DiVerseCity is a new initiative by The Shakespeare Company to create an ensemble of actors of diverse ethnicities to perform Shakespeare in all four quadrants of Calgary. Because Shakespeare’s stories and characters are universal, his text is ideal for showcasing ethnic diversity- a quality Calgary has, but often does not highlight.
With colourblind casting, strong artists will have an opportunity to tackle Shakespeare’s best characters and bring a new perspective to Calgarians. Indeed, why not have an Asian Romeo, an Aboriginal Portia, and a Black Hamlet? Each artist’s background will infuse their performance. Skin tone or ethnicity will not be a barrier for them to be cast, one step towards encouraging strong artists to stay in Calgary rather than seek work elsewhere and increasing the representation of the many faces of Calgary in theatre.
DiVerseCity is also focussed on accessibility for all Calgarians. The ensemble will perform Shakespearean scenes and monologues on platforms along the C-train line and other busy thoroughfares. Site specific theatre is less intimidating for non-theatre goers, and we’re bringing Shakespeare for free to areas where people live and commute to work.
The ensemble will start at C-train platforms and branch out along the two lines from there. Audience members can choose to watch as many or as few scenes as they want. For some, it will be pop up performances that they were not expecting, for others, we will encourage them to tour along the C-train line with the ensemble as they perform. We will be offering a general schedule of performances online in advance with live tweeting during the days to give up-to-date timings and locations.
The performances will happen at least three times over the course of the summer. We will be partnering with local organizations, such as Calgary Transit, to promote the events.