THE NAC NAMES FIRST EVER ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF INDIGENOUS THEATRE
The National Arts Centre’s President and CEO, Peter Herrndorf announced today that Kevin Loring will be the first ever Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre at the NAC, taking up his post on October 16, 2017.
The first season of the Indigenous Theatre Department will co-incide with the NAC’s 50th Anniversary in the 2019-2020 season.
Mr. Loring is an accomplished Canadian playwright, actor and teacher, and was the winner of the Governor General’s Award for English Language Drama for his outstanding play, Where the Blood Mixes in 2009. The play explores the intergenerational effects of the residential school system. It toured nationally and was presented at the National Arts Centre in 2010, when Mr. Loring was serving as the NAC’s Playwright in Residence.
Mr. Loring is currently performing at the National Arts Centre in Corey Payette’s Children of God, a musical that explores the legacy of the residential school system.
“We are thrilled to welcome Kevin Loring to the National Arts Centre in this very historic role as our first ever Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre,” said Peter A. Herrndorf, the President and CEO of the NAC. “Mr. Loring’s work as an actor on our national stage, and as a playwright with his play Where the Blood Mixes, has inspired us and audiences across Canada for many years. He is a ground-breaking artist, and we know he will succeed in building our new Indigenous Theatre Department.”
“The founding of the Indigenous Theatre Department at the National Arts Centre is an important step in reconciliation. Our stories from coast to coast-to-coast are the original songs of this land. Now through the NAC’s Indigenous Theatre Department our stories will have a permanent home, a place to grow and thrive,” said Kevin Loring.
The idea to build an Indigenous Theatre Department was fostered through a decade of work by the NAC’s English Theatre Department. The former Artistic Director of English Theatre, Peter Hinton programmed an Indigenous work every season during his tenure from 2005-2012, culminating in an all-aboriginal version of King Lear in 2012. Kevin Loring took the role of Edmund in King Lear and was a member of the NAC’s resident English Theatre Company during the 2011-2012 season, performing in 3 productions that season.
The work to expand Indigenous arts at the NAC continued under the leadership of the current Artistic Director of English Theatre, Jillian Keiley and Associate Artistic Director Sarah Stanley, who brought Indigenous artists across the country together for several retreats including one at the Banff Centre in 2012 and a second on Manitoulin Island in 2013.
Mr. Loring along with hundreds of Indigenous artists took part in these discussions that explored the scale and scope of Indigenous arts across the country.
“The founding of the Indigenous Theatre Department at the NAC is a natural evolution of the work we have all contributed to over the past decade. I want to make the NAC a safe place for aboriginal theatre to grow. I also want to see the aboriginal theatre community expand across the country, and to provide opportunities for artists, technicians, stage managers, and designers. Also I would like to see how our stories can inspire young people in the communities where they live. We need to take our theatre into Indigenous communities across Canada where they will have their greatest impact and foster the next generation of theatre artists,” said Loring.
A Nlaka’pamux from the Lytton First Nation in British Columbia, Loring created the Songs of the Land project in 2012 in partnership with five separate organizations in his home community. The project explores 100-year-old audio recordings of songs and stories of the N’lakap’amux People. Loring has written two new plays based on his work with the community including Battle of the Birds, about domestic violence and power abuse, and The Boy Who Was Abandoned, about youth and elder neglect.
A versatile artist and leader Loring has served as the co-curator of the Talking Stick Festival, as Artist in Residence at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, as Artistic Director of the Savage Society in Vancouver, as a Documentary Producer of Canyon War: The Untold Story, and as the Project Leader/Creator, and Director of the Songs of the Land project in his home community of Lytton First Nation.
An accomplished actor Loring has performed in leading roles in major films and television series in Canada.