Over the next four days, the climate will take centre-stage at the Firehall Arts Centre. From Thursday (November 2) to Saturday (November 4), the Downtown Eastside theatre will be the site of four circles of conversation as part of Etuaptmumk/Two-Eyed Seeing: Ways of Being and Seeing.
Produced by The Only Animal in partnership with the Firehall Arts Centre and Vancouver Moving Theatre, the four conversations will be followed by a public discussion and workshop session on Sunday (November 5). Indigenous storyteller Rosemary Georgeson (Sahtu Dene/Coast Salish) and climate-justice researcher Lara Aysal will be the facilitators.
With these conversations, The Only Animal aims to engage Indigenous knowledge with Western knowledge around the climate crisis. Indigenous knowledge keepers will lead the four discussions, which will include elders, activists, and academics.
On Sunday, Georgeson and Aysal will use “a guided theatre creation process to transform the dialogue from these circles into stories”, according to a Firehall Arts Centre news release. The goal is to help audience members think about how to re-imagine their lives as they walk toward climate justice while carrying forth wisdom from the past to future generations.
The host will be Kimi Haxton (Potowatomi). Participants include Bob Baker (Squamish Ancestral name is S7aplek, Hawaiian name is Lanakila), Harold Joe (Xulputstun), sχɬemtəna:t St’agid Jaad Audrey Siegl, Les Nelson (Tsts-Tsip, “Big Bird”), and Heather Lamoureux.
Etuaptmumk is the Mi’kmaw word for “Two-Eyed Seeing”. Proponents of this approach say that looking at issues from multiple perspectives elevates the likelihood of creating a new consciousness.
Etuaptmumk/Two-Eyed Seeing: Ways of Being and Seeing is part of the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival. Its co-founders, Terry Hunter and Savannah Walling, have consistently placed a premium on centering Indigenous storytelling, arts, and culture.
Etuaptmumk created by climate conscious troupe
Earlier this year, The Only Animal Theatre Company won the inaugural Green Award from the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres. It earned this honour for creating the Artist Brigade.
Launched in 2021, it’s been described as “a leaderless national movement transforming perspectives through cultural projects”.
Meanwhile this fall, the Firehall Arts Centre opened its season with Pedro Chamale’s Peace Country. This production also revolved around global heating. Chamale presented the perspectives of B.C. residents in a small, resource-dependent community threatened by a wildfire.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the playwright was once a member of The Only Animal’s Artist Brigade, where he became so immersed in the magnitude of the crisis.
The Only Animal produced Etuaptmumk/Two-Eyed Seeing: Ways of Being and Seeing in partnership with the Firehall Arts Centre and Vancouver Moving Theatre. It will be at the Firehall Arts Centre from November 2 to 5. For information and tickets, visit the Firehall website. The Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival continues until November 5.