Indigenous Arts Program

The Indigenous Arts Program is for emerging Indigenous performing artists of any experience, discipline, and skill level looking for personalized and flexible training. Three participants are offered space to be unapologetically Indigenous and develop skills to re-Indigenize and grow their artistic practice. Participants are invited to apply to the Indigenous Arts Program in addition to any other Paprika program stream that suits their interests and artistic practice. In the first year, participants are provided the tools and guidance to create a fully original piece of performed art (could be theatre, dance, music, poetry, performance art…anything!). Mentors and guest artists help connect participants with the community and the Indigenous arts scene in Tkaronto and beyond (including Paprika partner company, Native Earth Performing Arts). Participants have the opportunity to return for a second year in this program to further develop their training and their original work and deepen their relationships with new collaborators and mentors in the community.

This program is presented with support from Native Earth Performing Arts


Brefny Caribou

Brefny Caribou

Brefny Caribou (she/her) is a performer and writer of Cree/Irish-settler descent based in Toronto. Holding an MFA in Acting from York University she focuses her practice on reimagining traditional theatrical hierarchies and telling Indigenous stories. She has developed her writing Savage is a Word in the English Dictionary through the Animikiig Creators Unit at Native Earth Performing Arts and Aluna Theatre’s Winter Artist Residency with an offering at the CAMINOS Festival (‘21). She was a collaborator on the world premiere of Aluna Theatre/Nightwood Theatre’s piece The Solitudes inspired by the world of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez. As an actor, most recently, Brefny is in her 3rd season at the Stratford Festival with credits that include playing Zhaboonigan Peterson in The Rez Sisters (‘21) and Beth March in Little Women (‘22).


Working with the IAP as facilitator this year has presented me with an opportunity to expand my

knowledge base and consider how the tools of my practice can translate to other modes of creation. Music, movement, writing. In my mind, I was working with storytellers across the board. Though completely unique in their voices and styles, what connected the group was a desire for a deeper understanding of self and identity, and how, directly or more abstractly, our cultures, our experiences as Indigenous peoples, bring us closer to the truths we hope to share with audiences. As I continue to gather tools and grow as an artist, I am inspired by our time together. It has been an absolute pleasure to get to know these artists over the past year. What I admire most about these artists and their work is that their ideas are big, their questions are big, and I look forward to watching their continued


— Brefny Caribou, Indigenous Arts Program Facilitator (2023/24)