L-R: Valerie Sing Turner (librettist), Debi Wong (dramaturg), Kat Gimon (composer)
Written by Valerie Sing Turner
Synopsis: It’s 1988. A family gathers to discuss what to do with Esther, a Chinese-Canadian WWII veteran, as they can no longer ignore her growing dementia. She keeps talking to Victor, her beloved brother, whose death she blames on the Japanese when he volunteered to serve in the Pacific arena during World War II. Her husband George, an Indigenous WWII veteran, was Victor’s best friend. Their son, Gary, arrives with his Caucasian wife, Joanna, and their 18-year-old daughter Lucy. Things are already tense when estranged elder daughter, Nancy, shows up with husband, Ken, and their two daughters Denise and Andrea, who have never met Esther and George because Ken is Japanese-Canadian and Esther refuses to acknowledge his existence. But the real fireworks begin when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announces his plan to apologize to the Japanese Canadians who were interned during WWII. Will the weight of Canadian history tear them apart?
2019 Staged Reading Presentation – Thursday, November 7 at 7pm
Back row standing, L-R: Dennis Joseph, Jessica Schacht, Jessie Liang, Ronin Wong, Sharon Crandall, Jordan Waunch, Grace Le, Ray Thunderchild | Front row L-R: Shayna Virginillo, Valerie Sing Turner, Annabel Kershaw, Chris Lam, Lauren Preissl
Produced by Visceral Visions
Presented by the Heart of the City Festival & Chinese Cultural Centre Museum + Archives
555 Columbia Street, Vancouver, BC
A company of 10 actors brought to life the latest script written by Artistic Producer Valerie Sing Turner, in collaboration with Dennis Joseph, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Cultural Consultant and composer, dramaturg Jessica Schacht, and producer Shanae Sodhi.
The 2019 development workshop + staged reading were made possible with funding from City of Vancouver and BC Arts Council.
2017 Staged Reading company L-R: Diana Bang, Amanda Sum, Ronin Wong, Laara Ong, Mason Temple, Donna Wong-Juliani, Jay Brazeau, Valerie Sing Turner, Chelsea Rose Tucker, Jessica Heafey, John Cook.
A big thank-you to everyone who contributed to making our way-too-short development workshop plus the public reading on December 10, 2017, a success! In addition to our fabulous cast, we want to acknowledge dramaturg Lisa C. Ravensbergen; Squamish Nation cultural consultant Latash Nahanee; public reading co-presenter Granville Island Cultural Society; funders BC Arts Council and City of Vancouver; as well as intrepid supporters Sarah Garton Stanley, National Arts Centre (English Theatre), Tompkins Wozny LLP, Starbucks, and SFU Woodward's. Audience members commented on the power of the piece, which exposed disturbing pieces of BC history through the use of poetic language and the personal experiences of one family. The development process has given Valerie lots of ideas and inspiration for the next draft, so stay tuned!
National Arts Centre, English Theatre Collaboration - Visceral Visions
National Arts Centre, English Theatre 2016/17 Artist in Residence - Valerie Sing Turner
John Moffat + Larry Lillo Prize 2017 - Valerie Sing Turner
Visceral Visions gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the Granville Island Cultural Society, National Arts Centre, City of Vancouver, and the BC Arts Council to this project.Read more
Created and directed by Marie Clements
...three magnificent divas--[Jennifer] Kreisberg, Cheri Maracle, and Michelle St. John...combined fierceness and vocal power [to] quite literally "take [our] words away" (to paraphrase the song...)...a powerful experience...
Peter Dickinson - Performance, Place and Politics
ARTISTS! THE CULTUREBREW.ART ARTIST PORTAL IS OPEN!
The CultureBrew.Art Artist Portal is open! If you are an Indigenous or a racialized artist, join now to set up your artist profile, add your disciplines, marketable skills, portfolio items (audio, video, and images), and other information that will ensure that when the Engager Portal opens, they can easily find you for opportunities, gigs, and other work. You can browse the profiles of other BIPOC artists, and connect with them through our private and secure internal messaging system!
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CultureBrew.Art (CBA) is a digital platform that promotes and fosters intersectional interculturalism throughout the literary, performing, and media arts sector – and beyond! Its central tool is a searchable database of Indigenous and racialized artists – writers, directors, actors, musicians, dancers, singers, filmmakers, designers, choreographers, composers, stage managers, production and other performing and media arts professionals – to which theatres, dance and opera companies, film/TV casting directors, indie directors/producers, schools and post-secondary training programs, social service agencies, ad agencies, media outlets, and governmental agencies may access as subscribers. Other digital tools and educational enhancements will be added as demand dictates and funding allows; once established, the goal is to expand nationally.
We welcome creators, performers, and any other design/technical/production professionals in the performing, literary, and media arts who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour).
CBA will be a powerful tool for building a more inclusive arts sector that more authentically reflects Canada by promoting Indigenous and racialized artists; increasing hiring opportunities for BIPOC; and fostering intercultural connection, community, and artistic collaboration. CBA is searchable by gender, racial/ethnic heritage (Indigenous, African, East Asian, Latin American, South Asian, West Asian (Middle Eastern), mixed ethnic heritage), languages, artistic disciplines, and other fields as determined by research data gathered through community consultations.
Based on input from accessibility testers as well as artist and engager feedback, we are constantly making improvements and updates to CultureBrew.Art to increase user-friendliness, and improve ease of navigation.
In 2017, the support of a leading group of arts organizations was formalized through the establishment of the CBA Working Group Advisory, whose membership includes:
- Brenda Leadlay, Executive Director, BC Alliance for Arts + Culture
- Dawn Brennan, former Managing Director, Urban Ink Productions
- Jay Dodge, Past President, Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) | Artistic Producer, Boco del Lupo
- Kenji Maeda, Executive Director, Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance (GVPTA)
- Scott Bellis, President, National Council, Canadian Actors' Equity Association (Equity)
- Valerie Sing Turner, Artistic Producer, Visceral Visions
Key members of our team include Creative Director Valerie Sing Turner and Technical Director Anju Singh.
It's been said that farmers don't grow crops; they create the essential conditions for crops to grow. CBA will be a vital tool to break systemic divides, disrupt institutionalized structures, and create conditions under which BIPOC artists – and by extension, the wider Canadian arts ecology – can thrive. We are therefore grateful for support from: