Yukon theatre hopes national playwright search picks up Northern and Indigenous talent

·2 min read
Other People's Children by Hanna Moscovitch is staged by Montreal company Imago Theatre. The company, which focuses on stories about women and marginalized people, is part of a new 10-month program that supports queer and transgender writers. (Andrée Lanthier - image credit)
Other People's Children by Hanna Moscovitch is staged by Montreal company Imago Theatre. The company, which focuses on stories about women and marginalized people, is part of a new 10-month program that supports queer and transgender writers. (Andrée Lanthier - image credit)

Ten Canadian theatre companies have come together to create the country's first queer and transgender playwriting unit, and Colin Wolf is hoping the project has a significant Northern and Indigenous voice.

Wolf is the artistic director of Whitehorse-based Gwaandak Theatre, one of the companies that has signed on to the project.

"It's really important that these cross-national projects, that claim to be national, actually include people from everywhere in the nation," said Wolf.

The project is intended to close a gap in queer and trans stories in Canadian theatre. Zee Zee Theatre, a company based in Vancouver, will be leading the project.

"Art has the power to elevate voices and ideas that can change the world," said Cameron Mackenzie, Zee Zee Theatre's artistic and executive director in a press release. "Now, more than ever, the arts sector needs to prioritize those who have been systematically left out of the conversation."

The project is targeted at emerging or mid-career playwrights, though Wolf emphasized anyone who identifies as 2SLGBTQ+ and has an interest in the idea should put their name forward.

The 10 theatre companies involved will then select five finalists, who will be paid a living wage for the 10 months the program runs, and get creative support and direction.

"Gwaandak is really hoping we can get some Northern, Indigenous, queer and trans submissions so that we can take a brand new Northern queer and Indigenous play all the way through the development process and into a full production," said Wolf.

"The impacts of this project will be far reaching and numerous," said Wolf.

"For the playwrights, it offers growth, stability, and a national platform for their voice and stories to be heard," said Mackenzie.

"For the consortium companies, it creates a new body of work and connects them with vital queer and trans communities. For our sector as a whole, it offers new representation and reflection in ways that are meaningful and non-tokenizing."

Mike Rudyk/CBC
Mike Rudyk/CBC

The companies involved in the project include Frank Theatre (Vancouver), Theatre Outré (Lethbridge), Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon), Theatre Projects Manitoba (Winnipeg), Buddies In Bad Times Theatre (Toronto), Native Earth Performing Arts (Toronto), Imago Théâtre (Montreal) and Neptune Theatre (Halifax).

The deadline to apply is July 5, and more information can be found at zeezeetheatre.ca

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