ArtBridges’ Community Arts 101 Audio Series: Cathy Elliott (DAREarts First Roots)

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The next installment in ArtBridges’ Community Arts 101 audio series comes from Cathy Elliott of DAREarts’ First Roots Program.

“Cathy is a Dora nominated performer, director, creator and musical director. She is an Acadian/Irish/Mi’kmaq registered member of the Sipekne’katik Reserve in Nova Scotia, and has been writing and performing theatre for the past 30 years. She has also been an Artist/Educator, working with Sudbury Theatre Centre & the Sioux Lookout Literacy FestivalTalk is Free Theatre Camp, Theatre Orangeville Young Company, and the DAREarts First RootsProgram as a strong arts advocacy program for remote and urban FNMI communities and their children. She co-wrote the script and co-directed Graham Greene in the DAREarts Webequie FN documentary, ‘Fill My Hollow Bones’.

For the past 2 years, she was a member of the development clinic, Animikiig Program at Native EarthPerforming Arts under the dramaturgical guidance of Marjory Chan.  This summer, she was a member of the Native Earth Poetry Collective in partnership with Juliet Palmer’s “Singing River” project on the Pan Am Path. She sang with the Element Choir and was a participant in the Storytelling Grove. This coming October, she will be playing the part of Rita in Corey Payette’s musical, “Children of God”(NAC, WTC, Urban Ink, Raven Theatre, in association with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc) This coming November, her play, “Aluasa’sit,” about Annie Mae Pictou Aquash will receive a workshop production in the Weesakeechak Festival.


DAREarts First Roots Aboriginal Program started in Ontario with Webequie FN in 2007. Now, the program has taken root in Webequie FN, Marten Falls FN, Attawapiskat FN, Mississaugas of the New Credit FN in Ontario, Sipekne’katik FN in Nova Scotia, and soon Tuktoyaktuk Hamlet in NWT.

DAREarts First Roots (named by an elder in Webequie) provides creative outlets that strengthen the voices of Aboriginal youth through new channels of communication while reconnecting with their culture. By combining their own cultural wealth with the DAREarts values of Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence, the youth build their confidence to speak out and become leaders in their communities.
DAREarts First Roots Twitter @DAREartsRoots

For more information about DAREarts, visit or read their profile on ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map.

With funding support from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, we are producing a short introductory Community Arts video. With the help of videographer and filmmaker Andrea Dorfman from Halifax, we have produced a video for people who would like to know what “community arts” “community-engaged arts” & “arts for social change” are about.

During the videomaking process we’ve unfortunately had to cut a lot of great contributions from the video, but we still want these voices to be heard! We are starting an audio series on our blog that will feature voices from different initiatives that lent their voices. Please look forward to hear what they have to say about community arts and what is means to them.

If you’d like to add your voice, please contact us at!

Click to hear previous voices from ArtBridges’ Community Arts 101 Audio Series.

-compiled by Lisa Tran, ArtBridges Content Coordinator. Content for this post provided by DAREarts and Cathy Elliott

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