IBPoC New Play Commission Selection

Persephone Theatre launches IBPoC New Play Commission with Wake by Rachel Mutombo

Following an open call for submissions to Canadian IBPoC artists and a selection process steered by a committee of artistic peers, Persephone Theatre is proud to announce Wake by Rachel Mutombo as its inaugural IBPoC new play commission.

The commission’s purpose is to centre, support, and produce stories by Canadian artists who identify as Indigenous, Black, or a Person of Colour — fully supporting the development of their script through to premiere production. The selected IBPoC commission receives a $15,000 fee for the creation of their piece, a full development process involving workshops with actors, and the premiere production of that script in an upcoming MainStage Season. This marks the first year of Persephone’s IBPoC commission, and it will recur through an annual open call for submissions to IBPoC artists across Canada.   

Describing the play in her own words, Mutombo says, “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.”

Mutombo adds, “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!)”

In addition to identifying Wake as the inaugural IBPoC commission, the selection committee identified five projects for its shortlist; with each playwright receiving $1,000 and dramaturgical support. The 2021 shortlisted IBPoC commissions are Painted Elephant by Peace Akintade, The Betrayal by Marie Barlizo, River by Luke Reece, Privileged by Chantria Tram, and shrooms by Caleigh Crow. Though there were originally four slots available for shortlist prizes, this year’s committee added a fifth project to its shortlist since they felt all projects were equally deserving. This year’s selection committee involved 11 theatre artists and theatre professionals aged 15 to 50+, with more than half identifying as IBPoC. There were 5 women, 5 men, and one non-binary person. A geographical range of Canadian artists were represented on the jury, with 8 of the 11 jurors calling Saskatchewan their home province.

For more information about Wake by Rachel Mutombo or the shortlist CLICK HERE


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