Shining Student Nikko Hunt has found her calling in drama performance at the University of Lethbridge. Drawing inspiration from stories and her Blackfoot culture, Nikko recently made her Mainstage debut with Yisstsiiyi. As she keeps on with her education, Nikko's love of theatre continues to be fostered by her professors, instructors and peers.

My love for the stage and the creation process has grown immensely, and want to experience and work in the theatre on all fronts; be it acting, playwriting, designing, or whatever aspect of theatre I can work in.

Meet Nikko. Deviser. Performer. Dreamer.
Program: Bachelor of Fine Arts - Dramatic Arts | Major: Performance

Why did you choose to pursue fine arts at ULethbridge?

Coming out of high school, I knew I wanted to study theatre and performance. I had a lot of people suggest the University of Lethbridge for my endeavours, and assured me that there was Indigenous student support. Later, I ended up talking to a representative of ULethbridge at a post-secondary school fair, and they mentioned a lot about the productions that had been done by the school; I left that fair feeling excited about potentially being a part of those shows, and learning the ins and outs of the theatre. When it came time to pick which institution I would attend, Lethbridge just felt right.

What inspires your artistic/musical practice?

Being a part of the Faculty of Fine Arts, I am constantly surrounded by sources of inspiration.

Watching another artist excel at their craft always has a way of sparking a passion within me and my own practice. When I am devising or in the process of writing a piece I find a lot of inspiration also comes from my culture as a half-Blackfoot woman, as well as in listening to music and the stories of the people around me.

Honestly, I think it is a real blessing to be around such artistic and amazing people that can inspire each other.

Did you know what you wanted to study before you came to ULethbridge? Has your academic plan changed since you began your studies?

Originally, I came to the University with the intent of getting my BFA in Dramatic Arts in performance, and then getting an education after-degree in hopes of eventually teaching drama. Since entering my second year in the program, my plans have not necessarily changed, though they have expanded.

My love for the stage and the creation process has grown immensely, and I want to experience and work in the theatre on all fronts; be it acting, playwriting, designing, or whatever aspect of theatre I can work in.

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience?

So far my most memorable experience at ULethbridge has probably been getting the opportunity to work on the show, Yisstsiiyi, which was the first Indigenous-led Mainstage production at the University. This was a collaboration with the theatre organization Making Treaty 7, which was an amazing opportunity. That experience was truly remarkable for me, and I felt that I learned so much in the process.

Yisstsiiyi production a historic first for the University of Lethbridge
Marshall Vielle (BFA - Dramatic Arts ’17) is making history on the University of Lethbridge Mainstage. Marshall, along with fellow Making Treaty 7 members Caleigh Crow and Neil Fleming, are bringing the institution’s first Indigenous-led and created production to the stage.

How have your professors or instructors impacted your education?

Although I am only in my second year here at the University, in that small amount of time I feel that my professors have contributed a lot to my growth as a performer and theatre artist. They have never failed to provide me with many opportunities and genuine feedback that will help me to improve. My professors have also always succeeded in creating a very inclusive space where people feel safe to be themselves.

Have you received any scholarships and awards?

I have received a couple of scholarships in my time at the University. One of the most recent scholarships I have received is the George Ryga Memorial Scholarship, which has been very helpful. I am very grateful to have the extra support from the scholarships I have received, as they have allowed me to be able to focus on my studies more and worry about my finances less.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?

In the future I hope to gain experience in professional theatre and perform in and create productions for people of all walks of life to enjoy. I also hope to teach, as well as develop performance and art workshops for my nation, Siksika, and other communities that don’t have as many opportunities to explore their creative talents.

What advice would you like to give those about to begin their journey at ULethbridge?

Try to always keep yourself inspired and motivated. Life will get busy, and it can be easy to forget why you’re doing what you’re doing, but as long as you keep that end goal in sight and stay inspired, you will find the motivation to get through it. Also be gentle with yourself, we are all on our own journeys, and make plenty of mistakes along the way.

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