News from Renegade Productions!

June 22nd, 2015

Renegade Productions & Renegade Arts Co. is busy as usual collaborating with Vancouver’s most inventive and freshest theatre companies.

Beginning this week, rehearsals commence for Jesus Christ Superstar at Renegade Main Street. Renegade Arts Co. is delighted to act as an associate producer with Fighting Chance Productions to bring another successful play to local stages! Auditions have been booked for Twenty Something Theatre and Seven Tyrants Theatre, and workshops for Resounding Scream Theatre and Full Circle Productions. We look forward to productions from Speakeasy Theatre and Fighting Chance Productions, which are slated for this fall in The Shop. Theatrical props from the famed Renegade Playhouse prop collection will share the stage with talent from many incredible theatre companies this summer, including Theatre under the Stars, Ensemble Theatre, Shift Theatre, Theatre in the Country, Firehall Arts Centre, Cameron Academy, and others. Upcoming projects include a co-production with Sparks Productions’ The OC: The Musical, and productions in one of our 3 theatre studios for Solo Collective, Little Mountain Lion, Axis Theatre, and more.

We feel so fortunate to be involved with many of Vancouver’s cutting edge theatre companies. We are pleased with our continued lease arrangement at the former Playhouse production centre at 2nd & Main, and look forward to a very busy summer and fall season! Thanks to the continued support of the local theatre and arts communities.

Stone’s Throw Productions THE TAMING OF THE SHREW at Pacific Theatre

June 22nd, 2015

by William Shakespeare

June 24-27

Stones Throw






“If she and I be pleased, what’s that to you?”

In Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Kate and Petruchio find love in an unlikely romance. While most suitors are after Kate’s younger sister, Bianca, Petruchio has been challenged to go after feisty Kate. Both are up to the task in this witty battle of the sexes.


Pacific Theatre’s influential apprentice program allows its participants the resources and mentorship to produce their own shows. Apprentice and director Eleanor Felton has worked to bring the well-known story to the stage with an energetic and vibrant 1950’s twist. A recent BA in Theatre graduate, Felton decided to tackle Shrew, which is one of her favourite of Shakespeare’s works. “The more I talked about it, the more fascinated I became with the conflict between the characters. I started reading different opinions on the infamous final speech and I decided I had to have a look at it for myself,” Felton states.


Playing Petruchio and Kate are talented Garrett Quirk (Seminar, Stages Theatre Co.) and Tara Pratt (recently nominated for a Leo Award for best female performance in a web series). Rounding out the cast include emerging artists John Bolton, Mark Fleming, Adelleh Furseth, Cheyenne Mabberley, Tosh Sutherland, Brett Willis, and Shelby Wyminga. “My entire team has been phenomenal to work with,” says Felton. “All my actors are so creative and playful, and my design team are fantastic collaborators.”


The sexism of the 1950’s provides the perfect setting for this story and intensifies the journeys of Kate and Petruchio – but their story is just as relevant to our society today. “This production is about the sense of partnership they find in each other and the possibility of escape from the confines of society.” Through one another Kate and Petruchio are finally given the opportunity to express their true voices. Kate says, “My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break.” The question is whether or not society will hear them.


Details:               THE TAMING OF THE SHREW by William Shakespeare

When:                 June 24-27   Wednesday-Saturday at 8pm

Where:               Pacific Theatre 1440 W 12th Avenue (at Hemlock) Vancouver, BC

Tickets:               $10 Available at, 604.731.5518




The Vancouver Fringe Festival & Playwrights Theatre Centre-Applications Open for Fringe New Play Prize

June 22nd, 2015

PTC LogoVan Fringe Logo







The Vancouver Fringe Festival and Playwrights Theatre Centre are calling for applications for the fourth year of the Fringe New Play Prize. The winning project will receive a free guaranteed spot in the Mainstage Category at the 2016 Vancouver Fringe Festival and dramaturgical support from PTC from before the first draft to opening night.


BC writers and producing teams with a project underway for the 2016 Fringe season are encouraged to submit scripts. A script draft and a basic production plan is mandatory to be eligible for the Award. An application form and submission information are available at and


Applications must be received no later than October 2, 2015 and the winner will be announced at the Fringe Festival Lottery Party in early December.


The 2015 winner of the Prize, Derek Chan, has been working with PTC’s Kathleen Flaherty on his Fringe play Starstuff since the award was announced .  Derek has just assembled a cast and a team of designers, who will undertake the practical theatre magic to create a journey to the edge of a black hole.  Derek spoke about the impact of the development portion of the Prize this week, “Playwrighting can be such a lonely adventure.  Over the past few months, Kathleen has been by my side every step along the way.  With her patient ears and inspiring guidance driving me forward, it suddenly doesn’t feel so lonely anymore- not this time anyway.”


Starstuff will open at The Cultch on September 10 as part of the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival.


The Fringe Festival and PTC support playmaking from development through

presentation. PTC offers in depth resources to a Fringe writer who is interested in dramaturgical support for their next show. The Fringe Festival will provide a free spot in the Mainstage category and related publicity to the winner. The production costs are the responsibility of the applicant.


PTC is a dramaturgically-focused theatre company that finds, nurtures, and advances the Canadian playwright. PTC develops new plays from creation to performance. PTC invests in the vitality of a diverse community of professional writers who express a range of aesthetic and thematic concerns.


The Vancouver Fringe is a celebration of every kind of theatre imaginable. Over 11 days in September, more than 90 different theatre artists and companies come together to share their creativity on stage. Audiences are as varied as the performances with theatrical offerings for all tastes and ages.




Playwrights Theatre Centre Seeks Emerging Writers of Performance

June 22nd, 2015

PTC Logo






Call for submissions for Block A

PTC is looking for people who write for performance to be part of Writers Block A.    All our curated programs offer a window into current theatre practice and a conversation about what theatre can be.  Block A, one of our most popular and longest-running programs, is a constantly-evolving mentored group for emerging writers of performance.  It’s an opportunity to join an ongoing inquiry into how to create safe environments that allow risk so we can reimagine theatre together.

The goal of Block A is to hone the writer’s skills by focusing on fundamentals of playwriting through discussion, critiques, and writing exercises –  to provide building blocks  for writers to create works for the theatre.  We have opportunities for writers in the fall and winter to be mentored by Jan Derbyshire (fall),  David Geary (winter).  Blocks consist of ten weekly sessions beginning in late October or in February,  and will address questions of Plot, Structure, Character, and Dialogue.  Day and time for Block A has traditionally been Monday at 6 – 9, but the cohort has some flexibility in deciding this.

Complete application guidelines and forms can be found at

The fee for this program is $250 +gst, payable on acceptance.  Applicants must be PTC members.  Writers for whom the program fee is a barrier to participation can identify themselves to Dramaturg Kathleen Flaherty to arrange a flexible payment plan.

The form to obtain a membership and to apply to can be found at

The application deadline is July 17, 2015.  Successful candidates will be notified by mid-September.

To apply, submit a completed application form online, supported by 10 pages of current writing for performance, and a resume detailing formal and informal education and creative work to date.  Please include your preference for the fall or winter session.   Submit digital applications to:, with “Block A submission” in the subject line, and the PDFs of your letter, resume, and writing attached.  Please include your name and the name of the program in all the file titles eg BlockA_playwrightname_writing.pdf    If you wish to submit in another way, please call Kathleen at 604-685-6228 xt 3 to set that up.


For more information, contact Kathleen Flaherty at 604-685-6228 xt 3 or

PTC is a dramaturgically-focused theatre company that finds, nurtures, and advances the Canadian playwright. We develop new plays from creation to performance. PTC assists its writers in designing their own dramaturgical processes, while offering expertise in a wide range of approaches, from traditional drama to site-specific creation, audio walking-plays to image-based physical work.



202, 739 Gore Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6A 2Z9



Jan Derbyshire is a performer, playwright, theatre maker, director, teacher, and comedian. Her work involves solo performance, community and artist collaboration, traditional playwriting, experimental storytelling, video, words on paper, event creation, and stand-up comedy. Jan received her Master of Design (MDes) in Inclusive Design from OCAD in 2014.  Jan loves both digging into issue based work to change perceptions through art and working from the design perspective of one size fits one to individualize training and inclusion practices for those with eccentric needs.  Jan is currently working with PTC, coordinating ACK Lab – a hacker approach to inclusion.

David Geary is a playwright, screenwriter, fiction writer, dramaturg and educator. He teaches film studies at Capilano University.   He’s been the Senior Lecturer in Scriptwriting at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand; the dramaturg/director for Native Earth workshops in Toronto; and led Block A for the PTC for three years.  This season he also collaborated in mentoring the Julius Caesar Project with PTC, The Cultch and Western Gold.  David believes storytelling and scriptwriting are muscles that are best developed through exercises. His yogic mantra is –Life is short, stretch it – and he writes haiku on twitter @gearsgeary




Hill Strategies Research Inc.-Limited Overlap Between Arts Graduates and Working As An Artist

June 22nd, 2015

Hill Strategies Logo

Educating artists

Statistical Insights on the Arts

Vol. 13 No. 2

June 11, 2015

Report funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council 

Educating artists has a two-pronged goal: 1) to examine the post-secondary educational qualifications of artists in Canada; and 2) to provide information about the occupations and workforce characteristics of graduates of post-secondary arts programs.

Data for the report are drawn from the National Household Survey (2011) and the National Graduates Survey (2009/10 graduates, surveyed in 2013).

Two recent American reports were influential in the framing of this report: Artists Report Back: A National Study on the Lives of Art Graduates and Working Artists and Making It Work: The Education and Employment of Recent Arts Graduates. An older Statistics Canada article (Labour market outcomes of arts and culture graduates) was also helpful in the development of this report.

Note on artist statistics

Artists: Diverse array of educational backgrounds

According to data from the 2011 National Household Survey, artists come from a diverse array of educational backgrounds. As shown in Figure ES1, over one-quarter of the 134,500 Canadian artists 25 or older (28%) graduated from a post-secondary visual or performing arts program.

Three other groups of post-secondary programs each account for 5% or 6% of artists:

  • Education (6%)
  • Communications and journalism (also 6%)
  • Business, management, and marketing (5%)

Four percent of artists graduated from English language or literature programs.

Figure ES1

11% of visual and performing arts graduates work as artists (NHS 2011)

There are 13.7 million Canadians 25 or older who have completed post-secondary studies, including nearly 400,000 who have completed a post-secondary visual and performing arts program (396,400, or 2.9% of all post-secondary graduates 25 or older).

Figure ES2 shows that, among the 326,300 visual and performing arts graduates who were in the labour force in May of 2011, 11% worked as artists. Another 20% worked in other occupations within the broad category of arts, culture, recreation, or sports.

Between 10% and 20% of visual and performing arts graduates worked in sales and service occupations (18%), business, finance, and administration occupations (14%), management occupations (11%), and occupations in education, law and social, community, or government services (also 11%). Two other occupation groups each accounted for 5% of visual and performing arts graduates: natural and applied sciences; and trades, transport, and equipment operators.

Limited overlap between visual and performing arts graduates and working as an artist (NHS, 2011)

One of the key findings of a recent American report (Artists Report Back: A National Study on the Lives of Art Graduates and Working Artists) was a “surprising” lack of overlap between working artists and arts graduates. In that study, 16% of artists were art graduates, and 10% of arts graduates were found to be artists.

While the American study used different definitions of “artists” and “arts graduates”, the findings from our Canadian research are relatively similar, especially regarding the occupations of arts graduates:

  • 28% of the 134,500 Canadian artists 25 or older graduated from a post-secondary visual or performing arts program.
  • 11% of the 326,300 visual and performing arts graduates who were in the labour force in May of 2011 worked as artists.

The overlap between visual and performing arts graduates and working artists is depicted in Figure ES3.

Figure ES3

16,100 arts and communications graduates in 2009/10 (NGS)

Statistics Canada’s National Graduates Survey provides detailed information about post-secondary graduates in 2009/10 using an aggregated combination of educational programs. In the National Graduates Survey, the closest grouping for “arts graduates” is those who graduated from a visual or performing arts program as well as those who graduated from a communications technology program at the post-secondary level. The inclusion of communications technology programs is not ideal for the analysis here. However, in the overall labour force in 2011, graduates of visual or performing arts programs represented 84% of workers in the aggregated grouping, while communications technologies accounted for only 16% of the aggregated grouping. This grouping of programs is labelled “arts and communications” in this report.

There are 16,100 Canadians who, in 2009/10, graduated from an arts or communications program. Arts and communications graduates were slightly more likely than other graduates to have pursued their studies in Quebec (28% of arts and communications graduates vs. 24% of all graduates) and slightly less likely to have done so in the four Atlantic provinces (4% vs. 7%). In Ontario, the four western provinces, and the three territories, the percentage of arts and communications graduates was similar to the percentage of all graduates.

Sources of funding and student debt (NGS, 2009/10)

The most common sources of funding for arts and communications students who graduated in 2009/10 were parents (reported by 65% of graduates), employment savings (64%), and personal savings (59%). Two other funding sources were reported by about one-half of arts and communications graduates: government student loans (50%); and scholarships, awards, or prizes (45%).

For those graduates who had borrowed money from any source for their post-secondary education, the debt load of arts and communications graduates at the time of their graduation in 2009/10 was fairly similar to the debt load of other graduates:

  • 17% of arts and communications graduates (compared with 21% of all graduates) had no debt load at graduation.
  • A similar percentage of arts and communications graduates (11%) and all graduates (10%) had a debt load between $1 and $4,999.
  • 15% of arts and communications graduates and 13% of all graduates had a debt load between $5,000 and $9,999.
  • 32% of arts and communications graduates and 29% of all graduates had a debt load between $10,000 and $24,999.
  • The same percentage of arts and communications graduates and all graduates (26%) had a student debt load (from all sources) of $25,000 or more.

Signs of underemployment of recent arts and communications graduates (NGS, 2009/10)

While the data in this report are not definitive, recent arts and communications graduates may be underemployed compared with other recent post-secondary graduates. In particular, arts and communications graduates are much less likely than all graduates to hold a job that is closely related to their studies (36% vs. 58%). Similarly, only 46% of arts and communications graduates indicated that the job they held at the time of the survey was the job that they had hoped to have after graduating, compared with 62% of all graduates.

Furthermore, arts and communications graduates are much more likely than other graduates to have held a low-paying position at the time of the survey: 23% of arts and communications graduates worked at a job with gross annual earnings below $20,000, compared with 10% of all graduates. Arts and communications graduates are much more likely than other graduates to be employed in sales and service occupations (22% vs. 13%).

Arts and communications graduates are also much more likely than other graduates to have had many employers in the three years since their graduation: 18% of arts and communications graduates (vs. 8% of all graduates) had four or more employers since their graduation.

Despite these labour market challenges, 72% of recent arts and communications graduates would choose the same program of studies again. This is only slightly less than the percentage of all graduates (76%).

Methodological notes

  • Nine of Statistics Canada’s detailed occupation codes (NHS, 2011) are included as artists in this report:
  • Actors and comedians
  • Artisans and craftspersons
  • Authors and writers
  • Conductors, composers, and arrangers
  • Dancers
  • Musicians and singers
  • Other performers
  • Producers, directors, choreographers, and related occupations
  • Visual artists
  • Individuals are classified in the occupation in which they worked the most hours during a specific reference week. If they did not work during the reference week, they are classified based on the job at which they worked the longest since January 1, 2010.
  • Artists who spent more time at another occupation than at their artwork during the reference week would be categorized in the other occupation.
  • Artists who teach in post-secondary, secondary, or elementary schools are classified as teachers or professors and are therefore excluded from the count of artists. Instructors and teachers in some settings (such as private arts schools, academies, and conservatories) are included in the arts occupations.
  • Individuals who are employed or self-employed are captured in each occupation.

Glengarry Glen Ross-GVPTA Blogger Reflection

June 22nd, 2015

By Carmel Amit

Glengarry Glen Ross


Classic Chic Productions is creating opportunity for women actors to develop, stretch and expand their craft beyond the status quo. Glengarry Glen Ross performed by women? “WHY?” I asked myself, “I dont’ get it.” Obviously this is a little box that I must bash through.

So, I was skeptical. But I went because people were saying good things. Turns out that I deeply admire the work that was being offered Thursday night at the Beaumont theatre by a talented and ballsy company of women.

A University Professor asked me at a party, “Why do you do that?”

“What? Act?” I said.

“Yes,” he replied.

“Because it’s a lens through which I understand the world and the people in it a little better with each role,” I told him.

Or something like that.

My favorite part of the work is the discovery and compassion I build for the characters. All of them. Here, Classic Chic was creating an opportunity to don a set of glasses and better understand these bizarre and desperate male creatures. For some reason, seeing them played by women made me understand them more acutely.

Mamet’s characters seemed particularly ugly at The Beaumont. The desperation for money, success and peer respect had me feeling apathy, repulsion and gratitude to not be one of them.

I found myself leaning in to the play, contorting my features, snarling and squashing my chin as I responded to the action and the words. The commitment to the technical and creative of the play had me fooled. There were moments when I thought, “She really is a man. Is she not?” The physical expression, gesture work, intonations and attitudes were near seamless. If you can do work like that, you can do anything. But how often do actors get a chance to do work like that?

There was a lot of integrity to what the cast was doing and I am very excited to continue following the work that Classic Chic produces. They are offering a great gift to the female acting community in terms of stretching past their comfort zone and expectations.

Go and see Glengarry Glen Ross before it’s too late. They play runs through June 27th.

The work deserves to be witnessed.

Directors Notes-Arts Summit 2015 Reflection

June 22nd, 2015

I want to thank the Alliance for Arts & Culture for the 2015 Arts Summit and for their work engaging arts stakeholders across the province. The Summit contained a couple of topics which have the potential to support our arts communities in making significant progress.

On a provincial level, Kevin McKeown & Amanda Peters travelled the length and breadth of the Province, holding 19 roundtables from Gabriola to Haida Gwaii and from Prince George to Fort St. John, to mention just a few locations.

Across the province,  stakeholders said:

  • We need transparency and consistency in funding models.
  • We need a ministry devoted to Arts, Culture and Heritage
  • We need more training and development for artists and arts workers – both emerging and established.

On the theme of training and development for arts workers, the Alliance brought in Richard Evans of EmcArts to speak at the Summit. Richard lead those present though a workshop titled The Roots of Innovation. The work Richard does on adaptive change is food for thought for any arts administrator, considering the fast pace of today’s society and the need for arts organizations to be resilient and adaptive.

Here are a few of his comments and questions:

  • 20% of an organizations resources should go to innovation.
  • What criteria do we apply in deciding to stop doing an annual project or program?
  • What organizational process can we put in place to ensure the process of “letting go” happens regularly?

Richard referenced Intentional Innovation: How Getting More Systematic about Innovation Could Improve Philanthropy and Increase Social Impact, a research project supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This report brings together the best of current innovation theory and practice, and explores how innovation could become a more consistent and reliable commodity for social good.

I particularly enjoyed the Case Study presented by Charlie Miller, founder and co-curator of Off-Centre @ The Jones, and his review of the creation of an innovation wing for the Denver Centre for the Arts. One interesting tidbit was the results of an experiment to assess the impact of encouraging audience members to become donors. Passing the Hat at performances was 400% more successful than an electronic ask!

There was lots to learn and much food for thought at the Summit – and thanks for the great lunches – we were well fed both in body and soul at ArtsSummit 2015.

Dawn Brennan Signature

Gateway Theatre is looking for Box Office Attendants

June 10th, 2015


Gateway Theatre is seeking friendly, outgoing individuals to fill the position of BOX OFFICE ATTENDANT.  We rely on our Box Office staff to provide front line sales, exceptional service, and support to our patrons, clients, and staff.  The position is part-time, year-round and pays $12./hr. Start date is in July 2015.


As a Box Office Attendant at Gateway, you will:

Process ticket sales, donations, subscriptions, course registrations, memberships and any other financial transaction that requires a Theatre Manager record.

Provide front line communication to the general public regarding Gateway Theatre and its programs.

Work with other Gateway staff to facilitate excellent patron and client service.

Solicit sales by sharing your enthusiasm for live theatre with every patron you talk to, suggesting tickets to additional shows and membership add-ons, and through other campaigns devised by the Gateway Theatre team.

Reconcile cash and credit card sales at the end of shifts, as well as other end-of-day facility lock-up procedures.

Represent the theatre and society in a professional manner.



You are friendly and enthusiastic about sharing live performance.

You have excellent customer service and communication skills.

You are detail-oriented, methodical, and an enthusiastic problem-solver.

You have a familiarity with MS Office software.

You are bondable.

You are comfortable working alone.

You are fluent in English (Cantonese and/or Mandarin language skills are an additional asset).

We prefer that you have prior box office experience, particularly with the Theatre Manager ticketing system.

Work experience in an arts and/or cultural environment is an asset.


To apply for this position, respond to Brendan Prost, Box Office Supervisor, with a resume and a letter of intent detailing specific reasons why you would be the ideal candidate for the position.


Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond, BC, V7C 3V4 or


We do not accept applications by fax.  No phone calls please.  We thank all applicants, but advise that only those considered for an interview will be contacted.  Gateway Theatre is committed to employment equity.


Closing Date:   June 26th 2015









An Arts Club Theatre Company production: Les Misérables

June 10th, 2015

Arts Club Logo Small





Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg

Original lyrics by Alain Boublil

English lyrics by Herber Kretzmer

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo


July 2–August 16, 2015

Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

Media opening: Wednesday, July 8


“This show has it all: gorgeous songs, a moving historical plot, and epic sets and costumes”

—The Georgia Straight


THE MUSICAL PHENOMENON Come hear the people sing in this epic saga of love and redemption. The spectacular musical that has swept the world features goosebump-raising songs such as “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Bring Him Home,” “On My Own,” and the rousing “Do You Hear the People Sing?” Experience music from the heart that reaches straight toward the heavens! One of the most successful musicals in history, Les Misérables features virtuosic performances, exciting staging, memorable music, and a stirring story.


“Our production is blessed with an extraordinary cast of triple threats, many of whom are returning from our widely-acclaimed 2009 run,” said director Bill Millerd. “I’m also excited to have the superb creative team return for this remount—co-musical directors Bruce Kellett and Ken Cormier, choreographer Valerie Easton, the design team of Ted Roberts (set), Alison Green (costumes), Marsha Sibthorpe (lighting), and the rest of the company—who promise to bring audiences a thrilling night to remember.”


The winner of more than 100 major theatre awards, including a Grammy for the Broadway cast album, Les Misérables has been translated into 22 languages, playing in 42 countries and 319 cities to a worldwide audience of more than 65 million.


Starring Cameron Andres, Stuart Barkley, Kevin Michael Cripps, Kaylee Harwood, Warren Kimmel, Nicola Lipman, Jaime Olivia MacLean, Kieran Martin Murphy, Sayer Roberts, Rebecca Talbot, Amy Wallis, Eloise White, Andrew Wheeler and Sarah Carlé, Oliver Castillo, Caitlin Clugston, Eric Craig, Jocelyn Gauthier, Erik Gow, Jesse Martyn, Jennie Neumann, Alexander Nicoll, Cathy Wilmot, Jacob Woike Director Bill Millerd Co-Musical Director Bruce Kellett Co-Musical Director Ken Cormier Choreographer Valerie Easton Set Designer Ted Roberts Costume Designer Alison Green Lighting Designer Marsha Sibthorpe Original Sound Design Chris Daniels Sound Consultant Andrew Tugwell Stage Manager Caryn Fehr Assistant Stage Manager Pamela Jakobs Assistant Stage Manager Colleen Totten



The Arts Club Theatre Company, founded in 1964, is the largest not-for-profit organization of its kind in Western Canada. Led by Artistic Managing Director Bill Millerd and Executive Director Peter Cathie White, it offers professional theatre at three venues—the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, Granville Island Stage, and Revue Stage—as well as on tour throughout the province.










The Progressive Polygamists (rEvolver Festival) GVPTA Blog Reflection

June 10th, 2015

Written by GVPTA Blogger: Carmel Amit

The Progressive Polygamists





1. large in quantity; abundant.

“the ocean provided a bountiful supply of fresh food”


2. giving generously.

“he was exceedingly bountiful to persons in distress”


This is the chosen name for a small town in Southern BC where a polygamist community of Mormon Fundamentalists reside.


Pippa Mackie and Emmelia Gordon were enchanting in the dark and hilariously funny The Progressive Polygamists: The Sweetest Reformers final show at the rEvolver FestivalThe show is written, directed and performed by Mackie and Gordon, and apparently I was lucky enough to watch their final performance before they burn their virginal sweet dresses. Their approach to the issue of female repression and dark practices of these communities is bold and liberated. The powerhouse duo was bountiful in their joy on stage and the absurdity of these women’s rationalization of the situation that is far from “bountiful”- save the number of mouths to feed.


As I delved deeper and researched about Polygamist practices I came across many documentaries and interviews of ex members who explained that they were so brain-washed and defeated, they felt they had to escape in secrecy in the middle of the night. With confidence, honesty, and pure fun, Mackie and Gordon reminded me that in my deepest pain and sorrow I too can refuse to acknowledge the truth because it is so often easier to accept. While counting your blessings is a healthy practice, sometimes enough is enough. “Keep Sweet” was the Progressive Polygamist’s motto sung, or frantically chanted when ever they were under emotional distress. To be brain washed and fed fear all your life, then live in emotional agony and feel it is your only choice lest you slip and fall to the depths of hell would truly be a hell in and of itself. These are some of the teachings that members of many of these religious communities are fed since birth.


I think Mackie and Gordon are brilliant for being able to bring so much humour to the topic. Thank you to Daniel Martin, Dave Mott and the  rEvolver Festival team for creating a platform for emerging artists to share their work and develop their craft and art.


The 2015 rEvolver Festival ran from May 20-31  at the Cultch.