Photo Credit: Justina Brazaite

“Being Salmon, Being Human”, a storytelling performance from Norway enlightened the stage at George Ignatieff Theater, at Univesity of Toronto, St. George campus on the evening of January 28th, 2020. The performance is based on a book titled Being Salmon, Being Human: encountering the wild in us and us in the wild by Martin Lee Mueller. The performance first launched in 2017, touring Norway, Scotland, England and more recently, Canada and the United States.

Being Salmon, Being Human explores the relationship of humans in nature and the nature which humans possess, emphasizing the tendency to exploit nature for profit, severing the relationship with the earth and its gifts. This beautiful performance encapsulates the senses and begs the question of re-framing what it means to be human in an increasingly global and capitalistic world. The performance not only focuses on human suffering but also depicts the adverse effects of greed and capitalism from the lens of the salmon.

Photo Credit: Justina Brazaite

Martin Lee Mueller and Elisha MacMillan both embody the performance as salmon and exemplify a story of contrast between healthy, naturally thriving salmon versus suffocated, over-produced farmed salmon. This show was sewn together with traditional Sami music by Torgeir Vassvik, a traditional Sami and contemporary musician, who combines sounds of drum, guitar and other instruments.

This show was followed by a discussion panel which included Alan Colley, founder of Toronto Aboriginal Eco Tours. The discussion was grounded in local knowledge, stories and relationship to the land and water, while making connections to the teachings and themes found throughout the performance.

A special thanks to Bonnie McElhinny, principle of New College and Paul Baines of Great Lakes Commons to help organize and bring this performance to University of Toronto and beyond.

To support the performance as a tool for knowledge sharing about salmon farming and upcoming tours please visit:

Written By: Nasreen Hussain