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NATIVE EARTH PERFORMING ARTS ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE OF ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

NATIVE EARTH PERFORMING ARTS ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE OF ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

TORONTO, ON (February 22, 2017) –  After three seasons, Ryan Cunningham is leaving Native Earth Performing Arts to pursue personal artistic projects, starting with his debut at Shaw Festival this summer.

In his time as Artistic Director, Cunningham strengthened Native Earth’s position as Canada’s leading Indigenous performing arts company with impactful programming and strategic partnerships. Most notably, these efforts resulted in a nine-city nation-wide tour of Native Earth’s award-winning production of Huff by Cliff Cardinal. Cunningham’s time in New Zealand and Australia also reinforced Native Earth’s longstanding international partnerships, leading to presentations of Huff around the globe.

Since he joined the company in 2014, Cunningham has been instrumental in reimagining Native Earth’s annual development festival, Weesageechak Begins to Dance, placing a focus on the inclusion of Indigenous dance and select presentations of work by legendary Indigenous artists, such as SpiderWoman Theater’s Gloria Miguel. Cunningham’s determination to bring Indigenous dance into a prominent position within Native Earth’s season birthed the now annual Indigenous Dance Double Bill, Niimi’iwe.

“During Ryan’s term as Artistic Director, Native Earth has developed new partnerships across Canada and internationally, as well as broadening the range of work we produce and present,” says Ashley Stacey, President of the Board of Directors. “We value the contribution he has made to the company and wish him well in his future artistic work.”

Stacey points out that this shift in leadership comes at the brink of Native Earth’s 35th season, creating an opportunity for a new visionary to lead the company into this milestone season. “It is an exciting time for Indigenous performing arts in Canada, and this change will offer another Indigenous leader a chance to make their mark – not only at Native Earth, but in an ever shifting artistic landscape.”

As Native Earth closes out their current season, Cunningham prepares for his upcoming performances with Tafelmusik and Shaw Festival.

A Search Committee to find a successor will be chaired by Ashley Stacey of the Native Earth Performing Arts Board of Directors.

Native Earth Performing Arts is Canada’s oldest professional Indigenous theatre company. Currently in their 34th year, Native Earth Performing Arts is dedicated to creating, developing and producing professional artistic expressions of the Indigenous experience in Canada. Through stage productions (theatre, dance and multi-disciplinary art), new script development, apprenticeships and internships, Native Earth seeks to fulfill a community of artistic visions.
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MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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