2022/23 Confluence Fellow
What is Confluence?
Confluence is our $20,000 season-long fellowship that offers money, space, and time as well as the opportunity to be in an ongoing conversation with the creative and administrative team at Catalyst. The fellowship is designed to make space for IBPOC artists to develop a specific creative project using the models that work best for them with the wholehearted support of Catalyst’s artistic and administrative team. It aims to support and elevate the work of an IBPOC artist while creating an opportunity to evolve their practice, augment their creative and administrative skills, and expand their professional networks.
Our hope is that, over the coming years, Confluence will play a role in evolving the makeup of Edmonton’s theatre community and have a meaningful impact on the creative journeys of future creative leaders who identify as IBPOC.
Our sincere thanks goes out to everyone who applied for this year’s fellowship. Application details about the 2024 Confluence Fellowship will be made available in the Spring for IBPOC creation artists. A huge thank you as well to our incredible 2022 panelists Patricia Darbasie, Gina Puntil, and Kenneth T. Williams, whose compassion and expertise were integral to the selection process.
A special thank you to Naheyawin and Jacquelyn and Hunter Cardinal for their support in creating the fellowship and the call for applications.
The opinions expressed by the Confluence Fellow are their own. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Catalyst Theatre, its staff or its board.
Past Confluence Artists
TIA ASHLEY KUSHNIRUK 2020/2021
Tia Ashley Kushniruk is a Queer Woman of Chinese-Eastern European settler heritage from the Treaty 6 Territory of Edmonton AB. Since 2013 she has been affiliated with the Cirque Du Soleil and is a frequent collaborator of Jake W. Hastey for Toy Guns Dance Theatre (Edmonton). She graduated from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (STDT) in 2017, receiving the Kathryn Ash Scholarship in 2016.
b/d/a OR The Race Play OR ‘I can’t believe I did a racism! (In my head)’
A Physical-theatre Play co-written by Tia Ashley Kushniruk, Shammy (Shamsa) Belmore, Jocelyn Mah, and Clarke Blair.
This work follows three characters in a perfect sitcom world solving a problem with rent when the actors begin switching roles and ultimately reveal the racial biases underneath each said character, and between each other, culminating in a posed question to the audience – “What would you do?”
For more about Tia – https://www.tiaakushnir.uk/
BEREND MCKENZIE – 2021/22
Berend McKenzie (he/she/they interchangeably) is an award-winning playwright, actor, producer, screenwriter, and published author living on Treaty 6 land, otherwise known as Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Berend is best known for their ground-breaking, Jessie Richardson Award nominated one-person show NGGRFG, and the outrageous award-winning queer puppet show for adults Get Off the Cross, Mary! Berend is a 2021 inductee in the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s Mentorship Program where they began writing their auto-fiction novel Adopted. They are excited to be invited into the inaugural year of the Warner Media Global X Global Access Writers Program.
The Project: In The Centre
Inspired by real people and events, In The Center is the story of Eduardo (Mexican, 30-35), an ill, clean and sober, ex-drag queen and landed immigrant from Mexico who’s admitted into a support home for people living with AIDS-related illnesses. Eduardo meets a crusty, no-nonsense nurse named Peter, who challenges Eduardo’s perceptions of life while forcing him to face his mortality.
Our 2022/23 Fellow – Sue Goberdhan
We’re thrilled to announce our newest Confluence artist, Sue Goberdhan! If you’re familiar with Edmonton theatre, then you are very likely familiar with Sue. In just a few short years, Sue has positioned herself as a respected artist, producer, and mentor within Edmonton’s theatre community.
The Catalyst staff along with our panelists, Patricia Darbasie, Gina Puntil, and Kenneth T. Williams were impressed by Sue’s passion, drive, and enthusiasm about Confluence and the program’s potential. We were inspired by her proposed project, and the impact it could have within the creation community. The panel was moved by her commitment to Edmonton and the IBPOC artists who work here and extremely heartened by her deep commitment to authenticity and representation on stage. We were also excited by her incredible drive to deepen her artistic practice.
ABOUT SUE - ARTIST BIO
Sue Goberdhan (she/her) is an Indo-Caribbean performer, arts administrator, advocate, playwright, and collaborator. She has dedicated her career to advocating for the revitalization of the foundation of Edmonton’s theatre community to include and celebrate the stories and voices of people from marginalized communities.
Sue makes her proverbial bag here in Treaty 6 Territory (colonially known as Edmonton, Alberta.) As someone who lives in this body with roots stretching beyond Turtle Island to Guyana, China, and lands unbeknownst to her, she is grateful for the parts of her heritage that have rooted her here in this gorgeous land that has nourished, taught, humbled, and sheltered her. Sue continues to benefit from the tremendous losses suffered by the Indigenous peoples who cared for this land long before she was born. She works every day to learn, listen, and do as much as she can to be a better ally and advocate today than she was yesterday.
As an actor, some of her favorite acting credits include Sue in E DAY (Serial Collective), Leah in Marnie Day (Could Be Cool Theatre), and Pluto Krasinski in What’s the Deal? (Success 5000). She is also co-founder of the new musical theatre company Could Be Cool Theatre. Past works by Sue include Almost Heroes: a Super New Musical (co-writer), Marnie Day (co-writer), and numerous short plays, poems, and prose that are bound to the inside of her most trusted notebook. Sue graduated from MacEwan University with a diploma in Arts and Cultural Management, and attended the University of Alberta in pursuit of a degree in Drama, but decided that traditional educational structures weren’t the right fit for her. Thus far, she has spent her arts administration career working for several theatre companies in Edmonton including Grindstone Theatre and SkirtsAFire Festival. In October of 2020, Sue had the distinct privilege of beginning her tenure as Co-Artistic Producer at Azimuth Theatre.
During her tenure as the 2022/2023 Catalyst Theatre Confluence Fellow, she will be working on developing a new play that shines a light on the way that the Guyanese culture embraces grief and truly celebrates the lives of loved ones lost. The tradition in Guyanese culture is to play cards at almost every event, but it would be considered almost sacrilege not to play cards specifically when mourning the loss of a loved one.
Our game is called T’ruup Chaal (pronounced cha-rup ch’all), and the working title of this piece-in-progress is CHUMP. CHUMP tells the story of a family playing a game, and how the game mirrors their lives in unexpected, but telling, ways.
Sue couldn’t be more thrilled, proud, and prepared to be taking on this new challenge. Confluence is a program offered to create visibility and opportunity for underrepresented artists, and Sue does not take this privilege lightly. She can’t wait to share her heart and mind with you through this new work.