“One meaning of “Gwaandak” in the Gwich’in language is “storyteller”.
Gwaandak Theatre, the Yukon’s only Indigenous theatre company, was founded in Whitehorse in 1999 by theatre artists Leonard Linklater and Patti Flather.
Gwaandak Theatre’s vision is to illuminate Indigenous and Northern stories around the world.
Our stories question, honour, and celebrate. They explore themes around decolonization, cultural identity, social justice, underrepresented voices and human rights. We tour to both tiny communities and major centres, and provide comprehensive study guides for secondary schools and colleges.
Gwaandak Theatre develops, produces and tours plays for both youth and adults. Our programming also includes new play workshops, readings and training for theatre artists.
MANAGING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Patti Flather co-founded Gwaandak Theatre with Leonard Linklater to empower Indigenous and northern voices in theatre. As Managing Artistic Director of Gwaandak, she remains actively involved in play creation, development, production and touring as the company celebrates our 15th Anniversary Season. She’s proud of Gwaandak’s growing repertoire of training programs and workshops, and our commitment to building relationships with artists, audiences and communities from rural Yukon all the way across our vast country. Patti is an award-winning published and produced playwright, dramaturg, educator, fiction and screenwriter. She’s an anglo-settler Canadian who grew up in North Vancouver, B.C., moved north and fell in love with the Yukon decades ago. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of B.C.. Her produced plays include Sixty Below, West Edmonton Mall, Where the River Meets the Sea, Paradise and others. She believes that all of us hold transformative stories, and that sharing them is essential to who we are.
Melaina Sheldon is Inland Tlingit from Teslin, Yukon. She is a theatre artist with experience as costume designer, performer, director and playwright, and an award-winning cultural administrator. Her costume design credits include Me and the Girls (Yukon Health Promotions), Justice (Gwaandak) and Paradise (Gwaandak). As a performer she has starred in the one-woman show Me and the Girls, which toured the Yukon, as well as The Hours That Remain (Gwaandak/New Harlem Productions), which toured nationally, along with various roles in Gwaandak’s Aboriginal Summer Play Readings. She also directed Salt Baby and Annie Mae’s Movement in the Summer Play Readings. Her first play, Chance, was featured in 2016 in readings at both Sarasvati Theatre in Winnipeg and Gwaandak Theatre in Whitehorse, Teslin and Haines Junction.
Marjolène Gauthier is a Whitehorse based Arts Administrator. She has been involved with theatre in many ways in Montreal, Vancouver and Whitehorse. She has a degree in Communications, a certificate in Events Management and a Master in Management of Cultural Organisations. Marjolène is proud to be part of Gwaandak’s team.
PRESIDENT – Joella Hogan
VICE-PRESIDENT – Cheryl McLean
TREASURER – Gayle Corry
SECRETARY – David Neufeld
DIRECTORS – Charlene Abraham, Jacqueline Bazett, Leonard Linklater
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE COMPANY ARE:
1) to develop and produce theatre with particular focus on revealing transformative stories, perspectives, voices;
2) to provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Northern artists to gain professional experience and exposure on regional, national and international stages;
3) to foster relationships regionally, nationally and internationally with partners and communities in order to develop and share compelling stories;
4) to offer professional training and mentorship opportunities to emerging and established artists.