This post is part of a series for our Her Side of the Story encounter, May 13-14 2016 located at the National Theatre School of Canada. We invited theatre artists from across Canada to reflect on how their work in theatre is influenced by their perspective as women. Are they conscious of promoting a “feminine perspective” or is it something that is intuitive? Imago Theatre would like to thank all of the artists who responded to our questions for their thoughtful, insightful responses. We will be sharing these responses on our blog for the first two weeks of May. We will also be creating a publication of selected quotes, which will be available for free at the Her Side of the Story readings, long-table discussion, and cabaret.

Lois Brown

Over half the houses in North America are headed by women – the importance of the female perspective seems obvious.

When I began my career, it was the heyday of collective creation: women could write themselves a part to play. Later women created solo plays for themselves. Even now, when fewer works by women featuring women are staged, many Newfoundland companies are headed by women; and many of the most celebrated theatre artists from our province are women.

I have been cared for and mentored by woman across the country in both theatre and dance.

When I am in a position where I am creating work for other artists, I don’t think of their gender usually.  My attraction to women’s work is quite unconscious. The work is often on the fringes – it has an interiorality, often uses inverted action – very challenging to write.

When I began my studies in drama, female writing was exploring that interiorality in the first person. Much of the writing was from the self about the formation of self. The exploration was uncomfortable, because the male voice was the standard – the voice that “ought to be used.” The ways of understanding, critiquing and deconstructing the female voice were under “mined/minded.” It’s quite different now.

Most of my work as a director has been staging new plays. When I am asked to suggest plays I would like to stage – usually the first several that come to mind, that I am excited by, are unpublished. Some of those plays are male-authored. But there is more unpublished and unstaged female work. So maybe, a part of why I am drawn to female work, is not just because of its lyrical quality, but because it’s new. Because it continues to be marginalized, it is on the fringe. To produce female work is to diverge.

I am interested in divergent ideas. It’s interesting times. We are more aware that different perspectives are held in different bodies – differently abled bodies. That divergent ideas are held in different brains – differently functioning brains. The democratized theatre that allows equal free space for expression brings us some incredible humanizing experiences. My company NAX presented a series of events in 2015 called Injury, Illness, Pain, Sadness, Grief and Performance.” This year, we presented a discussion of LD with two LD artists.  My new play When The Angel of Death says ?how are you…will be presented in the Nursing School in St. John’s May 26-29. It examines PTS from the perspective of a woman who has had a vehicular accident.  It has five female parts and one male.