Qaggiavuut: new production highlights need for Nunavut arts centre
Arts group will stage Kiviuq Returns this summer with 17-member cast, crew
The Qaggiavuut Society plans to stage a major theatre production later this spring in Iqaluit.
Kiviuq Returns, based on the Inuit legend, features a 17-member cast and crew who plan to produce a show with music, storytelling and acrobatics.
But that poses a challenge for pan-Arctic arts group, who says there just isn’t a venue in Nunavut equipped to accommodate that type of theatre production, the society said in an April 20 release.
For that reason, the production will have to relocate to southern cities, including Ottawa, Kingston and Banff for rehearsals over a period of one month.
This also offers a good reason donate to the society’s fundraising campaign, launched earlier this spring towards building the territory’s first performing arts space.
Qaggiavuut approached the city of Iqaluit last month for its written support, ahead of launching a new fundraising campaign to build the new centre, planned for Iqaluit.
The group has a few places in mind: new land to become available on Federal Road, close to the city’s downtown core, or a space near Iqaluit beach near the visitor’s centre and museum.
Qaggiavuut is also in talks with Qikiqtaaluk Corp., which has its own plans to build a convention centre in the city.
But the latest run of the group’s production will have to do without one.
Qaggiavuut will start rehearsals for Kiviuq Returns on April 24.
Kiviuq is a legendary hero of many Inuit stories who calls on his supernatural powers and spirit guides to help defeat enemies and obstacles he encounters in his travels.
Qaggiavuut staged a smaller version of the story last year. This version was written by a handful of Qaggiavuut members, with support from elders like Miriam Aglukark, Susan Avinga and Madeline Ivalu.
“Our elders have given us the stories that inspire the performance,” says one of the production’s writers, Looee Arreak.
“We wanted to have Inuit legends be the foundation of the show and these elders retained the stories from their childhoods.”
The pan-Arctic cast and crew will work together in Iqaluit for a week, before moving rehearsals to the south.
The theatre piece, directed by Sheena Akoomalik and Martha Burns, will be performed entirely in Inuktitut.
Despite the limitations, Qaggiavuut says Kiviuq Returns will be performed in Nunavut this summer, ‘though dates haven’t been announced.
The show is also scheduled for two nights at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa July 21 and July 22.
You can purchase tickets here.