Stage Door News
Hamilton: Red Betty’s “Decolonise Your Ears New Play Festival” runs online June 24-26
Saturday, May 22, 2021
Red Betty Theatre is celebrating ten vibrant years as Hamilton’s Indigenous, Black, People of Colour (IBPOC) feminist theatre company. The Inaugural Decolonise Your Ears New Play Festival is a three day virtual festival running from June 24 to 26, 2021.
Decolonising theatre doesn’t mean tossing out the likes of Tennessee Williams, Joe Orton or the Bard. It means brown and black bodies having space and time to explore our voices, develop our practices and explore lesser-known cultural forms without having to negotiate, conform or squeeze into the parameters of Western aesthetics.
Decolonising theatre means expressing culturally specific ideas, mythologies, music, dance; IBPOC bodies occupying space in celebration of our unique identities, and subverting rigid hierarchies, in favour of a more equitable approach. The belief that the Greeks invented theatre is a myth. Theatre has been practiced by folx all over the world since the advent of community, but has in many contexts evolved into an elitist and unwelcoming arena. This must change.
Purchase tickets via Eventbrite or Red Betty’s website www.redbettytheatre.org. Pricing levels are Affordable ($5 + $1.32 fee), General Admission ($15 + $1.93 fee) and Donor ($35 + $3.15 fee. $15 to Decolonise Your Ears. $20 to Red Betty.).
Festival playwrights were chosen through an open submission call and juried process. Playwrights then worked with their partnered dramaturges to develop three drafts of a script. The development process culminates in a staged reading of the pieces at the inaugural festival. The festival will be Deaf Accessible with ASL Interpretation throughout. Generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Hamilton Enrichment Fund, Theatre Aquarius (Outreach, Artist Development and Education Department) and the Centre for Community Engaged Narrative Arts.
Thursday, June 24, 2021 from 7-10pm EST
Writer: Melissa Murray-Mutch
Director: Marilo Nuñez
Dramaturg: DM St. Bernard
Post Show Q&A: Melissa Murray-Mutch & Radha S. Menon
Playwright Melissa Murray-Mutch’s never ending journey exploring slavery in North America led her to come across fugitive slave ads. These ads offered rewards for men, women and children who escaped from bondage. Her curiosity drove her to create a story about a person or persons depicted in a fugitive slave ad from the Quebec Gazette in 1785. While she didn’t know the outcome of the notice, whether or not they were found, she was Inspired to imagine what may have happened to a mixed-raced man last seen travelling with another man presumed to be white.
Melissa Murray-Mutch is a professional actress, playwright, arts educator and recent transplant from the New York Metro area. She made her theatrical debut in Hamilton with the Canadian premiere of David Auburn's play Lost Lake for the Hamilton Fringe Festival. She recently performed in the Ryga Festival’s production of Night Desk directed by Heather Davies and The Vagina Monologues' at the Staircase Theatre. In NY and New Jersey she performed with Hudson Theatreworks, The American Slavery Project, The Fire This Time Festival as well as the New Perspectives Theater. Off-Broadway: Death of the Liberal Class (The New Ohio Theater), Playboy of the West Indies, and Babes in Boyland (Lincoln Center Theater) and in the regional theater production of This by Melissa James Gibson at the Shaker Bridge Theater in New Hampshire. She has also written solo shows including Obnoxious and Meanie at La Mama, ETC. Film and T.V. credits include the award winning film Hungry, The Umbrella Academy, Law and Order: SVU, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Sesame Street.
Friday June 25, 2021 from 7-10pm EST
How Much for Tranquility?
Writer: Joanne Roberts
Director: Karen Ancheta
Dramaturg: DM St. Bernard
Post Show Q&A: Joanne Roberts & Radha S. Menon
How Much For Tranquility? is an anthology of three plays: Anak, The Drive, and White Room. A coming of age piece, Tranquility explores specific dynamics prevalent in Filipino households and sheds light on familial issues that are too often kept in the shadows due to societal and cultural stigma.
Joanne Roberts is an award-winning Canadian filmmaker, writer and actress best known for her short film I Am with CBC Creator Network. She won the prestigious Emerging Filmmaker Pitch Competition at the 2020 Gimli Film Festival to produce her personal film, Anak. She hopes to encourage people to seek the help they need in understanding and improving their relationships and mental health. Joanne is a very outspoken individual when it comes to systemic racism and safety in the arts community. She is not afraid to speak about her own experiences. She participates in revealing discrepancies in the treatment and hiring of minorities in the arts, and advocates for diversity, equal treatment, and opportunity through interviews, consulting, and her own hiring practices.
Saturday June 26, 2021 from 7-10pm EST
Writer: Radha S. Menon
Director: Jennie Esdale
Dramaturg: Judith Thompson
Post Show Q&A: Radha S. Menon & Judith Thompson
The Sheep is a full-length, semi-autobiographical play set in Birmingham, UK where playwright Radha S. Menon lived when she was a teen. The story began as an exploration of the terribly turbulent relationship she had with her mother before her premature passing. Actively, this play concerns an actual sheep that she met one day when she was seventeen and walking to work in an industrial district. The animal had escaped from a Halal abattoir; it was blood and feces spattered. She watched butchers drag it back inside; that sheep’s screams haunted her. She became a vegetarian that day and never looked back. Of course, this event and its aftermath are fictionalised but the intent remains the same.
Radha S. Menon is the Artist-in-Residence at McMaster University SOTA (2019/20), recipient of the City of Hamilton 2020 Arts Innovation Award and 2016 Theatre Award. Menon is an interdisciplinary artist whose plays and short films have been presented at festivals in Canada, U.K. & U.S.A. Menon is an activist, arts educator, founder of Red Betty Theatre and holds an MFA in Creative Writing.
Decolonise Your Ears Production Team
Jury: Radha S. Menon, DM St. Bernard & Marilo Nuñez
ASL Interpretation: Marcia Adolphe & Latasha Lennox
Designer: Senjuti Sarker
Stage Manager: Kit Simmons
Social Media: Gabriela Smith
Outreach: Karen Ancheta
Graphic Design: Grace Esford
Video Editing: Grace Esford
Red Betty Team
Artistic Director: Radha S. Menon
Artistic Producer: Claire Burns
Associate Producer: Narika Reddy
Administration: Micaela Morales
Sponsors: The Canada Council for the Arts, Centre for Community Engaged Narrative Arts, City of Hamilton, Ontario Arts Council and Theatre Aquarius
Website: www.redbettytheatre.org Twitter: @RedBettyTheatre Instagram: @redbettytheatre Facebook: @redbettytheatre.org.