First – did you know that the frank will be 20 years old in 2016?
We looked up “1996” online and it looks like we were born The Year of the Rat – yeah, not exactly the most appealing of animals, but apparently it ranks first among Chinese zodiac signs. It represents alertness, vitality, flexibility and wit – go figure!
We were born way back in 1996 when a group of theatre students, in response to a professor’s statement that no open lesbian could make it as a professional theatre artist, formed a queer- and sex-positive theatre troupe with the whimsical moniker, “Screaming Weenie.”
The spirit out of which the company was born was a mixture of witty subversion and righteous rage – rage against the homophobia, sex-phobia and AIDS-phobia of the neoconservative 90s.
THE WEENIE ALL GROWN UP
Fast-forward twenty years, and the Weenie rages on as the frank – we’re still the Weenie, but all grown up! And while there’s been great societal progress vis-a-vis legal equality and protection the last two decades, hearts and minds still need to be changed – just look at the transphobia rampant everywhere, the bullying that happens in schoolyards, and the assumptions about sexual and gender non-normativity that people of all stripes carry and act on in their everyday lives.
And here’s a sobering fact: in 79 countries around the world, being queer is still illegal.
the frank believes that, until sexual and gender diversity is accepted and embraced everywhere in every society by everyone, there’s a need to tell queer-themed stories that entertain, challenge and transform.
And what more direct and tangible way of telling these stories than through theatre? In this virtual age, we think the need for concrete, intimate, in-person experiences has, arguably, never been stronger.
BC’s ONLY QUEER THEATRE COMPANY
As BC’s only explicitly queer-mandated professional theatre company, the frank plays a crucial role in telling these stories. This role takes a number of forms: as producers of plays featuring the work of Canada’s most accomplished playwrights and theatre artists; as presenters of acclaimed queer-themed productions; and as facilitators for people to tell their stories, through our groundbreaking community and youth engagement programs.
This upcoming year is when we will hit our groove: as an artistic force, as an agent for community change, and as a powerhouse on the national queer cultural scene.
Here are some things to look out for in 2016:
- January 27-31, 2016: Miss Understood, about the extraordinary life and times of trans* poet Antonette Rea, written by and featuring Antonette herself and directed by James Fagan Tait, presented at Performance Works as part of the 2016 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
- March 8-19, 2016: Ga Ting (Family), Minh Ly’s acclaimed play about what transpires when an immigrant Chinese couple invites their deceased son’s Caucasian boyfriend over for dinner, presented at The Cultch as part of their 2015/16 season
- October 13-23, 2016: Walt Whitman’s Secret, the world professional premiere of Sean O’Leary’s adaptation of Canadian literary giant George Fetherling’s novel about the dying days of the great poet, directed by Jack Paterson and featuring Tom Pickett as Whitman, presented at Presentation House as the opening show of their 2016/17 season
- February to April 2016: The second year of Telling It Bent, our writing program for queer, trans*, questioning and allied youth aged 14-25
- July 21-24, 2016: Queer Theatre & Performance in Canada: Taking Stock, a conference bringing together prominent queer theatre and performance practitioners and academics from across Canada, featuring provocative roundtable discussions and readings of new plays, taking place at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts and co-hosted with School for the Contemporary Arts
Yep, it’s an ambitious, exciting year, and a lot for our dedicated, streamlined staff of three to undertake – but we’re all up for the challenge.
And this is where you come in. Its donations from individuals like you that truly sustain us.
Our goal this year is $15,000. That’s $15,000 for our 20th anniversary year. 15-20.
We must raise half of our goal ($7,500) by December 31, 2015.
Please consider supporting the frank today.
Your gift will be an act of support for an alternative, professional queer theatre company in Vancouver, one that actively and consistently embraces the sexual, gender, cultural and ability diversity of our city.
Please click here to make your donation online.
If writing cheques is more your thing, no worries! Just make it out to the frank theatre company and mail to Suite 220, 111 West Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4.
(And yep, we’re a registered charity, so we can issue tax receipts for donations of $20 or more.)
Thank you, thank you – and thank you AGAIN – for being part of the frank family! Our entire Staff and Board wish you all the very best this holiday season.
Chris, Maura, Adam, Joseph, Wendy, Esta, Tony, Mary, Jaedyn, Clayton, Liz and Alex