Program and component
Arts Across Canada, Travel
Field of practice
Travel Grant Helps Whitehorse Artist Research Language in the Performing Arts
With a Canada Council grant, Patti Flather was able to lead an experiment focusing on the best ways to incorporate text and design performance in languages that audiences don’t understand.
Experimenting with language in theatre performance
In 2018, Whitehorse theatre artist Patti Flather and co-collaborator Reneltta Arluk were selected by theatre company Nightswimming to participate in its Pure Research program in Calgary. Nightswimming focuses on research, creation and performance in Canadian plays, musical works and dance. The aim was to explore ways to use text and design performance in a language that the audience does not speak or understand, with a particular focus on Indigenous languages.
Exploring innovative ways of communicating with audiences
Flather was the co-researcher in a three-day experiment entitled “(Not) Our Mother Tongue – Exploring Language, Story and Connection in Performance.” Using English and Stoney Nakoda texts and stories, she and Arluk tried various ways to communicate with audiences in languages they didn’t understand, using live translation, props, heightened physicality and more. They shared their discoveries in two debriefs and a final presentation and discussion.