A New Play Creation Initiative for Young Audiences
With Beyond Borders, YPT harnesses the virtual environment to break through barriers of distance, culture, artistic practice and resources. No longer bound by “place”, Beyond Borders forges new relationships with playwrights from across Canada and around the world to cultivate new works for young audiences at YPT.
YPT regularly engages in a two-phase play development process called Exploration and Commission. Exploration provides support for the artist to investigate their new concept while also providing the theatre with a deeper understanding of the intentions behind the work. If there is excitement from both the artist and YPT at the end of the Exploration phase, the work proceeds to Commission, a phase during which both artist and theatre commit to a process that will see the eventual production of the play.
Beyond Borders provides financial and artistic support to three playwrights/theatre creators to explore a new idea for a work for young audiences.
See our 2021 artists and their projects below.
“Skin Bag” by Upasana Das
After the Kargil War, a single shirt is sent home. It carries with it the dreaded message that their father will not be returning. What legacy will this hand-me-down garment have on the two boys who remain?
Upasana Das is a postgraduate student in the Department of English, Jadavpur University. She is a writer, artist, translator and academic. Her research interests include postcolonial studies, modernist studies, visual culture and performance studies. Furthermore, she also researches the interconnectivity of literature, film, theatre, comics and the other arts.
“Stolen Story” by Finegan Kruckmeyer
Every town, every place, every group of people has a story. But one morning the people of the Shortland awake to find theirs has been spirited away. While the adults in the town try to cope with a present and a future that have no past, young Benji Clark sets out to discover the fate of their stolen story.
Finegan Kruckmeyer has had 100 commissioned plays performed on six continents and translated into eight languages. His work has enjoyed seasons in over 200 international festivals and in 2018, he was the most-produced playwright of original children’s theatre in the US.
His work has received 37 awards, including the Mickey Miners Lifetime Achievement Award for international Theatre for Young Audiences, David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Australian Playwrighting, seven Australian Writers Guild Awards and an inaugural Sidney Myer Fellowship. He has spoken at conferences in ten countries, with papers published and works studied at international universities.
Finegan was born in Ireland and moved halfway around the world to Adelaide, Australia aged eight. After 15 years, he and his wife Essie left for the island state of Tasmania. And after 15 more, with their son Moe, they returned.
He is committed to making strong and respectful work for young people, which acknowledges them as astute audience members outside the plays, and worthy subjects within.
“Water Wars” by Lereko Mfono
In a South African township, a water plant supplying water to the whole township completely collapses because of negligence due to bureaucracy. The play explores the world of the community, the cause of the plant’s neglect, and the devastation that befalls the young when bureaucracy and politics stand in the way of dreams.
Lereko Mfono is a playwright, television writer and theatre maker from South Africa. He started writing theatre for young audiences in 2012 and has since had his work developed and performed in South Africa, France and the United States of America.
He was selected as Artist-in-Residence by Ann-Arbor, Michigan-based company Spinning Dot Theatre in 2018, where he presented talks on Playwriting at the University of Michigan an
d Northwestern University. The residency coincided with the international premiere of his play The Kids from Amandla Street.
Lereko Mfono has written for the award-winning soap opera Isibaya and was selected as one of the 2019 Mail and Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans.