*Banner photo of BEARS by Matthew MacKenzie, Pictured: Sheldon Elter & the ensemble. Photo: Alexis McKeown


Downstage proudly presents
the Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts and
Punctuate! Theatre productions of
Bears by Matthew MacKenzie and
Minosis Gathers Hope by Christine Sokaymoh Frederick 

  Poster art by   Jonathon Bartlett

Poster art by Jonathon Bartlett

by Matthew MacKenzie

April 4-7, 2018 at Arts Commons, Motel Theatre

Recommended for ages 16 & up                          

Run time apx. 75 minutes

Tickets are $20 with a limited number of tickets available at no cost through our Pay-It-Forward program. 


April 4-7 at 7:30 pm


“I’d never seen a play that speaks to issues facing Canada’s Indigenous peoples as effectively and beautifully as BEARS does.”
— Jerry Saddleback, Cree Elder and Dean of Cultural Studies at Maskwacîs College

A multi-disciplinary dark comedy about the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, BEARS asks what the hell it is we think we're doing here in Wild Rose Country?

The prime suspect in a workplace accident, Floyd has to get out of town fast. Pursued by the RCMP, he heads through the Rockies for Burnaby, B.C, along the route of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline. By the time he reaches the Pacific, Floyd has experienced changes - his gait widening, his muscles bulging, his sense of smell heightening...

Unapologetically political, BEARS gives voice to the voiceless animals, and vulnerable landscapes, desecrated by the insatiable human desire for industrial expansion, while striving to increase dialogue about the devastating effects on Canada’s First Nations peoples.

Written and directed by theatre artist Matthew MacKenzie (SIA, The Particulars, The Other), starring award-winning (and former tar sands worker) Metis theatre artist Sheldon Elter (Metis Mutt), BEARS is an Indigenous-led new Canadian play told through dramatic storytelling and choreography, a seven-person chorus, enchanting projections, and evocative electronic soundscape. BEARS is an emotional, empathetic performance experience.

Originally developed in Edmonton, the sold-out workshop run also garnered five Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award nominations, and two wins for Outstanding Score and Outstanding Choreography. Downstage is delighted to host this work as part of a national tour with stops in Toronto, Edmonton, Canmore, Saddle Lake First Nation, Maskwacis and Vancouver.


Toronto Star Review:

"... Combines ingenuity, humour and a powerful message... pulls off the improbable task of translating a thrilling chase story to the theatre, while leaving the audience with some thing to think about." - Toronto Star Review

“It’s a witty, riveting and evocative production that never loses its pace. At 75 minutes long, it’s packed with the same adrenaline rush you’d get from a sprint. And like any run, Bears will leave you breathless.” - 5N Review in Now Toronto

Preview Interview with playwright Matthew MacKenzie in 12thNight. MacKenzie is well known to Downstage audiences as the writer of Sia and Benefit. 

“It’s rare enough to find original theatre that is so definably of this place. Theatre that harnesses the divergent resources of multi-disciplinary artists so creatively to mount an argument is rarer still.
You can’t really afford to miss BEARS.”

— Liz Nicholls, Edmonton Journal


Starring Sheldon Elter

Featuring Skye Demas, Christine Sokaymoh Frederick, Zoe Glassman, Alida Kendell, Aimee Rushton, Rebecca Sadowski, Kendra Shorter and Gianna Vacirca.

Written and Directed by Matthew MacKenzie

Associate Direction by Patrick Lundeen

Stage Management by Erin Voaklander

Choreography by Monica Dottor

Sound Design by Nurdean Musani

Environmental Design by T. Erin Gruber

Costume Design by Monica Dottor and Brianna Kolybaba

Minosis Poster.jpg

Minosis Gathers Hope
by Christine Sokaymoh Frederick 

April 4-7, 2018 at Arts Commons, Motel Theatre

Recommended for ages 8 & up (ideal for 3rd & 4th graders!)                         

Run time apx. 60 minutes


School performances April 4-6 at 11:00 am

Public performance April 7 at 11:00 am

Tickets are $20 with a limited number of tickets available at no cost through our Pay-It-Forward program. 



“[Christine Sokaymoh Frederick] is an inspiring artistic leader and an important voice in Edmonton’s cultural community...”
— Daryl Cloran, Artistic Director of the Citadel Theatre

Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts (AAPA) and Punctuate! Theatre present Minosis Gathers Hope, a play for young audiences by Christine Sokaymoh Frederick (Cree/Métis). This ambitious, Indigenous-led multidisciplinary theatre production is a fun and accessible opportunity for youth to creatively engage in Métis and Cree culture.  

Minosis Gathers Hope is about a young Métis girl named Minosis (Cree for kitten), hurting from feelings of abandonment, self-doubt and racism. In the piece, Minosis travels the four directions of her grandparents yard in search of medicine wheel-coloured ribbons. This sparks the magic of ceremony, cultural teachings, mythology and legends, and ultimately connects her to the mythical figures of her grandparents’ stories.

Themes and ideas of this story involve understanding and coping with change, racism, independence and interdependence. With this play, playwright Christine Sokaymoh Frederick wishes to provide a unique way for children to come to terms with the dilemmas of their inner lives: an understanding that is vital for all Canadians whose cultures touch, evolve and interweave.


Daybreak Alberta interview with playwright Christine Sokaymoh Frederick: https://audioboom.com/posts/6623880-minosis-gathers-hope-at-rubaboo


Featuring Skye Demas, Sheldon Elter, Christine Sokaymoh Frederick, Zoe Glassman, Aimee Rushton, Rebecca Sadowski, Kendra Shorter and Gianna Vacirca

Playwright: Christine Sokaymoh Frederick

Direction by Matthew MacKenzie

Associate Direction by Patrick Lundeen

Stage Management by Erin Voaklander

Choreography by Santee Smith

Sound Design by Noor Dean Musani

Environmental Design by T. Erin Gruber

Costume Design by Brianna Kolybaba


The Motel Theatre is on the second floor of Arts Commons in downtown Calgary, opposite Olympic Plaza at 225 8 Avenue SE. Check out our Motel page for directions including travelling by transit and by car. 


- There are no assigned seats in this theatre. The doors will open about 15 minutes before the performance time so that you can choose your seat.

- The Motel Theatre is accessible to patrons using wheelchairs and walkers but if you give us a heads up that you or someone in your group uses a wheelchair, we'll be better prepared to welcome you - just get in touch with Danielle at 403.294.7459 or email danielle at downstage.ca. There is now an accessible washroom on the second floor opposite Motel. 

Have any questions about the show or the theatre-going experience? Get in touch

Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts (AAPA) is an Aboriginal Theatre and Performing Arts organization based in Edmonton, Alberta. Our mandate is to nurture and cultivate an Aboriginal arts scene in Edmonton by creating opportunities for Aboriginal Artists, Writers and Performers to present their work to the public. We produce events that bring artists of multiple disciplines and Aboriginal traditions together. Our goal is to encourage and inspire collaborations in art and performance in both contemporary and traditional styles and to bring these creations to audiences across Alberta. AAPA provides audiences of all backgrounds a chance to experience challenging artistic works that speak from a unique Aboriginal perspective.

Punctuate! Theatre is a Sterling Award winning professional theatre company based in Edmonton Alberta. We are dedicated to creating diverse, multidisciplinary dance and theatre productions. We engage both professional and emerging artists, providing mentorship opportunities within the artistic and production team. We think Albertans deserve to have cultural and artistic events brought to their communities.