Acclaimed Métis theatre artist Keith Barker named new artistic director of New Earth Performing Arts
Published April 10, 2017
TORONTO – Native Earth Performing Arts appoints Keith Barker, acclaimed Métis theatre artist as the new artistic director, announced the Native Earth board of directors this last week.
“We are delighted to welcome Keith Barker as the new Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts. In addition to his experience as an actor, director, playwright, and theatre administrator, Keith brings a wealth of knowledge of Indigenous theatre across Canada. We look forward to Keith’s vision and leadership as Native Earth enters the company’s 35th year as Canada’s oldest professional Indigenous theatre company.”
Keith Barker is originally from Northwestern Ontario and has worked in professional theatre for 16 years. He has had a decade-long relationship with Native Earth, which began as an Artistic Associate in 2007 with past Artistic Director Yvette Nolan. Between 2007 and 2010, he worked extensively with Native Earth’s Young Voices Program, now called the Animikiig Training Program. He has participated as playwright, performer, director and dramaturg for Native Earth’s annual festival of Indigenous works, Weesageechak Begins to Dance, where his award-winning play The Hours That Remain had its first public reading.
“It is an exciting time for Indigenous artists in this country. We are at the beginning of the national conversation around reconciliation. I believe artists will bridge the gap between knowing and not knowing on Turtle Island. With so many talented Indigenous artists in this country, my focus as Artistic Director will be to work with our communities to bring these voices to the stage. I will do my utmost to support the talented emerging, established, and senior Indigenous artists as they pursue their practice, as well as work to provide opportunities to thrive on national and international stages. As Artistic Director, I will pursue partnerships with allies to tell our stories in meaningful and respectful ways,” says Barker.
A graduate of the George Brown Theatre School, some of Barker’s performances include Native Earth’s productions of Tombs of a Vanishing Indian (Native Earth/Red Diva Productions) and Death of a Chief (Native Earth/NAC), as well as King Lear with the National Arts Centre.