The Aki Studio Theatre at Daniel Spectrum has been transformed into a street from Walpole Island for Native Earth Performing Arts’ production of Niizh. An adorable coming-of-age story about a young lady who thinks she’s anxious to leave the Rez and head to college, Niizh expertly pulls from the sappy YA novels and Rom-Coms which have come to symbolize teenage life in the media. Written by Joelle Peters and directed by Desirée Leverenz, Niizh is adorable in all the right ways, and a unique experience which you absolutely have to see.

Niizh is not quite like any production I’ve seen thus far; not only did it have an beautiful set design and great use of projection, they brought a third element into the mix: smell! There are certain moments of the play where there are the perfect scents to accompany what’s happening with the characters and I absolutely loved this immersive experience (even if it did make me hungry!). I also really enjoyed how we could take part in Radio Bingo before the show starts! Get there early and get your cards, folks as there are prizes to be won! It’s a perfect tie-in to the show and starts us all off with a bit of fun.

The cast of Niizh was delightful and brought such joy to the stage. Theresa Cutnife stars as Lenna Little, and having seen her in a couple of productions now I certainly know the excellent quality of performance that Cutnife brings to the stage. She makes Lenna so relatable and sweet, her talent truly shines in this production. Playing Lenna’s love interest Sam Thomas is Kole Durnford. He also had a sweetness and earnestness to his performance; the awkward scenes between Sam and Lenna were adorable and they played them so perfectly. Jason McDonald and Aren Okemaysim are Lenna’s father Billy and brother Jay respectively. Their relationship to each other and Lenna in the play changed so much and these actors did an amazing job at taking us through that journey. I really enjoyed their performances and thought they were able to simultaneously bring a gravity and a levity to the story. Rounding out the cast is PJ Prudat as KC, Sam’s Aunt and the Little’s neighbour. I loved her role in their family and I though Prudat played her wonderfully. She had that wonderful aunt vibe that everyone needs in their life!

This remarkable play is only on until April 30th at the Aki Studio Theatre at Daniel Spectrum. It’s brilliant, funny, and reminds me of my teenage years for sure! For more information and tickets, visit:

Kole Durnford, Jason McDonald, Theresa Cutknife, Aren Okemaysim Photos By Kaytee Dalton


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