JAN 23 - FEB 1, 2020 | THE CULTCH | TICKETS
MARCH 19 - 28, 2020 | RICHMOND GATEWAY THEATRE | TICKETS
A black hole, hungry ghosts, a Grandmother wolf—Quelemia Sparrow’s Skyborn is an epic odyssey grounded in Indigenous ancestral knowledge. Guided through the universe on a river made of stars, Sparrow makes a journey by canoe to recover her lost soul from the land of the dead. This adventure is deeply rooted in the cosmology and teachings of her Musqueam heritage. It invites the audience to bear witness to a reclamation of culture, land and self.
Skyborn is imaginatively constructed and fiercely poignant. It introduces never-before-seen Musqueam/Sto:lo visual storytelling and animation, as well as inter-Indigenous sound and puppetry, but at its heart is the simple, irreducible force of human presence: Sparrow is a natural performer, endowed with grace and magnetism. This work is her gesture of liberation.
“When a person had a spirit sickness, it was said that their soul had left their body. In Skyborn, we use theatre to embody a ritual that is a personal and familial odyssey of reclamation of self, and land, and blood memory.” —Quelemia Sparrow
PLAYWRIGHT & PERFORMER Quelemia Sparrow
FIRE CREATOR/DIRECTOR Kim Senklip Harvey
INDIGENOUS FRAMEWORK CONSULTANT Lindsay Lachance
DRAMATURG David Bloom
SET DESIGNER Andy Moro
VIDEO DESIGNER Emily Soussana
COSTUME DESIGNER Evan Ducharme
LIGHTING DESIGNER Itai Erdal
ILLUSTRATOR Chief Lady Bird, Chrystal Sparrow, Carrielynn Victor
PUPPET DESIGNER Stephanie Elgersma
PUPPETEER Kelsey Kanatan Wavey
STAGE MANAGER Lois Dawson
APPRENTICE STAGE MANAGER Brody Halfe
SOUNDSCAPE VOCALS Renae Morriseau, Chelsea Rose Tucker, Kaitlyn Yott
PRODUCTION MANAGER Matt Oviatt
CONSTRUCTION MANAGER Andrew Pye
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Conor Moore
PROPS Jennifer Stewart
SUPPORTED BY National Arts Centre's National Creation Fund
FURTHER FUNDING FROM Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Canada, the British Columbia Arts Council,The First Peoples' Cultural Council, The City of Vancouver, the Province of British Columbia, Boca del Lupo.
PLAYWRIGHT & DIRECTOR BIOGRAPHIES
QUELEMIA SPARROW, PLAYWRIGHT & PERFORMER
Quelemia is an Indigenous actor, writer and director from the Musqueam Nation. She graduated from Studio 58’s Theatre program and the Langara Film Arts screenwriting program.
Some of Quelemia’s acting Theatre Credits include: ‘Lysistrata’/Bard on the Beach, ‘Timon of Athens’/Bard on the Beach, ‘The Bakkhai’/Stratford Festival directed by Jillian Keiley, ‘The Pipeline Project’/Gateway Theatre directed by Chelsea Haberlin, ‘The Snow Queen’/Globe Theatre directed by Rachel Peake, *‘Our Town’/Osimous Theatre directed by Ensemble, ‘The Edward Curtis Project’/GCTC/NAC directed by Marie Clements, ‘The Penelopiad’/Arts Club Theatre directed by Vanessa Porteous, ‘August: Osage County’/Arts Club Theatre directed by Janet Wright, ‘Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout’/Firehall Arts Centre directed by Lorne Cardinal, ‘Where the Blood Mixes’/Playhouse/WCT directed by Glynis Leyshon and ‘The Fall: Industrial Horror’/Electric Company directed by Kim Collier. Various Film and T.V credits include: Tribal, Clouds of Autumn, The Letter, Fringe, V, Sanctuary 2, Blackstone, Cable Beach, Unnatural and Accidental, Da Vinci’s City Hall, Dead Zone and Da Vinci’s Inquest for which she won a Leo Award for Best Female Guest Appearance.
* Jessie Richardson award: Outstanding Theatre Production Small Theatre
Writing credits include: A podplay for Neworld Theatre and Raven Spirit Dance called ‘Ashes on the Water’, ‘Salmon Girl’/Raven Spirit Dance, Co-writer ‘The Pipeline Project’ /Itsazoo and Savage Society, Indigenous consultant and Indigenous content writer for ‘Lysistrata’/Bard on the Beach, Skyborn: A Land Reclamation Odyssey/Savage Society, ‘Women of Papiyek’/Full Circle, Animikiig Native Earth, short film: ‘Mosquitoes’.
Directing Credits: ‘Oleanna’/Main Street Productions, ‘The contest of the Winds’/Caravan Farm (Assistant Director to Rachel Peake), ‘Salmon Girl’/Raven Spirit Dance, ‘The Classroom’/Studio 58.
She was an Associate with Playwrights Theatre Centre from 2014-2016 and she completed the Stratford writing retreat in 2017. Her show Skyborn: A Land Reclamation Odyssey will premiere at the Cultch in 2020.
KIM SENKLIP HARVEY, DIRECTOR
Kim Senklip Harvey is a proud Syilx, Tshilqot'in, Ktunaxa and Dakelh Nations womxn and is a Fire Creator (director/playwright/actor/community member) and Indigenous cultural evolutionist.
Highlights from her over 15 year long acting career include the Rez Sisters, Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout, The Laurier Memorial, Salmon Row, the Governor General's Award winning play and National Tour of Where the Blood Mixes, Gordon Tootoosis final show Gordon Winter and the World Premier of Children of God at the National Arts Centre.
In 2017, Kim participated in the Writing in a Racialized Canada residency which assembled 20 of Canada’s most exciting POC writers at the Banff Centre. She recently completed her 2 year residency with the National Theatre School in their inaugural Artistic Leadership Program. Kim has been shortlisted for the Gina Wilkinson prize for her work as a director and has participated in the Banff Playwrights Lab and the Rumble Theatre’s Directors Lab.
In 2018, Kim had a 3 city world premiere of her play Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story. Under her direction Kamloopa was nominated for 8 Jessie Richardson awards and the production won the 2019 Jessie Richardson award for Significant Artistic Achievement for Decolonizing Theatre Practices and Spaces, was the first Indigenous play in the awards history to win Best Production and was the 2019 recipient of the Sydney J Risk prize for most outstanding emerging playwright. Kamloopa will be published by Talonbooks in the Fall of 2019.
Kim’s next artistic ceremony Break Horizons is a commission held in a living Treaty with the Citadel and Arts Club Theatre. This story embraces the multifaceted laws of the Indigenous many worlds and explores how breaking free from the oppression of the colonial paradigm will deliver the emancipation of Indigenous peoples.
She is currently completing her Masters in Creative Writing at UVIC and will be directing the world premiere of Savage Society’s SKYBORN: A Land Reclamation Odyssey in January 2020.
SKYBORN (formerly O’wet) was originally commissioned by Full Circle: First Nations Performance as part of a larger work, and benefited from the work of the Full Circle Aboriginal Ensemble, including director Margo Kane, dramaturg Michael Springate, and associate dramaturg and researcher Kwasuun Sarah Vedan.
It was first performed as a workshop production at the Firehall Arts Centre, produced by Alley Theatre in June 2016.
In the summer of 2018, the focus was on land-based dramaturgy with director Kim Harvey and dramaturge Lindsay Lachance.
A design integration phase took place at The Cultch in the summer of 2019.