Billy Merasty

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Billy Merasty (born 1960) is an Aboriginal Canadian actor and writer of Cree descent.


Merasty was born in Brochet, Manitoba, Canada. He is the ninth of fourteen siblings born to Viola and Pierre Merasty, and a grandson of Joe Highway, a famous caribou hunter and champion dogsled racer;[1] and a nephew of playwright Tomson Highway and dancer/choreographer/actor/director René Highway.[2]

He moved to Toronto at the age of 18 in search of René Highway, his uncle, then working for the Toronto Dance Theatre.[3]

At the age of 23, he launched his acting career after graduating from the Native Theatre School for aspiring First Nations artists.[4] He then worked for the Native Earth Performing Arts for a long period.[4]

Merasty has worked extensively on the stage and films as an actor and has written one play, Fireweed, produced in 1992. His second play, Godly's Divinia, is in development.[5]

In 2010 Merasty received the Order of Manitoba (Order of the Buffalo Hunt) in recognition for his many years as an Aboriginal role model from Manitoba.[6]

Stage work[edit]

His stage credits include appearances in Tomson Highway's The Sage, The Dancer and the Fool, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing and The Rez Sisters, Daniel David Moses' The Indian Medicine Show, Lanford Wilson's Rain Dance, Marie Clements' Copper Thunderbird, Kevin Loring's Where the Blood Mixes, Steven Cole Hughes' Ghost Dance and David S. Craig's The Neverending Story.[citation needed]

In 2012, he performed the role of Gloucester in an all-aboriginal production of William Shakespeare's King Lear at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, alongside a cast that also included August Schellenberg as Lear, Tantoo Cardinal as Regan, Jani Lauzon in a dual role as Cordelia and the Fool, and Craig Lauzon as Kent.[7]

Film and television[edit]


  1. ^ Highway, Tomson (June 29, 2007). "— This I Believe". Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  2. ^ "For Godly and Divinia". Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  3. ^ Rezolution Pictures. "Billy Merasty". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  4. ^ a b "Interview With Billy Merasty". 1998-06-12. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  5. ^ Giese, Rachel (April 26, 2001). "Merasty improving with age". Eye Weekly. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved June 11, 2007.
  6. ^ "Billy Merasty Inducted into Order of the Buffalo Hunt". 2010-03-19. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  7. ^ "Aboriginal cast in staging of King Lear". Ottawa Citizen, May 12, 2012.

External links[edit]