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Main Studio (Larry E. Lewis Studio)

Larry E. Lewis was an actor, director and writer well loved and respected in the Native theatre community.  In the early 1980's Larry was invited by a dear friend Shirley Checchoo to come to Manitoulin Island to workshop a new piece that she and Filly Merasty were writing.  From that time on Larry fell in love with the people on the Island and found his true calling to De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre Group and a place to call home.

Larry began acting professionally in 1970.  Before long he had a leading role in the CBC television special God's Sparrows, landed several episodes of Littlest Hobo, and proudly worked along side Margot Kidder in a feature film called Louisiana.

Deciding to pursue a career as a theatre director, he completed a Masters Degree at York University.  With great energy and conviction, he played a major role in bringing the Tomson Highway plays The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing to great heights, and giving Native Theatre a strong presence in Canadian Theatre.  Many artists today will acknowledge Larry as being a most significant mentor in their lives, including Drew Hayden Taylor, Herbie Barnes, and Joe Osawabine.

While Artistic Director at De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre Group Larry brought the first professional full-length Ojibway language play to the stage and to audiences.  Lupi-The Great White Wolf by Esther Jacko was a landmark production that toured Canada and eventually made its way to New York City to the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  Several of the actors in this production have since become key artistic leaders in the company and in Canadian Theatre.

Larry believed in young people and he believed in the company.  In recognition of his commitment and contribution to Native Theatre he was presented with an Eagle Feather on the 10th Anniversary of De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre Group.  His untimely death on June 7th 1995 at the young age of 41 was profoundly moving.  To show their final respect the community of Wikwemikong granted Larry his wish to be laid to rest in a cemetery on the reserve over-looking Wikwemikong Bay.

Larry E. Lewis lives on in our hearts, in our characters, in our performances, and in our sacred space; the Larry E. Lewis Studio.  Miigwech Larry.

Studio Specifications:

  • 70’ X 36’ Black Box Studio
  • 2520 Sq. ft.
  • Sprung wood floor
  • 5 X 5 Lighting Grid 18’ above floor
  • 120 Lighting Instruments
  • 96 Channel 180kw Lighting dimmer
  • 18’ X 10’ motorized projection screen
  • 3 HD SDI tie lines to Production control
  • 28 Audio tie lines to studio control
  • Curtains, cyc
  • 70’ Catwalk
  • 14’ wide Door to outside
  • Maximum Main Studio Occupancy: 125