Four performances courtesy of the Northern Arts & Cultural Centre in Yellowknife will be coming to Hay River over the next months.
The shows will be part of NACC’s 2019-2020 season.
Marie Coderre, the executive and artistic director with NACC, is excited about the shows that will be visiting Hay River.
First up will be Digawolf, a rock performer accompanied by another musician, who will perform on Sept. 16 at Riverview Cineplex as part of the Ko K’e Spoken Word & Music Festival.
Coderre noted that Digawolf recently released a new album.
“To me, he is definitely one of our best artists in the Northwest Territories,” she said. “And he sings in Tlicho and in English. He’s a very, very talented artist. So it was time for him to be part of the touring. It’s pretty relevant for him to tour all across the territory.”
She said the show will be a blend of music and storytelling.
On Oct. 16, a dance performance called Not Quite Midnight – an interpretation of Cinderella and other classic stories – will be presented by the internationally acclaimed group Cas Public of Montreal.
Coderre noted it will be the first time that NACC will bring a touring international dance group to Hay River.
“Which is very exciting because it’s very complex to put together a show like this with the dance floor,” she said. “It requires a lot of equipment on the technical aspect and it’s expensive, too. That was a goal of mine to have a dance group, for sure.”
Because of the complexity, Coderre noted that the performers, technicians and NACC staff will total a team of 13 people on the road.
And because of the size of the set, the dance performance will be presented at Diamond Jenness Secondary School.
“It’s a very fast-paced ballet style,” said Coderre.
On Dec. 9, opera singer Kofi Hayford, a bass, will perform at Our Lady of Assumption Roman Catholic Church.
Hayford’s appearance in Hay River is the result of a trip Coderre took to New York in December, when she had an unexpected invitation to a New Year’s Eve celebration in the penthouse of a financial supporter of the Metropolitan Opera.
“This celebration was mainly a gathering of all the rising stars of opera in New York, and Kofi is part of them and I met him,” she recalled. “And he was so grounded and so down to earth and so talented. I was amazed to listen to him. He has an absolutely amazing voice.”
Coderre asked him if he wanted to offer a gospel, opera and Christmas concert in the communities of the NWT, and he was thrilled by the idea.
Hayford will be accompanied by William Hicks, the former pianist of Luciano Pavarotti.
“It’s going to be very intimate,” Coderre said of the show. “New York is coming to Hay River.”
The final show in Hay River for the season will be on April 2 with the play Pawakan Macbeth, a reimagining of the Shakespeare work with Cree history, legend and cosmology.
The play has been created by the NWT’s Renalta Arluk, and will be presented by her Akpik Theatre. Arluk is also the director of Indigenous Arts at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
“She’s mixing a Shakespearean play into the story happening in the 1870s with the First Nations in the Prairies,” said Coderre. “So it’s going to be very interesting to see how she blends both stories.”
Coderre noted it will be another large production with a crew of eight people just for the play.
Like the dance performance, Pawakan Macbeth will be presented at Diamond Jenness Secondary School.
NACC’s tour of communities outside Yellowknife will also include Fort Smith, Fort Simpson, Inuvik and Norman Wells. Not all the artists on the tour appear in every community.
Each of the communities gets four shows.