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From jazz to Shakespeare's life
Tour season coming to Fort Simpson

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, August 21, 2014

From a one-man play that explores the highlights of Shakespeare's life to a blues, soul and jazz mother-daughter duo, the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre is ready to expand its audience's cultural horizons with a special season.

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Howie Miller will be the feature act in the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre's Ko K'e Storytelling Festival on Sept. 17. - photo courtesy of NACC

The Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC), based in Yellowknife, has unveiled the lineup that will celebrate its 30th anniversary. As one of the communities on its tour route, Fort Simpson will receive four different acts this season.

The village will be the final stop on Sept. 17 for the Ko K'e Storytelling Festival.

"It's a festival where we put a lot of emphasis on the aboriginal component," said Marie Coderre, NACC's executive and artistic director.

After a feast in the OSC Gallery, Fort Simpson's Maryjane Cazon will open the festival with some local stories. She will be followed by Pat Braden of Yellowknife, who is a musician and storyteller, and aboriginal comedian Howie Miller.

"He's one of Canada's top stand-up acts," Coderre said about Miller.

"We should have a lot of fun with him."

The second show to visit Fort Simpson was created especially for the North and will premier in the territory. Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home is a performance by visual artist Shary Boyle and songwriter Christine Fellows. For the show on Oct. 20, Boyle will display hand-animated artwork on an old-fashioned overhead projector.

"It's very creative, very outside of the box. I think it will be very interesting for Fort Simpson for sure," Coderre said.

Less than a month later, NACC will be back on Nov. 17 with When That I Was, a one-person play with actor Christopher Hunt. Coderre is expecting the play, which focuses on an old man who used to be part of Shakespeare's acting company, to be a hit.

"This show will be sold out for sure in Yellowknife," she said.

For something completely different, Fort Simpson's final performance will be by Jackie and Kim Richardson, a mother and daughter jazz, blues and soul duo, on May 14.

"They have amazing voices. They are just so powerful," said Coderre.

"They are going to lift the roof of the gymnasium."

Fort Simpson is fortunate to be part of NACC's tour route, said Jackie Zinger, the vice-president of the Open Sky Creative Society.

"It's a treat for our community to get world class artists to come here," she said.

NACC provides residents with unique opportunities to see performances from a wide variety of artistic disciplines, Zinger said. The society is excited to support NACC's tour by hosting potlucks and welcoming the artists to the community. Over the years the number of residents who have attended the NACC performances has grown. Zinger said she hopes this trend progresses so the village can continue to be part of the tour.

This year 10 youth from Fort Simpson in Grades 7 to 9 will also have the opportunity to be part of the Listen Up! Project. The nine-month long project led by the Gryphon Trio, and composers Jeffery Ryan of Vancouver, Rob Kapilow of New Jersey and Carmen Braden of Yellowknife, will engage youth from six communities in an artistic creation that will include poetry, visual arts and classical music.

The students in Fort Simpson will be involved in different projects throughout the year including poetry writing and composing classical music.

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