Convocation spotlight: Tai Grauman (Department of Drama)

Jyllian Park - 5 June 2023

If all the world’s a stage, then Tai Grauman is far from merely a player. The acclaimed actor, director, producer and playwright has made a name for herself as an Indigenous theatre professional who is making creative waves.

Not seeing enough of her own experiences represented in the arts, nor those of the Callihoo women who have come before her, Grauman took it upon herself to create a stage for people who deserved time in the spotlight. 

“By the end of my MFA, both my professional and educational experience led me to where I am now, which is creating stories about Métis women's histories,” says Grauman, who is also the the first Indigenous woman to receive an MFA from the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. 

After touring her show You used to call me Marie... to Metis communities across Alberta and Saskatchewan in the summer of 2022, Grauman returned to her studies and began writing her masters of fine arts thesis, which was heavily shaped by her time spent in such  communities. 

Grauman’s research-creation thesis, Marie’s Love Stories at Lii Taab — for which she received multiple academic awards including a Canada Graduate SSHRC Master’s scholarship — focused on how to use Métis story-weaving to develop a method to more effectively tell stories through a Métis feminist lens. 

“My experience through my MFA solidified a lot of the things I had learned from working, as well as what I learned directly from my teachers, who encouraged me to come up with my own ideas about what I want my work to be as well as who I want to be,” says Grauman. 

Throughout the two and a half years of her MFA, Grauman continued to work and create as a theatre artist, producing and performing plays as part of her research as well as maintaining her position as a leader in the theatre community. 

She held lead roles in two Edmonton Citadel theatre productions, co-directed three professional shows, developed scripts for professional productions, MC’ed events for Métis organizations and completed one curation project and four artistic residencies.

When asked about how she managed to work, create and juggle her responsibilities as an academic, Grauman once again referenced her community as an inspiration: 

“I have a really great support system, and without my family and friends, I could not have done it.”

She continues:

“I have had to slow down as a result of how intense the two years of my master's were, but now I feel like a whole different person from what I learned in that time.”

Don’t expect that slowdown to last long. This coming spring, You used to call me Marie... is touring the Cultch in Vancouver and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.


The 2023 Arts convocation ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 7 at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. See here for more information.