8th Annual YIPAP Festival: An Inspiring Return to Campus

June 27, 2023

May 3 and 4th, The Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program hosted its 8th Annual Young Native Playwrights Festival at the Yale Off Broadway Theater. This was the first festival  back on campus, after the 2021 and 2022 festivals had to be held virtually due to Covid restrictions.

This year, the festival hosted readings of two new full-length works: Yuchewahkenh by Vickie Ramirez (Tuscarora) and Uktena’s Shedding by Truman Pipestem (Eastern Band Cherokee/Osage/Otoe-Missouria). Truman Pipestem (Yale ’24) was the winner of this year’s Yale Young Native Playwrights Contest. An award ceremony was also held for the recipients of this year’s 3rd Annual Misty Upham Award for Young Native Actors, and the 8th Annual Young Native Playwrights Contest.

On May 3rd, the reading of  Uktena’s Shedding by Truman Pipestem was directed by YIPAP Executive Director Madeline Sayet (Mohegan), and featured performances by student actors: Nolan Arkansas (Eastern Band Cherokee), Mara Guiterrez (Diné), Kyra Kaya (Kanaka Maoli), Madeleine Hutchins (Mohegan), and professional guest artists: Allison Hicks (Prairie Band Potawatomi/ Choctaw), Matt Cross (Kiowa), Dawn Jamieson (Cayuga), and Joe Cross (Caddo).

On May 4th, the reading of Yuchewahkenh by Vickie Ramirez was directed by Daniel Leeman Smith (Choctaw), with performances by student actor Oscar Turner (Snuneymuxw/Hupacasath) and professional guest actors: Tanis Parenteau (Métis), Sophia Madrigal (Cahuilla Band), Dawn Jamieson (Cayuga), Matt Cross (Kiowa), Dylan Carusona (Oneida), and Raphael Massie.

Both readings were stage managed by Jennifer Bobiwash (Mississauga First Nation).

At the YIPAP Awards ceremony, Tanis Parenteau presented the Misty Upham Award for Young Native Actors to Sophia Madrigal, and the Special Youth Prize to Fiyero Barehand (Gila River/Navajo). Vickie Ramirez presented the Young Native Playwrights Award to Truman Pipestem.

“It was incredible to finally be back together on Yale campus for this festival after two years of virtual events,” commented YIPAP Executive Director Madeline Sayet. “Guest artists kept saying how happy they were to be able to be back on campus with us again, and we were so honored to have them be a part of these new projects. There were so many talented Native Yale students engaged as artists this year, which means great possibilities for future festivals. Audiences left invigorated and inspired by these new plays that brought distinctly different genres, cultures, and perspectives into conversation with the community.”

We will begin accepting submissions for the 2024 Yale Young Native Playwrights Contest and Acting Awards this Fall.