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Acting in defiance in Dionysus production

Queen’s theatre group invites members of community to become performers in show running at the Isabel

Queen’s theatre group, Chipped Off Collective, is tearing down the fourth wall with their latest production Dionysus, by inviting members of the community to become performers alongside professional artists and actors. The evening of theatre builds off the theme of defiance in the Euripides’ play The Bacchae, featuring Dionysus, the god of wine, prophecy, ecstasy and fertility.

Appearing in Dionysus are (l to r) are: Megan Hamilton, Vishmayaa Jeyamoorthy, director Kim Renders and Danielle Lennon.

Director Kim Renders (Drama and Music) explains Dionysus was the epitome of defiant in The Bacchae, and the theme of defiance really resonated with her. The new play tackles the theme through a tapestry of video art, poetry, monologues, song and dance. Each two-minute performance is given by community participants and artists from the Kingston community, many of whom are Queen’s faculty, staff and students.

“This is our fourth performance and people are now coming and asking me to perform in our yearly production,” says Renders. “We have a really good mix of people and ages. We are becoming a presence in the Kingston theatre scene.”

Appearing for the first time in a Chipped Off Collective production, Vishmayaa Jeyamoorthy is doing a spoken-word piece on defiance. For her, the two-minute monologue is personal.

“Kingston is not always friendly to people of colour,” says Jeyamoorthy. “I often thought about transferring universities because I wasn’t welcome. Kingston needs to work on that. Every day I make a choice to stay, I’m being defiant.”

Megan Hamilton and Danielle Lennon are providing the music for the production this year as part of a four-piece band. “I come from a theatre background and really enjoy performing,” says Hamilton, who also works in the Faculty of Law. “This is a great, welcoming space for people to bring their voices.”

Lennon is a member of the Kingston Symphony and also professes a love of the theatre. “I love seeing those brave people up on stage, making a statement. Chipped Off Collective also gives off a nice vibe; there is no ego and everyone is welcome.”

Chipped Off Collective is committed to building an inclusive arts community with accessible services and facilities that respect the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.

The show runs June 22, 23 and 24 at 7:30 pm in the Isabel Bader Studio Theatre. Tickets are $10.