About the Indigenous Theatre Collection
In the coming year, Theatre Alberta will work on a major project in our Library—the Indigenous Theatre Collection. Under the direction of Deborah Lee as Theatre Alberta’s Indigenous Theatre Collection Manager (Librarian), this project will engage an Indigenous Theatre Advisory Council with up to five artists from across the province to develop a new, separate “collection management policy” for Indigenous theatre materials in the Theatre Alberta Library. The new policy will guide the celebration, purchasing, cataloguing, and promotion of plays and theatre reference materials written by Indigenous playwrights, performers, and theatre artists.
The project will be led and managed by Indigenous information professionals and theatre artists who have broad community/cultural knowledge and authority to inspire participation and collaboration.
The Theatre Alberta Library is one of the only remaining independent/public theatre libraries in Canada. We feel it is important that we actively participate in national conversations and local consultations about decolonizing cataloguing*, as well as how we actively make space for past, present, and future manifestations of Indigenous storytelling practices. If the Theatre Alberta Library does not do this work in service of published and unpublished Indigenous theatre, some of these plays and other theatre materials may not benefit from the overall systemic changes to knowledge organization and information retrieval that Indigenous artists and Librarians across Canada are seeking to address.
*Canadian Federation of Library Associations’ Recommendation: Decolonize access and classification by addressing the structural biases in existing schemes of knowledge organization and information retrieval arising from colonialism by committing to integrate Indigenous epistemologies into cataloguing practice and knowledge management.
This project comprises the initial labour and consultation required to develop new policies for an Indigenous Theatre Collection in the Theatre Alberta Library. In the future, we also hope to develop a dedicated, accessible, and culturally significant physical and online space within the Library to responsibly steward Indigenous materials, and plans to celebrate and promote the Indigenous Theatre Collection provincially and nationally.
Indigenous Theatre Collection Manager Librarian
Deborah Lee is a Cree-Metis librarian, with ancestors and family originally from the Lac Ste. Anne / Onoway / St. Albert areas of what is known as Alberta. She obtained her B.A. and MLIS from the University of Alberta. She has previously worked as a librarian at the National Library of Canada / Library and Archives Canada and the University of Saskatchewan. Deborah is now pleased to be the Indigenous Theatre Library Collection Manager at Theatre Alberta. She has also been interested in Indigenous Theatre for many years, since being a Board Member of Big Sky Theatre in Edmonton in the late 90s, but has also connected with many Indigenous theatre people in Ottawa and Saskatoon.
You can contact Deborah at firstname.lastname@example.org
Theatre Alberta is grateful for the support of the Edmonton Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and Alberta Culture for the Indigenous Theatre Library Collection project, as well as to our Indigenous colleagues across Alberta who have supported and consulted on the project to date.