well.

Michelle Thrush.jpgMichelle Thrush

Excerpts from the Stage – Guest

Michelle Thrush is Nehiyaw (Cree) with French and Scottish intermingled, and was born and raised in Mohkinstis (Calgary). Ms Thrush was recently appointed the Artistic Director of Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society and was a past co-director and board member. Over 30 years of experience as an actor, writer and director in film, television and theatre. Best known for her film work and her leading role as Gail Stoney in Blackstone. In 2011 she was honoured to receive a Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role. Michelle spent the last few years touring her solo show Inner Elder, which premiered at the 2018 High Performance Rodeo. She has been a steady force in the Indigenous Arts community. It is hugely important, as the Artistic Director, to create a safe place for artists to be vulnerable and to become a community to each other. Using an Indigenous-led process will always be the strength of what makes MT7 so successful. She’s also known for her work in community across Canada with youth and children, which is her greatest passion. Her most important production to date is her two beautiful daughters.

Dave Mcleod.jpgDave Mcleod

Music of the land – Host

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.

Don Amero.jpgDon Amero

Music of the land – Guest

An engaging storyteller, singer-songwriter and performer, three-time JUNO Award nominee Don Amero has been tirelessly touring, performing and speaking across Canada for the last decade, earning the respect and attention of the Canadian music industry and fans alike. With a proven ability to effortlessly and genuinely connect with his audience, his talents have been much sought after, and in early 2019 he became a part of the MDM Recordings Inc. roster. Don has also been recognized for this work as an amplifier of Indigenous thought and ideas. Amero, who is of Cree and Métis heritage, hopes to continue the work being done when it comes to building bridges between all communities in Canada. With uplifting beauty across seven albums, Amero creates a lasting impression, with an artistic focus in making music that he hopes will be medicine for others.


Music of the land – Guest

With soul and voice as smooth as warm honey, singer-songwriter Ila Barker captures audiences with her sweet melodies and dynamic presence. Ila is of mixed Anishinaabe and settler heritage with roots running deep in the Manitoban prairies. Her craft is seasoned with rich history and powerful refined textures. Coming from a long line of storytellers, she fuses authentic and timeless notes creating moments of serenity and blissful escape. In February of 2020 Ila released a single called “Let Go.” Atmospheric and stripped down, this collaboration with UK based artist Milan André was recorded off the floor in one take in the northern Cree nation of Nemaska, Quebec. “Let Go” landed on the National Indigenous Music Countdown, and climbed up the charts for three months straight hitting the top 15. Currently Ila is in the planning stages of a future release.


Music of the land – Guest

The Johnnys are a high-energy rock’n’roll band, founded by partners Veronica Johnny (2Spirit, vocals, guitar) and Dave Johnny (drums). Veronica’s nehiyaw (Cree) heritage is reflected in some of the band’s lyric content, with Indigenous influences on topics such as the environment, social justice and political change. The band’s early recordings are more punk influenced, characterized by fun, up-tempo songs while later releases have a classic-rock feel. Their first three albums were all nominated for national music awards in Canada, and they’ve been featured in television and film. Songs “Time to Shine” and “Have a Good Time, All the Time” both reached #2 on the National Aboriginal Music Countdown radio charts. Their fourth album, Leathers & Feathers, was released in June 2020. The Johnnys usually perform live as a five- or six-piece band, with lead guitar, bass and backing vocalists, delivering rowdy, humour-filled performances. Veronica and Dave occasionally perform as a duo, with Dave on bass. The Johnnys are passionate about Indigenous language revitalization, the environment, and empowering music projects with youth groups. When not rocking the house, Veronica and Dave paint, write, pursue other music projects, and host inspiring workshops for artists, women and youth.

Murray Porter.jpgMURRAY PORTER

Music of the land – Guest

Blues Man Murray Porter’s music career has taken him all over the world for the last 40 years. He’s a proud Mohawk man from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in southern Ontario, who now lives on Squamish Nation unceded territory in North Vancouver. Murray may have a blues soul to the core, but he also grew up on rock and roll, R & B and country music. Porter’s first CD since his 2012 JUNO Award for ‘Aboriginal Album of the Year’ is titled, “STAND UP!” and reflects these early musical influences. He strongly feels that this album is some of his best music to date. This album was nominated at the 2019 Native American Music Awards for ‘Best Blues Recording’ and ‘Best Male Artist of the Year’. One song, ‘Love Will Find A Way’, words by Elaine Bomberry and music by Murray Porter, charted at Number One, on the Indigenous Music Countdown, the week of July 18, 2020.

KC Adams.jpgKC ADAMS


Winnipeg-based artist KC Adams graduated from Concordia University with a BFA. She has been in numerous solo exhibitions, group exhibitions, three biennales and many residencies including the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. Her work is in many permanent collections nationally and internationally. Twenty pieces from the Cyborg Hybrid series are in the permanent collection of the National Art Gallery in Ottawa and her installation Birch Bark Ltd is in the collection of the Canadian Consulate of Australia, NSW. She helped design a 30-foot public art sculpture called Niimamaa. Adams was awarded the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Making A Mark Award and her book Perception: A Photo Series was one of Quill and Quire’s 2019 Books of the Year.

Jaimie Isaac.jpgJAIMIE ISAAC


Jaimie Isaac is the Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Arts at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, an interdisciplinary artist, and member of Sagkeeng First Nation in Treaty 1 Territory. Isaac holds a degree in Art History from the University of Winnipeg and a Masters of Arts from the University of British Columbia. Isaac co-founded of The Ephemerals Collective, which was long-listed for the 2017 and 2019 Sobey Art Award. Jaimie collaborated with an artistic team on a public sculpture at the Forks called Nimama at South Point path: Niizhoziibean and collaborated on a public art project, Cyclical Motion: Indigenous Art & Placemaking. Recently, Jaimie received an honouree for Leaders of Tomorrow from the Manitoba Museum 50th Tribute Awards 2020 and was a CBC Future 40 Finalist 2020.


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