Tara Birtwhistle and RWB Company in The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (Bruce Monk).
The Ecstasy of Rita Joe follows a young Aboriginal woman after she leaves her reserve to find a better life in the city. What she finds instead is poverty, prostitution, drugs, violence.
Five Facts about The Ecstasy of Rita Joe:
1. Over 40 years ago, playwright George Ryga was inspired to write his play after reading a news story about a murdered Aboriginal woman found in a poor area of Vancouver.
2. The premire production of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe was performed in 1967. It featured Chief Dan George as Rita's father.
3. The Play was translated into French and performed by Comedic Canadienne in Montreal in 1970.
4. In 1971, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet adapted the play into a ballet which featured Ana maria deGorriz as the leading lady.
5. Today, RWB's Principal Dancer, Tara Birtwhistle says farewell to her Winnipeg audience in her final role with the RWB company as Rita Joe.
RWB's Ana Maria deGorriz & Sal Aiello, 1971 (RWB) Tara Birtwhistle, Eric Nipp, 2011 (Bruce Monk)
The Ecstasy of Rita Joe was ground breaking in 1967. Is it still relevant today?
Terry Macleod of Information Radio spoke with two Winnipeg Aboriginal women who have fought for change in their community: Shaneen Robinson and Leslie Spillett. He asked, "What has changed for Aboriginal women since the play was written?"