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Indigenous Feminist Theatre Meets Bertolt Brecht in Red Mother at Trent University

Artistic Residency to Culminate in Special Performances from
November 1 to 4, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007, Peterborough

logo Renowned actress and artistic director of New York’s legendary Spiderwoman Theatre, Muriel Miguel, will present the latest incarnation of her one-woman show entitled Red Mother, which is inspired by Bertolt Brecht’s1939 play Mother Courage, at Trent University from November 1 to 4, 2007.

These special performances will be the outcome of a two-week artistic residency at Trent, home to Nozhem: First Peoples Performance Space, Canada’s only theatre dedicated to the development of Indigenous performing arts.

Red Mother tells the story of Belle, who travels through battles and violent clashes that have inextricably changed the course of Indigenous ways of life. Through lying and cunning, she is a survivor, but does so at great personal cost. Employing several Brechtian dramatic devices, this new dance theatre piece explores the personal face of war and conflict by chronicling the earth journey of an aged Indian woman across the continent as well as her spiritual journey across the universe.

Red Mother is an abstract character, and she’s not nice,” noted Ms. Miguel. “Red Mother challenges the romantic myth of Indian women, confronting the perception that all our ancestors were ‘noble’. The culture survives today because of women like Belle; she is both the warrior and the hero.”

Ms. Miguel has been developing the play for four years, and during her artistic residency at Trent, she will continue to build Red Mother culminating in a workshop production. These artistic residencies are an integral part of the University’s partnership with Indigenous Performance Initiatives (IPI) to operate Nozhem as a “living laboratory” to investigate performance traditions from Indigenous nations and renew appreciation of Aboriginal performing arts. Under the direction of Professor Marrie Mumford, Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Arts and Literature at Trent University, IPI ensures that skills from experienced Aboriginal performers are being transferred to future generations, thus enhancing the cultural and social life of Canada.

Red Mother is being directed and choreographed by Murielle Borst. An accomplished actress, dancer and novelist, this New York based artist is the daughter of Muriel Miguel and has apprenticed with Spiderwoman Theater and incorporates the Spiderwoman technique into her directing work. Red Mother  marks the first time that Ms. Borst has directed Ms. Miguel and the nature of this collaboration signifies the importance of the continuation of the legacy of Spiderwoman Theater

Ms. Miguel and Ms. Borst will be involved in a series of workshops, rehearsals and artists’ talks during their artistic residency at Trent University. At the completion of the residency, Red Mother will tour to the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. for two special performances on February 22 and 23, 2008.

See the Play
Red Mother will be presented on November 1, 2 and 3 at 8 p.m., and on November 4 at 2 p.m. at Nozhem: First Peoples Performance Space at Trent University.  Admission is by donation. Tickets are available by calling (705) 748-1011, ext. 7921. Red Mother is presented in partnership with Indigenous Performance Initiatives.


For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence, Communications Officer
Trent University
Tel: (705) 748-1011, ext. 6185