An interview with Tai Amy Grauman

Tai Amy Grauman plays Nicole in Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way

Tai Amy Grauman in an actor, currently based in Vancouver, BC, on unceded Coast Salish homelands. She is joining the Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way team in the role of Nicole. She took a moment to share a bit about herself and her recent journey in the world of theatre.

Where are you from?
Fort McMurray Alberta

Do you miss home?
Yes. But my place of birth isn’t where I grew up.

Where did you grow up?
Ardrosson, Alberta.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Last May, I finished my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from UBC with a minor in First Nations Studies. While I was in university, I was also part of Full Circle First Nation’s Performance’s ensemble program. Since then, I have had many opportunities to work with my mentors and grow within the Indigenous Theatre community.

I grew up in a small town, with many horses, deep in the prairies. I’m an only child, so my cousins may as well be my siblings.  I still have friends who knew me when I was 5 and that is something I deeply treasure.

Tai and her horse Dare. They’ve been together since she was 7.

Any recent theatre accomplishments you are proud of?
I recently received Nightswimming Theatre’s latest commission, and in the fall I was in Kevin Loring’s new play Thanks for Giving alongside Margo Kane. In 2015 Margo Kane awarded me as her emerging artist when she was given a Mayor’s Arts award in theatre.

Tai backstage at the opening night of Love and Informationby Caryl Churchill at the University of British Columbia’s Fredric Wood Theatre.

What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently the artist in residence at Alley Theatre where I am developing a one woman show about Pauline Johnson’sperformance works.  I am also the Arts Club’s LEAP Level 3 participant through which I have written a full-length play called You used to call me Marie.  I am also working on a 5-year commission with Nightswimming theatre.

Emily Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake, “double wampum”) was a poet, writer, artist and performer (born 10 March 1861 on the Six Nations Reserve; died 7 March 1913 in Vancouver, BC). She was one of Turtle Island’s most notable entertainers of the late 19th century.
Michel Tremblay’s Les Belles Soeurs. Photo by Emily Cooper Photography.

Who have been the greatest influences in your life?
Margo Kane. Because sometimes it feels like she’s not even human. Especially after standing on stage with her. She’s my theatre fairy godmother.

What excites you about Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way? Why are you doing it?
I’m really excited to learn from artists like Renae Morriseau, Sam Bob, and Jonathan Fisher. I’m also really excited to travel with those people. I am very excited to work on a play in which community is such an essential aspect of the piece.  I have always wanted to bring the work I do back to our communities, and this is a great opportunity to do so.

What keeps you focused on the things you do, to stay on your own path?
Sometimes when I’m struggling, I will take a second to reflect on some of my favourite moments that I have experienced inside Indigenous theatre. Those moments pop up in time and help me keep moving forward. I go back to them when I need them. There were so many of these moments throughout Thanks for Giving and I remind myself that these are the kind of stories we are fighting to tell.

What does reconciliation mean to you in context of your life and family and that of Canada/Turtle Island?
For me, this means learning everything about my family while I still have time.  I am currently writing two different plays about my ancestors and that is how I am reconciling my family’s history and the things I carry with me on a daily basis.  I also want my little cousins to have those plays, so we never forget where we have been and where we come from.

Where are you looking to do, achieve in life?
I want to bring my people and my stories to the biggest stages in Canada.  I want to take that space back for our performance.

Tai and cats on a farm in Battleford Saskatchewan on a family visit.

Places to find Tai online: @graumantaiamy,

Posted by Julia Siedlanowska

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