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Drama Canadian

Gabriel Dumont's Wild West Show

by (author) Jean Marc Dalpé, David Granger, Laura Lussier, Alexis Martin, Andrea Menard, Yvette Nolan, Gilles Poulin-Denis, Paula-Jean Prudat, Mansel Robinson & Kenneth T. Williams

Initial publish date
May 2021
Canadian, Indigenous Studies, Pre-Confederation (to 1867), General
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    Publish Date
    May 2021
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Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show is a flamboyant epic, constructed as a series of tableaux, about the struggles of the Métis in the Canadian West. It is a multilayered and entertaining saga with a rodeo vibe, loosely based on Buffalo Bill’s legendary outdoor travelling show. In 1885, following the hanging of his friend Louis Riel, bison hunter Gabriel Dumont fled to the United States. There he was recruited by the legendary Buffalo Bill, founder of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, a gigantic outdoor travelling show that re-enacted life in the American West. It made a huge impression on Dumont, and he dreamed of putting together a similar show to tell the story of the struggle of Canada’s Métis to reclaim their rights.

The creative team behind Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show – including ten authors, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, French- and English-speaking men and women – brings Dumont’s dream to life in a captivating, joyously anachronistic saga. The theatrical version of Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show presented by the National Arts Centre was one of a number of exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter initiative. (Adapted from

About the authors

Jean Marc Dalpé
The tight and chiselled language of Jean Marc Dalpé allows those to speak who otherwise cannot. With simple words and powerful means, he breathes life into complex characters. His dramatic structures are relentless mechanisms born of the very texture of the universes he invents. In his theatre there is no judgment; only compassion.

Actor, poet and playwright, Jean-Marc Dalpé has twice been the recipient of a Governor General’s Award, for his plays Le Chien and Il n’y a que l’amour.

Linda Gaboriau
Linda Gaboriau is an award-winning literary translator based in Montreal. Her translations of plays by Quebec’s most prominent playwrights have been published and ­produced across Canada and abroad. In her work as a ­literary manager and dramaturge, she has directed ­numerous translation residencies and international exchange projects. She was the founding director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. Most recently she won the 2010 Governor General’s Award for Forests, her translation of the play by Wajdi Mouawad.

Jean Marc Dalpé's profile page

Active in the Saskatoon theatre community for the past decade, David Granger studied set design at the Université du Québec à Montréal, then expanded his skill set to include lighting design, acting, and most recently writing and directing, with Shadows of a Dancing Moon. He designed the sets and lighting for Gilles Poulin‑Denis’ play Rearview and the sets for Madeleine Blais‑Dahlem’s La Maculée. A longtime associate of La Troupe du Jour and a sessional lecturer in drama at the University of Saskatchewan, he has worked for numerous theatre events and companies, including Zones Théâtrales, Persephone Theatre, and the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan festival. David Granger lives in Saskatchewan.

David Granger's profile page

Bilingual and multitalented, Laura Lussier has worked as an actor, director, producer, writer, theatre workshop facilitator, and TV personality. Trained as an actor, she has appeared in over thirty productions, then later branched out into directing in 2009. For the Théâtre Cercle Molière, she directed the world premiere of Rébecca Déraspe’s Plus (+) que toi and Danielle Séguin‑Tétreault’s Et que ça saute!Since 2011, this energetic artist has also been involved in children’s theatre, as the founding artistic director of Théâtre p’tits bouts d’choux.Talonbooks published her co-written play Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show in 2021.

Laura Lussier's profile page

Alexis Martin’s list of accomplishments is impressive. A graduate of the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Montréal, he has appeared in more than 40 stage plays and several movies and TV series, including Les Boys, Beaux Malaises, and Les Parent, and worked with such outstanding directors as Robert Lepage, Pierre Falardeau, Luc Picard and Denis Villeneuve. Co‑artistic director (with Daniel Brière) of Montreal’s Nouveau Théâtre Expérimental since 1999, this compelling and disciplined artist is the author most recently of the trilogy L’histoire révélée du Canada français, 1608 à 1998 (whose first instalment, Invention du chauffage central en Nouvelle-France, was presented at the NAC in 2012), Animaux, Sounjata, and EXTRAMOYEN, splendeur et misère de la classe moyenne.

Alexis Martin's profile page

Andrea Menard is a singer–songwriter, writer and actor. A passionate advocate for reconciliation and unity among nations, she conveys the richness of her Métis culture through her live performances, recordings and television appearances. She has released four award-winning albums: The Velvet Devil, Simple Steps, Sparkle and Lift. Her one-woman show The Velvet Devil, which toured across Canada, was adapted for TV in 2006 and earned Andrea a Gemini nomination for her performance. Unreservedly engaged with the world, she has expressed her ideals in song to royalty, prime ministers, ambassadors and governors general.

Andrea Menard's profile page

Yvette Nolan is a playwright, dramaturge, and director. In 1996, she was the Aboriginal Writer-in-Residence at Brandon University, where she wrote the first draft of Annie Mae’s Movement. Her other plays include BLADE, Job’s Wife, Video, the libretto Hilda Blake, and the radio play Owen. She is also the editor of Beyond the Pale: Dramatic Writing from First Nations Writers and Writers of Colour and co-editor of Refractions: Solo and Refractions: Scenes. She was the president of Playwrights Union of Canada from 1998–2001, and of Playwrights Canada Press from 2003–2005. Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to an Algonquin mother and an Irish immigrant father, raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, she lived in the Yukon and Nova Scotia before moving to Toronto.

Yvette Nolan's profile page

Originally from Saskatchewan, Gilles Poulin‑Denis is a writer, translator, director and actor. He is a graduate of the acting program at UQAM’s École supérieure de théâtre. His first play, Rearview, premiered in 2009 by La Troupe du Jour (Saskatoon), was a hit at Zones Théâtrales 2009 and on tour. It was published by Dramaturges Éditeurs, won the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, and was staged in English and French across Canada and in Belgium. His second play, Statu quo, was workshopped at Zones Théâtrales 2011 and presented by NAC French Theatre as part of its series for young audiences, and toured across Canada.As NAC French Theatre’s playwright in residence from 2008 to 2011, under the artistic directorship of Wajdi Mouawad, Gilles developed his third play, Dehors, which was given staged readings at, among other events, the Festival du Jamais Lu (Montreal), the Carrefour international de Québec, Dramaturgie en Dialogue and most recently during Zones Théâtrales 2015. The production was part of the 2016-2017 programming of Théâtre Cercle Molière, Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui and NAC French Theatre. In 2015, he presented his fourth play, Straight Jacket Winter, a text written with Esther Duquette presented at the Carrefour international de theatre and NAC French French Theatre among others. Gilles participated in the development of Après la peur by Armel Roussel / (e)Utopia3 (Brussels), coproduced by the Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui (Montreal) and Les Tanneurs. He is a founding member of the theatre collective Les petites cellules chaudes, with which he cocreated the iShow, presented at Zones 2013.He is one of nine playwrights with Jean Marc Dalpé, Alexis Martin and Yvette Nolan that developed Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show, a NAC French Theatre coproduction about the Métis struggle in Western Canada, which was presented at the NAC in October 2017. His latest, Ce qu’on attend de moi, developed with Philippe Cyr, was presented at Théâtre Aux Écuries, Usine C, Théâtre la Seizième and Théâtre français du CAN.Gilles is currently based in Vancouver, where he is the artistic director and cofounder of Productions 2PAR4. He is the new Artistic Director of Zones Théâtrales.

Gilles Poulin-Denis' profile page

PJ Prudat was born in a fierce snowstorm in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory. She is a proud Half-Breed of Cree, Saulteaux, Scandinavian, French and Métis Nation (ancestral to Batoche and Red River) blood. She is a playwright, poet and writer of stories. Indigenous people and stories of this land incite her as an artist. She was Playwright in Rez at Native Earth Performing Arts (2013/14 ), a playwright with Factory Theatre’s NRCG writer’s unit (2015) and a recipient of a Shaw Festival 2017 Christopher Newton Award for playwrighting.She has been a company actor for both the National Arts Centre’s English Theatre Ensemble (2015/16) and the Shaw Festival Theatre (2017). Theatre and Storytelling has gifted PJ the invaluable experience of performing and writing in sacred and vast-reaching communities across the nation. PJ is a recipient of the 2017 REVEAL Indigenous Art Award and a finalist for both the K.M. Hunter Award and the Cayle Chernin Award.

Paula-Jean Prudat's profile page

Mansel Robinson’s plays have been produced across the country and include Colonial Tongues, Collateral Damage, The Heart As It Lived, Downsizing Democracy, Spitting Slag, Ghost Trains, and Street Wheat. Scorched Ice, a cold–war drama, was recently produced by Last Exit Theatre in Saskatoon. He has been nominated twice for Saskatchewan Book of the Year and is winner of the John V. Hicks Award and Geist Magazine&3146;s Award for Distance Writing. Robinson has been writer–in–residence at the Pierre Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon; Northern Light Theatre in Edmonton; at the University of Windsor; and at the Regina Public Library in 2005/06. Current projects include Bite the Hand, which was presented as a staged reading at the Saskatchewan Playwrights’ Centre’s 2005 Spring Festival of New Plays. He is also working on a satire about gangsters and academia. Originally from Chapleau, Northern Ontario, Robinson is based in Saskatoon.

Mansel Robinson's profile page

Kenneth T. Williams is a Cree playwright, filmmaker and journalist from the George Gordon First Nation. His plays CafŽ Daughter, Thunderstick (Scirocco 2010), Bannock Republic (Scirocco 2011), Suicide Notes and Three Little Birds have been professionally produced across Canada. Gordon Winter had its world premiere in Saskatoon in 2010 as the opening play for Persephone TheatreÕs Deep End series. It then went on to further acclaim in May, 2012 when it was presented again at OttawaÕs Arts Court Theatre as part of the National Arts CentreÕs Prairie Scene festival. Thunderstick has recently been optioned as feature film project. In 2011, Gordon Winter was nominated for a Saskatoon and Area Theatre Award for outstanding playwriting and CafŽ Daughter won Bob Couchman Theatre Awards for outstanding production, direction and female performance in Whitehorse. HeÕs working on a new play, Deserters, which was presented at the 2011 Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival. He blogs about his playwriting adventures on his website He also teaches playwriting at the University of Saskatchewan. As well as writing plays, Kenneth has edited three series for television. He is the first Aboriginal writer to earn an M.F.A. in playwriting from the University of Alberta. He resides in Saskatoon.

Kenneth T. Williams' profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Really excellent. I laughed till I cried!”—Marilou Lamontagne, ICI Radio-Canada Ottawa-Gatineau


“[A] play that pleases, puzzles, and provokes, in a form that keeps shifting wildly from one moment to the next like a bucking bronco.”—J. Kelly Nestruck, Globe and Mail


“If Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show is so successful, while being funny and sad at the same time, it’s because the creative team did its research and listened to the communities involved in the rehabilitating of the figure of Gabriel Dumont. What takes shape here is a wave of madness and a rewriting of our national narrative.”—Maud Cucchi, JEU Revue de théâtre


Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show is a crazed, fast-paced Métis 101 history lesson, in which acidity and humour deliver the story.”—Martin Vanasse, Radio-Canada


“Full of life, even hectic, filled with surprises, colours, humour, and an agenda that can only be endorsed.”—Marie-Claire Girard, HuffPost Québec


“[A] seamlessly cohesive narrative ... a zany form ... a phantasmagorical piece of pure entertainment ... a delirious blend of historical drama, musical, burlesque cabaret, hockey night, and TV quiz!”—Pierre-Alexandre Buisson, Bible urbaine


“Entertaining and informative, with a self-critical and self-deprecating humour, this gigantic historical fresco enters like a buffalo stampede and provides a breath of fresh air.”—Yanik Comeau, Théâtralités


“Between bursts of laughter (of the uneasy sort at times) and moments of lively emotion, Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show takes [us] on a journey up hill and down dale through the history of the Métis Resistances and tells an oft-forgotten part of our collective history.”—Valérie Lessard, Le Droit


“if we’re the wound, maybe Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show is the iodine.”—Cam Fuller, Saskatoon StarPhoenix


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