Jayden Iota’takeratenion Beaton is a Montréal based artist of Mohawk and Ojibwe descent whose emerging work as an actor, director, and playwright continues to show promise as a prominent aboriginal voice in local theatre. Founder and Artistic Director of Tewakaratónnions Productions – whose company made its debut at the 2019 Fringe with the world premiere of ‘Fragments’ – , he shares his thoughts on storytelling as the foundation of his artistic practice.
“For me, theatre was always about being able to tell stories that people could connect to,” Jayden begins. “That’s why the name of the company means ‘we are storytellers’ – and I’ve always really wanted it to be about that collective ‘we’.”
Tewakaratónnions’ artistry, as exemplified in its inaugural play, is grounded in realism and naturalism in its reflection of contemporary society. But, it also strives to encompass human experiences beyond those of just native artists.
“We want theatre to be expansive,” he explains, “and so what we’re really trying to do is something that is relatable and as true to life as possible.”
Upcoming projects for his company – which are now in the back burner due to current world affairs – seek to further crack that universality open whilst also exploring aboriginal mythos. With increasing advocacy for the inclusivity and visibility of BIPOC creators, there is hope that Beaton’s work will have amplifying reach and impact.
“It’s important to myself and to other people of colour that we are now better able to get out our messages and stories that show our perspectives. To be able to share that with audiences and with other artists is incredibly meaningful.”
In further wishes for the community as it rebuilds from crisis and upheaval: “I hope there is an explosion of new artists coming out, and I think this will crack the nut open for that,” he weighs.
“I also just wanted to say that there are so many ways of being an ally at this time that doesn’t involve posting on social media. You can petition, donate, write to your local government. Now is the moment to stand up and raise your voice, regardless of how you do it.”
FRINGE FIRE ROUND
Favourite Fringe show you’ve seen recently?
“The Carrot: Sex, Shit, Death” by the Carrot Company.
Annual Fringe tradition?
Going to the hub and staring at all the posters to get a feel for every show that’s there.
Most memorable moment at the Fringe?
Going to the Fringe-for-All for the first time. Seeing everyone in costume and putting their ideas up on stage was probably the most fun I’ve ever had.