Western Canada Theatre executive chosen to lead National Arts Centre's Indigenous section
'The need to hear Indigenous stories is so much apart of the cultural healing of our people'
Western Canada Theatre's Lori Marchand is off to Ottawa next spring to take on the new role as managing director for Indigenous theatre at the National Arts Centre.
Marchand has worked in live theatre in Kamloops, B.C. for 18 years, most recently as executive director of Western Canada Theatre.
"I've always liked a challenge, and that's one of the great things about working in professional theatre: there are challenges and new ways of seeing the world every single day," Marchand told CBC's Shelley Joyce.
"I'm excited. I'm terrified a little bit, too."
Marchand, who will be the first person to hold this title, said the creation of this role has taken two years, when the National Arts Centre started conducting public consultations to figure out how to move forward with the position.
Marchand will join Lytton, B.C.'s Kevin Loring, whose role as artistic director for Indigenous theatre at the National Arts Centre was announced in June 2017.
"The need to hear Indigenous voices, hear Indigenous stories, is so much apart of the cultural healing of our people, but also of this nation," she said. "To do that at the National Arts Centre, we're hoping it's going to be very impactful."
Ottawa and Kamloops are both home to Marchand. She grew up in both cities while her father, Len Marchand Sr., served as MP.
One of the great things about working in professional theatre: there are challenges and new ways of seeing the world every single day.- Lori Marchand
Though Marchand is sad to leave her home in Kamloops, she looks forward to using what she learned at Western Canada Theatre in her new role.
"Western Canada Theatre has been my home for a very long time," she said.
"Western Canada Theatre has really set the groundwork for the Indigenous theatre section at the National Arts Centre. Our regional theatre has produced quite a bit of Indigenous work and done it in a respectful way."
In a press release, Western Canada Theatre acknowledged Marchand's impact on Kamloops and its theatre community.
"Lori's contributions to the communities of Kamloops and the region have extended into all areas of the arts, as well as schools and sports – particularly soccer and rugby, passions she shared with her three young daughters – and through her extensive circles of family and friends," the release said. "We will particularly miss her ability to accumulate friends and influence people, through her belief in people and their abilities."
With files from Daybreak Kamloops