It is with great excitement that we are able to announce that out of 28 proposals, our selection committee members from across Canada and around the world unanimously decided to support the piece Wake by Rachel Mutombo for the inaugural IBPOC New Play Commission.

Wake

by Rachel Mutombo

Wake is an exploration of traditions around mourning, grief, the awkwardness of death and the secrets that come with it. In this piece, a Congolese-Canadian family gathers for the first time in many years for the funeral of their patriarch. The reunion is awkward. Most of them don’t want to be there, but they have to be – because it’s family. Everyone just wants to make it through this reunion unscathed, that is until an unexpected guest’s arrival changes everything.

“I am incredibly grateful to Persephone Theatre for giving me this opportunity. It is a privilege to have the support of an established theatre company while I am still early in my career. I can’t wait to share this story with Persephone’s audience (and to visit The Prairies for the first time!)”

About the Artist

Rachel Mutombo is an award-winning actor and writer. She is an acting graduate of John Abbott College’s Professional Theatre program as well as the National Theatre School of Canada. Some recent theatre performance credits include Antigone (Young People’s Theatre), School Girls; Or the African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian Theatre/Nightwood Theatre) and Selfie (YPT). She is also featured in the recurring role of Darby Gruss on Freeform’s The Bold Type.

As a freelance writer, Rachel has had essays and articles published by CBC, Intermission Magazine and ByBlacks. She is currently part of the 2020 cohort of The Bedrock Creators’ Initiative at Factory Theatre developing her play Vierge. Vierge was recently awarded the Kevin award for first place in Infinitheatre’s annual playwriting competition. The award is named in memory of Kevin Tierney. The jury for the prize stated that Rachel is “…one of the most exciting, original voices to come out of Canadian theatre in many years.”

Rachel’s newest play 6X10 was a part of Studio180’s INDEVELOPMENT season for 20/21 and is now in its next stage of development through the support of Bcurrent theatre’s Playwrights incubation program.

About the IBPOC New Play Commission

Persephone Theatre launched the IBPoC new play commission in 2020 to centre, support, and produce stories by Canadian artists who identify as Indigenous, Black, or a Person of Colour.

The playwright of the selected IBPoC commission receives a $15,000 fee for the creation of their script, a full development process involving workshops with actors, and a commitment to a premiere production in an upcoming MainStage Season.   

Selection happens through a committee of theatre artists and professionals based in Saskatchewan and across Canada. They represent a wide and diverse range of lived experiences and perspectives, including strong IBPoC representation. The committee both selects the commissioned project and identifies a series of shortlisted projects that each receive $1,000 and dramaturgical support provided by Persephone. 

The IBPoC commission will be an ongoing artistic program within Persephone’s play development and programming model. Each year, a new open call for submissions will be extended to IBPoC artists across Canada, and the commission will operate with the same financial, development, and producing support.

Persephone believes that this model is vital for ensuring IBPoC voices are strongly seen and heard on its stages, and that they are properly resourced to realize their best work. 

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