Arts community mourning death of Mi’kmaq playwright, composer Cathy Elliott

Cathy Elliot poses during a 2017 production of Children of God.
Cathy Elliot poses during a 2017 production of Children of God. Courtesy of Emily Cooper Photography/Urban Ink/Raven Theatre

The Canadian arts community is mourning the death of accomplished Mi’kmaq playwright, composer and actor Cathy Elliott.

Elliott, who was a member of the Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia, performed on stages and collaborated in productions from coast to coast for 35 years.

Much of her work highlighted the experiences and culture of First Nations communities.

READ: Gord Downie hits the stage in Ottawa to perform ‘Secret Path’

The National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa announced that it would honour Elliot by flying its flags at half-mast for three days.

This past June, Elliott appeared on stage at the NAC in Ottawa in their production of Children of God, a musical about the residential school system in Canada.

The NAC confirmed to Global News Elliott was the victim of a pedestrian collision on Sunday in Essa Township, Ontario.

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According to the OPP, a 60-year-old woman was walking along the road north of Highway 89 when she was hit by a vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

“I am completely shocked at Cathy’s sudden and tragic passing,” said Kevin Loring, artistic director of NAC Indigenous Theatre, in a news release.

“She was a bright light in the rehearsal room and a gentle and generous soul who cared deeply about sharing Indigenous stories. Cathy was a gifted and experienced musician, writer and theatre artist.”

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READ: Aboriginal Peoples remember abuse at residential schools reconciliation event

Elliott’s career included a long list of productions, including The Talking Stick, an all-Indigenous musical commissioned by the Charlottetown Festival that she wrote and directed. Its finale was performed for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to PEI in 2011, and a concert version was performed at the 2011 Halifax Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Gathering.

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