Kevin Loring to help steer new Indigenous arts series at New West's Massey and Anvil theatres

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      Savage Society and the Massey Theatre Society are kicking off a new Indigenous multidisciplinary arts series in New Westminster.

      The Skookum Indigenous Arts Program is made possible by a three-year grant from the Vancouver Foundation.

      The aim of the program is to nurture, develop, and showcase Aboriginal performance and media arts, including visual, literary, and media artists from across the country.

      Kevin Loring, Savage Society’s artistic director (and the new head of Indigenous theatre at the National Arts Centre), will curate the series working alongside the Massey Theatre Society's Jessica Schneider to build audience engagement and capacity for the series.

      “This new partnership is an exciting opportunity for Aboriginal Artists, community members, and patrons of the Massey Theatre," Loring, a playwright and actor, said in a press statement today. "Our goal is to showcase amazing Indigenous artists and to introduce new audiences to their work. It is our belief that art can transcend the walls between communities and cultures and be a bridge to understanding and empathy. Art can be a conduit to understanding, or at the very least, a catalyst for dialogue.

      Interestingly, New Westminster has a deep colonial history as both the first capital of British Columbia and as the traditional home of the Qayqayt First Nation. The Massey Theatre Society operates two theatre venues, the classic 69-year-old, 1,260-seat Massey Theater and the new 360-seat Anvil Centre Theatre.

      Jessica Schneider, of the Massey Theatre.