Should only Indigenous directors helm Indigenous plays?

By Drew Hayden Taylor,

“In recent years some theatre companies have gone out of their way to provide my work with a specifically Indigenous director, for which I am absolutely delighted. Other companies have hesitantly asked me if it was okay if they considered … the possibility of … if I wouldn’t be personally insulted if … would it be disrespectful if … a director of a non-Indigenous background was considered for the position. After you get through all the hemming and hawing, it’s something I am still willing to consider.

Some believe it is the natural progression of the developing contemporary Canadian theatre scene. Just ask the artistic director of the Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre, Jennifer Dawn Bishop. “Directors bring a lot to the table, but what an Indigenous director brings compared to a non-Indigenous is our own voice. And that the stories we share, it’s done in a good way and the knowledge of protocols are present throughout the process. As a director and AD, our role is beyond the norm of theatre.” Again, makes sense.

In the thousand years I’ve been weaving First Nation literary universes in Canadian theatre, I’ve seen an amazing transformation in the industry. Our work has gone from being the exception to the rule to being part of the rule. And, as in these cases, the makers of the new rules.”

Source: The Globe and Mail