TALKING STICK 2020, February 18-29: Festival Program Announced!

Western Canada’s Premier Indigenous Performing Arts Festival

Announces 2020 Festival Performances and Events

Tickets are on sale now for the 19th Annual Talking Stick Festival (TSF), February 18-29, 2020 at various Vancouver venues). The 2020 festival theme is Cchenstway, a Squamish word that translates as “upholding each other, lifting each other up”.

TSF is a vibrant celebration of Indigenous artistry, expertise, talent and knowledge from around the world, presented through theatrical performances, music, dance, film a visual art exhibit, the Industry Series and Knowledge Sharing workshops, young audience and family programming, the annual Celebration of Powwow Culture, the Métis Fair, and much more. Talking Stick is produced by Full Circle: First Nations Performance.

19th Annual

Talking Stick Festival

February 18-29, 2020

at a variety of Vancouver area venues and locations

Tickets and info at

Ticket prices range from free and pay-what-you-can to $10 – $30 plus charges.

Here is some of what’s planned for the 12 exciting days of Talking Stick —

The festival opens with Wa× hoks en Shqalawin (Open Your Hearts) Opening Gala (Feb. 20, Roundhouse), featuring a range of exciting festival performers. RISING Chén̓chenstway Visual Arts Exhibit showcases the work of gifted Indigenous artists working in a variety of mediums (Feb. 18-29, Roundhouse).


Talking Stick presents extraordinary national and international theatre and dance performance.

Tlakentli Dance-Theatre from Québec’s Productions Ondinnok (Feb. 21-23, Roundhouse) tells of two Indigenous artists from Mexico, of Nahua and Mixteco descent, as they share their quest for identity by drawing on their cultures and the history of their ancestors; Matriarchs Uprising 1 & 2, curated by Olivia Davies, O.Dela Arts is a powerhouse presentation of contemporary dance and visual artistry from Australia, Canada and New Zealand in two not-to-be-missed evening programs (Feb. 21, 22, Cultch); Isitwendam (An Understanding) from Ontario examines the collateral damage of the Residential School system through a one-person multidisciplinary theatrical exploration (Feb. 26-29, Roundhouse).

For the all-ages theatre audiences, Axis Theatre’s Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish is Joseph Dandurand’s engaging tale from the Kwantlen First Nations Village of Squa’lets about Th’owxiya, an old and powerful spirit (Feb. 18-21, Cultch & Musqueam). The festival also welcomes dance presentations Bloom from Mascall Dance (Feb. 25), Raven Spirit Dance’s Confluence (Feb. 26), and Virago Nation’s Royaltease (Feb. 28) at various venues.


TSF presents some of Canada’s and Indigenous music’s brightest lights!

In a stellar double bill, the JUNO-winning global blues of Digging Roots shares the stage with singer-songwriter Logan Staats, winner of CBC’s The Launch (Feb. 22, Roundhouse). The festival is thrilled to present folk and women’s music icon, Ferron, who performs for two nights at the York Theatre (Feb. 25 w/ Ms. Pan!k and Feb. 26 w/ M’Girl.

The Pop Up Musical Bistro offers an entertainment-filled evening of story, music and word featuring Ostwelve and others (Feb. 24, Roundhouse), and The Stew Jams AfterParty is a feel-good night of good vibes and Coast Salish hip hop (Feb. 24, Red Gates Arts Society).


There’s special programming for young folks and families at Talking Stick!

Sing, Dance, Tell Me A Story! (Family Fun Day) (Feb. 17) at the Cultch is a full afternoon of fun times with TeePee Theatre, Hoop dance storyteller Jessica McMann, Fancy dancer Nyla Carpentier, and Our Creation Storyfrom Mortal Coil and Tsatsu Stalqayu (Coastal Wolf Pack); UNYA’s #Indigenuity: Concrete Smudge showcases the work of emerging artists from the young urban Indigenous community (Feb. 25, Wise Hall). Every age can enjoythe popular Celebration of Powwow Culture event with the Indigenous Artisan Fair (Feb. 23, Roundhouse), and the music and dance-filled Métis Fair, curated by Marion Gonneville (Feb. 29, Roundhouse).


The festival’s Reel Reservations program offers outstanding work by Indigenous filmmakers.

A Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk is Zacharias Kunuk’s (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner) latest film about the effects of the forcing of nomadic Inuit families into permanent housing (Feb 24, 28, Vancity). The Coyote Way: (Going) Back Home is a short sci‐fi/docu-narrative film about a young boy’s hard choices, from Director Missy Whiteman, and FUKRY tells the story of Ching Yazzie and friends’ ups and downs, from Director Blackhorse Lowe – both are on Feb. 25 at Vancity.

The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw is about dreams, choices, realities and family, with a few laughs along the way. Director: Shelley Niro (Feb. 27, SFU Woodwards).


Slam poetry + Indigenous drag + evocative theatrical readings + traditional drum groups = something for everyone!

From Talking Stick to Microphone Slam Night, one of TSF’s most popular events, showcases a variety of poets and styles (Feb. 21, Café Deux Soleils); the 2-Spirit Ball, co-presented with the producers of Hotlatch, is a night of revelry with Indigenous drag, go-go and DJs (Feb. 27, Fox Theatre). INDIAN ACTS! Staged Readings offers two powerful theatrical experiences:  The Weekend, by Australia’s Mooghalin Performing Arts, is dancer-turned-playwright Henrietta Baird’s one-woman play about a search for new beginnings (Feb. 22, SFU Woodwards). Women of Papiyek, by Quelemia Sparrow, tells the terrible tale of the calculated destruction of the Brockton Point settlement of Papiyek (Feb. 23, SFU Woodwards). Kw’achmixwts Chexw Smen Han (Show ‘N’ Tell) are short performances by some of our region’s most prominent traditional groups, accompanied by a sharing of origins and meanings (Feb. 21, 26, 28, Roundhouse). Ab-Cabaret closes the festival on Feb. 29 at Ironworks.


The festival offers informative, interesting and practical workshops, panels and sessions at both a series of Knowledge Sharing Workshops (varied dates/locations) and at a series aimed at artists and cultural workers in the  Chén̓chenstway Industry Series (Feb. 21-24, SFU Woodwards).

For full show information and tickets, visit: (from January 15)

Join us!:

Media release and image provided by Gwen Kallio, Sisu Productions

Something is wrong.
Instagram token error.


Leave a Comment