“Spell-binding. Black & Rural awakens a deep-seated longing in many of us who live busy, noisy, urban lives and wonder why we live the way we do. One life. No rewind.” -Jo Ledingham
Black & Rural is the story of a lone Black country woman struggling to defy the monolith of what matters to Black lives. Derived from dozens of real-life interviews with Black folk tucked away on the countryside across Canada, Shayna Jones weaves together a story of vulnerability, quiet triumph, and striking humanity. The show features Shayna's unique storytelling voice, interspersed with new folkloric tales and verbatim reflections from her interviewees.
"Pi Theatre has brought to the stage an exceptionally important piece of art ...Black & Rural puts forward timeless tales and fresh perspectives." -Stir Vancouver
"Thank you Shayna for sharing your beautiful story and wondrous performance of a lifetime. It was sheer energy to witness your stunning performance ... Amazing work! We were spellbound." - Beth Ringdahl
Written, performed, and created by Shayna Jones
Featuring voice-over performances by: Tom Pickett, Omari Newton, Kwasi Thomas, Giselle Carke-Trenaman, Ivy Charles, Britney Buren, and Mariam Barry
Directed by Richard Wolfe
Lighting Design: Brad Trenaman
Set Design & Costume Consultant: Cecilia Vadala
Sound Design & Composition: Rufus Cappadocia
Movement Director: Amber Barton
Stage Manager: Kayleigh Sandomirsky
Tour Stage Manager: Maria Zarrillo
Dramaturg: Angela Konrad
ADVISORY INFORMATION: Black + Rural is drawn from the true stories of Black Canadians, and explores their lived experiences with frankness and grace. This show features strong language. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to email@example.com.
Where: Pacific Theatre - 1440 W 12th ave, Vancouver BC
If you are experiencing financial barriers, but want to see the show, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help. A limited number of accessibly priced tickets are also available through the Pacific Theatre box office: email@example.com.
About the Artist
"I live in the rural mountains of British Columbia and have the privilege of being a full time mother to three incredible children. Motherhood is my deepest work. Though I often fail, I endeavour to live deeply, truthfully, simply, and beautifully. My work as a performance artist, and specifically as a Storyteller of African and African Diasporic Folklore, is woven into this endeavour. It is an extremely life giving, creative practice. Discovering, shaping and sharing tales keeps me steeped in the awareness of our common humanity; of our deeply threatened need for slowed-down, unplugged, heart to heart connection with one another and with the world around us; and of our inherent orientation toward something deep and divine. In short, as I experience it, Storytelling is a deeply spiritual act. It is not only a way of communing with others, it is a way of reaching out to God my Creator, to my ancestors, and to the Mothers that went before me. It is my way of coming Home. If I am so blessed, I will share tales until I am buried in the ground. And perhaps even thereafter. What a glorious thing that will be."
"Shayna Jones…can only be described as a force of nature. She’s a river, pent-up behind a dam, that upon bursting leaves us devastated." — Lilian Jasper, Two Cents Two Pence Reviews
Our close encounters audience engagement series is back for Black & Rural! This series of events is meant to give audience members an opportunity to engage with the themes of the piece on a deeper level.
TALKBACK – DEVELOPING INTERVIEW-BASED THEATRE Sat April 1 | after 2 PM show
Shayna and Pacific Theatre's season apprentice Emmett Hanly explore developing plays using text from interview subjects. Shayna spent over eighteen months traveling the country and speaking with Black people living rurally, which Shayna used for both text and inspiration when writing and creating Black & Rural.
CAST TALKBACK Fri April 7 | after 8 PM show
Join us after the show for a look into the wings with our cast talkback. A facilitated conversation with Shayna (and perhaps a few production team members, too!), followed by a Q&A period with audience members.
This talk will be facilitated by local artist Mariam Barry. Mariam Barry is an actor, writer, director and producer in both theatre and film. Her most recent filmmaking credits include her short documentary, Cypher, funded by TELUS Storyhive, a Crazy8s short film titled “Meditation 4 Black Women”, as well as her directing debut “Yaye” funded by Bell Media currently in the festival circuit. Mariam is an alumni of the Pacific Theatre apprenticeship program and is delighted to return to their stage to facilitate a chat with Shayna.
BLACK HISTORY MATTERS with Giselle Clarke-Trenaman Sat April 15 | after 2 PM show
Tackling Canadian Black History in a fun and engaging way, Black History Matters is a program that uses the Arts to impact unintended bias. Created by a theatre artist, BHM is a fully researched and resourced program that works with people to create a truthful awareness of Black Canadians using the arts to inspire and educate. Evoking the Sankofa bird and its meaning, we look to the past to inform our future.