Tim Borlase & Dr. Martha MacDonald
This project is focusing on the 40 years of play writing for the Labrador Creative Arts Festival that contributed to an evolving sense of what it is to be Inuit in Nain, Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik and Rigolet. Along the path to self-government, these communities faced enormous challenges for youth and how they identified themselves as Inuit. Since self-government, these communities’ plays reflect a new sense of how they see themselves. Topics have included legends and stories, resettlement, loss of language, struggle between traditional knowledge and a formal education system, suicide, prejudice, family violence, the influence of social media and a new awakening.
For a two- to four- week period, plays dealing with identity with local residents will be remounted in each community through structured workshops leading to performances. The participants will propose a way forward as they reflect on how they once conceived themselves as Inuit and who they have become. It is the intention of this project that these pieces would be performed in their home community and at Ilusuak, the new cultural centre in Nain. The intention is not just to create a historical reference, but to encourage and provide a basis for any future community-based play production.
Complementing the productions, an anthology of plays dealing with Inuit identity will be edited and published. These plays will be drawn from the forty year legacy of the Labrador Creative Arts Festival and include representation from all Nunatsiavut communities. These edited scripts will form the basis for a study focusing on the shifting themes and values of self-representation among Inuit youth during the 40 years that saw Inuit Labrador progress from the beginnings of a political movement with the LIA to full self-determination as the Nunatsiavut Government.