Nevertheless, they persisted: Feminist theatre company sets stage for new season

Three shows are in place for the Persistence Theatre Company's second season.

'There is still so much further we need to go,' says artistic director

Jean Graham, chair of Persistence Theatre's board says the success of Persistence Theatre so far has been amazing. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The women behind the Persistence Theatre Company hope to keep the momentum of an inaugural season running in the months ahead, saying that the feminist collective have a lot of work to do. 

"Why do we need feminism in white, middle-class St. John's?" said artistic director Jenn Deon, unveiling plans for a season that will include three different productions.

"We're very privileged here but there is still so much further we need to go. We do not have equality in leadership either in politics or in the business world."

Jenn Deon, Persistence Theatre's artistic director, says women don't have equality in leadership in politics or in the business world. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Deon — along with Jean Graham, the chair of Persistence Theatre's board — hosted a launch for the second season at the LSPU Hall in St. John's on Tuesday. 

Building on a four-show season in 2017-2018 the group has three more set to hit the stage, starting with Sharon King-Campbell's Original this November. 

"It's amazing," Graham said. "To be standing here today with four shows done and successful and validation from all the different levels of government and from the private sector."

The theatre group aims to use the medium to promote feminism and to try to change hearts and minds through the plays it produces. 

It also created 44 theatre-related part time jobs last season, including employing one lighting designer who felt she had been pushed out in the past. 

"She said, 'This is the first job I've done in 20 years,'" Deon told The St. John's Morning Show. "She shared that she felt a little bit gendered-out a couple decades ago."

The second season for the Persistence Theatre Company will feature three shows, all written by women. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

It hasn't been an easy opening year for Persistence, as theatre is not a cheap endeavour to pull off. The group will host multiple fundraisers to offset the costs, including its Pink Tie Gala in November. 

"Every time I do it … it's really hard," said Deon.

"You have to raise a lot of money and you don't always raise enough money, and that's very stressful. We're all very connected to why we're around the table and why we're rolling up our sleeves. It makes it ultimately quite joyful."

The group's first show, Original, will play at the LSPU Hall Nov. 28 to Dec. 2, followed by Berni Stapleton's Offensive to Some Jan. 23-27 and Kristin Shepherd's Curved March 7-10. 

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from St. John's Morning Show