Indigenous Speakers Series presents Jani Lauzon and Kaitlyn Riordan

Monday, September 26, 2022 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

The Indigenous Speakers Series proudly presents Jani Lauzon, director and playwright, and Kaitlyn Riordan, playwright, whose co-created play 1939 is running at the Stratford Festival this season.

Lauzon and Riordan will speak to their unique process of engaging community and support from Elders and Knowledge Keepers, with a lens to the work of Indigenous artists and activists over the last 100 years, used to develop 1939. Set at a fictional Residential School in Northern Ontario, the co-playwrights worked cross-culturally to explore the use of Shakespeare as a tool of colonization and what happens when the students subvert that intention and bring their cultures and lived experiences to the task of putting on a play.

About the speakers

Illustration of Janie Lauzon and Kaitlyn Riordan

Jani Lauzon is a director and multidisciplinary performer of Métis ancestry. She received the John Hirsch Directors award through the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Critics Best Directors Award for her production of The Monument at Factory Theatre and a Dora Mavor Moore Best Director nomination for Almighty Voice and his Wife at Soulpepper Theatre. Her production of Where the Blood Mixes, also at Soulpepper, recently garnered critical acclaim. She is also an award winning screen actor, a nine-time Dora nominated theatre artist, a Juno nominated singer songwriter and a Gemini award winning puppeteer. He company, Paper Canoe Projects produces her original work including: Prophecy Fog, I Call myself Princess and A Side of Dreams.

Kaitlyn Riordan is a settler on this land, of Irish and French descent. She lives in Tkaronto and is a four-time Dora nominated actress and a playwright. 1939, co-written with Jani Lauzon, premiered at The Stratford Festival in 2022. She was part of the leadership team at Shakespeare in the Ruff from 2012-2021, where her 'feminized’ Shakespearean play; Portia’s Julius Caesar, premiered in 2018 (then produced at Hart House in 2019). It centres the lives of the mostly unseen women in Shakespeare's play, using half new writing in verse and half Shakespearean text. Other plays in development include I Sit Content - about Emily Carr, Gertrude's Hamlet - which provides the origin story for Shakespeare’s most famous Queen, and The Naked Nun – which speaks for itself. 

Portrait of Jani Lauzon and Kaitlyn Riordan by Hawlii Pichette, Urban Iskwew.

Join in person or via livestream

  • Join us in Theatre of the Arts in-person 
  • Or join the event via livestream on Teams
  • No sign-in or registration required for in-person or livestream

Partnership with Stratford Festival

1939 also launches a new partnership among the University of Waterloo’s Office of Indigenous Relations, Faculty of Arts, and the Stratford Festival to develop and design educational resources to support knowledge sharing between the Stratford Festival and the University community. The goal is to create comprehensive and accessible pedagogical spaces for Indigenous productions, and to implement an inclusive, interdisciplinary, and future educational resource site. The 1939 study guide will be available soon. For more information, contact Dr. Sorouja Moll, Dept. of Communication Arts.

Come see the play!

Wed. Sept 28 — Indigenous students, faculty, staff
  • $5 (includes bus transportation from UWaterloo)
  • Promo Code: IR1939
  • Email Robin Stadelbauer to confirm Sept 28 bus seat prior to ticket purchase
Thurs. Oct 6 — general admission
  • $20 (includes bus transportation from UWaterloo)
  • Promo Code: UW1939
  • Email Sorouja Moll to confirm Oct 6 bus seat prior ticket purchase

Note: Bus seating is limited. Promo codes can be used for ALL 1939 dates with available tickets.