ELLE THONI is a playwright, performance-maker, and public artist returning to relationship in a time of Great Unraveling.
Honoring the tradition of performance as vessel for myth, Elle’s performance works investigate how our sense of belonging, identity, and loss are changing with our climate. Their plays are odes to emergent ecologies, wherein humans are but one of the actors in a much larger drama. Elle draws from a divergent background in ensemble-devised performance, poetry, puppet & mask, and documentary theatre to create pieces that are as dynamic as the living systems they are inspired by.
Elle collaborates in the U.S. and internationally, most frequently in the connected Great Lakes and St Lawrence watersheds. From 2013-2015, they apprenticed with playwright Annabel Soutar of Porte Parole Productions (Tiotia:ke – Montréal, Québec) to help develop two freshwater-themed projects for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. This year, Elle is launching their production company WILD CONSPIRACY to honor the ensemble nature of their work.
In their artistic home of Mni Sota Makoce – Minneapolis, MN, Elle has developed / presented work with Bedlam Theatre, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, Open Flame Theatre, Other Tiger Productions, Nautilus Music-Theater, Northern Lights.mn, Raw Sugar, Teatro del Pueblo, and Theatre Unbound, among others. Their work has been funded by the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.
Elle’s work would not be possible without the collaboration of many humans, more than human kin, place, ancestors, and spirits. Elle uplifts these creators with thunderous gratitude.
“I am a Anglo-Norse Settler queer femmebeast born three blocks from the Mississippi River, on Dakota Land. Coming of age, the river taught me about the inherent fluidity of existence. It has influenced everything from my how I view my identity to how I approach a sense of time in narrative. I have ancestors who were timber prospectors on that same river, who spent their lives using it as a conduit for the deforestation of so-called Minnesota. I see my work in this lifetime as healing that legacy by working in solidarity with other culture makers towards a just, rewilded future.”