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Tomson Highway

Arts and Culture (2001)

Tomson Highway is Native theatre in this country. Inducted into the Order of Canada, Highway has shaped the development of Aboriginal theatre in both Canada and around the world. His plays – Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing,The Rez SistersThe SageThe Dancer and the Fool – established a place and market for Aboriginal theatre in Canada. They have also been translated into numerous languages making them a window on Canada’s Aboriginal reality for the rest of the world to behold. Award after award have come his way but there is much more than a playwright inside his creative soul. In 1998, his first novel, Kiss of the Fur Queen, was published and was soon nominated for several prestigious literary awards. Highway has been writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, Concordia University and others. He also helped establish Native Earth Performing Arts, Canada’s first Aboriginal theatre company and was artistic director for six years. In addition to his writing, Highway is also an accomplished musician. The proud son of a caribou hunter – who was born off a trapline in isolated northern Manitoba – Highway is trilingual, speaking French, English and Cree. The words of artistic producer Martin Bragg serve as a fitting tribute for this wonderfully creative man: “Tomson is not only a role model and inspiration for the Native community, he is a Canadian who has inspired us all to challenge ourselves both as artists and human beings.”