IBPOC Company in Residence
From its inception in 1972, Prairie Theatre Exchange has always strived to find ways to support theatre artists and smaller organizations in their work. For the 2021-2022 season, PTE is thrilled to welcome OFUR as our Company in Residence.
Out From Under The Rug Theatre Collective is a collection of emerging IBPOC artists of various cultural and artistic backgrounds, founded and based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
To create, develop and produce theatrical works by, for, and about people of colour.
Out From Under The Rug exists to platform the work and voices of IBPOC artists, ensuring a safe and accessible environment. Our current focus is to locally develop and present culturally specific theatre, providing the opportunity for Winnipeg’s under-represented communities to not only see themselves in our stories, but be actively engaged in the creation. Through community engagement, facilitated education, and presentation of IBPOC work, we are looking forward to growing into a sustainable organization that can provide a trusted space for IBPOC artists to
present work that would often otherwise be swept under the rug.
We founded Out From Under The Rug after perceiving a gap in the broader Winnipeg Theatre community for spaces dedicated to culturally specific theatre; organizations that exist and thrive in other parts of the country such as Obsidian Theatre Company in Toronto, Black Theatre Workshop in Montreal and Hong Kong Exile in Vancouver. We spoke to several members of the IBPOC community from across the country, and determined that stories representative of the IBPOC experience without a reliance on graphic depictions of trauma were extremely necessary, but, sadly, far and few between. We began developing work to change that. Our first project, Bastard., began its development in the summer of 2019, inspired by interviews and personal experiences from members of the collective, and led to a reading of the first draft at FemFest and then a residency with Sarasvati. We are incredibly grateful for our experience with Sarasvati, and our time with them was extremely important. They helped us grow from a group of friends that wanted to make art together into a collective with a toolbelt to prepare and present cohesive ideas at an industry-standard level.
Now our residency with Prairie Theatre Exchange will allow us to focus on further developing Bastard., a new play developed from interviews regarding the personal experiences of members of the collective; their lives, struggles, and triumphs while growing up in a post 9/11 world. Through the residency, we hope to spend time with this work, rediscovering it and exploring its potential for a fully-staged production.
Today, Out From Under The Rug strives to be on the forefront of a national conversation regarding racial equality and diversity within the theatre industry. Across the continent, a new generation of leaders are standing up to demand racial justice and equality. The amplification of these voices has inspired so many to stand up and demand that we tear down the systemic white supremacy that has for so long been a barrier to these goals. By any means necessary. We believe in our mandate now more than ever and see the incredible potential for growth within our own community. We are actively in discussion with artists both from our own community, and across the country, on the importance of the current moment and our role in it. It is important that, as a collective of entirely IBPOC artists, we use our platform to amplify these conversations and develop work that is reflective of the times we are living in, without profiting off of the trauma from members of the greater community. We also want to acknowledge the work we still need to do in decolonizing our own practices. Our training comes from eurocentric institutions that are meant to uphold the status quo, as well as our own lived experiences and the conditioned biases therein. That is something we must constantly be challenging. We are learning every single day and we are so damn inspired by the energy of the next generation that is here to teach us.