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Selected by Tara Beagan

Joelle Peters is a Toronto-based Anishinaabe & Miami performer/playwright. She is from Walpole Island First Nation, Bkejwanong Territory in Southwestern Ontario and moved to Toronto to study Acting for Camera and Voice at Seneca College. Joelle loves the stage and screen and would like to continue living in both worlds. Joelle has performed across Canada at festivals and theatres such as Western Canada Theatre, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Factory Theatre, Summerworks Festival, Theatre Passe Muraille, and has toured across ON and BC. Joelle loves exploring new works and ways to engage with storytelling and is developing an interest in directing and dramaturgy. Currently, she is part of the Animikiig Creator’s Unit at Native Earth Performing Arts, writing a full length coming-of-age play called Niish (mentored by Falen Johnson). She also co-wrote Frozen River with Michaela Washburn and Carrie Costello, which is set to premiere at Manitoba Theatre for Young People in Spring 2021.

Acceptance Speech

Boozhoo. Wow, what a rollercoaster this year has been. There’s no way any of us could have known how much our lives would change in 2020. I remember reading memes about how “2020 is gonna be our year!” and now actual 2020 memes are about masks, hand sanitizer and how the world is ending. This time last year I had just closed a show and was working box office at Native Earth Performing Arts.

This year I mostly stay home and for that my dog is thankful. There are no box office shifts because everything is online, gigs have either been cancelled or pushed back to Who Knows When and occasionally I get a swab shoved up my nose. So when Tara phoned me and said she had selected me as her protégé, I was surprised, shocked…I think I still am. What a wild year.

I met Tara in 2015 at the Debajehmujig Creation Centre in Manitowaning Ontario. Since then, I’ve been such a huge fan of hers, not just as an incredible playwright, director and mentor but as a fellow human. Tara is so insightful and kind, and smart, and funny, and the way she approaches storytelling is something I deeply admire. She fights for what she believes in and lifts people up, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for both of us.

Chi miigwetch to Tara for believing in me and my stories, to the Siminovitch Prize team, and the Siminovitch family for this incredible honour. Miigwetch to my past teachers and my mentors for their generosity and sharing of knowledge. Miigwetch to my parents Clint and Julie and my brother Dylan for their endless love and support. Miigwetch to my friends, and to the land, for holding me and inspiring my stories. I hope someday I can inspire younger generations of artists, just as Tara has done for me and countless others. Thank you.

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