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About The Festival

The Royal Theatre Thousand Islands in Gananoque, Ontario, hosts the annual First Peoples’ Performing Arts Festival of the Thousand Islands, produced by King Street Productions, the Royal’s not-for-profit in-house presentation wing. This event is designed to create greater awareness of Canada’s First Nations in Eastern Ontario, particularly in the Thousand Islands Region.

Water Walk September 27th, 2020

(Paul Robertson)

First Peoples' Performing Arts Festival 2020 Water Walk

Water Walk September 27th, 2020

(Paul Robertson)

The Festival has been created by Kevin John Saylor MSM, a Mohawk from Kahnawake, who owns the Royal Theatre, in the heart of Gananoque, on King Street. Along with a dedicated committee of volunteers, Saylor recognized a need for Indigenous celebration, education, reconciliation and healing in this region.

Gananoque is a community steeped in Colonialism, like so many others that have very little recognition of the First Peoples who lived on these lands and along the shores of the Saint Lawrence for many thousands of years before the Europeans claimed sole ownership of property that the Native Ancestors once tried to share. It is significant that in a town with an Iroquoian name, there are no monuments to the First Peoples who lived here for countless generations, but many plaques, murals and signs that document the relatively short history of European settlement. The First Peoples’ Performing Arts Festival of the Thousand Islands will become a living monument to our region’s and, indeed, our country’s Indigenous Culture, and it will accomplish this through an inclusive celebration of the true Ancestors of these lands, through the Performing Arts.

The 7th Annual First Peoples' Performing Arts Festival of the Thousand Islands
September 29th to October 1st

We're back in 2023 featuring more indigenous artists and performers from the local area, and across Canada. This year's theme is "Building Bridges".


Modern and traditional arts join together this year, showcasing the past and future of indigenous cultures.

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A’nó:wara Dance Theatre


Beany John

Featured Performers:

Beany John

Admission Free to All Events and Performances!

Friday, September 29th


A’nó:wara Dance Theatre - Dances From Turtle Island - 7:30 PM

Saturday, September 30th


Reconciliation Walk - 11:00 AM


Mother Daughter Connection - 2:00 PM


Shimmering Water Singers - 3:15 PM


Stories From Turtle Island - 4:45 PM


Bones of Crows, Presented by Brittany Leborgne - 7:00 PM


Jakean, Featuring Years to Burn - 10:00 PM

Sunday, October 1st

Making and Dancing Hoops with Beany John - 12:00 PM

Registration for participation in the workshop required and available in the morning. Limited to 20 people.


The Earth Cries Out - 5:00 PM


Friendship Feast and Closing Ceremony - 6:00 PM

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