New Show to Tackle Sexual Assault in Native Communities

News   New Show to Tackle Sexual Assault in Native Communities
Spiderwoman Theater will premiere Material Witness at La MaMa Off-Broadway.
The cast of Material Witness
The cast of Material Witness

Spiderwoman Theater is partnering with downtown theatre La MaMa to present Material Witness, which addresses the issue of violence against indigenous women. The new work is set to run May 12-29 and is created in partnership with Aanmitaagzi, a multi-disciplinary artist-run company from Nipissing First Nation, Ontario.

Material Witness interweaves the real-life stories of a cast of indigenous actors and writers from the U.S. and Canada who each gives voice to her own experience of violence. Their stories range from stalking to domestic violence to rape. “But far from hitting the audience over the head with tragedy, tales are conveyed subtly, artfully, sometimes even humorously, from a perspective of frank assurance and empowerment,“ state production notes. “All are woven together through interconnecting layers of language, images, and dance, creating a theatrical collage.“

The piece is written and performed by Cherish Violet Blood, Penny Couchie, Donna Couteau, Angela Loft, Gloria Miguel and Tanis Parenteau with Muriel Miguel, who directs.

“Through this process of talking, talking, talking—and listening—we release a whirlwind of stories into the universe,” explains Spiderwoman artistic director Miguel in a press statement. “We break the silence and shame that too often follow these incidents, letting women know they are not alone. The intent,” she says, “is to heal as well as inform, by shining a bright light on this problem.” A series of post-performance panel discussions will also be held: “Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women” (May 15 at 3:30 PM); “Trafficking of Women and Girls” (May 22 at 3:30 PM); and “Women in Refugee Camps” (May 27 at 9 PM).

The New York engagement is presented in association with Loose Change Productions. For tickets go to, call (646) 430-5374 or visit the La MaMa box office at 66 East 4th Street, New York.

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