Artist Bios

José Á. Colman (Guna)
director / translator to Dulegaya / cultural consultant
José Colman was born on the Island of Aligandí, in the autonomous Indigenous territory of Kuna Yala, Panamá. He is the well-respected grandson of the original leader the 1925 Dule Revolution; Simral José Colman has been secretary of the Community of Aligandí. The first professionally trained Guna actor in Panamá, he studied theatre at the University of Panamá and received theatre training in Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina. An established, senior artist, he is a fluent speaker of Dulegaya and has been an inspiration and mentor for many contemporary Guna artists in Panama. José is perhaps best known for his work in cultural recovery through theatre in the Guna Children’s Art Workshop. José is a master storyteller and a keeper of oral history. He has performed in Italy, US, Costa Rica and the Canary Islands. He also participated in the VIVA project, about arts and popular education in the Americas, with artists from Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, United States and Canada.

Monique Mojica (Guna & Rappahannock)
playwright / performer / lead artist
Monique is the catalyst for the exploration of devising a dramaturgy specific to Guna cultural aesthetics, story narrative and literary structure. Her play Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots was produced by Nightwood Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille in 1990, on radio by CBC and published by Women’s Press in 1991. She is the co-editor, with Ric Knowles, of Staging Coyote’sDream An Anthology of First Nations Drama in English, vols. I & II, published by Playwrights Canada Press. She was a long-time collaborator with Floyd Favel on various research and performance projects investigating Native Performance Culture and was a co-founder of Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble with whom she co-created The Scrubbing Project and The Triple Truth. She has taught at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fé, New Mexico. Monique continues to explore art as healing, as reclamation of historical/cultural memory and as an act of resistance.

Gloria Miguel (Guna & Rappahannock)
Elder / master actor
Gloria Miguel is a founding member of New York’s SpiderwomanTheater. Since 1975 Spiderwoman Theater has used the multi-dimensional process of story weaving to create theatrical textiles woven from organic texts. She created the role of Pelija Patchnose in the original production of The Rez Sisters and she is also Monique Mojica’s mother.

Alberto Guevara (Chorotega)
assistant director / principal Spanish/English translator
Originally from Nicaragua, Alberto has harbored a lifelong interest in the intersections of theatre, performance and politics. Under the Nicaraguan Sandinista government, he participated in a cultural brigade, received training at the National Theatre School and was a member of Alan Bolt’s Nyxtayoleros Theatre. Alberto has collaborated in a number of inter-cultural theatre organizations including Teatro Sin Fronteras (Toronto), Mise au Jeu (Montreal), Théâtre autochtone Ondinnok (Montreal), Dalit Theatre Group (Nepal) and Act!vision (Lethbridge). Alberto’s film work has been shown internationally. He is presently a Professor of Performance Studies in the Department of Theatre at York University.

Marden Paniza (Guna)
Marden Paniza is from the island of Yandup-Nargana, in the autonomous Indigenous territory of Guna Yala. A well-known jazz musician, composer and arranger in Panamá, Europe and the US, he is most widely recognized for his unique and innovative brand of jazz Ethnofusion that incorporates traditional Guna in instruments and melodies.

Ric Knowles
Ric Knowles is Professor of Theatre at the University of Guelph. He is the author or editor of sixteen books on theatre and coedited two volumes of Staging Coyote’s Dream with Monique Mojica. He has worked as a director and dramaturge at theatres ranging from Mulgrave Road, Tarragon and Necessary Angel to Stratford, with recent and current work at Cahoots Theatre Company, Modern Times Stage Company, The MT Space, fu-GEN and the Red Snow Collective.

Erika Iserhoff (James Bay Cree)
textile artist / costume designer / co-set designer
2009 Dora award-winning costume designer (Agokwe written by Waawaate Fobister and produced by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre) Erika Iserhoff is a visual artist specializing in indigenous textiles. As a costume designer she is known for her “wearable art” creations constructed to transform among characters. She brings her cultural knowledge of Aboriginal clothing design and material culture to her role as costume designer and co-set designer. Recently Erika has graduated from the OCADU with a Bachelor of Design.

Andy Moro
production manager
Andy is a founding Artistic Co-directors with Gabriella Caruso of Red Pepper Spectacle Arts — a creative home for emerging and established Indigenous artists. Red Pepper designs and fascilitates arts access, community development, youth mentorship and employment opportunities and is well known for its Kensington Market Winter Solstice, now in its 22nd year. Andy and Gaby co-founded and teach the Production Design/Mentorship program at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre. Recent set, lighting and/or projection designs include Videocabaret's History of the Village of the Small Huts at the Cameron House, Groundwater’s Montparnasse at the Theatre Passe Muraille, Third Eye Looming with Workman Arts, Topological Theatre’s Lost Voices and Cabaret Theatre’s The Situationists. Upcoming Santee Smith’s Medicine Bear world premiere and Native Earth Performing Arts’ Free as Injuns.

Michel Charbonneau (Mohawk & Anishnabe)
lighting / sound designer
Michel has designed well over 100 productions and has been nominated for six Dora Mavor Moore Awards (Toronto) one Sterling Award (Edmonton) and one Leon Rabin Award (Dallas). His work has been seen or heard throughout the United States, most notably at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Lajolla Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theater, the Dallas Theater Center, the American Repertory Theater, the Pittsburgh Public Theater and off-Broadway at the Astor Place Theater and across Canada at the Waterfront Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Theatre Network, Canstage, Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe-Muraille, the Great Canadian Theatre and the National Arts Centre.

Gia Nahmens
stage / tour manager
Gia has been working as a stage/production manager in Vancouver for the past four years. She is a graduate of UBC, where she came to study theatre seven years ago from Venezuela. Selected works include: Tony and Tina’s Wedding (Hoarse Raven Theatre), Wild Rose (Fringe 2008/Bumpershoot 2009), The Honeymoon (Pick of the Fringe 2009), Back to You: The Life and Music of Lucille Starr (Apprentice Stage Manager: Musical Theatreworks), The Talking Stick Festival (Stage Manager 2010–11) A Picasso, The Edward Curtis Project and Queen Lear (Production Manager, Presentation House). She just finished work in Vancouver for Left Right Minds Initiatives as a production assistant and is looking forward to her first work in Toronto with the Chocolate Women Collective.