Jill Carter

Assistant Professor (Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies; Transitional Year Programme & Indigenous Studies)



As a researcher and theatre-worker, Jill Carter (Anishinaabe/Ashkenazi) works in Tkaron:to with many Indigenous artists to support the development of new works and to disseminate artistic objectives, process, and outcomes through community-driven research projects. Her scholarly research, creative projects, and activism are built upon ongoing relationships with Indigenous Elders, scholars, youth, artists and activists positioning her as witness to, participant in, and disseminator of oral histories that speak to the application of Indigenous aesthetic principles and traditional knowledge systems to contemporary performance.    
The research questions she pursues revolve around the mechanics of story creation, the processes of delivery and the manufacture of affect. More recently, she has concentrated upon Indigenous pedagogical models for the rehearsal studio and the lecture hall; the application of Indigenous [insurgent] research methods within performance studies; the politics of land acknowledgements; and land-based dramaturgies/activations/interventions.

Apart from her teaching, theatre work and academic writing, Jill works as a researcher and tour guide with First Story Toronto (http://ncct.on.ca/first-story-toronto-app-bus-tour/); facilitates Land Acknowledgement and Land-Based Creation workshops for theatre makers in this city;  co-facilitates Treaty and Art-Making workshops with Kanien'kehá:ka multi-disciplinary artist Ange Loft; serves on the editorial board of Theatre Survey; and serves the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR) as Equity Officer. 

In 2020, Jill was awarded an Early Career Teaching Award from the University of Toronto and was nominated for an Ontario Arts Council Indigenous Arts Award. In 2021, her article “’My What Big Teeth You Have!’: On the Art of Being Seen and Not Eaten received Honorable Mention for the 2021 Richard Plant Award (CATR).

Some Recent publications include:

“Addressing Neptune, Welcoming Redress.” Canadian Performance Documents and Debates: A Sourcebook. Eds. Allana Lindgren, Anthony Vickery, and Glen Nichols. University of Alberta Press. (Forthcoming 2022)

“You are Here: Charting a Personal Cosmography through Waterways, Bloodlines, and Constellations.” The Routledge Companion to Applied Performance. Ed. Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta. Routledge. (Forthcoming 2021)

“A Moment of Reckoning, an Activation of Refusal, A Project of Reworlding.” Canadian Theatre Review. (186): Spring, 2021. 13-17.

“Indigenous Rage Incarnate: Irreconcilable Spaces and Indigestible Bodies.” Women in Popular Culture in Canada. Ed. Laine Zisman Newman. Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2020. 224-238.

“’My! What Big Teeth You Have!’: On the Art of Being Seen and Not Eaten.” Canadian Theatre Review. (182): Spring 2020. 16-21.

“Research and (Re)Conciliation: Imagining Eighth Fire Scholarship in Action.” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/ Revue Canadienne de Litérature Comparée (Special Issue: Truth and Reconciliation Practices in a Comparative Perspective). 550-568.

“Calling Out at the ‘Edge of the Woods’: The Protocol as Perlocutionary Event.” Alt. Theatre: Cultural Diversity and the Stage. (15.1) 11-17.

“Master Class: Retreating to / Re-treating from ‘Irreconcilable Space’: Canadian Theatre Workers and the Project of Conciliation.” The Directors Lab: Techniques, Methods, and Conversations about All Things Theatre. Ed. Evan Tsitsias. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2019. 185-201.

“’It’s About Becoming’: Indigenating Research Practice at the CDTPS.” Theatre Researching Canada – Forum. (39.2): Fall 2018. 242-251.

Current Projects

  1. Jill is excited to continue her collaboration with Professor Antje Budde (PI) and Antje’s DDL2 Team on Storying the 94, a series of site-specific performance-interventions devised and performed by members of Native Performance Culture and the Rhythm of (Re) Conciliation: Remembering Ourselves in Deep Time. The first of these interventions, for which Jill serves as co-devisor, director, and dramaturg is supported by Hart House and the Centre for Indigenous Studies. It scheduled for the 2021 fall Equinox and will be livestreamed.

  2. Professor Julie Burelle (UC San Diego) and Jill Carter are co-editing a thematic issue of Percées - Explorations en arts vivants slated for 2022 on the topic of Indigenous theatre and performance: rules of engagement. With this issue, we have assembled a wide array of contributions from and/or about Indigenous theatre-makers/scholars working across Turtle Island, that speak to the necessary project of shifting and reworking the protocols of engagement within colonially-run cultural institutions if they are to ever become safe spaces for Indigenous and BPOC artists and the communities for whom they do their work.

  3. In 2020, Jill collaborated with Antje Budde and the DDL2 Team to create a series of short films for a larger multi-media online web performance entitled “Rattling the Curve - Paradoxical ECODATA performances of A/I and facial recognitions of humans and trees.” This year, we continue to build this project, as we work towards Minding Niimi/ Imagination/Imaging: Digital Theatre in the Round presented by Be-coming Tree on 18 September 2021. 

  4. This year, Jill will continue her work with Professors Susan Hill and Jon Johnson within “Activating, Actioning, Archiving: Tkaronto Urban Restor(y)ation Facilitating Indigenous Student Recruitment & Retention.” This project is funded by the Access Programs University Fund (APUF) through the Division of the Vice-Provost & President. Through the project, we provide workshops and paid training for Indigenous youth (U of T students and community members) in devising and leading First Story, Indigenous History Tours (in person and virtual) on the three University of Toronto Campuses and within the GTA. As part of this project, Jill also directed and co-authored Encounters at the ‘Edge of the Woods,’ which opened Hart House Theatre’s centenary season (September 2019). Rooted in the land on which we live and work (Tkaronto) and in the storyweaving methodologies of Sto:Lo scholar/author Lee Maracle and Guna- Rappahannock writer/director/performer Muriel Miguel (Spiderwoman Theater) this production locates performers and witnesses within the fraught history of Indigenous-settler encounters on Indigenous homelands, situating all as Treaty people (with inherited responsibilities to the lands upon which we live and work and to the original peoples who continue to steward these biotas that sustain us all). https://harthouse.ca/theatre/show/encounters-at-the-edge-of-the-woods.

  5. Jill is currently editing a collection of essays by the creative team for Encounters at the ‘Edge of the Woods, which will accompany the play-text. This volume is slated for publication fall 2023 by Playwrights Canada Press.
  6. Jill is also honored to collaborate with the team of Polishing the Chain. Within this project, Jill will join Kanien'kehá:ka multi-disciplinary artist Ange Loft, playwright/scholar Victoria Freeman, filmmaker/scholar Martha Stiegman as they  consult extensively with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and organizations in Tkaronto and work to create a Treaty Guide for Torontonians and to devise multiple activations and workshops for the Toronto Biennial Bus.
  7. 2021-2022, Jill continues her duties as convenor of Native Performance Culture and The Rhythm of Re Conciliation: Re-membering Ourselves in Deep Time—an academic working group, which has received much support from the Jackman Humanities Institute for the past five years.
  8. In 2018, Jill joined the research team of Gatherings--Archival and Oral Histories of Canadian Performance. This is an exciting three-year research initiative led by Professor Stephen Johnson. As a co-investigator within this project, Jill hopes to increase Indigenous presence in the repository of oral histories and to aid in the establishment of a research model (based in Indigenous research methods) for performance scholars and/or oral historians who work with Indigenous artists and their communities. 


PhD, University of Toronto
MA, University of Toronto
BA, University of Toronto