2023 IBPoC New Play Commission recipient:
by Frances Koncan
Within a mysterious castle, atop the highest hill in all the prairies, the sorceress Medea has at long last returned to her childhood home after many years away with the intention of leaving the past behind and starting a new, slightly less murderous life. Determined to find her place in this much-changed and now-unfamiliar land, she is inspired to host a lavish masquerade ball where the prairie’s best and brightest (and wealthiest) can mix and mingle safely together, far away from the threat of an incurable and fatal virus terrorizes the land. But Medea’s childhood memories still haunt the seven rooms of her castle – and the virus, The Red Death, will stop at nothing to claim her for its own.
About the Artist
Frances Koncan (she/they) is a writer of Anishinaabe and Slovene descent, originally from Couchiching First Nation and currently based in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Treaty 1 territory. They are a graduate of the City University of New York Brooklyn College’s MFA Playwriting program. Plays include: “Space Girl”, “Women of the Fur Trade”, and “zahgidiwin/love”. Current and upcoming productions include: “Space Girl” at Prairie Theatre Exchange directed by Krista Jackson, “Women of the Fur Trade” at Stratford Festival directed by Yvette Nolan, and “Women of the Fur Trade” at Great Canadian Theatre Company directed by Renae Morriseau.
The selection committee also decided on a short list of 4 artists. The short list is the Selection Committee’s way of acknowledging and offering formal support for development to certain projects that were close to receiving the commission, even though we won’t be offering it a full commission.
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. Biannually, an 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.