Home is a Beautiful Word; Part play, part documentary, Belfry Theatre premieres new piece about homelessness as told by the people of Greater Victoria.

Victoria, British Columbia.

From January 7 – 19, 2014 the Belfry Theatre will premiere Home Is A Beautiful Word, a new piece of verbatim theatre about homelessness in Victoria. Verbatim theatre uses transcripts of interviews to create a play. Playwright / journalist Joel Bernbaum interviewed over 500 people from all walks of life for Home Is A Beautiful Word. Using the transcripts from those interviews, Joel has crafted a play that looks at homelessness from dozens of angles, creating a piece that is, by turns, moving, enlightening, funny and surprising.

A graduate of Carleton University’s School of Journalism, Joel wrote his Master’s thesis on Verbatim Theatre’s Relationship to Journalism. In creating Home Is A Beautiful Word he had conversations in grade four classrooms, senior citizens homes, businesses, and homeless shelters. Eventually he went door-to-door in neighbourhoods throughout the region.

Verbatim theatre was created in the 1960’s and it has been used to create plays like Frost/Nixon (subsequently made into the multi-award-winning film by Ron Howard), The Laramie Project (a play and film about the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming) and Veda Hille and Bill Richardson’s musical, Do You Want What I Have Got: A Craigslist Cantata (workshopped at the Belfry’s 2010 SPARK Festival and currently touring Canada). You can read Joel’s article on verbatim theatre and creating Home Is A Beautiful Word on our website (http://www.belfry.bc.ca/news/said/)

Directed by the Belfry’s Michael Shamata, Home Is A Beautiful Word stars Yoshié Bancroft, Kelt Eccleston, Kayvon Kelly, actor / playwright Kevin Loring (who wrote Where The Blood Mixes, a huge hit during the Belfry’s 2009 – 10 season) and Tracey Moore.

The creative team for Home Is A Beautiful Word includes April Viczko (Set Designer), Mara Gottler (Costume Designer), Rebekah Johnson (Lighting Designer), Laura Krewski (Choreographer) and Erin Gruber (Associate Set Designer). Jennifer Swan is the Stage Manager and Sandra Drag is the show’s Apprentice Stage Manager.

Engaging Audiences
Prior to and throughout the run of Home Is A Beautiful Word, the Belfry is producing a number of audience engagement events designed to extend the conversations the play will start.

B4Play – Saturday, January 4 at 11 am
CBC Radio’s Gregor Craigie will host a live talk show featuring artists fromHome Is A Beautiful Word and some very special community guests. This free event is at the Belfry Theatre.

Following every performance of Home Is A Beautiful Word, we’ll host Afterplay where patrons can stick around and chat with fellow audience members. It’s a chance to “debrief” after a show and hear how other audience members interpreted the play.

Library Events
In collaboration with the Greater Victoria Public Library we’ll be hosting Belfry at the Library where we delve into the themes of the show and give people a behind the scenes look at the making of Home Is A Beautiful Word.

We’ll be at the Bruce Hutchinson Branch (4636 Elk Lake Drive, Saanich Commonwealth Place) on Friday, January 10 from 10:30 am to 11:15 am and at the Central Branch (735 Broughton Street) Friday, January 17 from 10:30 am to 11:15 am.

Home Is A Beautiful Word: Kids and Teen Art Contest
Throughout November the Greater Victoria Public Library hosted a Kids and Teen Art Contest asking children between 6 and 18 the questions “What does home mean to you? What would it be like to live without a home?”

All of the drawings and paintings from the contest will be displayed in the Belfry’s lobby before and during the run of Home Is A Beautiful Word.

Tuesday – Saturdays at 8 pm
Wednesday Matinee (January 15) at 1 pm
Saturday Matinees at 4 pm
Sunday Matinees at 2 pm
ASL Performance – January 12 at 2pm
VocalEye Performance – January 19 at 2 pm

Single tickets for the show are $25 and can be booked by calling 250-385-6815, or online at www.belfry.bc.ca

Special Thanks
Home Is A Beautiful Word has been made possible by the financial contributions of The Victoria Foundation, The Vancouver Foundation and The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation.

The Belfry’s Season Sponsors are Thrifty Foods, the Times Colonist, and Cook’s Day Off Fine Foods and Catering. The Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia, the BC Arts Council, CRD Arts and the City of Victoria are government funders.