About Us

Claiming space for
all Indigenous performing artists

We connect
Indigenous performing artists, opportunities, communities
a collective voice, generosity, inclusion

new work by Michelle Olson

The Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance is a multifaceted organization with geographically and artistically diverse Indigenous performing artists, arts organizations and our allies.

IPAA's Guiding Principles

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Who We Are

We claim space for all Indigenous performing artists by connecting the Indigenous Performance Network across Turtle Island (North America).

Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (IPAA) is a federally incorporated not for profit organization based in Tkaronto, ON.

IPAA acknowledges the traditional lands and waterways of the Anishnaabe (Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation), the Haudenosaunee, the Wendat, and any other nations who cared for the land (acknowledged and unacknowledged, recorded and unrecorded).


How We Got Here

In its foundational years, IPAA underwent several conceptual transformations:
  • National Aboriginal Theatre Alliance
  • National Aboriginal Arts Alliance

The Board of Directors adjusted IPAA’s title to reflect the organization’s Indigenous ethics (supporting the work of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis performing artists) and broad interdisciplinary approach. 

IPAA became a federally incorporated not-for-profit organization on March 16th, 2005.

Throughout its evolution IPAA has matured into a critical organization in the national ecology of the performing arts. Markers of this maturation include establishment of an office space in Toronto, ON, a national board of directors, the engagement of an Executive Director, and securing of operating funding from Canada Council for the Arts.


National Partnerships

Equity In Theatre (EIT),
Canadian Arts Presenting Association (CAPACOA),
National Arts Centre English Theatre’s exploration of Indigenous performance called The Summit in Banff (2014) which informed 
The Study / Repast in collaboration with Debajehmujig Storytellers on Manitoulin Island, ON.

Indigenous Leadership

Cole Alvis (Métis) is the Outgoing Executive Director of IPAA.
Previous Coordinators include Falen Johnson, Michelle Olson, Suzanne Hawkins and Denise Bolduc as well as other committed community members volunteering countless hours to the creation and maintenance of this organization.

Previous Coordinators at the helm of the organization include Falen Johnson, Michelle Olson, Suzanne Hawkins and Denise Bolduc.


Where We Meet

History of Gatherings

1990 – Telling our own Story: Appropriation and Indigenous Performing Artists

June 1998 – Natione Native Theatre Symposium

Sept 1998 – To See Proudly: First Peoples Arts Conference

June 2000 – Coyote’s Roundup

2000 – 2001 – Meetings of the volunteer committee NATA (National Aboriginal Theatre Alliance)

June 2001 – 3rd National Gathering of Aboriginal Theatre

2001 – 2002 – Meetings of the NAAA (National Aboriginal Arts Alliance Committee)

Nov 2001 – Nimitohtak: First Nation Dance Symposium (co-sponsored by NATA)

Mar 2005IPAA becomes a federally incorporated non-for-profit organization

Oct 2008 – IPAA Think Tank @ Debajehmujig Creation Centre (Manitoulin Island)

Oct 2013 – Intertribal Gathering, Ontario Showcase in Toronto, ON

Apr 2014 – The Summit, a partnership with National Arts Centre: English Theatre (Banff, AB)

Oct 2014 – Intertribal Gathering, Showcase in partnership with Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company (Saskatoon, SK)

Feb 2015 – Talking Stick Festival Industry Series, Protocols, and the Indigenous Performance Network (Vancouver, BC)

May 2015 – The Study / Repast a partnership with Debajehmujig Storytellers & National Arts Centre (Manitowaning, ON)

Aug 2015 – Indigenous Performance Network (IPN) Meeting at Prismatic Festival (Halifax, NS)

Nov 2015 – Intertribal Gathering, Indigenous Language Showcase (Toronto, ON)

May 2016 – Treaty 7 Host Nations Conversation (Calgary, AB)

Oct 2016 – Intertribal Gathering, Yukon Showcase in collaboration with Aboriginal Curatorial Collective (Whitehorse, YK)

Feb 2017 – Acknowledging Tkarón:to Recognize Workshops (ON/QC) 

Indigenous Leadership

Cole Alvis (Métis-Irish/English)

Outgoing Executive Director

See Cole's membership page.


Tyler Marsden (Ojibway)

Operations Coordinator

See Tyler's membership page.


Olivia Shortt (Ojibway-Irish)


See Olivia's membership page.


Grand Council (Board of Directors)

Columpa Bobb (Tsleil Waututh & Nlaka’pamux)

Director, MB

Artistic Executive Director of Urban Indigenous Theatre Company

See Columpa's membership page.

Jill Carter (Anishinaabe-Ashkenazi)

Secretary, ON

Academic, University of Toronto

See Jill's membership page.

Ryan Cunningham (Métis, Cree/Scottish)

Director, ON

Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts

See Ryan's membership page.

Margo Kane (Cree/Saulteaux)

Treasurer, BC

Artistic Director Full Circle

See Margo's membership page.

Suzanne Keeptwo (Métis)

Director, QC

Writer, Educator & Activist

See Suzanne's membership page.

Jerry Longboat (Mohawk)

Director, ON

Artistic Director of Circadian Indigena

See Jerry's membership page.

Billy Merasty (Cree)

Director, ON

Playwright & Actor

Émilie Monnet (Algonquin and French)

Director, QC

Artistic Director of Onishka Productions

See Émilie's membership page.

Lesley Parlane (Dakota/Saulteaux)

Director, ON


See Lesley's membership page.

Sharon Shorty (Tlingit/Northern Tutchone/Norwegian)

Director, YT


See Sharon's membership page.

Jeff Ward (Metepenagiag Mi’kmaq)

Director, NS

General Manager Membertou Heritage Park

See Jeff's membership page.

Become A Member

Upcoming events

New Brunswick – Critical Mass
June 17, 2017
Indigenous Performance Reaches Critical Mass - New Brunswick -Dieppe, NB- Indigenous Performance Reaches Critical Mass conversation this Friday, June 17th 1:30pm – 3:30pm in Dieppe, NB Confirmed local leaders include:...
Indigenous Performance Reaches Critical Mass
June 6, 2017
  -Montreal, QC- Indigenous Performance Reaches Critical Mass Monument National June 6 11am – 1pm Witness a conversation between emerging and established Indigenous performing artists as they grapple with aesthetics and...
2017 Paprika Festival
May 22, 2017
2017 Paprika Festival May 22 to 28 at the Aki Studio in Regent Park, in Partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts LOCATION All Festival performances take place or begin inside...
The Witch of Niagara
May 4, 2017
The Witch of Niagara Where: Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, 79A St. George StreetWhen: May 4 to May 7, 2017Show times: May 4 - 7:00PM             ...
April 28, 2017
Ktahkomiq 27 April  | 7 pm  at the Maison de la culture Frontenac 28 April  | 8:00 pm at the Maison de la culture Frontenac  4 May  |  8 pm at the...