A young man balances horizontally on the back of a wooden blue chair, one hand on the seat.

Governor General Literary Award Winner, writer, and ‘provocateur’ Cliff Cardinal to star on the Grand Theatre’s Auburn Stage in Huff

Creator of  The Land Acknowledgement, Or As You Like It, brings gritty, darkly-comedic piece Huff to the Grand Theatre.

Written and Performed by Cliff Cardinal
Directed by Karin Randoja

On the Auburn Stage
February 6 to 17, 2024

Opening February 7, 2024

Season Sponsor: BMO


January 30, 2024 – London ON – The Grand Theatre invites audiences to embrace a gripping, uneasy and transformative solo show by celebrated actor, poet, author, and musician Cliff Cardinal in Huff: the first Grand Theatre production on the Auburn Developments Stage of 2024.

Cardinal, who recently received a Governor General Literary Award for his play The Land Acknowledgement, Or As You Like It –and was the talk of the Toronto theatre scene in spring of 2023—will be taking on the Auburn Stage with his most well-known work, Huff , from February 6 through 17, 2024.

Huff tells the restlessly provocative story of Wind and his two brothers, who are caught in a torrent of solvent abuse and struggling to cope with the sudden death of their mother. Wind’s fantastic dream world bleeds into his haunting reality, as he’s preyed on by the Trickster through the hallways at school, the abandoned motel he loves more than home, and his own fragile psyche.

Huff is about kids who abuse solvents and are at high risk of suicide,” remarks Cardinal, who was named by The Globe and Mail as a Canadian Cultural Icon in 2022. “It’s not the story of Indigenous people in Canada. If you change ten references in this story, it can be about any group of disenfranchised kids from any community.”

Cliff Cardinal is often referred to as aprovocateur’,” notes Grand Theatre Artistic Director, Rachel Peake. “We are drawn to his work because, even though it might at times make us feel angry or upset, it also might make us feel a heightened liveness, a sharp presence in the moment that is so rare and so precious. And because he also invites us to laugh, even in the darkness.”

Born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Cardinal studied playwriting at the National Theatre School of Canada, and fronts the hilarious and nefarious band, Cliff Cardinal and The Skylarks. Cardinal lives in Toronto.

Originally produced by Native Earth Performing Arts and developed in part through The Collaborations – an initiative of Canada’s National Arts Centre English Theatre, the critically-acclaimed Huff, has been referred to as “a theatrical breath of fresh air” and a piece that “solidifies Cardinal as one of the most talented and intriguing writers in the country” (Now Magazine). The play has been performed over 200 times and has won the Buddies in Bad Times Vanguard Award for Risk and Innovation, two Dora Mavor Moore Awards (Outstanding Performance, Outstanding New Play), RBC’s Emerging Playwright Award, The Lustrom Award (which recognizes the greatest moments at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival), and was short-listed for Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression Award.

In addition to writer and star, Cliff Cardinal, the creative team of Huff includes the talents of Karin Randoja (Director), Jackie Chau (Set & Costume Design), Michelle Ramsay (Lighting Design), Alex Williams (Sound Designer), Allan Day (Technical Director), and Ryan Cunningham (Production Manager).

Huff  plays on the Grand Theatre Auburn Stage from February 6 through 17, 2024. It is recommended for an audience of 16 years of age, or older. Single tickets range from $39.95 to $46.50 (subject to availability) and are available at www.grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street.

The Grand Theatre gratefully and joyfully acknowledges Season Sponsor, BMO.

To learn more about Huff, please visit: grandtheatre.com/event/huff. Additional facts, photos, and updates can also be found by following @thegrandlondon and #GrandHuff on Facebook, X, Instagram, and TikTok.

The Grand Theatre wishes to acknowledge and honour the original stewards of the land on which our Theatre stands. Gratitude and recognition are extended to the Attawandaron (also known as Neutral), Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, and Lunaapewak peoples for preserving this land where we gather and create art.

About the Grand Theatre – World Curious. London Proud.

In the heart of downtown London, Ontario lies one of Canada’s oldest regional theatres and a leading cultural hub of today: the Grand Theatre. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Rachel Peake, and Executive Director Evan Klassen, the Grand proudly presents diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe – and around the corner – on its two stages. The not-for-profit theatre is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original stories through its COMPASS New Play Development program. Further, the Grand Theatre is an ardent supporter of educational programming, as demonstrated through initiatives like the High School Project and Subsidized Student Matinees. For more information, visit: grandtheatre.com.

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For more information please contact:
Melissa Mae Shipley, Communications & Public Relations Manager
mshipley [at] grandtheatre.com (mshipley[at]grandtheatre[dot]com)
519-672-9030 ext. 266


When:  Tuesday, February 6 at 1:00 p.m. (Cameras, please arrive at 12:30 p.m. to set up)
Where:  Auburn Stage, Grand Theatre, 471 Richmond Street, London, Ontario
What:  Huff photo, video, and interview opportunities for media



Written and Performed by Cliff Cardinal


Cliff Cardinal


Director – Karin Randoja
Set & Costume Designer – Jackie Chau
Sound Designer – Alex Williams
Lighting Designer – Michelle Ramsay
Technical Director – Allan Day
Stage Manager – Jennifer Strobart
Production Manager – Ryan Cunningham

Produced by: Cunning Concepts & Creations

Originally Produced by Native Earth Performing Arts under the Artistic Direction of Ryan Cunningham.