Introducing Citadel's Summer 2020 Associate Artists!
As conversations worldwide address inequalities on and off stages in the arts, the Citadel team is committed to acting on the Inclusive part of our mandate – recognizing that solidarity is not enough on its own. We, and institutions like ours, have played a role in upholding systems that further marginalize Black, Indigenous, and all POC storytellers. The responsibility is on us to ensure we are following through on our commitment to Edmonton’s artists and patrons with real, significant action.
This summer, the Citadel will begin a series of measures to re-think each step of how we hire, cast, program, communicate, and so much more. Today, we are excited to announce the first of these measures and welcome our three Associate Artists who will work alongside Daryl, Chantell, and our entire team in developing our way forward. The Associate Artists will be with us over the Summer to initiate long-term projects that address all aspects of our operation.
This is our first step. As we move forward, we are also actively seeking funding and support to take long-term and permanent actions following this Summer with the recommendations of our Associate Artists.
The Associate Artists will lead projects based around outreach, education, and programming initiatives. The priority is providing a platform for marginalized voices, as well as training opportunities for emerging BIPOC artists. The Associate Artists will also examine the practices and policies of the Citadel and make recommendations on changes to ensure the Citadel is open, welcoming, and safe for all, with anti-racism at the heart of the organization. These activities may include considering and consulting on artist engagement practices (audition, rehearsal, and backstage safety), considering and consulting on board and staff recruitment practices, reviewing policies and making recommendations, and recommending resources/experts to lead systemic/structural change at the Citadel.
Helen Belay (she/her) is an actor and storyteller that has been playing with words and obsessed with all things beautiful since she was a wee babe in Bedford, England. A graduate of the University of Alberta's BFA Acting program, you may have recently seen her in The Blue Hour (SkirtsAFire Festival), her Sterling-nominated turn in The Society of the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius (Theatre Network), Cinderella (Globe Theatre), Vidalia (Teatro La Quindicina), Concord Floral (Edmonton Fringe), Middletown, All For Love, Lenin’s Embalmers (Studio Theatre).
Part of the Ethiopian diaspora, she strongly believes in the power of storytelling -- to educate, heal, empower and foster a future with space for all -- and is both excited and grateful to work with the Citadel as one of their Associate Artists this summer.
“It’s such an exciting (and increasingly precious) thing to get to actively think about the future with hope rather than the despair that is so easy to fall into these days. To get to reframe this period as not only one of loss but growth, and ultimately, change.”
Tai Amy Grauman
Tai Amy Grauman is Metis, Cree, and Haudenosaunee from Ardrossan, Alberta. She is an actor and a playwright. Tai recently received the Metis Nation of Alberta's award for "Outstanding Youth of 2020" for the work she is doing to unravel the stories of Metis women in Treaty 6. She also received the Jessie Richardson Award for Most Promising Newcomer in 2018 as well as Vancouver's Mayor's Emerging Theatre Artist of 2015, nominated by Margo Kane. Tai is an Artistic Associate at Savage Society, through which she has been developing her play You used to call me Marie... Tai is working on commissions with Nightswimming (Wiwimaw), Axis Theatre (Where did all the buffalo go…) and the Arts Club Theatre Company (My Father is the greatest man in the world).
Selected Acting Credits include: Honour Beat (Grand Theatre), Thanks For Giving (Arts Club) and Battle of the Birds (Savage Society). Recent directing credits include: Pull Fest (Speakeasy Theatre) and the assistant direction of The Taming of the Shrew (Bard on the Beach). Upcoming: Tai will be spending the next two months translating her play You used to call me Marie... into Cree and Michif. Tai will also be playing Vanessa Brokenhorn in The Herd at Persephone Theatre, Tarragon Theatre and the National Arts Centre.
"The first play I ever saw was A Christmas Carol at the Citadel when I was 9 years old, and I can remember the exact moment I decided I wanted to spend all my time in the theatre. Growing up, my Mom brought me into the city for other Citadel shows and classes at the Foote Theatre school. It was an hour-long drive, but I remember driving to the city for classes on Saturday afternoons. The Citadel Theatre hold a very special place in my heart and I'm so excited to be joining the team as an Associate Artist."
Writer, director, dramaturg, and actor Mieko Ouchi trained at U of A’s BFA Acting Program, the Women in the Director’s Chair Program, and the NSI. Her award-winning films have screened at over thirty festivals including the Toronto and Vancouver International Film Festivals and Asian American Film Festivals in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Her plays have been translated into six languages, and been finalists for the 4 Play Series at The Old Vic U.K., the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award, the City of Edmonton Book Prize, Sterling and Betty Awards, and been the recipient of both the Carol Bolt Prize and the Enbridge Award for Established Canadian Playwright.
Her work as director and dramaturg, both at Concrete Theatre where she is Artistic Director, but also with writers and companies across the country spans TYA to Indie to large scale work. In 2021 she will direct the world premiere of her play Burning Mom for the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and continue her work with The 3.7% Initiative Edmonton, an artistic leadership program for BIPOC women and non-binary people.
"I look forward to working with the Citadel, Tai and Helen, and our YEG community to ask ourselves hard questions - and to build connection, learning, understanding, analysis, and actions that support a culture where every person feels seen, heard, valued, and supported."