Queer Mayworks: Kamp Gets Around & a Decelebration of Canada 150

Posted by Wayves volunteer 21/04/2017

By Hugo Dann

Mayworks, Halifax's annual celebration of Labour and the Arts, has long been one of my favourite cultural events; not least because of its strong support for queer theatre and queer artists of all sorts. It's quite fitting that they should, given the long line of queer artists and activists who've had an enormous influence in the Labour movement and the quest for social justice. Walt Whitman, Emma Goldman, Edward Carpenter, Lucía Sánchez Saornil, Garcia Lorca,Bayard Rustin, Harry Hay, and James Baldwin, to name but a few.

It is particularly poignant that there is such a strong presence of queer performances at this year's festival, given that May 17 marks the 100th anniversary of the release from prison of the author of The Soul of Man Under Socialism, Oscar Wilde.

There are three strong performeances at Mayworks this year which are of particular to LGBTQ audiences. The consistently inspiring team of Aaron Collier and Richie Wilcox are presenting New Waterford Boy as the debut offering of their new company, Heist.

Bradley & Williams Musicals has teamed up with local organizations for three public presentations of their work-in-progress, KAMP: The Musical.

KAMP tells the story of homosexual men in a Nazi concentration camp who defy their captors by creating a satirical music revue right under their noses. Inspired by historical events, collaborators Jamie Bradley and Garry Williams have done extensive research into the experience of the Pink triangle prisoners, as well as examining the rich queeer culture that existed in pre-war Germany. Handled with compassion and humour, Kamp is a stark reminder of how fragile our hard won freedoms are, and the extraordinary resilience of humans challenging the most savage tyrannies.

Together with Arts Nova Scotia, The Atlantic Jewish Council, Mayworks Halifax Festival of Working People & the Arts, Eastern Front’s Stages Festival, Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre, DaPoPo Theatre, and the Halifax Music Co-Op, co-creators Jamie Bradley and Garry Williams are able to give three public presentations of this ambitious and timely project.

The workshop cast includes Ian Gilmore, Kyle Gillis, Jake Willett, Ian Mullan, and Quincy Russell with a book by Jamie Bradley; music and lyrics by Garry Williams; orchestrations by John Bogardus; choreography by Veronique MacKenzie; and dramaturgy by Richie Wilcox.  

For Holocaust Remembrance Day, audiences can see Excerpts from KAMP on April 24th, 6:30pm in O’Regan Hall at the Halifax Central library at 6:30pm, in conjunction with the Atlantic Jewish Council. Admission is FREE. Audiences can see The KAMP Songspiel April 28-30, at 7:30pm at the Halifax Music Co-Op, as part of the Mayworks Halifax Festival of Working People & the Arts 2017.

Audiences can attend two concert readings of KAMP on May 16, 2pm & May 27, 11am at the TNS Living Room and Bus Stop Theatre Co-Op, respectively, as part of Eastern Front’s Stages Festival 2017.

Tickets for The KAMP Songspiel can be purchased online: HERE.

The third offering of interest to Queer/Trans Haligonians comes from 2-Spirt artist. Raven Davis:

The Decelebration of Canada 150

Performance by Raven Davis

Saturday, April 29, 10:00AM-11:00AM | Cornwallis Park (Free)
Friday, May 5, 5:30 PM-6:30PM | Citadel Hill – Clock Tower (Free)

The Decelebration of Canada 150 is a body of work and a performance piece created to critique and expose the myth of the confederation of Canada and the discourse and erasure of: Indigenous people, Indigenous sovereignty and Indigenous history in Halifax and Canada.

NOTE: Performances are ongoing and can be joined or left at any time.

NOTE: Performances are outdoors. Please dress accordingly.

Raven Davis

An Indigenous, mixed race, 2-Spirit multidisciplinary artist and activist from the Anishnawbe (Ojibwa) Nation, Treaty 4 in Manitoba. They were born and raised in Toronto and currently works in Halifax. A parent of 3 sons, Raven’s work spans from painting, performance, traditional song/dance, design, poetry and short film. Raven cleverly blends narratives of colonization, race and gender justice, 2-Spirit identity and the Anishinaabemowin language and culture into traditional and contemporary art forms.

Presented in partnership with the Union of Food and Commercial Workers – Eastern Provinces Council and the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group

These three varied performances and performers seem united in their wit and intelligence, their transgressive transgressive queer spirit, their resistance to oppression and their challenges to conventional histories and identies. We are fortunate to have them among our story-tellers.


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