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AUDREY DWYER’S CALPURNIA TURNS A CLASSIC NOVEL ON ITS HEAD

News Release 
 

AUDREY DWYER’S CALPURNIA TURNS A CLASSIC NOVEL ON ITS HEAD

Race, class and gender collide in this explosive comedy confronting Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

April 12, 2022 – OTTAWA (Canada) – Up-and-coming screenwriter Julie sees herself as a tireless warrior for the marginalized. From the safe confines of her wealthy father’s Forest Hill home, she undertakes to rewrite one of the most beloved novels of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird, from the perspective of the Finch family’s Black maid, Calpurnia.

Julie aims to show that white novelist Harper Lee could not possibly capture the character of a Black woman living under the weight of servitude. Yet simmering under the surface of Julie’s mission is a glaring hypocrisy of which she is blithely unaware.

As Julie battles writer’s block, her family prepares for an important dinner. More accurately, Precy, their beloved housekeeper is preparing; they’re mostly getting in the way and arguing about Julie’s script. The project has its detractors – including her brother Mark who loves the book and the movie. When he wonders aloud whether Julie can even write this story from a place of privilege, she goes to dramatic lengths to prove him wrong.

Calpurnia is a hilarious and highly-charged look at the knots and tangles of intersectionality and allyship, exposing motives and feelings that are clear as a bell one moment, and drowning in ambiguity the next.

Proving beyond doubt that no one is perfectly right and no one is perfectly wrong, Calpurnia leaves us gobsmacked in the best possible way.

After a successful run at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, the production lands in Ottawa as the latest offering under the NAC English Theatre/Black Theatre Workshop co-curating partnership.

PRODUCTION CREDITS 
 
Calpurnia
By Audrey Dwyer
Directed by Sarah Garton Stanley
Featuring Kwaku Adu-Poku, Ellie Ellwand, Rochelle Kives, Arne MacPherson, Emerjade Simms, Ray Strachan; Set Designer Rachel Forbes; Costume Designer Joseph Abetria; Lighting Designer Hugh Conacher; Sound Designer Chris Coyne; Cultural Consultant Hazel Venzon; Assistant Director Nikki Shaffeeullah; Assistant Designer Shauna Jones; Stage Manager Mike Duggan; Assistant Stage Manager Zahra Larche.
An NAC English Theatre/Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre/Black Theatre Workshop co-production

PERFORMANCE AND TICKET INFORMATION 
 
In-person in the Babs Asper Theatre
April 27 – May 7 7:30 PM; April 30 and May 7 at 2 PM
Tickets for performances start at $29 (April 27 preview tickets $15) 

To purchase tickets, visit Ticketmaster online or call 1-844-985-2787 (ARTS). We encourage visitors to buy their tickets or make a restaurant reservation online prior to their visit.  Please visitnac-cna.ca/visit to find out what you need to know before accessing the building and facilities. 
 
The National Arts Centre Foundation would like to thank Official Hotel Partner Embassy Hotel & Suites, and Official Rail Partner VIA Rail. Special Thank You to Margaret Fountain, C.M., DFA (h) & David Fountain, C.M. and to the Dr. Kanta Marwah Endowment for English Theatre. 
 
CO-CURATING COMPANY IN RESIDENCE

The creation of the Co-Curating Company in Residence came to light after calls for significant change in the theatre industry. Recognizing the substantial lack of resources and opportunities available to Black artists in Canada, NAC English Theatre engaged members of the IBPoC arts community to guide us in a response. The catalysing force of Ravi Jain and his team from Why Not Theatre, along with advisors Audrey Dwyer and Mike Payette, worked alongside the leadership of NAC English Theatre to develop the model of the Co-Curating Company.

As the planning cycle for the 2021-22 season began, NAC and BTW realized that an abbreviated season would not be enough to allow the residency to reach its full potential. In July, it was announced that BTW will continue as Co-Curating Company through the 2022-23 season. This will allow BTW to co-curate another season, with access to the greater range of resources available in a more stable planning cycle and equally, will allow NAC English Theatre to benefit from working with BTW for another year

ABOUT BLACK THEATRE WORKSHOP

Entering its 51st season, Black Theatre Workshop (BTW) is Canada’s longest running theatre company dedicated to the works of Black and diasporic communities. BTW’s mission is to promote and produce outstanding theatre that educates, entertains and inspires. The company strives to create greater cross-cultural understanding by challenging its audience and the status quo. Expanding the representation of Black Canadian artists, BTW bridges cultural divides – uniting hearts, minds and communities.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE 
 
The National Arts Centre is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams — the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre in collaboration with Black Theatre Workshop, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety — and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe. 

 

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