Recent Projects & News
Artists everywhere have been thrown into an unanticipated period of soul-searching and creative re-structuring. The past year-and-a-bit has gifted me with the time to step back, reinvest in myself, and take a deep dive into some BIG ideas!
In the winter of 2020, just before the first lockdown, I started The Tiger’s Hearts Collective- a group of women artists focussed on reclaiming and reinventing "the classics". Our first project was a workshop performance of Shakespeare’s Troilus & Cressida at Skirtsafire Festival. The experience yielded significant personal and professional growth for all involved and the project was a huge success. However, as female-identifying artists, we continued to struggle to find ourselves in the material. Something was persistently separating us from connecting directly with the story; gender. More specifically, gender in a patriarchal colonial context.
Following this experience, I resolved to write a new classical play that would address this disconnect between women and gender-nonconforming folks and the classics. I drew inspiration from my first experience of Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. My 12-year-old self was over the moon, at first, at the chance to see one of my Amazonian heroines come to life on stage. My midsummer dreams were dashed, though, as I witnessed this warrior Queen forced to stand silently throughout the entire first scene whilst several powerful men discussed whether a young woman should live or die.
I resolved to give her the play that she deserved, surrounded by her community of vibrant Amazons which Shakespeare had so carelessly stripped from her. My Amazons would live in a classical world, but they would not be confined by the codified gender roles typical of classical depictions of women. Their experiences would be as epic as King Lear; their language as complex and beautiful as Hamlet; their fighting prowess would surpass the might of brave Macbeth, and they’d crack bawdy jokes that would make even Old Jack Falstaff blush. And so, we would finally get to stand toe to toe with “the best of them”. Not by stepping into their shoes, but by standing tall in our own skin.
I was fortunate to have support from the Edmonton Arts Council, The Alberta Playwright's Network, and many local artists to delve deeper into this project. I am immensely grateful to my mentors Valerie Planche and Reneltta Arluk who have guided me on the journey thus far, and to my close friend Sam Jeffery for her constant enthusiasm, expertise, and support.
In August 2021, I was thrilled to be able to share the first half of The Amazonomachy at the Edmonton Fringe Festival's first all-Indigenous venue, pêhonân. Kinanâskomitinawâw to Josh Languedoc, Jordan Campion, and all the fabulous Indigenous artists and community members for welcoming us into that very special space. Chii miigwetch i maarsi.
The response from our sold-out audience was incredible and we were thrilled to hear from them in the post-show Q&A; “Finally there’s a classical piece where I can see myself, where I can see believable female relationships, where the stories I love are held accountable and told from my perspective”.
I am immensely grateful for this personal and professional evolution, and it feels like I'm coming full circle. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was privileged to work with a group of women artists workshopping a 400-year-old play written by a British cis white male about other cis white males. Now, we're working to create a new classical play written by a Métis/Settler woman about women and non-binary people of diverse backgrounds and experiences.
I can't wait to continue to share this journey with you all, so check up on all things Amazonomachy at www.tigershearts.com for all the news as it happens!
Can't wait? Listen to me chatting about all things Amazonomachy with Canadian classics-lover Liv Albert on her podcast, Let's Talk About Myths, Baby!