Rulan Tangen performs in the annual Talking Stick Festival beginning Feb. 20.

Well, it’s a new month. Welcome to February, the time to forget about its depressive predecessor, January.

All your holiday bills are paid and the weather has finally turned for the, well   – it’s still going to be dark and dreary for the foreseeable future. But that’s OK because summer is right around the corner.

Positive thinking, right?

Still, we can be happy that this month brings the Talking Stick Festival. Presented by Full Circle: First Nations Performance, the 11th installment of the festival opens Feb. 20 and runs all the way until March 4 (which is that much closer to summer) at various venues around the city. Featuring dance (and Aboriginal choreographers Rulan Tangen, Brian Solomon and Tanya Lukin-Linklater), music, slam poetry and, of course, theatre, Talking Stick’s got something for everyone.

“It has always been my dream to showcase world class pieces of Aboriginal Canadian theatre in the festival, and this year the dream is realized,” says Talking Stick’s artistic managing director, Margo Kane. “We are presenting many artists of various disciplines whose creative spirits have been nurtured to reach a level of maturity exhibited in their rich works at this year’s festival.”

Here’s a snapshot at some of Talking Stick highlights:
 
Metis Mutt by Sheldon Elter

Autobiographical one-man show about Metis actor/writer/director and musician Sheldon Elter’s coming of age through difficult family and cultural circumstances. At the Roundhouse Community Centre, Tuesday Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. and Wednesday Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.

In a World Created by a Drunken God

Powerful drama by one of Canada’s leading First Nations playwrights, Drew Hayden Taylor, the play asks questions “that transcend issues of culture, morality and history, cutting to the heart of what it means to be human in a world stripped of convenient labels and identity politics.” At the Roundhouse Community Centre, Feb. 23 – 25 at 8 p.m.

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