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COLUMN: 'Inventive' play about Indigenous healing debuts today

'It is truly a story for our times, Indigenous or otherwise,' says Theatre by the Bay artistic director Iain Moggach
playwright Ziigwen Mixemong
Local playwright Ziigwen Mixemong has written a play, Mno Bimaadiziwin, which tells the story of the resiliency of love, healing and community in the face of collective trauma. It debuts this week at the Orillia Opera House.

Local residents are in for a treat as Theatre by the Bay presents Mno Bimaadiziwin at the Orillia Opera House from Sept. 24 to Oct. 3.

Mno Bimaadiziwin is a play about Indigenous healing, and is Theatre by the Bay’s final production of the season. Mno Bimaadiziwin, meaning “a good life,” tells of the resiliency of love, healing, and community in the face of collective trauma. It takes place as the characters prepare to enter a sweat lodge ceremony on their journeys to wellness.

Theatre by the Bay is breaking new ground in presenting the first new work written by a local Anishinaabe woman to be professionally produced in our area. The production has been created under the direction of many Indigenous community members, including local playwright Ziigwen Mixemong and director Herbie Barnes.

Ziigwen Mixemong is an Indigenous storyteller from Beausoleil First Nation. She represents the Lnu and Bodewadmi nations. Ziigwen’s focus is mainly on play writing, and her previous works include Empty Regalia and 21.

“Ziigwen is an incredibly talented emerging artist from our community,” said artistic director Iain Moggach. “I am delighted and astonished by the play she has created. It is moving, inventive, and full of hope. It is truly a story for our times, Indigenous or otherwise.”

The production is the first play to focus on the stories of the Indigenous community within the Simcoe County (Treaty 16, 18, and Williams Territories) region. In addition, Theatre by the Bay will work with local Indigenous organizations throughout the run of the show to help build strong relationships to honour the newly established National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.

Mno Bimaadiziwin will open on Sept. 24 and the run will consist of 11 performances. The show runs for approximately 75 minutes with no intermission. It contains mature themes and language and is not suitable for audience members under 14. Tickets are available through the Orillia Opera House by clicking here.