Artist in Residence Program: With Daniel MacIvor

Daniel MacIvor is one of Canada’s most accomplished playwrights and performers. Winner of the prestigious Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Prize, the GLAAD Award, the Governor General’s Literary Award and many others, Daniel’s plays have been met with acclaim throughout North America.





Schedule of Events

January 30, 8:00pm: The Situation We Find Ourselves In Is This

MacIvor will work throughout the month of January as director/dramaturge with Alberta playwright Matthew MacKenzie on MacKenzie’s solo performance about dying and dramaturgy. MacKenzie was enlisted by famed Canadian dramaturge Iris Turcott to be her end-of-life caregiver, though MacKenzie didn’t know this. It wasn’t until after MacKenzie had relocated from Alberta to Toronto that Turcott sat him down and had a conversation with him that started with the sentence: “The situation we find ourselves in is this…” MacKenzie’s solo investigates the journey of being thrust into another person’s death and how that helps to explain what dramaturgy is really all about. MacIvor and MacKenzie have been developing this piece out of the Theatre Centre in Toronto and now come together (virtually) to finish the piece as a live-stream event.

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February 15-27: Toward a Solo Moment

MacIvor has been involved in creating solo performances throughout his career beginning with See Bob Run and Wild Abandon in the late 1980’s and through the seven shows he has created with director Daniel Brooks. The most recent, Let’s Run Away, premiered in January of 2020 (being nominated for Best New Play at Toronto’s Dora Awards and winning Best Touring Productions at the Calgary Theatre Awards). MacIvor’s process looks to the actor and their own concerns and obsessions to first initiate character, from which narrative emerges. Six actors will be guided by MacIvor, over a two week period, creating their own solo show.

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March 20: Why Am I (?) Hamlet

Through the winter MacIvor has dissected, challenged, celebrated, and exploded Shakespeare’s most famous play as part of his MA Lab with the University of Toronto. Taking a deep dive into the themes of the play, its dramaturgy, and scholarship, MacIvor investigates the play’s strengths and purported weaknesses.  This film is assembled from an open rehearsal where MacIvor proposes an adaptation of Hamlet for our times.   Surrounding this proposal is an exploration that involves song, dance, academic lectures, Zoomed in special guests, and a puppet show.  The final product is not unlike a variety show but with Shakespeare, carnage and a bibliography. 

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April 17, 5:00pm: Listening – Bridging Indigenous and Settler Dramaturgy

How do we take what is best about contemporary Canadian theatre creation and work toward honoring ancient practices grown from Indigenous Knowledge? What are the challenges when the settler goal-based achievement narrative meets the woven stories of Indigenous land-based dramaturgy? Does this become a question of bridging or blending? These are central questions to be investigated in a live-stream talking circle moderated by CBU’s Associate Vice President, Indigenous Affairs and Unama’ki College, Stephen Augustine. Participants include Indigenous scholars and theatre-practitioners Jill Carter and Floyd Favel Starr, dramaturge Paula Dankert, theatre practitioners Zach Running Coyote and Daniel MacIvor. Full bios for the participants can be found at the bottom of this page.

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For anyone interested in talking with Daniel MacIvor about his work or theatre in general, Daniel will host a regular meeting on Wednesdays from 2:30pm to 4:00pm, beginning January 20. Meetings will be by appointment only. Please contact to book a time.

Listening – Bridging Indigenous and Settler Dramaturgy

Facilitated by Stephen Augustine

Participants: Jill Carter, Paula Danckert, Floyd Favel, Daniel MacIvor, Zach Running Coyote

Stephen Augustine

Stephen Augustine is a Hereditary Chief on the Mi’kmaq Grand Council and the Associate Vice-President Indigenous Affairs and Unama’ki College at Cape Breton University. Previously (1996-2013) he was the Curator of Ethnology for Eastern Maritimes, Ethnology Services Division of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, in Gatineau/Ottawa. He holds a Masters degree in Canadian Studies from Carleton University focussing on traditional knowledge curriculum development in the context of the education system and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Political Science from St. Thomas University.

Over the years, Mr. Augustine has shared his expertise in research and traditional knowledge with many organizations, including government departments, the Assembly of First Nations, and various Aboriginal communities across Canada. He is part of an advisory panel on biodiversity issues and has worked extensively with the United Nations programs on development and the environment. He taught sessional courses in Canadian Studies at Carleton University for ten years (course: Aboriginal Peoples and the Knowledge Economy) and recently has taught in Mi’kmaq Studies (courses: Mi’kmaq Traditional Knowledge, Mi’kmaq Oral History, Mi’kmaq Knowledge Economy, and Learning from the Knowledge Keepers of Mi’kma’ki). He has been invited to speak at both national and international conferences. He has published papers, been recorded for radio and various video programs on traditional knowledge, Maritime history and treaties, and storytelling. He has organized cross-cultural workshops and made presentations to a wide variety of institutions (U.N., federal and provincial departments, universities, museums, UNESCO and The Vatican). His book on the CMC collections (Mi’kmaq & Maliseet Cultural Ancestral Material, Mercury Series, CMC, 2005) has proven a valuable resource for academic researchers and educators alike.

He has been accredited as an expert witness in various court cases, involving Aboriginal access to resources in the Maritimes, being recognized for his knowledge both of oral history and ethno-history, and of the treaties in the region. He has recently been named the recipient of the 2009 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Culture, Heritage and Spirituality and the 2009 New Brunswick Lieutenant- Governor’s Dialogue Award. He has also been named (fall 2008) member of the Sectoral Commission for Culture, Communication and Information for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. He has been Elder Advisor to the Federal Court of Canada Judges, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Human Rights Commission of Canada. In his role as a hereditary Chief on the Mi’kmaq Grand Council and by Elders’ training since an early age, Stephen J. Augustine has a thorough command of traditional practices, his language and the history of his people.

Jill Carter

Jill Carter (Anishinaabe-Ashkenazi) is a theatre practitioner and researcher, currently cross appointed to the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies; the Transitional Year Programme; and Indigenous Studies at the University of Toronto. She works with many members of Tkaron:to’s Indigenous theatre community to support the development of new works and to disseminate artistic objectives, process, and outcomes through community-driven research projects. Her scholarly research, creative projects, and activism are built upon ongoing relationships with Elders, Artists and Activists, positioning her as witness to, participant in, and disseminator of oral histories that speak to the application of Indigenous aesthetic principles and traditional knowledge systems to contemporary performance.

She has worked with Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble (Assistant Dramaturg and Performer), directed the remount of Monique Mojica’sChocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way, developmental workshops of Omushkego Cree Water Stories(with Candace Brunette and Erika Iserhoff), the 2014 developmental workshop of Sideshow Freaks and Circus Injuns(with Monique Mojica and LeAnne Howe), and the Canadian premiere of Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue (written and performed by Gloria Miguel) at Native Earth Performing Arts Aki Studio in fall 2014.  Since 2016, she has served as one of the Dramaturgs for Weesageechak Begins to Dance (Young Voices Program).

The research questions she pursues revolve around the mechanics of story creation, the processes of delivery and the manufacture of affect.  More recently, she has concentrated upon Indigenous pedagogical models for the rehearsal studio and the lecture hall; the application of Indigenous [insurgent] research methods within performance studies; the politics of land acknowledgements; and land-based dramaturgies/activations/interventions.

Jill also works as a researcher and tour guide with First Story Toronto; facilitates Land Acknowledgement, Devising, and Land-based Dramaturgy Workshops for theatre makers in this city; and performs with the Talking Treaties Collective (Jumblies Theatre, Toronto). In September 2019, Jill directed Encounters at the Edge of the Woods. This was a devised show, featuring Indigenous and Settler voices, and it opened Hart House Theatre’s centenary season; it is the first instance of Indigenous presence on Hart House Theatre’s stage in its 100 years of existence as the cradle for Canadian theatre. In fall 2020, Jill directed her first film Niimi /(S/He Dances), which was screened as part of Rattling the Curve by the Digital Dramaturgy Lab [squared]for ECODATA and A/I (Artistic Intelligence)—an online festival based in Riga, Latvia.

Paula Danckert

Paula Danckert is a Dramaturg, a Foley Artist and an Educator. She is of Canadian-settler descent. Her mother’s people are from Cape Breton, originating from Scotland, and her Father was Australian. She has lived in Canada most of her life with a six-year stint in Chicago. She has worked in the performing Arts for more than forty years. Beginning her career as an actor, she quickly moved into directing and was soon reading the works of her peers and colleagues which marked the beginning stages of her engagement in dramaturgy. Always having a love of sound and radio, she ended up working as a radio drama producer at the CBC for five years where her love of listening, drama, dramaturgy, and sound work came together. Paula has also worked in dance, television, and film, and most recently her production dramaturgy and work as a Foley Artist were put to use in the form of new opera. Her latest work in that field was Missing by Métis/Dene multi-media artist Marie Clements. Missing toured five cities in Canada in 2019. Paula worked with Clements on her feature film Red Snow where she functioned as a cultural liaison for the Elders and Language Keepers on set in 2020. She and Clements are long time collaborators who have worked together in theatre, film, T.V. and performance art for more than twenty years. Paula has held positions at The Stratford Shakespeare Festival, The National Arts Centre, and Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal. She has worked across Canada in theatres large and small, and in big cities and tiny towns. She is a graduate of the National Theatre School where she taught for many years. Paula lives in Montréal, but she has spent a great deal of time on the road with regular working engagements in Vancouver and Nova Scotia. Among Paula’s current projects is completing her dissertation at the University of Toronto. And she better hurry up because her very patient, kind, challenging, and extremely busy supervisor is Professor Jill Carter.

Floyd P. Favel

Mr. Favel is a theatre theorist, director, essayist, based in Saskatchewan. He studied theatre in Denmark at the Tukak Teatret, a school for Inuit and Sami People. After-which he studied in Italy with Jerzy Grotowski, a Polish theatre director and one of the more influential theatre figures of the 20th century.  He is the curator of the Chief Poundmaker Museum (winner of the 2019 Indigenous Tourism Award). He is the director of the Poundmaker Indigenous Performance Festival, a global Indigenous festival that is multi-cultural in presentation. The premise of the festival is that Indigenous theatre is an artistic genre that is open to all People and not defined by ‘colonial identities’.  In 2020 he won the Saskatchewan Multi-cultural Leadership Award for his work.

Zach Running Coyote

Zach Running Coyote (he/him) is a theatre maker whose work centre’s Indigenous futurism and healing paradigms. Adopted at six months old, with Mi’gmaq and settler ancestors, Zach’s work focuses on stories for the displaced and disenfranchised, the marginalized and oppressed, as he continues his own search for community, healing and the unwinding of generational trauma.

Daniel MacIvor

Daniel MacIvor (he/him)  is a queer, cis-male playwright and performer currently living in Unama’ki – colonially known  as Cape Breton Island – and born of 5th and 6th generation settlers who emigrated from the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. Daniel has created work that has been seen around the world and translated into Portuguese, French, German, Japanese and Czech and he has gained a large following in Brazil with popular productions of his plays In On It, A Beautiful View, Monster, Here Lies Henry and The Best Brothers. He is the recipient of an OBIE Award a GLAAD Award, a Governor General’s Award and the Siminovitch Prize In Theatre.  He has been writer-in-residence at the National Theatre School, The Banff Centre, the University of Guelph and the University of Western Ontario, an artist-in-residence at the University of Ohio and the Wexner Centre and he is currently artist-in-residence at Cape Breton University.