Our Team has a passion and commitment for world Indigenous performance. Our combined experience ensures artistic and organizational excellence.
Red Sky Performance is a multi-award-winning company at the forefront of contemporary Indigenous performance in Canada and worldwide. Internationally-renowned, Red Sky was founded in 2000 by Artistic Director Sandra Laronde of the Teme-Augama-Anishinaabe (People of the Deep Water).
Touring since 2003, our collaborations on prestigious landmark projects have garnered critical acclaim both at home and abroad. Since our inception, we have proudly delivered 2,755 performances across Canada, as well a 198 performances in 17 countries on four continents.
Red Sky continues to meaningfully influence the ecology and evolution of contemporary Indigenous performance in Canada and around the world.
Executive & Artistic Director of Red Sky, Sandra Laronde, O.M.C., B.A. (Hon), Hon. LL.D is originally from the Teme-Augama-Anishinaabe (People of the Deep Water) in Temagami, northern Ontario. An accomplished innovator and leader in arts and culture, Sandra has conceived, developed, produced, and disseminated award-winning productions that are Indigenous, multinational, multi and inter-disciplinary, and intergenerational in scope. Sandra creates exceptional new work and programming that raises the artistic ceiling of contemporary Indigenous artistry, and contributes to building vibrant Indigenous communities across Canada and worldwide.
Click here for Sandra Laronde's full biography.
Jera is an Associate Artist, choreographer and performer with Red Sky Performance. His choreographic works have been presented by Jacob’s Pillow, Canadian Stage, Fall For Dance North, and the Venice Biennale (all with Red Sky Performance), Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Canada’s National Ballet School, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, School of Contemporary Dancers, and the Tulsa Ballet Centre for Dance Education. Jera has performed extensively with Red Sky Performance throughout Canada, USA, and Europe.
Eddie Elliott is Maori from Tainui, New Zealand. A graduate of UNITEC in Contemporary Dance in 2013, Eddie was nominated for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and the 2014 “I Am Auckland Awards” which won him the Youth Active Award. He has worked with leading dance companies in New Zealand including Black Grace, Atamira, Okareka Dance Company, Douglas Wright Dance, and the New Zealand Dance Company.
Eddie is the 2017 recipient of both the Ellen Norris Scholarship and Creative New Zealand’s Toi Tipu Rea grant to mentor with Sandra Laronde at Red Sky Performance. He has performed in the world premieres of Backbone, Miigis, Adizokan, Great Lakes and Trace, and has toured extensively across Canada, United States and Europe with Red Sky.
Samantha Sutherland is from the Ktunaxa Nation in British Columbia and grew up in Langley. B.C. In 2018, Samantha completed the Arts Umbrella Dance Diploma Program under the direction of Artemis Gordon and was part of the choreographic processes of Crystal Pite, James Kudelka, Gioconda Barbuto, Lesley Telford, Wen Wei Wang, and performed works by Sharon Eyal, Mats Ek, and Aszure Barton. Samantha has also performed in Bloom at Dance in Vancouver and danced alongside Chor Leoni Men’s Choir at the Orpheum in Vancouver. During the 2019/20 season, Samantha worked as a guest artist with Ballet BC in their production of Romeo and Juliet by Medhi Walerski.
Composer + Sound Designer
Eliot Britton integrates electronic and instrumental music through an energetic and colorful personal language. His creative output expresses an eclectic musical experience from gramophones to video games, drum machines, orchestra to electronic chamber music. A proud member of the Manitoba Métis Federation, Eliot recently completed his PhD at Schulich School of Music at McGill University. He is the recipient of numerous prizes, including the SSHRC Bombardier Scholarship, Louis Riel Scholarship, and the Hugh Le Caine and Serge Garant SOCAN awards. Eliot is the composer of Adizokan, a TSO Commission in partnership with Red Sky Performance, and is currently an assistant professor of composition at the University of Toronto and co-director of the Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival. Eliot is the Composer-in-Residence at Red Sky and recently won a 2019 Dora Mavor Moore for Outstanding Sound Design & Composition for Trace.
Lesley is a rising fashion designer of Anishinaabe and Mohawk ancestry. Her formative years were spent in Canada's Arctic and Atlantic regions as well as Australia, England, Indonesia, and New Caledonia. Currently based in Toronto, Lesley received her International Baccalaureate Diploma from ACS Hillingdon International School in London, England, a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Toronto and Sheridan College, with a specialty in Art Studio and Art History, and an Ontario College Diploma in Fashion Techniques and Design Diploma from George Brown College.
After graduation, Lesley established her headquarters and launched her atelier at the Toronto Fashion Incubator, LESLEY HAMPTON. Since then, she was featured in international press such as Vogue UK, Vogue Italia, Teen Vogue, Elle, Flare, The Kit, USA TODAY, FOX, CBC, ETalk, and Your Morning. Her collections have shown at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto, Vancouver, London Fashion week, Santa Fe Indian Market, and she represented First Nations women at the “Every Woman Campaign”. Lesley made her debut as a Costume Designer with Red Sky Performance’s "Flow" at the 2020 Fall for Dance Festival in Toronto.
Inaugural Associate Artist
Carlos Rivera is a director, choreographer, performer and the inaugural Associate Artist of Red Sky Performance. Originally from Mexico City and of Mixteco Indigenous descent, he graduated from the National Theatre School in 2018 and is currently enrolled in the MFA in Directing for Theatre at the University of Ottawa. Carlos has performed in seven of Red Sky’s productions, toured extensively with the company all over the world, and still collaborates with Red Sky in various creative capacities. Recently, he created Tlakentli (Ondinook), a dance work with Leticia Vera about inhabiting multiple cultural identities which toured across Canada.
Kathy Morrison (Scottish/Anishinaabe/French) began her career in arts management at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity where she worked as Program Manager in Writing & Publishing for 4 years. Following a writing sabbatical, she returned as Program Manager of Indigenous Arts at Banff for eight years. Under the leadership of Sandra Laronde, she contributed to the successful delivery of exceptional programming for Indigenous storytellers, musicians, singers, dancers, writers, and filmmakers. From 2017-2019, she worked at ILBIJERRI Theatre in Melbourne, Australia's leading First Nations theatre company. She has a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University in Montreal and a Master of Science in Writing & Cultural Politics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
DIGITAL CONTENT PRODUCER
Digital Content Producer
Born and raised in the railway city of St. Thomas, Ontario, Graeme relocated to Toronto in order to pursue post-secondary art studies. A graduate of the Digital Media Arts program at Seneca College, Graeme settled into a career as a designer and freelance writer. In 2011, his love of motorcycles and passion for writing led to a new career path as the Editor of Inside Motorcycles magazine.
Five years later, Graeme accepted an offer from Yamaha Motor Canada to lead the company’s national motorcycle marketing efforts. Working for a large global corporation armed him with extensive digital marketing and social media experience that Graeme now brings to Red Sky Performance.
Proudly Ojibway, Graeme is a member of the Sheguiandah First Nation on Manitoulin Island. He is a singer-songwriter, an alumni of Manitoba Music's Indigenous Music Residency (formerly AMP Camp), and recently completed his first year of Anishinaabemowin language studies with the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.
Emma Walker is an arts and financial manager who has done work for several charities and non-profits including Toronto Dance Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, and the Heliconian Club. She also teaches in the arts management program at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. Emma completed an M.B.A. specializing in non-profit management, arts administration, and public policy at the Schulich School of Business. Before studying business, she studied fine arts, earning a Master’s in dance and BFAs in both dance and music.
WISDOM + CULTURE KEEPERS
Wisdom + Culture Keeper
Niigaanipinens izhiniikaazo, Makwan ododeman (Don Kavanaugh) is Anishinaabe from the Lake of the Woods and lives in Animakee Wa Zhing First Nation. Don currently works as a Mineral Development Advisor for Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag Resource Council. He became involved in theatre in 1996 while working as the Executive Director for the Lake of the Woods Ojibway Cultural Centre. As a participant of traditional powwow dance for more than four decades, Don is a firm believer in his culture and its traditional teachings. Since 1991, his work has been integral to arts and cultural development in the Kenora area where he supports artists and community members to pursue arts activities. Don has been a Cultural Advisor, instructor and performer at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre’s Summer South Program at Trent University, and at the Summer West Program at the University of Lethbridge. Following a 7-year hiatus from arts, Don returned to pursue the arts in a more supportive role. In 2016, he supported the Lake of the Woods Ojibway Cultural Centre’s arts programming revitalization efforts and n 2017, he was involved in 2 projects- No Wilderness: This Is Home and Summer Stories: The Northwest Angle- Treaty 3 Territory.
Wisdom + Culture Keeper
Taehowęhs - Amos Key - was born into the Onkwehonweh Civilization and is a member of Mohawk Nation, gifted into the Turtle Clan of his Mother and conferred to the Sacred Circle of Faith Keepers of the Longhouse at Six Nations of Grand River Territory. Amos is an educator and staunch advocate for Civil and Linguistic Rights, Social Justice, Indigenous Education and Self-Governance for Indigenous Peoples. His early career began as First Nation Guidance Counselor and Native Studies Teacher at the London Board of Education. He continues to be an an advocate for ‘synchronous’ e-learning secondary school education and has held elected appointments and engagements at local, provincial and federal levels. He provides leadership on a reconciliation project called ‘Save the Evidence' which would create a museum and interpretation centre at the former Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School and establish Canada’s first ‘Canadian Museum of Conscience’ (CMC). He is currently Vice-Provost of Indigenous Engagement at Brock University and in 2017, was also appointed to the University of Toronto’s Centre for Indigenous Studies to lead courses on Reconciliation and Languages in a tenure track position as Assistant Professor.
Wisdom + Culture Keeper
Pauline Shirt was born and raised in Saddle Lake Reserve, Alberta. Pauline is greatly recognized for her commitment to the Toronto Native community and for her dedication as a teacher and lecturer since the late sixties. She is a member of the Three Fires Society and the Buffalo Dance Society. Pauline is a founder of the First Nations School and the Red Willow which are just two examples of her strong work ethic and perseverance in improving the lives of the Toronto Aboriginal community. Today, Pauline serves as a mentor to many Aboriginal youth and young families as an experienced and trusted Grandmother. She also works in all levels of government conducting Opening Prayers and attending meetings, making sure the Aboriginal community is positively recognized as she offers a voice for her people.