“A Day In The Life” With First Nations Artist Joelle Peters

Joelle Peters is Anishinaabe and Miami. She lives in Toronto but heads home to Walpole Island First Nation a lot. Family is important to Joelle.

She acts, writes, and is unassumingly hilarious. Sometimes she is funny and you wonder to yourself if she knows she is being funny or if she is pulling one over on you. She’s kind of a grandpa like that.

Sometimes Joelle writes in the funeral parlour without realizing the inherent creepiness of it. (True story) Joelle is generous and she works hard. She loves theatre and engages in it in a way that you can tell she loves it. She has probably attended more zoom theatre presentations than anyone this past year. As a performer Joelle is unselfish, listens to her scene partner and takes better blocking notes than the stage manager. As a writer Joelle is genuine and has an original and authentic storytelling voice. This year Tara Beagan selected Joelle as her protégé for the Siminovitch Prize. So it looks like the secret is out and people are figuring out just how talented and amazing this woman is. I am proud to work with her and can’t wait to see what she does next.

-Written by Falen Johnson

Joelle Peters
Boozhoo I’m Joelle! I always try to support Indigenous artists: mask by Scarlett J Designs (https://scarlettjdesigns.com/), t-shirt by The NTVS (https://www.thentvs.com/shop)
Joelle Peters
As the weather continues to get warmer and the days get sunnier, I’m really looking forward to getting to spend more time outside. Last year I bought my first bike from someone in a local buy/sell group on Facebook and set out to explore the neighbourhood. This was a shot from an afternoon at Riverdale Park.
Joelle Peters
Takeout from Lady Marmalade – check them out if you’re in the area. Pre-Covid, there were line-ups out the door waiting for a table for brunch…those were the days.
Joelle Peters
An artist at work. I was probably reading a script or a very important email. Or watching Netflix. It’s all part of the process.
Okay, here’s an artist at work. This was during a shoot for In Her City directed by Carl Bessai back in February 2020. This was a fun project because all the actors had a hand in co-writing their scenes. In Her City had its world premiere at the Whistler Film Festival in December 2020.
Joelle Peters
I’ve been working on a play called Niish for a couple years now. I’m currently part of Native Earth Performing Arts’ Animikiig Creator’s Unit and will be presenting an excerpt from my play in their work-in-development festival this fall!
I have the luxury of being able to work AND sleep in the same place. This is typically my set-up for virtual meetings, recordings, and writing. The bed desk is a new and very welcome addition. They always said an artist’s life was glamorous but I never knew it would be this glamorous..
Joelle Peters
“Was it the most glorious or the most monstrous moment when Jay met his creative spirit?” – Herakut

Which ‘hood are you in?

I’m not sure if I’m technically in Leslieville, Riverside, or Riverdale…my roommate has always said we’re in between. Either way, I really like this pocket of the city. For a while I was subletting/cat-sitting at different places across the city and then I found myself starting to gravitate toward places in the east end. There are a few casting studios not too far from me (as an actor that’s a plus), and having grown up on an island, it’s comforting to know we’re fairly close to the water. The area has transformed quite a bit over the past couple years and as we all know more changes are on the way, but I still generally feel safe which is important for me as a young Indigenous woman.

What do you do?

Most artists wear a lot of different hats. I’m an actor and playwright, and I also work in box office and front of house. I’ve worked as a casting assistant, outside eye, a server (though this dream was short lived) and in the future I’d like to continue expanding my skillset and explore directing & dramaturgy.

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing a coming-of-age play called Niish. It’s a comedy set on a reserve in Southwestern Ontario, it’s currently in development through Native Earth’s Animikiig Creator’s Unit and has been commissioned by the Blyth Festival.

Where can we find your work?

I’m one of the artists in Embodying Power and Place, a digital experience curated by New Harlem Productions and produced by Native Earth Performing Arts and Nightwood Theatre. There are 12 audio-visual works that seek to honour the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, Trans, and Two-Spirit people, written and performed by some really incredible and admirable Indigenous artists (including a piece written by Falen Johnson, who also wrote my bio here). I feel really honoured to have been part of this project. You can find more information here: https://www.embodyingpowerandplace.com/  . I tend to use Instagram to share upcoming work or projects I’m involved in!

Follow me: @joellepeters.jpg