Online Streaming: Ayita by Teneil Whiskeyjack
SkirtsAfire Festival 2022 MainStage Production
Extended streaming until June 30
Online: This event will be held on FringeTV. After purchasing a ticket, you will receive a link and a password that you can use to watch and rewatch Ayita from May 12th through June 30th.
Tickets available here. Tickets are pay-what-you-can and we encourage Indigenous folks to stream complimentary.
This event is available with Deaf Interpretation and captioning is provided.
Deaf Interpreter: Crystal Wolfe
Deaf Consultants: Thurga Kanagasekarampillai & Connor Yuzwenko-Martin
Digital Film by
Filmed by Katie Hudson and Chad Kruger
Edited by Katie Hudson
Sound by Aaron Macri
About the Play
Ayita by Teneil Whiskeyjack is a calling back to one’s spirit and voice. A modern-day creation story meeting Indigenous realities, told through text and movement. Fusing theatre and Indigenous contemporary dance, Ayita navigates through her own story of sovereignty, breaking free from and transcending past personal pain, stepping into her healing and liberation, awakening to her medicine.
CREATOR, WRITER, AYITA
Teneil Whiskeyjack is a Plains Cree Indigenous woman from Saddle Lake First Nation. She is a mother of 2 and the founder and owner of Spirit Flame Consulting. Spirit Flame Consulting stems from an Indigenous Cree lens that is rooted in cultural practices and helps guides others into a creative process of artistic expressions through mediums like movement, performance art, wellness workshops and healing modalities. Teneil started as an actor at the age of 9 in an animation series Stories from the Seventh Fire. She garnered Outstanding Performance by an Actress in Film with Hallmark Entertainment’s Dreamkeeper and has been in multiple films and television series such as Blackstone, RenegadePress.com, Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, and Hank Williams First Nation: The series, which she was the recipient of the Best Actress award with the Alberta Motion Picture Awards (AMPIA’s). Other acknowledgments include the Arts Award with the Aboriginal Role Model Awards in 2013 and her most recent works, currently Tribal: Season 2, which premiered October, 2021. She transitioned into the theatre world in 2016 with her role as Nicole in the production of A Musta: Muskikiy Muskwa Iskwew, as well as the production of Bluebirds and Almost Maine. Teneil will make her playwright’s debut with her play titled Ayita, which fuses Indigenous contemporary dance and theatre for the 10th annual headlining show at SkirtsAfire Festival in March 2022. She will be performing and touring the musical parody Bear Grease, a comical spin-off of the classic film Grease in 2022. Teneil holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia University. Staying creative through the vessel of storytelling is inherent in us. The power of the arts ignites conversation, shifts outdated narratives and sparks inspiration for other stories to be told just by having the courage to tell ours.
Creator, Writer, Ayita
Sandra Lamouche is a Nehiyaw Iskwew (Cree Woman) from the Bigstone Cree Nation in Northern Alberta and married into the Piikani Nation in Southern Alberta and mother to two boys with braids. She completed her B.A. in Native American Studies from the University of Lethbridge in 2007. In 2021 she successfully defended her M.A. Thesis at Trent University, titled “Nitona Miyo Pimadisiwin (Seeking a Good Life) Through Indigenous Dance” which examines Indigenous Dance as a Social Determinant of Health and Well Being. Sandra is a multidisciplinary creator and storyteller, she is a Champion Hoop Dancer, award winning Indigenous Educational Leader, two-time TEDx Speaker, artist, and writer.
Artist Sponsored by Wingate by Wyndham
Lebogang Disele is an interdisciplinary performer, director and dramaturge. Since starting her PhD in 2016, she has focused on growing her company, The LC Performance Lab, through which she produces womxn centered performances namely, Being (2016), Nkadzi (2017) and The Thread that Binds (2018). Most recently she was part of Azimuth Theatre’s workshopped production, All That Binds Us (2020). She also presented The Space in Between as part of NextFest Online. Other performance credits include Amina in Belleville (2020), directed by Amanda Goldberg at the Bleviss Laboratory Theatre; Words Unzipped at the 2019 SkirtsAfire Festival curated by Karimah Marshall; What (Black) Life Requires at the 2018 Expanse Festival and Unwoven at the 2018 SkirtsAfire Festival, curated by Nasra Adem. Lebo is focused on interdisciplinary art that places the body at the centre as a process of exploring how oppression impacts and lives in the body.
Monique Mojica (Guna and Rappahannock nations) Actor/Playwright/ Dramaturg – is passionately dedicated to performance as an act of healing, of reclaiming historical/cultural memory and of resistance. Spun directly from the family-web of New York’s Spiderwoman Theater, her theatrical practice mines stories embedded in the body in connection to land and place. She has created land-based, embodied dramaturgies and taught Indigenous Theatre in theory, process and practice throughout Canada, the US, Latin America and Europe. She founded Chocolate Woman Collective to create the play, Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way.
She was most recently seen onstage as Aunt Shadie in The Unnatural and Accidental Women, at The National Arts Centre, with the NAC Orchestra in the European tour of I lost my Talk and in Izzie M.: The Alchemy of Enfreakment written by Monique with a diverse collaborative team. Monique has collaborated with choreographer Santee Smith since 2014 as the dramaturg for Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s tryptic, Re-Quickening (in which she also performed), Blood Tides and SKe:NEN. Upcoming projects include serving as dramaturg for various Indigenous productions in development.
Artist Sponsored by Wingate by Wyndham
SET, LIGHTING & PROJECTION DESIGNER
Whittyn Jason is a queer, mixed-race multi-disciplinary artist of South African and Ukrainian descent. They primarily work as a scenographer and lighting designer, the latter of which has been nominated for a Sterling Award. They are currently based in amiskwacîwâskahikan (colonially known as Edmonton). Previous credits include The Royale, The Fiancée, Brimful of Asha (Citadel Theatre), Smoke (Tiny Bear Jaws), and Night (Major Matt Mason Collective).
Set, Lighting & Projection Designer
ASSISTANT PROJECTION DESIGNER
Emily Randall is a non-binary artist born and raised on Treaty 6 Land (Edmonton, Alberta). With a keen sense of beauty and joy, their artist mandate is to uplift and elevate marginalized visions and voices, bringing their effervescent spirit into every project and story. After taking some unentitled time off due to the “great pause” (global pandemic), Emily is coming back from some time spent in Port Alberni, where they acted as a caretaker for their Gedo (Ukrainian Grandfather) in his end of life journey. Emily is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus in, Scenic Painting, Projection and Visual Art, Hand Poke tattooing, Jewellery Making as well as Props and Toy Making. Some of their highlighted works include, Stigma Pistol Style, Set Designer, New Work, December 2021. Three Ladies, Set Designer, ATB Arts Barns, December 2019. Lake of the Strangers, Scenic Painter, Naheyawin-Backstage Theatre, January 2019. Bears, Head Scenic Painter, Punctuate Theatre- Backstage Theatre, December 2017. Emily is honoured and thrilled to be a part of SkirtsAfire’s new work Ayita, as the Projection Design Assistant.
Assistant Projection Designer
DOLORES SANCHEZ , LOLA
Lola is a costume and graphic designer born in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico. Lola completed her Graphic Design Degree at the Technologic University of Mexico. She went into a drastic life change after traveling to Canada which has been her home for the past six years. At the beginning of her trip Lola was not aware of the challenges and experiences that were to come, but she knew she wanted to pursue her career as costume designer in Canada. She studied ESL at UofA and got her Fashion Design Diploma at NBCCD in New Brunswick. Lola has worked in the fashion retail industry, as a graphic designer, Illustrator and occasional photographer. Currently, she works as costume designer for theater and as a sculptor in a mascot corporation.
Lola believes that art performance is medicine to the heart and she wants to create costumes that bring happiness and freedom to the artists that wear them. She is passionately, hard working, and she is expanding her horizons by getting experience in the costume design world. Lola wants to be a designer that “Sees with perspective, lives with ambition, creates with passion, and moves with freedom”.
Dolores Sanchez, Lola
Danielle LaRose is a multi-disciplinary artist and *Sterling Award-nominated sound designer/composer of Métis and settler heritage (*Macbeth, Winter Shakespeare Festival 2019). After graduating with an MA in Musical Theatre Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, she worked in the UK for many years as an actor-musician. Her passion for storytelling through music has led her to compose, arrange, and direct music for many productions both in the UK and here on Turtle Island. She is grateful for the opportunity to listen deeply and be a part of bringing the medicine of Ayita’s melody to life.
DRUMMER & SINGER | ENSEMBLE
Mackenzie Brown is a First Nations Cree woman from the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, currently residing in Moh’kinsstis, Calgary. She is a performer, drummer, tourism entrepreneur, philanthropist and advocate for at-risk youth in the Edmonton area. Mackenzie and her mom perform as “Warrior Women”. They drum and teach around Alberta for the Northern Alberta Teachers Conference, the annual Jasper Dark Skies Festival, Youth Dream Catchers Conference, Canada Day, Aboriginal Day festivities and more. Along with drumming, Mackenzie is also an avid acrylic artist and traditional First Nations crafts artisan. Her art has been featured in the Pump House Gallery, the Edson Gallery Museum, the Gray Gallery Grant MacEwan, recognized for the Alberta Indian Arts and Crafts Award of 2017, featured for the Alberta Business Competition 2017 and sold to people travelling world wide at Jasper Park Lodge. She is the recent recipient of the 2019 Esquao Award for Children’s Future, 2019 Indigenous Woman of the year from the Alberta Assembly of First Nations and Top 30 under 30 From Alberta Corporation for Global Cooperation 2020. Mackenzie was also recently highlighted as the only Indigenous and Albertan artist on the reality TV show Landscape Artist of the Year Canada where she placed in the top 3 finalists.
Drummer & Singer | Ensemble
Lana Whiskeyjack is a multidisciplinary treaty scholartist (scholar and artist) from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and is an assistant professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. In 2017, Lana completed her iyiniw pimâtisiwin kiskeyihtamowin doctoral program at University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quill, a former Indian Residential School attended by two generations of her own family. She integrates Indigenous ways of knowing and being with methods of Western academia in her research and course development. Lana’s research, writing, and creativity are focused on Indigenous gender diversity and sexualities, intergenerational resilience, and Indigenous visual literacy. Her current research project explores issues around the theme of (re)connecting to the spirit of nêhiyawêwin (Cree language), nêhiyaw gender worldviews, and the iskwew (woman) body relation to the cosmic and earth within 13 moon teachings through arts-based practices. She is featured in a documentary about confronting and transcending historical trauma through her arts practice titled, “Lana Gets Her Talk” (2017).
Brooke Leifso is many things: Expressive Arts Practitioner, researcher, advocate and artist. Commissioned by the Ad Hoc Assembly and supported by the Edmonton Community Foundation, in 2019 Brooke co-researched and co-produced a report on how to make performing arts more accessible in Edmonton. In various capacities, she has worked with the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton Fringe Theatre, Ground Zero Productions, Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre, Theatre Yes, Azimuth Theatre, and CRIPSiE, NorQuest College. She also has lived experience of disability and has a Masters in Expressive Arts – Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding: how can community art-making can create social cohesion.
Nancy is excited to be working on Ayita with Skirts Afire. This past year, she has worked on Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story at the Mayfield Theatre, Much Ado About Nothing with the Freewill Shakespeare Festival, and has delved into the world of online theatre with Concrete Theatre’s Sprouts Playwright’s Festival and also with Teatro la Quindicina’s filmed productions of Lost Lemoine 1 & 2. Over the years, she has worked at the Mayfield Theatre for over 50 productions and some other theatre credits include The Drowning Girls (Western Canada Theatre), Witness to a Conga (Teatro la Quindicina), Crazy For You (Cameco Capitol Arts Centre), Strike! (Workshop West Theatre), The Last Tree of Rapa Nui (MTYP), Love Song and The Liars (Shadow Theatre), As You Like It, Julius Caesar, The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead, Equus, The Man Whose Mother Was A Pirate, A Year with Frog and Toad, and The Syringa Tree (Citadel Theatre), Rock ’n ’Roll, and Fire (Canadian Stage Company/Citadel Theatre co-production), and Humble Boy (Theatre Calgary/Citadel Theatre). Enjoy the show!
APPRENTICE STAGE MANAGER
Roxanne Côté is an Edmonton based stage manager who is delighted to take part in this beautiful production! In the past, she has had the pleasure of working with Inside Out Theatre, Thou Art Here, L’UniThéâtre, Good Women Dance Collective, as well as various festival work across the province. Roxanne just came back from a magical month in Banff where she had the pleasure of working on A Christmas Carol with Carter-Ryan Productions. She is delighted to be joining this wonderful company for the first time and would like to thank everyone who has helped piece this production together, enjoy the show!
Apprentice Stage Manager
Artist Supported by Lyle Trytten & Elizabeth Fair
CHRISTINE SOKAYMOH FREDERICK
NISKA | VOCAL COACH
Christine Sokaymoh Frederick is an urban Cree-Métis with decades of experience in multiple artistic disciplines. She is Executive Director and producer of the Dreamspeakers International Film Festival and the Rubaboo Arts Festival. She was the first Indigenous Associate Artist of the Citadel Theatre and first Indigenous board member of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the first Indigenous Chair of Edmonton Arts Council, former Vice Chair of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and has sat on the executive of the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance. She’s attended the University of Alberta, the Banff Centre for Arts, and the University for Peace (Costa Rica). She served on the committees for the ᐄᓃᐤ (ÎNÎW) River Lot 11∞ one of the first Indigenous Public Art Parks. She recently performed in the Rez Sisters at the Stratford Festival and in Bears at the Citadel Theatre, produced/performed in a dance theatre double-bill national tour of Bears by Matt MacKenzie and her own play Minosis Gathers Hope. She is the recipient of the 2007 Esquao Award in Arts, and the 2016 Mayor’s award for Excellence in Artistic Leadership. She currently serves on the Advisory committee for the City of Edmonton Indigenous Artist in Residence program and recently joined the national advisory committee for the National Arts Centre’s Creation Fund.
Christine Sokaymoh Frederick
Niska | Vocal Coach
Janira Moncayo is an Ecuadorian emerging actress, dancer and artist, whose practice explores the reciprocal relationship between body, performance and ethnic identity. She is committed to constantly defying the misrepresentation of the Latin-American community through every work she creates and is a part of. Moncayo is a classical ballet and contemporary dancer, training under En Avant and Clap Danza in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Upon moving to Calgary, Alberta, she started her journey towards decolonizing her dancing and trained in Afro-Caribbean Modern dance under DeAnne Weekes at DRSD Calgary. She has performed nationally and internationally at Unganisha, Dance Montage, Haynes Smith Miss Caribbean Talented Teen, among others. Her artistic work has been exhibited at Nocturne Festival, Marion Nicoll Gallery, Illingworth Kerr Gallery and SpanicArts. She is beyond thrilled to be a part of Ayita!
Artist Sponsored by Wingate by Wyndham
ONIMIHITOW | DANCER | ENSEMBLE | DANCE CAPTAIN
Rebecca is overjoyed to perform in AYITA by Teneil Whiskeyjack at Skirtsafire Festival this season! Rebecca is an Edmonton- based Métis performer and choreographer. She is an artistic member of the Good Women Dance Collective and curates dance programming for the Nextfest Festival. Rebecca holds a BFA in dance from Ryerson University and teaches dance with dancED Movement Projects. Rebecca recently performed in BEARS by Matthew MacKenzie with Punctuate Theatre and the Citadel Theatre, and in a new dance work by Sasha Kleinplatz at Convergence with Good Women Dance Collective. Upcoming this season, Rebecca will perform in TWO- HEADED/ HALF- HEARTED, a new musical by Trevor Schmidt and Kaeley Jade Wiebe with Northern Light Theatre.
Other recent credits include: UNTIL THE NEXT BREATH (Catalyst Theatre), MR BURNS: A POST APOCALYPTIC PLAY (Thou Art Here Theatre), THE PARTICULARS (Punctuate Theatre), NO GUESSES FOUND: TOGETHER (Amber Borotsik/ Edmonton Fringe), FEAST (New Works Festival/ Edmonton Fringe Festival). Rebecca has also produced several dance pieces including THE SASH MAKER, which was developed into a dance film in 2020 with cinematographer Tamarra Lessard, as well as BREAKING BAPTIST produced by Catalyst Theatre. Rebecca continues to deepen her connection to her Métis roots by learning jigging and the traditional skill of finger-weaving sashes.
She sends so much love to her family and friends for their ongoing support for her dance and theatrical pursuits!
Onimihitow | Dancer | Ensemble | Dance Captain
ONIMIHITOW | DANCER | ENSEMBLE
Shammy is a multi-talented artist from Edmonton Alberta. Training with Toyguns Dance Theatre as well as taking part in the Citadel Young Acting program, they developed a passion for dance-theatre and storytelling. As an idegenous and Somalian bi-racial person they aim to be a part of works that elevate these voices and tell these stories.
Performance credits include: Narcissist Or Pretty Boys Who Play Alone At Recess, What Black Life Requires (ATB Arts Barns); Concord Floral (Citadel Theatre ); Alive! (Edmonton Poetry Festival); Bears (Belfry Theater/Factory Theatre/Citadel Theatre)
Onimihitow | Dancer | Ensemble
ONIMIHITOW | DANCER | ENSEMBLE
Skye Demas is of Cree, Ojibway and Dakota Sioux descent. Graduating from Victoria School of Performing Arts, she is a dancer, actor, performer and choreographer. She has performed in productions with Punctuate Theatre, Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts, SOAR Aboriginal Arts Program and Victoria School. Skye has performed dance in many Arts festivals since the age of seven and she has eight years of competitive dance training in various styles, as well as one year of acrobatic gymnastics training.
Onimihitow | Dancer | Ensemble
ONIMIHITOW | DANCER | ENSEMBLE
Deviani Andrea (she/her) is mestiza of Mexican-Lebanese heritage. First-generation immigrant sharing land and learning from Treaty 6 territory. She graduated from the University of Mexico with a bachelor’s in Literature and from the Ema Pulido’s Dance Studio. Since establishing in the parallel 50º, she has performed with Mile Zero Dance Company, Orchesis Dance Society, and Azimuth Theatre.
Onimihitow | Dancer | Ensemble
Katie Hudson is an Edmonton-based videographer specializing in lifestyle shoots that include weddings, dogs, and babies. Katie was inspired to start her own videography company after telling people’s stories while working in media as a reporter, on-air host and news writer. A theatre artist and improviser herself, Katie has a special love of capturing theatre-based projects. When Katie isn’t filming, she is running Tidy Katie, an organizing business helping people transform their spaces and attitudes towards clutter. Katie is honoured to have been a part of helping to capture these incredible stories and to work among a group of such inspiring people.
Special thanks to Field Law for their support of this project, and to our Infection Mitigation Coordinator, Candice Fiorentino.
MainStage Production Sponsor
Sensory Kits Provided by
Thanks to our Funders