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From writing descriptions to developing characters, how can playwrights compose truthful representations in their plays? Who can write about who? How do we prevent erasure, divide, and insensitivity while crafting the heart of our plays – our characters? Join our incredible panel of theatre artists for a larger discussion about creating inclusive characterization. 


December 7th, 2021    |    12pm eastern time    |     Zoom Webinar

Free for PGC Members

$20 (+hst) for Non-Members

About the Panelists

Gabe Maharjan is a performance creator of mixed Nepali and Ashkenazi descent. Growing up, Gabe participated in performance workshops at The Black Theatre Workshop and the MSOPA where they developed a love for storytelling. You can catch them in Mattias Graham’s new short film, Bleach, and they will be performing in Rebecca Northan’s All I Want for Christmas at the Centaur. Gabe’s voice can also be heard on Netflix and Ubisoft projects. Their commissioned stage-adaptation of Kai Cheng Thom’s popular children’s book From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea will be premiered by Geordie Theatre in the spring of 2022.

Gabe’s a founder and leader of bigT, a performance collective centering trans/GNC narrative. They recently participated in the Emerging Creators Unit at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, where they co-created E-TRANSFERS with Merlin Simard.

Debbie Patterson is a Winnipeg playwright, director, and actor. She is an alumnus of the National Theatre School of Canada, a former Artistic Director of the Popular Theatre Alliance of Manitoba and a founding member of Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR). Past residencies include 2012 Carol Shields Writer in Residence for the University of Winnipeg and 2013/14 Playwright in Residence at Theatre Projects Manitoba. Her most recent play Sargent & Victor & Me was hailed as “an exquisitely, achingly beautiful piece” by Joff Schmidt, CBC Manitoba. Her musical Head, about the final days of Anne Boleyn was produced in 2006 by SIR to a completely sold-out run. Her other plays include Candy From a Baby, and Molotov Circus, which was nominated for the Harry Rintoul Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She has written several adaptations of Robert Munsch stories for Prairie Theatre Exchange, which have gone on to be produced at Festival Antigonish, Carousel Theatre, Neptune Theatre, Quest Theatre, Bumbershoot Theatre, and others.

Jovanni Sy is a playwright, director, and actor based in Mohkinstis-Calgary. From 2012-2019, Jovanni was the Artistic Director of Gateway Theatre in Richmond, BC. Under his tenure, Gateway produced world premieres by Alison Kelly and Stacy Kaser; Kevin Loring, Quelemia Sparrow, and Sebastien Archibald; Peter Dickinson; Catherine Léger and Leanna Brodie; and Meghan Gardiner. From 2004-2009, Jovanni was the Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre in Toronto. Under his tenure, Cahoots produced new works by Anosh Irani; Ahmed Ghazali and Bobby Theodore; Marjorie Chan; and Guillermo Verdecchia, Marcus Youssef, and Camyar Chai.

Jovanni’s latest play, NINE DRAGONS, was produced at Vertigo Theatre (Calgary), Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (Winnipeg), and Gateway Theatre. It received the Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Original Script and was also nominated for a Betty Mitchell Award and a Winnipeg Theatre Award. In 2010, Jovanni premiered his one-man play A TASTE OF EMPIRE in Toronto. It was nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore Awards including Outstanding New Play. A TASTE OF EMPIRE was remounted by Boca del Lupo Theatre in Vancouver in 2014 and 2015. It was then translated into Cantonese as 食盡天下 (A TASTE OF EMPIRE) by Derek Chan who premiered his adaptation (directed by Jovanni) at Gateway Theatre in 2016 and then revived it for Cahoots Theatre Company in 2018. The Toronto revival was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Touring Production. Carmela Sison will translate A TASTE OF EMPIRE into Tagalog as LASANG IMPERYO.

Jovanni is a past Playwright-in-Residence at the Shaw Festival and Tapestry New Opera Works. Other writing credits include THE FIVE VENGEANCES, a comic kung-fu adaptation of THE REVENGERS TRAGEDY and the libretti to the chamber operas, HAIKU MOMENTS, and THE CELLAR DOOR. Other credits include SONG OF SONGS (Bravo! Television) and PEKING DUCK (CBC Radio Drama).

Jovanni’s directing credits include THE ORCHARD (AFTER CHEKHOV) (Arts Club Theatre); GOD OF CARNAGE, ANTIGONE, and BLACKBIRD (Theatre du Pif in Hong Kong); and YOGA PLAY, CLOSER THAN EVER, VALLEY SONG, and HARVEST (Gateway Theatre); and STITCH (Native Earth Performing Arts).

Jovanni has performed on stages from St. John’s to Whitehorse as well as in Hong Kong.

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