Artist in Residence Program

Theatre Aquarius is proud to announce the first recipient of its inaugural Artist in Residence program which supports emerging local artists through resources, rehearsal space, and mentorship. Jessica Lea Fleming is an award-winning artist of Métis and Scottish ancestry from Penetanguishene, Ontario. She currently resides in Hamilton, where she works as a published poet, producer and performer. Through the Artist in Residence program, Theatre Aquarius is supporting the development stage of her latest theatre project, The Properties of Spirit.


A new work in development by award-winning Métis artist Jessica Lea Fleming

The Properties of Spirit is a poetry-based, multimedia-infused theatre project currently in development by Jessica Lea Fleming and Manidoons Collective. It combines storytelling with performance, soundscapes, video and animation.  This piece centers on the writer’s journey re-tracing her Métis ancestors’ history, including their forced relocation from Drummond Island to Penetanguishene. It aspires to share the intimate connection between the historical and personal, highlighting the triumphs and vulnerabilities of the Indigenous-Feminine experience. This work is timely as hundreds of members of the Métis Nation of Ontario have recently had their citizenship suspended.


Early workshops of The Properties of Spirit have been presented by Native Earth’s Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival and Theatre Aquarius’s Play Reading Week. Development, production and touring for The Properties of Spirit will be supported by Dora-nominated company Manidoons Collective over the next 3 years, from 2020 to 2022.


Currently, this piece is best presented to small audiences. Long-term, production aims to include footage from Drummond Island combined with animation elements to enliven the space while poetry and story are performed.

About The Artist

Jessica Lea Fleming is of Métis and Scottish ancestry from Penetanguishene, Ontario.

She is an award-winning artist, published poet, producer and performer based in Hamilton. Jessica works in theatre, film and multi-disciplinary mediums as a means of exploring connection, identity, land-based knowledge and the Divine Feminine. 

Currently, Jessica is co-directing a new theatre piece with Signal Theatre and co-creating a community art installation with Métis folks throughout Ontario. Jessica has directed for TV Series AMPLIFY on APTN, as well as music videos for artists Celeigh Cardinal and iskwē. She is currently developing “The Properties of Spirit”, a multi-media poetry-performance, retracing her lineage and journey into self. Jessica’s work has been featured at festivals and events such as Native Earth Performing Arts’ Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival (2014, 2018), Buddies in Bad Times’ Building Reciprocity Cabaret (2017), the Indigenous Writers Gathering (2016), the National Screen Institute (2018), Skábmagovat Film Festival’s 20th Anniversary Spotlight on North America (2017), imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (2019) and the Santa Fe Film Festival where her debut short film Scales won Best Native Narrative Short Film (2017).


Jessica has programmed for the Regent Park Film Festival (2016), Talking Stick Festival (2016) and been a member of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival’s Awards Jury (2017). In 2015 she was a featured Leader for the Ontario Ministry on the Status of Women and in 2017 she was one of twenty Invited Contributors to the 20th Canadian Arts Summit.