*video courtesy SightLine Designs
“Some of the most spiritually gifted people are those who are lost on the streets.
they are the ones who can help all mankind.”
– Spirit World, Wanita Singing Bird
It’s a true-life story of life on the street, survival and perseverance and it’s the debut of brand-new playwright. Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre’s Circle of Voices is proud to present Wanita Singing Bird’s Spirit World, a play Bird wrote for the company. GTNT partnered with Prairie Harm Reduction to look for a Cree woman who could write the story of Adele Cook, a woman who overcame addiction and violence and became a community leader. That writer was Wanita Singing Bird.
Spirit World is Bird’s debut as a playwright. (Photo provided)
“When I first met Adele, we had an instant connection. I’m also a counsellor in recovery and we shared a very common experience,” says Bird. “This is a woman with a life of drama and tribulation who found strength and healing in her connection to the land and her Cree spirituality.”
Spirit World tells Cook’s story; from growing up on the trap line to getting lost on the dark road of addiction which led her to contracting HIV. A random act of violence shakes her to the core and tests her very being. April Rogers, an alumnus of GTNT’s Circle of Voices found inspiration in playing Adele on stage.
“I wanted to make sure I did Adele justice in this story. Some people have a brighter light, they are so powerful and strong,” says Rogers. “Her story has given me a new perspective on life. I want to work in prevention, helping women. This role opened my heart.”
With COVID restrictions the artistic team held rehearsals mainly on Zoom and opted to partner with SightLine Designs to film the production at The Refinery. The performance will be broadcast on GTNT’s Facebook and YouTube channels for free to the public. Bird hopes the audience will be inspired by Cook’s story and enjoy the humour threaded throughout.
“To be trusted with her story, it’s a precious thing and you don’t want to paint it all in a dark way,” says Bird. “The characters experience some really heavy things but, they are also very loving, funny and creative people. I hope ultimately, it teaches us all a little more about healing and native spirituality.”
May 21 – 23, 2021
Live Stream on Facebook & YouTube
For more information, follow this link.