In Their Own Words:
An Evening of Verbatim Theatre
Thursday, May 25th, 7:00 pm ET, Centre Wakefield La Pêche
In Their Own Words: An Evening of Verbatim Theatre.
Joel Bernbaum & Yvette Nolan, six local playwrights and Theatre Wakefield actors: Teresa Bandrowska, Natalie Fraser, Melisa Kamibayashi, Ian McMullen, Steve Powers and Lo Sirois.
What is Verbatim Theatre?
Verbatim theatre is a term for scripts created from live interviews. An appealing aspect of this form of theatre is that voices not often present in the traditional media can be heard. Actors of all ages, genders and backgrounds shift between people of different ages, genders and backgrounds.
In Their Own Words – the evening
Canadian theatre giants Joel Bernbaum and Yvette Nolan are nurturing six Anglophone playwrights – emerging to established – from West Quebec who are passionate about the arts and social justice. Each writer interviews people on their chosen topic, records and transcribes the words of those conversations, and edits them to create a compelling 15 minute script.
These plays will offer a kaleidoscopic view on critical social issues of our times and introduce unfamiliar realities to broaden audience perspectives.
This Writers Fête event is co-produced with Theatre Wakefield, directed by Joel Bernbaum and Yvette Nolan, and performed by the Wakefield Players.
JOEL BERNBAUM is an actor, director, playwright, journalist and the founding artistic director of Sum Theatre. Born and raised in Saskatoon, Joel is the only child of a Buddhist Mother and Jewish Father. He is a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts, and Carleton University where he did his master’s thesis on Verbatim Theatre’s Relationship to Journalism.
With Sum Theatre Joel created Saskatchewan’s first free professional live Theatre in the Park. To date, over 50,000 people have participated in Sum Theatre’s work. Joel’s produced plays include Operation Big Rock, My Rabbi (with Kayvon Khoshkam), Home Is a Beautiful Word, Reasonable Doubt (with Yvette Nolan and Lancelot Knight) and Being Here: The Refugee Project (with Michael Shamata).
Joel is currently an interdisciplinary PhD student at the University of Saskatchewan, investigating the potential of theatre to strengthen cities. He is grateful to be the first Urjo Kareda Resident from Saskatchewan and the first Trudeau Foundation Scholar from the U of S. Joel lives in Saskatoon with his 7-year old son, Judah.
YVETTE NOLAN is a playwright, dramaturg, and director. Her works include the plays Annie Mae’s Movement, The Unplugging, and The Birds; the libretto Shanawdithit; the dance-opera Bearing; and the verbatim play Reasonable Doubt (co-created with Joel Bernbaum and Lancelet Knight).
Born in Saskatchewan to an Algonquin mother and an Irish immigrant father and raised in Manitoba, Yvette lived in the Yukon and Nova Scotia, then moved to Toronto where she served as artistic director of Native Earth Performing Arts from 2003 to 2011.
Her book Medicine Shows, about Indigenous theatre in Canada, was published in 2015. She lives in Saskatoon. Photo credit: Nadya Kwandibens
ANN CAVLOVIC’s fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in Canadian Architect, CBC First Person, Event, The Fiddlehead, The Globe and Mail, Grain, PRISM international, Room, SubTerrain, the anthology This Place a Stranger (Caitlin Press), Today’s Parent, and elsewhere. Her work has been recognized in contests, including winning the 2017 Little Bird Writing Contest judged by Esi Edugyan. Her stage play Emissions: A Climate Comedy won “Best in Fest” at the 2013 Ottawa Fringe festival.
She is currently seeking a publisher for her literary fiction novel that explores the topic of elder abuse. Please visit her website: www.anncavlovic.com. Photo credit: David Irvine
An active resident of the Hills for 15 years, DAWN MOORE has spent most of her life working on social justice issues including human rights in prisons and gender based violence. Moore came to Verbatim Theatre with an interest in finding new ways to invite conversations on hard issues. Outside her day job as a criminologist, Dawn is a mama to three amazing kids, is a long-time girl guide leader and one of the founders of the Queer Breakfast Club, a local group for queer and trans youth. Dawn is a cold water dipper, a passionate skier and paddle boarder and spends as much time out wandering the woods as she can.
HILARY JOCELYN – I immigrated to Quebec from Scotland about three decades ago and now live in the woods not too far from Wakefield. I never dreamed that I would live deep in the Canadian bush, but here I am, enjoying the life of snow, making maple syrup, growing vegetables and hearing the cries of the coyotes on a full moon night. I am a social worker and have spent my career working with people who are unhoused, unsupported, and often ignored. I care deeply about social justice issues, and like to think, learn and get involved.
I write mostly for fun and to express my innermost feelings. I write about some of my life adventures, on a blog called Wandering Wakefield, and I am part of a small informal writers’ group where I write creative non – fiction, which is largely auto- biographical in nature. I have no desire to be published, and don’t really call myself a “writer”.
JEFF FROGGETT is a writer and social activist. He began his career as a reporter in the CJOH-TV (now CTV Ottawa) newsroom after graduating from the Carleton University School of Journalism. A mental health crisis interrupted his professional life, and Jeff credits cognitive behavioral therapy, physical fitness and music for bridging him to marriage and fatherhood. Following side steps into high tech and real estate sales, he returned to his roots as a storyteller, finishing his career in communications at a federal government agency. His crowning achievement as a public servant was leveraging his lived experience with mental illness to help establish a national workplace peer support program. Coincidentally, while helping others overcome stigma, he discovered his own addiction to alcohol and drugs. Now retired, he dedicates much of his time to supporting those who are trying to get clean and sober.
LAURA WESLEY is a first-time playwright who lives on unceded Algonquin Territory. After 20 years as an intrapreneur, change leader and executive in the federal public service, she followed her heart down a path that continues to emerge. She picked the topic of her play because she was curious about her neighbours’ attitudes towards work as she explored her own relationship to it.
LEIA SHEA RANGER-DROUIN
LEIA SHEA RANGER-DROUIN is an avid storyteller, and has been since she was very young. Even before she could write on her own, she would invent and illustrate stories and tell her parents what to write on each page. She loves expressing her stories through art, descriptive writing, and theatre. She also cares very deeply about the 2SLGBTQ+ community, being an avid defender and proud member of the queer community herself. Now, she is looking forward to the challenge of taking her storytelling skills and using them in a new way, to create a verbatim piece exploring this topic and to share it with the wonderful audience of this year’s Writer’s Fête.
IAN MCMULLEN is an energetic and thoughtful actor and theatre maker from New Brunswick. When not acting he can usually be found on the trails either hiking or biking. Ian also loves kayaking and canoeing, and really loves talking about whales—so don’t hesitate to start up a whale conversation.
MELISA KAMIBAYASHI has been known to train, teach and perform taiko (Japanese drumming), design interactive computer animation, host and produce a local tv show, and work behind the scenes on a CBC mini-series and a CTV political news series. She has even worked for a Senator.
A memorable acting moment is when Melisa worked with the Wabano Centre on cross-cultural plays led by women to raise awareness on mental health and wellness.
She loves travel, a yummy meal, a good movie, long walks and a good laugh. After focusing on family and raising an amazing son, she is happy to be making her way back to the stage.
TERESA BANDROWSKA has always loved playing make-believe, first with her childhood friends and then throughout high school. Working as a midwife and raising four children was not conducive to work in the theatre, aside from many let’s-pretend games with the kids. Now in her retirement, she is thrilled to be able to merrily tread the boards again, and has contributed to productions in Aylmer, Chelsea, Ottawa and Wakefield.
STEVE POWERS is an active member of Wakefield’s theatre community, having performed in A Christmas Carol, The Halloween Storytelling Hour, The Trouble With Ninjas, Home is a Beautiful Word and Jeeves at Sea.
Steve’s first taste of theatre was in 2002 with a small voice part in Voices in the Dark” produced by Ottawa Little Theatre. In 2014 he played the ghoul in Dr. Saunders at the annual Saunders Farm Halloween celebration.
Steve is currently performing in a series of six short verbatim theatre plays, is a participant with the “Big La Pêche Puppet Project” and a Theatre Wakefield board member.
OSA NATALIE FRASER
OSA NATALIE FRASER graduated from Concordia University in theatre performance and directing. She has been inspiring and spreading love in as many ways as she can for as long as she can remember. She is a facilitator, teacher, counsellor, inspirational speaker, healer, minister and performing artist.
One of her favourite ways to share that love is with the vehicle of art. Osa loves to combine her art with social activism through her work with companies like Branch Out Theatre where she performs Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback Theatre to reach and touch her audiences. Currently she is working on a show dealing with near death experiences.