b current performing arts is thrilled to announce bcHUB's Emerging Artists Ensemble 2019/2020. Over the course of 8 weeks, this group of exciting artists will be given training, support and space to develop their own work.
Mariam Barry is a multidisciplinary artist from Norway and The Gambia. As a cross-cultural creative, her approach to art-marking is intersectional and multi-hyphenate. Mariam is an actor, writer, producer and a Black Lives Matter activist. Mariam is currently an artistic producer with Killjoy Theatre, an intersectional feminist theatre collective, and the co-creator of Breaking Borders, a performance crew for immigrant, newcomer and refugee artists. When Mariam is not creating independently, she works full time with Reel Youth where she facilitates the production of youth films, music videos and inter-generational documentaries across Canada. Mariam holds a BFA in Acting from the University of British Columbia, and has worked with professional theatre companies internationally from Chicago (USA) to London (UK). Mariam is based on the traditional, unceded and un-surrendered territories of the ʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations - colonially known as Vancouver, BC. IG: @mangomariam
"Legacy" is in its' super early days of development. I have lots of independent scenes that I'm working to string together. But in essence what I'm exploring is my own story of diaspora. Centered on an Afro-Scandinavian family, the play dives into the joy and tensions of living in a family with blended cultures. A mixed family of five wrestle with their life in Europe as the rise of xenophobia cause rifts in their relationships. This takes the narrative to a journey of their past in Africa - revealing their family's stuggles and their cousin's eventual refugee crossing of the Mediterranean Sea to meet them in Europe. This is inspired by Uncle's real life attempt to leave Africa for "better opportunities" abroad. The legacy of colonization is therefore something the play grapples with.
Mugabi Byenkya is a writer, poet and occasional rapper. He was born in Nigeria, to Ugandan parents and is currently based between Kampala and Toronto. Mugabi was longlisted for the Babishai Niwe Poetry Award in 2015. His essays and poetry have been published in The Good Men Project, The Mighty, Arts and Africa and The Kalahari Review, among others. He has been interviewed on Voice of America, NTV Uganda, Africa In Dialogue and Brittle Paper, among other media outlets. Mugabi's writing is used to teach international high school English reading comprehension. His debut experimental epistolary speculative novel, ‘Dear Philomena,’ was published in 2017 and he recently concluded a 43 city, 5 country North America/East Africa tour in support of this. In 2018, Mugabi was named one of 56 writers who has contributed to his native Uganda’s literary heritage in the 56 years since independence by Writivism. Dear Philomena, was named a Ugandan bestseller in the same year. Mugabi wants to be Jaden Smith when he grows up.
‘Songs For Wo(Men)’ is a theatre project that incorporates drama, prose and poetry. The overarching narrative is a potentially two-character play based on true events that involves myself and a character tentatively named Dick. Dick approached me to offer unsolicited advice on how to approach a woman, as well as unsolicited queries into my sexuality. The play will be interspersed with break out pauses into poetry & music to illustrate moments of self-reflection during an unwanted conversation. This project is inspired by the Frank Ocean song ‘Songs For Women’ from his stunning debut mixtape ‘nostalgia ULTRA’. Particularly, the way that Frank unapologetically claims his queerness in the toxic queerphobic space within which he exists. Frank does not seek to follow the dominant narrative of queerness and/or the feminine traits attributed to it. Instead, he embraces the complexities of his multifaceted identity. Similarly, my writing project seeks to navigate my identity as a disabled black queer polygender indigenous person and how these intersections affect my platonic relationships. I choose to celebrate and emphasize platonic intimacy as platonic relationships often unfairly play second fiddle to romantic relationships. Through drama, poetry and prose, I deconstruct and subvert the western colonial constructs enforced on my people, through the language of the colonists. My debut ‘Dear Philomena,’ was a subversive introduction to my queerness and multiplicity of gender. ‘Song For Wo(Men) will be my wholehearted embrace.
Kayla Carter is a writer, theatre practitioner, dancer, producer, filmmaker, and performance artist. She is a Tkaronto-based Black, queer, femme of Jamaican, Cuban, and Maroon ancestry and believes that her existence is not accidental, but deliberate. Kayla’s work is centered on ancestry, grief, diaspora and what it means to be human in a world that understands us as otherwise. She wrote her first play ' For Fried Plantin" at 19 years old, which had its Canadian debut at the National Arts Centre of Canada and has since been performed internationally to raving reviews. Her writing is striking, blunt and has been described as 'unapologetically human'. Through theatre Kayla has depicted stories untold and forgotten, all while using the mediums of dance, movement, performance art, and acting. Some of Kayla's performance artwork includes A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer, Other Side of the Game, Diasporic Journeys: A Multi-Arts Installation and The Rhubarb Festival. She has performed at the historic Buddies in Bad time theatre and has debuted her writing at The Glad Day Bookstore (the world’s oldest surviving LGBTQ bookstore). As a filmmaker, Kayla is invested in telling stories that are left on the periphery. Through film, Kayla pushes the boundaries of how we digest and regurgitate film. By using cinematography, sound, writing, and storytelling Kayla premiered her first short film 'Lay it down' at the renowned TIFF Bell Lightbox. Following Lay it down she produced, directed and wrote her second film based on her first play For Fried Plantin.
For Fried Plantin centers around Sade, a 23 year old black woman who has lived and grown up in the west end of Toronto he whole like. Throughout the play, we get a glimpse into all of the things that she has left unspoken and won’t dare admit to herself. However, in the presence of her ancestors, re-calling ancestral memory and with the support of plantin, she is able to do the very thing that she has sworn not to do; tell the truth. Equal parts theatre and performance art, Sade fries 3 plantin, all while speaking about her grandmother, grief, mental health, love, being Caribbean and Black girls. By the end of the play, she has fried all of the plantin and learns more than she has bargained for.
This play is for and about all Black Girls
Náyla Lendor is currently a student in her final year attending Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts majoring in the drama program. Nála has performed in pieces that have been in The National Theatre School and Acting Up Stage Company; One Song Glory. She is also a dancer in DLYFE (Dance Let Your Feet Explore). A dance company which focuses on Caribbean and African styles of dance. Nala Has also performed at the Harbour Front Island Festivals and with Machel Mantano, a Soca artist for the 2016 WE Day. Most recently has performed with La’Riatsila Dance Theatre company.
Rabiya Mansoor is a Calgary raised, Toronto based actor, writer, and comedian. Recent credits include: 2019 Bob Curry Fellowship (Second City Toronto), 2019 Toronto Fringe (Above & Beyond), and 2019 Montreal & Toronto Sketchfests (FUSION Comedy). She also co-hosts and co-produces a monthly diversity focused show, OTHER, at the John Candy Box Theatre. You can catch her on the last Monday of every month at the Assembly Theatre performing sketch with The Wow! She is a part of Nightwood Theatre's 2019/20 Young Innovators Program and is excited to join the bcHUB Emerging Artists Training Ensemble.
Kaala Dabba focuses on the question - How does a family’s relationship with one another change and evolve as their own individual relationships with their TV change and evolve? Through a series of snapshots in the Khan's living room, the lives of Rani, Ahmed, Mom, and Dad unfold in front of the television with themes of escapism, heritage connection through media consumption, and loneliness in closed marriages.
I am a trans-disciplinary queer pilipinx conjurer. My work dedicated to casting spells of freedom and care for/with all beings. I create to remember the miraculous within the mundane, the innovative brilliance of the ancient, and the freedom beyond the oppression, understanding land as the core ecology of art, technology, and revolution. My offerings can be found at www.shaina-agbayani.com
In this program, I hope to grow as a multidisciplinary artist and develop new skills in the realm of production. I will be exploring how to bring together my various practices in movement, burlesque, poetry, story-telling and critical race analysis to create productions that centre the stories of people of colour. In my work, I ask questions about what it means to be living as a woman of colour in Canada in the contemporary moment. I will be working on the script for a comedy about activist friends who are women of colour that go on a road trip to an anti-racism conference. I will also work on developing my poetry for performance. I am curious about exploring themes of resistance, alternative narratives, alternate futures, grief, the erotic, decolonization and finding freedom.
Shohana Sharmin is a Bangladeshi-Canadian artist. Born and raised in Bangladesh, Shohana is a proud Muslim queer woman of colour and is fluent in three languages: Bengali, Hindi, and English. Shohana is a member of Buddies in Bad Times theatre’s 2019 Emerging Creators Unit (under the mentorship of Catherine Hernandez of b current) and Nightwood Theatre’s 2019 Young Innovators program. She presented her first solo show "Come Here Often?" (directed by Akosua Amo-Adem) as part of 2019 Queer Pride at Buddies in Bad Times theatre. Shohana is a current Featured Player at the Bad Dog Comedy Theatre, and an alumna of the Second City’s Improv and Longform Conservatories. She has performed in comedy and theatre festivals across North America, including the Toronto Fringe Festival, Toronto Queer Pride, Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, Big City Improv Festival, SheDot Festival, Detroit Improv Festival, Ottawa Fringe Festival, LadyFest Montreal, Seattle Sketch Comedy Festival, Hamilton Fringe Festival and more. She can regularly be seen performing across Toronto with her award-winning troupe Not Oasis (2017 The Toronto Fringe Patrons Pick, NOW Critic’s Pick) and The Kweendom (LadyFest Montreal). She wishes she could be more like her mother.
“The first time my mother discovered a hickey on my neck, she angrily stormed out of the room – only to storm back in minutes later with her copy of the Quran. “Swear to me and Allah that you will not let another man do this to you before marriage!” she cried, shoving the holy book in my face.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the person who did this to me was not a man.”
In her latest work “Haraam” (Forbidden in Arabic), Shohana Sharmin sits in the aftermath of her mother’s death, coming to terms with the strenuous yet loving (and darkly funny) relationship they shared.
Tyler (Ty) J Sloane (THEY/THEM) is a Two-Spirit Non-Binary Mixed Race (Anishinaabe/Chinese/Greek/Irish) multidisciplinary theatre/performance artist. They aim to emphasize marginalized voices that intersect: race; fluid sexualities; trans, non-binary, and fluid gender expressions; non-monogamous relationships; and class. They’ve explored the aforementioned themes in various disciplines; Photography (Light Our Bodies), Visual Art (Breath On One Land). Selected theatre credits include workshop actor in Scanner by Yolanda Bonnell (Factory Theatre); & Assitant Directing in the upcoming production of Lilies; Or, the Revival of a Romantic Drama (Buddies In Bad Times, Lemontree creations, & Why Not Theatre). Recently they performed at Fierté Montréal / Montréal Pride at 'place à la relève' and 'voix resilience' as a solo artist. Next, they'll be in the Caminos Festival with their written piece Crystallize and later in November presenting an excerpt of their play Hummingbird through the Animikiig Creators Unit at Weesageechuk
Crystalize is a 15-20 minute performance piece that explores how we work through mourning and love. Set in the mind of the character ‘Colin Eyes’d’ we see how their relationship intersects and struggles with their beliefs based on their intersectional drive to support community and overcome violence. We witness how the character ‘Colin Eyes’d’ works through their intersections of queerness and indigeneity through how identity and romance collide. We will further examine how these identities come into play and battle over each other as Colin processes worlds colliding. With imagery tied to Ty’s own reconnection to the anishinaabemowin language, and paired with; animal symbolism, Western/Nuclear family imagery, Violence on marginalized bodies such as Colten Boushie, Tina Fontaine, and the McArthur victims we will begin to show the complexities that queer indigenous people face and how community traumas can run parallel when in love. The intent of the spoken word is to be a messy love letter to the audience, Colin’s lover, as from the moment to working through their feelings in the relationship to the inevitable end moment of the relationship.
Marie Sotto is a Filipina comedienne and artist. She is a cast member of Fusion Sketch Comedy and has been featured on Yas Kween, SHADE, OTHER Showcase, New Normal Comedy and the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival. Marie hosts and produces The Surreal Life, a comedy as art show. Previous art exhibitions include Super Wonder Gallery, Artscape Youngplace, The Gladstone Hotel, and Trinity Square Video. Her artworks are explorations and expressions of her supernatural power as a first generation Filipina Canadian defining and navigating her cultural heritage and ancestry on her own terms. She does her own stunts.