Michael Greyeyes is an actor, director, choreographer and an educator. He is an Associate Professor at York University and a member of the Muskeg Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada. Mr. Greyeyes began his professional career as a classical ballet dancer with The National Ballet of Canada and with the company of Eliot Feld in New York City. In 1993, Mr. Greyeyes began to choreograph and direct his own theatre work, which has appeared in festivals in Canada and Europe.
As an actor he has worked on stage and extensively in film and television for the last 17 years. Recent credits include, Terence Malick’s The New World, Skinwalkers for PBS Mystery!, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Numb3rs, Skipped Parts, Smoke Signals for Miramax, the ABC mini-series Dreamkeeper and most recently, Passchendaele, Paul Gross’ World War I feature that opened the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.
As a choreographer and director he has created new dance works for the Dusk Dances festival in Toronto, Triptych, a dance film, which aired on Bravo! and for Kent Monkman’s 5 channel video installation Dance to the Berdashe, programmed at the 2008 ImagiNATIVE film festival. In the spring of 2008, Mr. Greyeyes directed a new opera work, entitled Pimooteewin (The Journey) for Soundstreams Canada, with music by Melissa Hui, and libretto by Tomson Highway. This work—the first opera written in the Cree language—toured to northern communities in Ontario in the spring of 2009 and 2010. In 2009, he directed Daniel David Moses’ playAlmighty Voice and His Wife at Theatre Passe Muraille for Native Earth Performing Arts in April. This production was also invited to the inaugural Origins, a theatre festival for First Nations in London, England and has subsequently toured across Canada in 2010, most recently at the PuSh Festival in Vancouver in 2012.
In other mediums, he created a performance art work in collaboration with visual artist Rebecca Belmore, entitled Gone Indian, for Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche festival in Toronto and directed a short film called Seven Seconds, which premiered at the 2010 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. In 2011, he directed The River, for Nakai Theatre in Whitehorse and choreographed from thine eyes, a full-length dance theatre work for Signal Theatre, co-produced by Native Earth Performing Arts and presented by Danceworks in Toronto at the Enwave Theatre.
In 2012, he wrote and performed the keynote manifesto, commissioned by the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver. Entitled, “Staging Ethnicity: A Manifesto for Yesterday,” Greyeyes addressed the inherent complexities of staging ethnicity—what defines “native” theatre, what the public expects it to be, and how this impacts those who create and experience theatre made by contemporary native artists. He is currently in development for a new large-scale work for Signal Theatre, entitled “A Soldier’s Tale,” which examines the consequences and aftermath of war.
Website: Signal Theatre’s Facebook