About Yolanda Bonnell

Headshot of Yolanda Bonnell who is wearing a light blue robe and a blue and white marbled strapless bikini top

Yolanda Bonnell(She/They) is a Bi/Pan/Queer 2 Spirit Ojibwe, South Asian mixed (Scottish & English) storyteller. Originally from Fort William First Nation Indian Reservation 52 in Thunder Bay, Ontario (Superior Robinson Treaty territory), her arts practice is now based in Tkarón:to. She is a proud citizen of the Anishinaabeg Nation.

In Anishinaabe culture, it used to be that one's roles and responsibilities were the identifiers within a community. Yolanda’s role as a storyteller covers the many aspects of their artistic practice (performer, creator, facilitator, space-holder, producer, director) and they consider this role as a way to maintain sovereignty over their work. Their storytelling is a form of Indigenous governance. 

She is Co-artistic leader of manidoons collective, that she runs with Michif (Métis) artist, Cole Alvis. manidoons collective was formed in 2016 as a producing circle of Indigenous artists who are continuously working to implement Indigenous methodologies, which include practices of care and disability justice into theatre spaces.

In February 2020, Yolanda’s four-time Dora nominated solo show bug was remounted at Theatre Passe Muraille while the published book was shortlisted for a Governor General Literary Award. manidoons collective’s request to the media to only hire racialized reviewers - particularly Indigenous women to the 2020 production of bug, gained a wide amount of attention and backlash. Many articles and interviews were released - in support and opposed to the call. Yolanda and manidoons stand by their decision and continue to work with institutions and the media in hopes that they will hire more Indigenous journalists and reviewers. 

In 2020, Yolanda was the Indigenous artist recipient of the Jayu Arts for Human Rights Award for her work. She has facilitated and led creation/storytelling and acting workshops for The Center Stage Conservatory at The Rose, Musical Stage Company and high schools across the GTA through Studio 180. She has also facilitated at schools like York University and has been part time faculty at Sheridan College.

Yolanda continues to deepen the foundation of their practice being in land-based creation, which they have only been able to do from working with artists like Guna and Rappahannock storyteller, Monique Mojica and Algonquin Anishinaabe dramaturg, Dr. Lindsay Lachance. They proudly learn from and work with the land as much as possible, drawing on energy and inspiration from the earth and their ancestors.

Recently, Yolanda has started an online store for her beadwork and crafts called Animikiig Designs (https://ko-fi.com/animikii_designs) and has just written her first YA novel.

See My CV

The Eighth Fire of Yolanda Bonnell

By Nea Matty

Regent Street TV

What happened when manidoons collective made a request to only have BIPOC critics review their play?

By Haroon Khalid

News & Blog Articles

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