Shakespeare In Action’s FREE Production of otîhêw comes to Little Avenue Memorial Park!


This August 4-20, 2023 Dora-winning theatre company Shakespeare in Action presents otîhêw, by PJ Prudat. This free event will take place in the Little Avenue Memorial Park in Weston.

This reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy is set in a north-western factory fort along the Saskatchewan river in 1816, the year of no summer, in which a volcanic eruption cast a smoke so thick the sun was not visible for months. The story takes place at the height of imperial trading that drove colonization over sovereign Indigenous lands. otîhêw, an affluent “child of the fur-trade”, is a Métis woman bound in the historical “custom-of-the-country” to Desmond, an Afro-Indigenous fur-trader, complicating her duty as the leader of her people.

Playwright PJ Prudat weaves together themes of duty, love, betrayal, and familial bonds in a poetic and powerful play that will both surprise audiences familiar with Othello and captivate audiences encountering the story for the first time.

“otîhêw gives the gift of offering Indigenous storytelling through Shakespearean fiction. This play reveals Indigenous heartache and colonial betrayal through the lens of a strong Indigenous woman. otîhêw explores truths about the Fur Trade era, and demonstrates how love, female leadership, care for water, and preservation of culture can mend a broken colonial influence- and a broken sky,” says the show’s Mi’kmaq director, Lisa Nasson, a graduate of Stratford’s Birmingham Conservatory.

The show boasts a brilliant cast and creative team: Set and Costume by Nishina Loft; Sound and Lighting by Jacob Lin; puppets by Clay and Paper Theatre; Nicole Joy-Fraser as otîhêw, Jonathon LeRose as Hamish, Spencer Bennett as Desmond, Jewell Bowry as Inés, Brefney Caribou as Birdie, and Raymond Jordan Johnson as Solomon.

The production will run over three weeks with 13 free public performances, from August 4th to 20th. Audiences are encouraged to bring their own seating.

Wednesdays to Saturdays at 7:00pm, Sundays at 2:00pm

Register online for more information:

Performance Schedule:

  • Friday, August 4 – 7:00pm (preview)
  • Saturday, August 5 – 7:00pm (opening)
  • Sunday, August 6 – 2:00pm
  • Wednesday, August 9 – 7:00pm
  • Thursday, August 10 – 7:00pm
  • Friday, August 11 – 7:00pm
  • Saturday, August 12 – 7:00pm
  • Sunday, August 13 – 2:00pm
  • Wednesday, August 16 – 7:00pm
  • Thursday, August 17 – 7:00pm
  • Friday, August 18 – 7:00pm
  • Saturday, August 19 – 7:00pm
  • Sunday, August 20 – 2:00pm

Shakespeare in Action (SiA) is an award-winning theatre company that grows, supports, and sustains an accessible, collaborative, and relevant performing arts ecosystem anchored in community. With a dedicated home in northwest-Toronto’s Artscape Weston Common, SiA has committed to producing a free professional production in Memorial Park annually for members of the York South-Weston Community.