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Monday, June 17, 2024

Indigenous retelling of Shakespeare tragedy headlines this year’s Prismatic Arts Festival

The annual celebration of work by Indigenous artists and artists of colour from across Canada, returns to Kjipuktuk/Halifax from September 29 through October 8.

The Prismatic Arts Festival, the annual celebration of work by Indigenous artists and artists of colour from across Canada, returns to Kjipuktuk/Halifax from September 29 through October 8.

Among the ten days of works is the Renellta Arluk’s Pawâkan Macbeth. Co-presented by Neptune Theatre and Prismatic Arts Festival, it is an Indigenous reimagining of Shakespeare’s tragedy told in Shakespeare’s language, modern English and Plains Cree, inspired by the youth of Frog Lake First Nation and the shared stories from Elders in the Treaty 6 region.

Set in Plains Cree territory in the 1870s, Pawâkan MacBeth takes place during pre-colonization when Plains Cree were allied with Stoney Nakoda, at war with Blackfoot over territory, food, supplies and trade and when true autonomy existed among Indigenous Peoples. As the Canadian government moves west with Sir John A. MacDonald as the leader, a harsh new world wrought with immense fear, starvation, and uncertainty awakens the darkest of Cree spirits, the Wihtiko, a being with insatiable greed.

“Akpik Theatre, under the visionary leadership of Renellta Arluk, is an extraordinary force in the world of performing arts,” says Prismatic artistic director Raeesa Lalani. “Her ability to weave together diverse narratives and bring them to life on stage is nothing short of magical, leaving a profound impact on both the local audience and the broader artistic landscape.”

In addition to Pawâkan Macbeththis year’s Prismatic Arts Festival includes works in other disciplines, including theatre, dance, music, film, visual arts, media arts, and spoken word.

Among the highlights are Atlantic Ballet’s Pisuwin, the first-ever Wolastoq contemporary story ballet, Halifax-based Juno Award-winning trombonist, composer Andrew Jackson, Mohawk singer-songwriter Logan Staats and dancer, choreographer, and educator Reequal Smith.

The Prismatic Arts Festival takes place at various locations in downtown Kjipuktuk/Halifax from September 29 through October 8. Visit prismaticfestival.com for more information.

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