News: Acclaimed writers lead Border Crossings’ intercultural ORIGINS Festival

Intercultural theatre company Border Crossings’ ORIGINS Festival is a multidisciplinary celebration of Indigenous arts and culture from around the world. The 2021-22 Festival will offer an unprecedented and evolving year-long programme, transforming digital and physical spaces into vibrant sites of creative enquiry, intervention and performance by leading Indigenous artists and thinkers. The Festival will offer the opportunity to engage with this work and to appreciate the relevance of indigenous culture to our own lives.

Informed by a decade of Festival activity, ORIGINS 2021-22 arrives at a crucial moment for the planet. Covid-19 has clearly demonstrated the fragility of our way of life. Much like Covid, Climate Change poses an existential threat. #BlackLivesMatter has exposed the fundamental injustices that underpin the histories from which Western culture grew. These challenges are not only political and scientific, but fundamentally cultural, forming the three key themes that will lead the Festival’s journey of enquiry through the year ahead: Covid, Climate Change and Colonialism.

This year’s ORIGINS launches with an online performance of the short play Katharsis by Yvette Nolan (Algonquin, Canada) – a digital love letter to a theatre left empty by the pandemic. From 20th May, the Festival kicks off its ORIGINS WRITERS series of online literature events with speakers including the US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo (Mvskoke), horror novelist Stephen Graham Jones (Blackfeet, US), poet Liz Howard (Anishinaabe, Canada) and environmental writers Kyle Whyte (Potawatomi, US) and Jay Griffiths (UK). The events will deal with the three main themes, discussing the writers’ own work and including some of their readings.

As the Festival evolves throughout the year there will be performance-based interventions in public spaces, drawing powerful links between Indigenous experience, local heritage and sustainability, asking urgent questions while respecting the time and space needed to stop and contemplate the answers. Indigenous people make up 6% of the world’s population, manage 25% of the world’s land surface and support 80% of global biodiversity. These events, performances and productions will expose us to different schools of thought, emphasising the way in which social justice and environmental justice are deeply linked.

Border Crossings’ Artistic Director comments, ORIGINS believes we need to acquire a sense that there are other ways of living open to us that are sustainable & just. This can only be done artistically, through direct & productive interactions with cultures that offer positive models for change.

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