• August 28, 2023


Wabanaki REACH and Threadbare Theatre Workshop Create New Play by, for, and with Wabanaki People


INDIAN ISLAND (August 23, 2023)–As part of Wabanaki REACH’s truth-telling initiative, Beyond the Claims- Stories from the Land & the Heart, the organization has partnered with Threadbare Theatre Workshop to create where the river widens, a new play by, for, and with Wabanaki people. 


where the river widens is an original, community-devised play centering Wabanakik and the Maine Indian land claims. There will be two public performances on Indian Island, September 16 & 17 at 5pm. Folks must register in advance to reserve seats at wabanakireach.org


Wabanaki REACH spent the past year collecting over forty personal oral history interviews from Wabanaki and Maine communities about the Maine Indian land claims and the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980. Since then, the organization has been building an archive and creating educational resources for the greater community– where the river widens marks its first public offering related to the project. Beyond the Claims has been led by Wabanaki ways of being and knowing, through oral history and storytelling, to further Wabanaki REACH’s work of bringing truth, healing, and change to the Dawland.


“We were so moved by the stories we gathered, it was a natural next step to talk about theatre as a way of continuing to move the conversation from the head to the heart, to reach more people, and to gather in community,” said Maria Girouard, executive director of Wabanaki REACH. 


where the river widens is a poetic, spare, lyrical movement through stories, place, and time. This thought-provoking play not only illuminates a complex and tumultuous era, but celebrates the beauty, creativity, and resilience of Wabanaki people. The play is set outdoors along the Penobscot River and weaves music, song, and dance with actual interviews from Beyond the Claims. The co-creators and performers of where the river widens are Lilah Akins, Esther Anne, Nick Bear, Wolatqin Bear, Andrea Francis, Maria Girouard, Dale Lolar, George Loring, Margo Lukens, Joshua McCarey, and Erlene Paul.


“Devised theatre is sometimes referred to as collective creation which is really just making theatre from scratch with the people around you. Threadbare’s way of co-creating, not only with community members but inspired by them, aligns so beautifully with Wabanaki REACH’s values of connection and joy. I am grateful for the generous folks who have come together this summer to create and perform this play– they are brilliant,” said Kate Russell, artistic director of Threadbare Theatre Workshop


where the river widens is an hour-long, outdoor performance on the grass beside the Penobscot River on Indian Island, Penobscot Nation. Folks are welcome to register in advance for two public performances on September 16 & 17 at 5pm. Seating is limited. For more information and to reserve your seats, please visit wabanakireach.org/upcoming_events



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Kate Russell

Wabanaki REACH
Stillwater  ME  04489