Friday, May 31, 2019

Pathways Through the Festival. 1: Migrations

From 2017 to 2020, Border Crossings is focussing on the issue of migration, both in our theatre work, our community and education programmes, and in ORIGINS!  From an Indigenous perspective, migration FROM (not to) Britain is the source of current tensions.  Every event in the Festival in some way responds to the history of colonisation, and its ongoing impact on Indigenous people, their cultures, lands and environments.

NO WOMAN'S LAND (The Place – 14-15 June) brings together two migration stories, as Inuk Elder Naulaq LeDrew and Spanish dancer Avâtara Ayuso bring together their hugely different experiences of life in transit.  Naulaq’s migration from the Arctic of her childhood to the Toronto of today has strengthened her desire to preserve her cultural traditions, the Inuktitut language, the music, dance and costumes of the Inuit and the games they play.  It’s also turned her into a climate activist!  As well as appearing in the show, Naluaq will be talking about her culture at the National Maritime Museum and Rich Mix.

Another encounter between two women from different cultural backgrounds is at the heart of A CASUAL RECONSTRUCTION (Rich Mix 14-16 June): in this case Canadian Métis visual artist Nadia Myre and non-Indigenous theatre-maker Johanna Nutter.  Bravely and playfully facing up to challenging issues like cultural appropriation and the politics of race, the performance responds to the complex cultural and ethnic mixing that is the legacy of imperialism.

SONNY ASSU’s extraordinary visual art (Canada House 21 June – 5 September) and brian solomon//ELECTRIC MOOSE’s probing and insightful dance piece THE NDN WAY (Playground Theatre 17 June) are further examples of work that confronts the cultural politics of colonisation. By presenting this work, ORIGINS will broaden debates around migration and diversity to include the ongoing impact of colonial histories, raising questions around cultural ownership, appropriation & the need for dialogue.

There are also, of course, histories of migration in the other direction too: many Indigenous people have visited London across the years.  HIDDEN HISTORIES (National Maritime Museum 19 June) tells some of their stories and relates them to the present day, while Madeline Sayet’s WHERE WE BELONG (Rich Mix 14-16 June, Shakespeare’s Globe 17 June) evokes the memory of her Mohegan ancestors to make sense of her own contemporary experience of London.

The experience of watching INO MOXO (Southbank Centre 15-16 June) is a journey in its own right, as the audience is led up the Amazon in search of the great Ayahuasca shaman Ino Moxo.  Here the migration is internal as well as literal: the Ayahuasca experience inspires a visionary new theatre form that helps us see the world through different eyes.