A first-generation Filipino woman who found Regina's performance scene lacked diversity and aimed to improve that is halting her live show after four years.
Kris Alvarez's live variety show, Burnt Sienna, will end in a two-night weekend series called Burnt Sienna: Farewell BS! Know Your Roots next weekend.
"[I] didn't have access or didn't practise my language [and don't] feel so Filipino when I'm in certain spaces," the theatre artist told Shauna Powers, host of CBC's Saskatchewan Weekend.
"When I'm at home or with my family, I feel very Filipino and this is again another common connection to many brown people I've met in Burnt Sienna — that they sometimes don't feel 'brown enough.'"
LISTEN | The creator of Burnt Sienna, a live variety show in Regina, talks about its end and its potential future:
That led her to craft Friday night's performances in a way that would allow first- and second-generation Filipino-Canadians to share their stories.
That includes Allan Pulga, who said he was interested in the show's goal: Exploring variations of ethnic identity from Indigenous, south Asian, Central and South Americans "or in my case, Filipino, to share what it means to be brown."
"It's going to be really cool to see a reflection of what's on stage in the audience and likewise for audience members to feel represented by the performers and the storytellers," he said.
It's Pulga's first time being at the show and will be his only time participating in it. But, right now, he's unsure of what he'll be doing when he performs alongside Ling Dela Cruz.
"It's going to be a surprise for us so I'm a little bit guarded about what she has in store for us, but it's going to be fun," he said.
On the second night, the show's last night, she wants to amplify Indigenous voices.
It will feature people such as Tristen Durocher, the young Métis man who walked about 635 kilometres from Air Ronge to the legislative grounds in Regina and started a 44-day ceremonial fast to persuade the province to adopt a suicide prevention bill.
The doors open to The Artesian at 6 p.m. and the shows begin at 7 p.m.
Opening Burnt Sienna
The start of Alvarez's Burnt Sienna show stemmed from a conversation she had during another project called What kind of brown are you? at The Artesian in Regina when she asked a guest why art shows were predominantly attended by white people.
In response, the guest said they didn't want to pay money to see a show they can't see themselves in or connect with as a person of colour.
"That was the experiment with Burnt Sienna: can I diversify the audience by diversifying the stage content?" Alvarez said. "Will that change who comes to watch?"
Alvarez says it did and two years later, just before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and restrictions prevented in-person events, she examined the crowd and found about half appeared to have darker skin.
In the past year, she says, people would approach her and tell her they had never been to the Artesian and attending Burnt Sienna made them consider coming to the space more often.
While the Burnt Sienna series is coming to an end on Saturday, Alvarez says it's likely not the end of the show entirely, teasing that a child-focused Sesame Street knock-off, something like Burnt Sienna Boulevard, could take its place and be focused toward children.