Signal Theatre emits images, ideas and stories. Signal is committed to the collaborative process, experimentation, and intercultural research.
Signal Theatre is a Canadian non-profit theatre organization founded by Michael Greyeyes (Plains Cree) in 2010. Signal’s mission is to create new theatre works. Shifting across all frequencies, Signal explores both physical and text-based theatre moving through the disciplines of dance, opera, music, design and the spoken word. Signal places the human at the centre of our theatrical practice and, as our Elders have instructed, it seeks to make us whole, empowered and connected to one another.
Signal Theatre’s mandate is to engage in practiced-based research to create live performance. Our vision is to enrich the Canadian landscape through public performance/ interventions and to broaden the social and political awareness of our audiences both at home and internationally through touring and outreach.
At the invitation of Gwaandak Theatre, Artistic Director, Michael Greyeyes offered a performance workshop in Whitehorse, in the Yukon in early December. The workshop centered around the actor's process, including practical approaches for stage and filmed media, as well as the craft of auditions.
In November, Greyeyes also led a one-day performance workshop for Factory Theatre's Rude Mechanicals--a training program focused upon Toronto's diverse acting community.
Artistic Director, Michael Greyeyes completed filming Woman Walks Ahead in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This independent feature film, directed by Susanna White and co-starring Golden Globe and Academy-Award nominated actress Jessica Chastain follows the unique relationship between Catherine Wheldon (Chastain), a painter from Brooklyn, and legendary Hunkpapa Chief Sitting Bull (Greyeyes). Woman Walks Ahead, written by Steven Knight, is the story of Weldon, who travels to Dakota to paint a portrait of Sitting Bull and becomes embroiled in the Lakota peoples' titanic struggle to maintain sovereignty of their land.
Woman Walks Ahead is produced by Black Bicycle Entertainment, Potboiler Productions and The Bedford Falls Company.
Signal Theatre travelled to The Banff Centre for a company residency at the Playwrights Colony to continue development on Nôhkom, a dance theatre interrogation by Michael Greyeyes of his late father’s stories of childhood and survival during the Great Depression. Signal is excited to announce that long-time collaborator and Artistic Associate, Yvette Nolan will direct this new production.
Read the announcement on the Banff Centre website.
Nôhkom, a searing theatre work about families, secrets and the fragility of memory, premieres at The Wabano Centre in Ottawa for the Canadian Bar Association's Aboriginal Law Conference on May 5th. Directed by Yvette Nolan, narrated by Michael Greyeyes and performed by Nancy Latoszweski and Daniel McArthur, the performance riveted a national gathering of Aboriginal and Crown lawyers, hosted by Cynthia Westaway, director of Westaway Law Group.
Signal Theatre returned to the studio to complete work on the first two sections of Bearing, a dance opera directed by Yvette Nolan and Michael Greyeyes. Joining an exciting group of performers for this workshop was Aria Evans, Sarain Carson-Fox, Tawiah McCarthy and Brefny Caribou-Curtin.
Signal's first full-length work premieres at Harbourfront Centre. Co-produced with Native Earth Performing Arts and presented by DanceWorks, collaborators included Yvette Nolan as writer, Miquelon Rodriguez as sound designer and composer, Roelof Peter Snippe as lighting designer, Jackie Chau as set designer, and Nancy Greyeyes (née Latoszewski) as dance dramaturg.
A deeply personal story written and directed by Michael Greyeyes premieres at the Margaret Greenham Theatre at The Banff Centre, programmed with Valley of Coal, choreographed by Nancy Latoszweski, as part of "Intimate Portraits," an evening of theatre work exploring oral histories.
Signal Theatre, in association with John Gzowski and The Music Gallery presented excerpts from A Soldier's Tale on November 17th, 2013 in downtown Toronto. This event was inspired by the legendary wartime concerts in London, England organized by Myra Hess, during the infamous "Blitz".
Co-produced by the National Arts Centre and the Canada Dance Festival, A Soldier’s Tale premiered at Harbourfront Centre, presented by Danceworks. Three years in the making, A Soldier’s Tale brought together a diverse group of collaborators including Tara Beagan as writer, Andy Moro as video and sound designer, John Gzowski as composer, Elizabeth Asselstine as lighting designer, Shawn Kerwin as set and costume designer, Yvette Nolan as dramaturg, and Nancy Greyeyes (née Latoszewski) as movement dramaturg.
Opened the 2014 Canada Dance Festival, commissioned by the National Arts Centre and the Canada Dance Festival.
Presented by TRIBE and created by Michael Greyeyes for Signal Installation, Winter Home is a multi-media installation and solo performance action that examines a Cree family’s wintering history, from Saskatchewan during the Great Depression to the present. This work integrates a solo performance by Michael Greyeyes, programmed as part of the IPAA (Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance) Intertribal Gathering. Developed by Michael Greyeyes with dramaturgy by Moynan King.
Signal presented this installation/ performance for an invited audience of students, faculty and community members in the Accolade East Building at York's Keele Campus. An extensive Q & A after the performance inspired the company to include this type of audience feedback at the end of all subsequent performances of this work.
Ms. Ryan invited to join the company as General Manager. Ms. Ryan, a graduate of Ryerson University's Theatre Program, has been one of Signal's key collaborators beginning with the development of Nôhkom and A Soldier's Tale. Her extraordinary abilities bodes well for the company, as she steers Signal toward numerous structural and organizational improvements.
Nôhkom was furthered developed at the Banff Playwrights Colony to expand on the intersections between text and movement, now directed by Yvette Nolan, assistant directed by Falen Johnson, narrated by Michael Greyeyes, and performed by Danny McArthur and Nancy Latoszewski.
Gállábártnit is an international opera currently in development and co-produced with Soundstreams Canada, and international partners Musik I Syd (Sweden), the NEO Ensemble (Norway), and Beaivvás (National Sami Theatre of Norway). The libretto, in Sami is the first of its kind and is written by Sami poet/lyricist Rawdna Carita Eira (Norway), with music composed by Britta Byström (Sweden). Under the musical direction of Gregory Oh, Signal completed an initial workshop in which Ms. Eira was able to translate and inform the Sami libretto, while introducing the production to the libretto's foundational mythology and Sami history.
Winter Home premiered in Halifax, with a performance by Brandon Oakes.
Signal Theatre's long-time collaborator Yvette Nolan joins as Artistic Associate. Yvette Nolan is a director, playwright, and dramaturge, working for Signal in nearly all these capacities in each of our major works to date. With a lifetime of exploration and innovation in Canadian theatre, Yvette brings an unflinching integrity as an artist to our company. We look forward to many years with her as an essential and leading member of our creative team.
A dance opera, in development for nearly two years, returns to the studio in the early fall continuing through to December. Creation centered around the first two sections of the work, with music by J.S. Bach ("Jesu, meine freude") and Claude Vivier ("Wo Bist du licht"), with further rehearsals planned for January and May 2016.
Nôhkom, directed by Yvette Nolan, premieres at The Wabano Centre in Ottawa at the Canadian Bar Association's Aboriginal Law Conference, performed by Michael Greyeyes, Nancy Latoszewski (Greyeyes) and Daniel McArthur.
Returning to the rehearsal hall, the company solidified the first two sections of the dance opera, Bearing, joined for this workshop by Aria Evans, Sarain Carson-Fox, Tawiah Ben McCarthy, and Brefny Caribou-Curtin. This workshop culminated with a work-in-progress showing for invited guests at The Citadel in Toronto.
Michael Greyeyes (Plains Cree) is a choreographer, director and educator. Selected directing credits include: A Soldier’s Tale, from thine eyes (Signal Theatre), Pimooteewin (Soundstreams), Almighty Voice and his Wife (Native Earth Performing Arts), & Seven Seconds (2010 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival). Most recently Greyeyes directed Yvette Nolan's adaptation of Aristophanes The Birds at York University, where he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre in the School of Arts, Performance, Media and Design.
Michael Greyeyes' career is diverse with a stage and screen resumé spanning over 25 years. From his beginnings with The National Ballet of Canada and the company of Eliot Feld in New York City to Nanabush in Tomson Highway's seminal work The Rez Sisters to his role as legendary Hunkpapa Chief Sitting Bull in the feature film Woman Walks Ahead, directed by Susanna White and co-starring Jessica Chastain, Greyeyes has built an extensive body of work.
Nancy danced with Feld Ballets/NY, The Cleveland/San Jose Ballet, the Alberta Ballet and the WilkesBarre Ballet Theatre and is an award winner at the prestigious New York International Ballet Competition (1987). Nancy has performed principal roles in Eliot Feld’s A Footstep of Air, The Jig Is Up, and Bloom’s Wake, Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, The Moor’s Pavane by Jose Limón, Roland Petit’s Carmen, and Serenade, Four Temperaments, and Donizetti Variations by George Balanchine. She danced the Sugar Plum Fairy and Maria in The Nutcracker, and the title role in Birgit Cullberg’s Miss Julie, among many others. Nancy holds a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography from York University (2012).
Nancy began to choreograph in 2009, creating four short dance works entitled Collected Short Stories. She has created pieces for Ballet Jörgen’s "Solos and Duets" and choreographed the film Seven Seconds, that premiered at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in 2010. In 2011, she created Carriage, a solo work, which was programmed as part of the "Older & Reckless" performance series, at the Dancemakers Centre for Creation in Toronto in the spring of 2013, in addition to Valley of Coal, which was recently programmed at The Banff Centre, as part of Signal Theatre’s performing arts residency in 2013.
Brittany Ryan is a Chinese-Métis Toronto-based arts manager, producer, designer, and production manager. Born in Vancouver, Brittany moved to Toronto in 2011 to purse a career in the performing arts and to study Theatre Production at Ryerson University. While studying, she began her work with Signal in 2013 as the Production & Administrative Intern during the early development of Nôhkom and the company’s full-length dance theatre piece titled A Soldier’s Tale. Throughout the rapid growth of Signal as an emerging company and Brittany’s early career, Brittany also worked as an administrator, fundraiser, production manager, stage manager, and designer for other Indigenous companies to upskill and support the development of her journey as an imminent leader in the Indigenous performing arts sector. Such companies include Article 11, Native Earth Performing Arts, the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Urban Ink, and the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (IPAA). Upon graduating with a B.F.A. from Ryerson University, Brittany continued to accomplish her career goals by engaging deeply in events like the National Arts Centre’s investigation into the Indigenous Body of Work at the Study / Repast on Manitoulin Island. With Brittany and Michael’s shared vision for Signal, Brittany joined the company as the General Manager in 2015—now handling all producing, administrative, and financial operations for the company.
Yvette Nolan is a playwright, director and dramaturg. Plays include BLADE, Annie Mae’s Movement, The Birds, The Unplugging. Directing credits include Thicker Than Water by Heather Morrison, Nôhkom by Michael Greyeyes (Signal), Salt Baby by Falen Johnson (Globe Theatre), Café Daughter by Kenneth T Williams, Justice by Leonard Linklater (Gwaandak Theatre), Marie Clements’ Tombs of the Vanishing Indian (Native Earth), The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (Western Canada Theatre/National Arts Centre), The Only Good Indian... (Turtle Gals). As a dramaturg, she works across Turtle Island on projects including Little Badger and the Fire Spirit by Maria Campbell, Confluence by Raven Spirit Dance in Vancouver, In Care by Kenneth T Williams, A Soldier’s Tale by Tara Beagan, Ultrasound by Adam Pottle, A History of Breathing by Daniel Macdonald, The Glooskape Chronicles by Donna Loring. From 2003-2011, she served as Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts. Her book Medicine Shows about Native theatre in Canada was published by Playwrights Canada Press in 2015. She is an Artistic Associate of Signal Theatre.