May 12, 2016
May 29, 2016

Material Witness

In association with Spiderwoman Theater & Aanmitaagzi
A Loose Change Production
by Spiderwoman Theater
Directed by Muriel Miguel
Written by Cherish Violet Blood, Penny Couchie, Donna Couteau,
Angela Loft, Gloria Miguel
and Tanis Parenteau
with Muriel Miguel

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Material Witness is “rowdy and playful, displaying an enormous sense of energy, strength and good will.  Yet its subject is dead serious: the physical abuse of indigenous women in the United States and Canada.”
~ Anita Gates, The New York Times

Material Witness is part of La MaMa’s Safe Harbors Indigenous Arts / Theatre Collective

In Material Witness, Spiderwoman Theater, regarded as one the most influential Native theatre companies “in the history of the country” (Oskar Eustis, Public Theater), turns their “story-weaving” dance-theatre to issues of violence against women in Indigenous communities.  Weaving together the real-life experiences of a multigenerational cast that also includes Native actors from Canada, the collaborative piece celebrates courage and generates healing.  Stalwarts of the downtown performance scene, Spiderwoman, cited for their “rollicking humor” by The New York Times, are marking their 40th anniversary.

Director: Muriel Miguel

Assistant Director: Sid Bobb

Choreographer: Penny Couchie

Scenographer: Karmenlara Ely

Scenic Design: Soni Moreno


Spiderwoman Theater was founded in 1976, when Muriel Miguel gathered together a diverse company of women which included both of her sisters. They were of varying ages, races, sexual orientation, and worldview. The collective sprang out of the feminist movement of the 1970s and the disillusionment with the treatment of women in radical political movements of the time. They questioned gender roles, cultural stereotypes, and sexual and economic oppression. They took on issues of sexism, racism, classism, and the violence in women’s lives. Their weaving of humor with popular culture and personal histories along with their sometimes shocking style excited the hearts and spirits of the women (and sometimes the men) in their audiences, in the United States, Canada and all over the world.

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“rollicking humor…a powerful link to history”

-The New York Times

“an example of what theater should be: challenging artistic work that raises relevant questions…concretely important art”

-Off Off Online

Special Event

Sunday, May 15

“Have You Seen Her? Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women”

Moderated by Mary Kathryn Nagle (Playwright / Attorney)


Noel Altaha: Graduate student, Columbia University School of Social Work/raising awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women through blogging, academic research, and poetry

Murielle Borst-Tarrant: Playwright, Director, Producer

Penny Couchie: Co Director of Aanmitaagzi, Material Witness cast member

Maria Hupfield: Artist / Walking with our Sisters

Sunday, May 22

Panelists discuss Trafficking of Women and Girls

Friday, May 27

Panelists discuss Women in Refugee Camps