Fringe North and The Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie & District presented those with an interest in art and history (though painful history) with a double feature of sorts Saturday.
A performance entitled Debwewin (meaning 'he or she speaks the truth’) was scheduled to be presented at the Sault Community Theatre Centre, beginning at 7 p.m.
“The main focus is Debwewin,” said Tovah Arbus, Fringe North’s artistic director.
“It’s written by Indigenous artist Sarah Gartshore who comes from Sudbury, and it speaks of the truth of the residential school trauma and legacy, speaking of the number of students in residential schools, the number of generations who were affected by that, and the number moving forward as we try to come to terms with what that legacy has left us.”
“It’s a very powerful piece,” Arbus said of Debwewin.
The show’s organizers were anticipating Shingwauk residential school survivors would be present to engage with the audience before and after the play, Arbus added.
Running before Debwewin, from 2 pm to 8 pm, was the Miinikaan Project, an art show in the adjacent White Pines Collegiate lobby.
Arbus said Russell Raven of the Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie & District, who is an Indigenous artist, suggested the Miinikaan Project would be a perfect fit to go hand-in-hand with Debwewin.
“It’s something they were working on all year and it needed a wrap-up event, and the Miinikaan Project’s goal is to facilitate cooperation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, to showcase that youth-driven art,” Arbus said.
“We’re hoping people will come see the art and then engage in the historical display of Debwewin,” Arbus told SooToday Saturday morning.
Admission to both Debwewin and the Miinikaan Project was free, made possible by the federal government’s Canadian Heritage department and the Ontario Trillium Fund, respectively.
Debwewin and the Miinikaan Project, Arbus said, was a preview event leading up to this year’s second annual Fringe North International Theatre Festival, to be held in the Sault Aug. 9 to 19.
That event, like last year’s inaugural festival is designed to be educational and entertaining, with several artists already registered to participate in this year’s festival.
More information on Fringe North is available on the festival’s Facebook page, on its website or by phone at (705) 975-5135 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org