Vancouver’s very own Zee Zee Theatre, in partnership with a consortium of Canadian theatre companies, is proud to announce they are now accepting applications for the National Queer and Trans Playwriting Unit until July 5, 2022. Open to all Canadian writers and theatre-makers, the program aims to address the lack of accurate and equitable queer and trans representation on Canadian stages.
“Art has the power to elevate voices and ideas that can change the world. Now, more than ever, the arts sector needs to prioritize those who have been systematically left out of the conversation,” says Cameron Mackenzie, Artistic and Executive Director at Zee Zee Theatre.
Founded in 2008, the Vancouver-born Zee Zee Theatre has amplified marginalized voices often excluded from mainstream conversations. Zee Zee Theatre belies in individual stories that provoke and inspire while also fostering common understanding and empathy.
Also in the consortium is Vancouver’s oldest professional queer theatre company, Frank Theatre. “We’re subverting traditional methods by engaging collaborators whose practices are rooted in different disciplines, cultures, abilities, and languages,” says Artistic Director of Frank Theatre, Fay Nass. Frank Theatre has proudly challenged Western, Eurocentric and colonial aesthetics since 1996.
The heart of the National Queer and Trans Playwriting Unit lies in bringing Canadian playwrights and collaborators together. For the consortium, changing Canada’s theatre ecology means furthering equality for all queer and trans people on and off the stage.
“For our sector as a whole, [the National Queer and Trans Playwriting Unit] offers new representation and reflection in ways that are meaningful and non-tokenizing,” Mackenzie continues.
The consortium features theatres across Canada, including Zee Zee Theatre, Frank Theatre (Vancouver), Gwaandak Theatre (Whitehorse), Theatre Outré (Lethbridge), Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon), Theatre Projects Manitoba (Winnipeg), Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (Toronto), Native Earth Performing Arts (Toronto), Imago Theatre (Montreal), and Neptune Theatre (Halifax).
Together, these companies will select five emerging and mid-career artists to participate in the 10-month program, which will run virtually across Canada. Selected artists will be paid a living wage for the duration of the program, where they will work as a collaborative cohort with an assigned dramaturg mentor in a one-on-one relationship.
At the end of the 10-month program, each artist’s play will be produced as a staged reading by one of the consortium members, with the other companies will offer streaming access to their communities. The consortium will then commit to full productions or further development of all of the program’s scripts.
For more information and to apply to the National Queer and Trans Playwright Unit, visit the Zee Zee Theatre.