ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN — Anishinaabe Theatre Exchange artists will be in residence at the University of Michigan campus from February 16-23, 2019, culminating in two performances of the new play by Carolyn Dunn, Three Sisters. The Anishinaabe Theatre Exchange uses theatre to activate networks with Native communities in the Great Lakes region. The group is a consortium of people from various backgrounds working to promote dialogue about Indigenous culture and issues.

In this brand new tragicomedy by Carolyn Dunn, three sisters, long estranged from family, community, and one another, return home to the Tunica-Biloxi Reservation lands in Louisiana at the behest of their dying aunt as she makes preparations for her final journey home. Family tensions, simmering secrets, death and grieving all intersect with the loss of tradition, culture, spiritual formation, and love. Poet, playwright, and scholar Carolyn Dunn was born in Southern California and is of Cherokee, Muscogee Creek, Seminole, Cajun, French Creole, and Tunica-Biloxi descent. Her scholarly work focuses on American Indian women’s literature and American Indian identity, and her play The Frybread Queen was produced by the Montana Repertory Theater in Missoula, Montana, and Native Voices at the Autry in Los Angeles. Her collections of poetry include Outfoxing Coyote (2001) and Echolocation: Poems and Stories from Indian Country L.A. (2013).

The Anishinaabe Theatre Exchange

In 2015, University of Michigan students, faculty and staff collaborated with the Cultural Department of the Chippewa Sault Ste. Marie Tribe, Lake Superior State University and Bay Mills community members to pilot a project in writing and documenting local histories. The ATE was formed when the artists realized there was a willingness within the community to tell stories this way, and its aim is to continue to develop performance events which speak to social concerns and histories of the Anishinaabe people.

The Anishinaabe Theatre Exchange presented Sliver of a Full Moon by Mary Kathryn Nagle in 2015, a play about the passage of the violence against women act, and followed with 50 Cents a Pound by Rebecca Parish, stories about the fight for Great Lakes fishing, in summer 2018. This February, the exchange will present a new work by poet, playwright, and scholar Dr. Carolyn Dunn at the University of Michigan, and hold classes and public panels about social issues which persist on Native American reservations including domestic violence and suicide. The residency will feature Dr. Dunn and a female artistic team which includes Colleen Medicine (Ojibwe Sault Ste Marie), Rebecca Parish (Ojibwe Zhiibahaasing), Tomantha Sylvester (Ojibwe Sault Ste Marie), Micaela Ironshell-Dominguez (Lakota and member of the Indigenous Youth Council) and NYC-based theater director Sara Rademacher. Collectively, they will develop performances and discuss their ongoing work with Native American performance, storytelling and social activism. The full schedule of public events includes:

Monday, February 18 at 4:30pm
Dr. Carolyn Dunn | Public Talk
North Quad Space 2435, 105 S. State Street

Tuesday, February 19 at 6pm
Panel Discussion with Anishinaabe Theatre Exchange Artists
Hankinson Hall, Earl V. Moore Building

Thursday, February 21 at 7:30pm (doors at 7pm)
Three Sisters
Light Box Detroit | 8641 Linwood St

Friday, February 22 at 7:30pm (doors at 7pm)
Three Sisters
East Quad Keene Theater | 701 E. University Ave. Ann Arbor

All events are free and open to the public. Visit for more info.  If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact Center for World Performance Studies, at 734-936-2777, at least one week in advance of this event. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the University to arrange. 

This residency is co-sponsored by the U-M Residential College, CEW+, Institute for Research on Women & Gender, SMTD Department of Theatre & Drama, Institute for Humanities, SMTD Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Department of American Culture.