Spiderwoman Theater to Embark on Midwest Tour to South Dakota, Minnesota & Wisconsin

The centerpiece of the tour is the company’s latest expansive, multi-disciplinary production, 'Misdemeanor Dream'.

By: Feb. 13, 2024
Spiderwoman Theater to Embark on Midwest Tour to South Dakota, Minnesota & Wisconsin
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Spiderwoman Theater, the Indigenous-feminist theatre company now in its 47th season, will embark on a three-week Midwest Tour next week.  The tour will take the 16-member ensemble to the University of South Dakota (Feb 20 to 24); Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College in Cloquet MN and Northland College in Ashland WI (Feb 27 to Mar 2); with a final stop in the Twin Cities Mar, 5, 6 and 7.
The centerpiece of the tour is the company’s latest expansive, multi-disciplinary production, “Misdemeanor Dream,” that premiered at La MaMa in 2022.   Created by the ensemble, and directed by Spiderwoman's founding artistic director Muriel Miguel, "Misdemeanor Dream" uses their signature storyweaving creation process -- an urban-Indigenous performance practice layering traditional and contemporary stories, installation, sound and dance.

Each of the stops on the Midwest Tour will include a series of community engagement experiences for students, community members and local Native artists who will interact with the company, whose members are drawn from Indigenous communities across North America and internationally.


1/ University of South Dakota hosts a series of community events leading up to two performances of “Misdemeanor Dream” on Fri & Sat Feb 23 and 24, both at 7:30pm.  For tickets, which are $15, visit www.usd.edu Residency events include a Storyweaving Workshop for USD students (Tue Feb 20), and a Fabric Workshop open to the public (Sat Feb 24, 2pm) at the Vermillion Public Library.
2/ A residency in the greater Chippewa Valley tribal area hosted by the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC) and Northland College (with co-sponsor Zeitgeist Arts) includes a Welcome Feast at Northland College (Tue Feb 27 at 5pm); a Storyweaving Workshop for Native theater artists (FDLTCC Wed Feb 28 at 2pm); a Lecture-Demonstration for students and educators (FDLTCC Thu Feb 29, 12noon); and “Misdemeanor Dream” for two nights – Fri and Sat Mar 1 & 2, both at 7pm – at Cloquet High School’s state-of-the-art 500-seat auditorium.
The community engagement events are free; the Storyweaving Workshop is by invitation.  Tickets for “Misdemeanor Dream” are $25. For tickets and info visit  www.FDLTCC.EDU
3/ The Twin Cities stop includes a Lecture-Demonstration for students and educators at the Perpich Center for Arts Education (Tue Mar 5, 1pm); a Storyweaving Workshop for Native theater artists (at The Jungle Theatre Wed March 6, at 1pm), and a Fabric Workshop (open to all, also hosted by The Jungle Theatre, Thur Mar 7, 3pm).  (These free events are sponsored by the Perpich Center, The Jungle Theatre, Pangea World Theater and Full Circle Theater.)
Developed through an ensemble theater practice rooted in Indigenous oral tradition, “Misdemeanor Dream” weaves stories in English and a mix of the original languages of the ensemble – spoken, danced, sung – as well as the personal and community stories (contemporary and passed down) of the artists. Featured in the production’s holistic narrative, are the participants themselves, as well as a host of otherworldly beings -- including magical tricksters and shapeshifters – who reach far into our present to reestablish the connection (severed after generations of silence and elimination) between Turtle Island then and now.
“Misdemeanor Dream’s” co-creators and Storyweaving Team Leaders are Spiderwoman Theater's 2024 United States Artists Fellow, director Muriel Miguel; choreographer Penny Couchie (co-Artistic Director of Aanmitaagzi, and a 2023 Ontario Arts Council Indigenous Arts Award recipient); and Voice Choreographer Imelda Villalon.
Traveling to the Midwest -- and a member of the performing ensemble -- is Spiderwoman's eldest member, Gloria Miguel, who co-founded the activist feminist company with her sisters Muriel Miguel and the late Lisa Mayo in 1976.  This is the company’s 47th consecutive season.


Spanning inter-woven disciplines, and exploring the realms of Indigenous story, magic, interrupted dreams and lost languages, “Misdemeanor Dream” was developed in partnership with with Aanmataagzi Storymakers in Nipissing First Nation in Ontario, and Loose Change Productions in New York.  It world-premiered at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theater in New York in March 2022.
“Misdemeanor Dream” is written and created by the all-Native ensemble: Sid Bobb, Penny Couchie, Animikiikwe Couchie-Waukey, Lisa Cromarty, Donna Couteau, Sharon Day, Tyree Giroux, Wolfen de Kastro, Niigaanipines, Marjolaine Mckenzie, Gloria Miguel, Darylina Powderface, Chingwe Padraig Sullivan, Henu Josephine Tarrant, and Imelda Villalon


Spiderwoman Theater continues to develop its signature “storyweaving” technique, while making deeply activist forays into gender roles, cultural stereotypes, and family relationships.  Succeeding generations of Downtown theater artists like Split Britches, Bloolips, Taylor Mac and the Colorado Sisters have cited Spiderwoman as a formative influence.
Spiderwoman grew out of the urban Native community centered in Brooklyn in the 1950s.  In addition to their experimental and activist focuses, they have emphasized the importance of interconnectivity among Indigenous communities across the globe.
Spiderwoman elders Muriel and Gloria Miguel are from the Kuna and Rappahannock nations. Choreographer Penny Couchie is Anishinaabe, while the vocal choreographer Imelda Villalon is from the Ilokano people of the Phillipines.  

Photo credit: Richard Termine