Jumblies Theatre’s community performance troupe in the Talking Treaties Spectacle in 2018.
(Courtesy Marck Fawcett)
After creating an incredibly articulate and thorough application, multi-disciplinary artist Ange Loft has been granted the opportunity to take part in the first Indigenous artist residency at the Centaur Theatre, in old Montreal.
“They were asking specifically about history and forgotten stories, and that’s my favorite field,” explained Loft. “I have become an amateur history buff these days.”
The talented artist is beyond thrilled to start dipping her toes into the narratives that are all around us in Montreal, and surrounding areas such as Kahnawake and Kanesatake.
Growing up in Kahnawake, Loft spent a lot of time at the beloved Turtle Island Theatre Company, where her journey in this field began. “I am in a great debt of gratitude to them, for giving me those opportunities as a young person,” she said.
They helped her realize that theatre is not just about making plays, but is also an excellent tool for educating in a hands-on and outside-the-box kind of way.
After graduating from Concordia University, Loft moved to Toronto in 2008 to further her professional career. She now juggles many roles, being the associate director of Jumblies Theatre, an independent creator and consultant, and a teacher for the Centre of Indigenous Theatre in story creation.
Although this new project will add to her busy schedule, she is optimistic and enthusiastic about the work she’ll be doing.
The project is building on the initiative titled the Talking Treaties, run by Loft, which began in 2015. She is very encouraged by this opportunity, and not only is she looking forward to creating a culturally significant project, she is also happy to spend time closer to home.
“I’ve wanted an excuse to come back and work closer to Kahnawake,” said the creator.
She has spent time out of the community, developing professional skills and honing her craft, and now she can apply her experience to the place she spent her childhood and early adulthood. “It’s kind of a nice opportunity to bring a bunch of threads I have been holding onto, together,” said Loft.
As she stimulates ways to tell Indigenous narratives, she will be working alongside two other spectacular Kahnawa’kehró:non artists, Iehente Foote and Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo. Together, this trio is a force of creativity and innovation.
“It’s just nice to work with three Mohawk artists, people who are familiar with the city and people who work in theatre. It’s exciting to bring more minds to the project and I don’t like working alone,” she explained.
This residency is a step in diversifying the voices on stage at the Centaur and helping settlers, as well as other non-Indigenous people, understand the history of the Tiohtià:ke, Montreal.
“It was really clear that Ange Loft’s project was a brilliant opportunity to talk about where we are, and what the story is here,” explained artistic director Eda Holmes. “Although it is the inaugural artist Indigenous residency, it’s the beginning of something that I want to see move forward in the long-term.”
Loft explains that the most important goal of this project is to learn about forgotten stories, and to keep memories of Indigenous communities alive, while also bringing in members of Kahnawake to share and fill in the gaps of knowledge on their experiences, and the experiences of their ancestors.
“It’s not only art that I’m interested in, it’s more about memories and passing on historical narratives,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what happens when we bring these stories together.”