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ABOUT FORWARD MARCH FESTIVAL

Theatre Direct Canada, a leading creator and innovator in theatre for, by, and with youth announces the featured lineup of Forward March Festival – a dynamic showcase of cutting-edge new theatre writing and an exciting lineup of music, audio and visual art, and performance by emerging theatre artists.

Weekday programme welcomes students in grades 9-12 into a daylong interactive journey inspired by the plays and their themes while weekend activities expand to include multidisciplinary programming including engaging talks and roundtables as well as a series of performances emerging from the prompt A Letter to My Younger Self.

Forward March Festival will take place March 4-10, 2019 at The Redwood Theatre in Toronto’s East End.

The inaugural lineup features new and yet to be produced plays by female-identified writers probe complex and controversial subject matter and bravely delve into rich emotional territory. Bessie Cheng’s Dirt, which won the Ellen Ross Stuart Award and was nominated for the RBC Emerging Playwright Award, is a queer coming of age story that follows two boys of opposing ethnic groups growing up as best friends in Urumqi, China. Elena Belyea’s Cleave looks at the experience of an intersex teenager and how starting a new school affects them and the people around them. Michaela Jeffery’s WROL (Without Rule of Law) is a darkly comic coming-of-age story about a determined troupe of adolescent girl ‘doomers’ who are committed to preparing for survival in the post-collapse society they are convinced won’t prioritize them. Finally, Hey May Hey, a new play by Chelsea Woolley, an awkward girl named May vows to go on a silence strike after the loss of her father.

Lynda Hill, Artistic Director of Theatre Direct Canada, explains,

“Theatre Direct has an impressive history of presenting thought-provoking and often controversial work aimed at youth and young adults and Forward March continues this tradition with work that challenges the definition and boundaries of Theatre for Young Audiences.”

 

FEATURED PLAYS

Hey May Hey by Chelsea Woolley

After the loss of her father and a series embarrassing interactions with: cruel classmates, a nosy teacher, a try-hard mother, and a very handsome boy, the ever awkward May Macdonald vows to go on a silence strike. A play about grief, community, and finding your voice. (for grades 9/10)

Cleave by Elena Belyea

For 17-year old intersex Aaron, the new school year means a new chance at life. For Pina, another shot at head cheerleader. For Mark, open season. A stranger intersects with a family in exile from itself. Parents Paul and Carol struggle to keep secrets from their children, desperate to know the truth. Like a surgeon’s knife before a first incision, the scalpel is poised and ready to slice. (grades 11/12)

Dirt by Bessie Cheng

Dirt is a queer coming of age story that follows two boys of opposing ethnic groups growing up as best friends in Urumqi, China. Spanning 15+ years in timeline and set in both Urumqi and Toronto, Dirt explores the intersection between queerness and race, as well as the idea of using power as a violent force.

WROL (Without Rule of Law) by Michaela Jeffery

Convinced the world at large can’t be trusted to prioritize the well-being of adolescent girls in the event of a cataclysmic event (or just in general), a determined troupe of 8th grade ‘doomers’ are committed to preparing for survival in the post-collapse society they anticipate inheriting. Judy Blume meets Rambo, WROL (Without Rule of Law) is a darkly comic coming-of-age story for complicated times.

For more information contact:

Emma Westray, Festival Producer
forwardmarchfestival@gmail.com