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Yvette Nolan

The Secret of Joy: Re-claiming Rita Joe

A public talk by Yvette Nolan

The Secret of Joy: Re-claiming Rita Joe

March 7, 2018
12:00 pm–1:00 pm
North Studio, John Mitchell Building

In 1969, the National Arts Centre opened in Ottawa with a production of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe. Commissioned to celebrate Canada’s centennial, written by George Ryga, a Canadian of Ukrainian descent, Rita Joe was an indictment of the relationship between First Nations and Canadians after 100 years. Forty years later Algonquin theatre practitioner Yvette Nolan directed an anniversary production for the National Arts Centre, English Theatre. The experience of mounting an Indigenous production offers illumination about the process of “Indigenizing the Institution”.


Yvette Nolan (Algonquin) is a playwright, director, dramaturg and educator who works across Turtle Island. From 2003-2011, she served as Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts. She has been the Playwright in Residence at the National Arts Centre, the Writer in Residence at the Saskatoon Public Library, Mount Royal University, University of Regina, and Brandon University.  Her book Medicine Shows about Indigenous theatre in Canada was published by Playwrights Canada Press in 2015, and Performing Indigeneity, which she co-edited with Ric Knowles, in 2016. She is an Artistic Associate of Signal Theatre and a graduate student at Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. 

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