Stage Door News

Toronto: Nightswimming has commissioned an epic new play, “The Generations”, from Audrey Dwyer

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

In June 2020 Nightswimming committed to creating a $20,000 commission for a new work of theatre, dance or music, and invited proposals from Black and Indigenous artists across Canada.

In March 2021 we shared the outcome of that process by announcing that Nightswimming has commissioned Audrey Dwyer to write The Generations and will collaborate with her on its creation in the coming years. We are thrilled to be working with Audrey and her audacious vision of what theatre can and should be.

"Nightswimming believes that artists need to stretch forms, work on a huge scale, and push the boundaries of theatrical storytelling. Audrey is proposing to do all of that and much more in The Generations. We are delighted to collaborate with her and provide the resources to build this thrilling new work!” - Brian Quirt

The Process

We received 76 applications and it was truly a pleasure to read and consider each proposal. One of our goals, in addition to offering the commission, was to meet artists working across performance disciplines through the new work they most want to create. Thank you to everyone who shared a proposal with us!

We reviewed the proposals with a paid adjudication committee of Thom Allison, Jeff Ho, Yvette Nolan and Michelle Olson, in addition to the Nightswimming team of Myekah Payne, Brian Quirt and Brittany Ryan. We identified a long list of exciting projects, and from that a short list whom we invited to develop a second round proposal. We paid the dozen shortlisted artists to create that proposal. We narrowed that to a group of finalists; we provided each with a fee and then met with them over Zoom to discuss their ideas and approaches in more detail. This led us to offer Audrey our $20,000 commission and creative support to an additional 6 artists. We celebrate their projects below and look forward to working with them.

The Generations by Audrey Dwyer

"At the heart of my work is an aim to transform artists and audiences through the power of empathy, live storytelling and Black art". - Audrey Dwyer

“The Generations is a five-hour drama that will explore the power and resilience of a Black family over eons of time. My goal is to create a story that has one hundred characters. This play will cover thousands of years and takes us into an imagined future. I will draw a tree that will move past the conventional family tree structure and include the action of the play. I will research history through literature, art, film, manuals, maps, textiles and interviews. History will serve as a backdrop to the action. It will also inspire each character’s backstory. I will investigate the psychological, ideological, mythical and political infrastructure of society in the past and present. We will witness the celebrations and complexities of Black life across the globe. Through direct address, I will examine how the viewer impacts the action. The Generations will be a story told through dance, movement, song, soundscape and text.”

Audrey Dwyer is a multi-disciplinary artist with over twenty years of experience working as an Actor, Director, Playwright, Teacher, Artistic Director, Facilitator and Mentor. In 2018, Audrey Dwyer was named one of the eighteen artists to watch by NOW Magazine. That year her play, Calpurnia, became a box office hit on the Toronto scene. Calpurnia was named one of the five hottest tickets in Canada across the country by The Globe and Mail. 

She is writing Come Home – The Legend of Daddy Hall for Canada’s Home for New Play Development, the Tarragon Theatre. She is writing a libretto called Backstage at Carnegie Hall which will be produced in 2022. She is also writing for Imago Theatre in Montreal. She is writing a screenplay for Caribbean Tales. She was a recipient of the CBC’s Creative Relief Fund for her television series called The Gordons, which is inspired by Calpurnia. She was a co-writer on The D Cut, a web-series produced by Shaftesbury Films. The D Cut can be found on Crave (Canada) and on Shaftesbury’s KindaTV Youtube channel. She graduated from The National Theatre School of Canada in 2001.

Photo: Audrey Dwyer.