Arriving On Common Ground

After months of preparation, planning, emails and Skype calls,  Debajehmujig Storytellers finally arrived in Glasgow last week to begin the rehearsals for our Festival 2014 event, On Common Ground, a free, outdoor spectacle celebrating life in the Gorbals and First Nation traditions and customs.
Debajehmujig Storyteller Bruce Naokwegijig making an offering to the Clyde

Having travelled from their Canadian home, Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, the Debajehmujig Storytellers entered the Gorbals  by crossing the Clyde at dawn, 4.36am, on Tuesday 1 July. Around 30 of the 150 community cast who will be performing in On Common Ground met Debajehmujig at Broomielaw, accompanying them across the South Portland Street Suspension Bridge and through the Gorbals to the Gorbals Rose Garden where On Common Ground will be performed from 25 – 31 July. 

Debajehmujig Storytellers Josh, Joe and Bruce leading the Dawn Arrival over the suspension bridge. 

The Dawn Arrival is a traditional ceremony in the Debajehmujig Storytellers’ culture and included song, thanksgiving and offerings made to the river, as well as the chance for the participants and Storytellers to get to know each other over an early morning cup of coffee. As the early morning Scottish sun filled the Rose Garden with light and warmth, the performers got a first glimpse of how the public space will be transformed by the project.  
Debajehmujig Artistic Director Joe Osawabine in the Gorbals Rose Garden
Debajehmujig rounded off their first week in the city with a performance in a new temporary public space in the Alexander Thompson designed Caledonia Road Church, the first time the building had been open to the public since it closed its doors in 1962. Through Debajehmujig’s performance, the On Common Ground participants learned more about the culture, language, symbols, and history of Wikwemikong.
Josh, Jeannette and Jessica performing in Caledonian Road Church
With the On Common Ground performance dates drawing ever closer, rehearsals at the Citizens Theatre with Debajehmujig and the cast, orchestra and choir of On Common Ground have intensified, with every corner of the building being used to prepare costumes, sets, exhibits and props for the Citizens’ largest community project to date.  

View photo galleries of Dawn Arrival images and the performance in Caledonian Road Church.

Watch Dawn Arrival video

Visit the On Common Ground website for photos, videos, stories and information about the show.

The Citizens Theatre is looking for volunteer stewards to marshal the route from the Citizens to the Gorbals Rose Garden taken on foot by 300 audience members each performance evening.