On Friday, March 2, a make-shift Theatre in the Round in the Faculty of Education drama room set the stage for Globe Theatre Actors Daniel Fong, Angela Kemp, David Light, and Kaitlyn Semple as well as Craig Salkeld, the Performance Pianist, to perform two short excerpts from Us, which is currently being performed at the Globe Theatre Main Stage.
“Us is a heartwarming, brand new musical that explores what happens when LGBTQ+ youth come together in a group of peers at a summer camp. Created by award-winning playwright and radio producer Kelley Jo Burke and internationally renowned singer-songwriter-pianist Jeffery Straker, Us is an uplifting play about “coming in”—finding acceptance within yourself and in your community.” (Globe Theatre)
Arts Ed students were privileged to be part of this up-close performance and discussion as part of their PLACE experience. Playwright and alumna Kelley Jo Burke talked about her experience at Camp fYrefly, where she listened to LGBTQ+ youth and counsellors talk about their experiences of coming together at summer camp, the research she drew on in writing the script for this fictional play. Other members of the creative team, such as Director and Musical Director Valerie Ann Pearson and Set and Costume Designer Wes D. Pearce, discussed the thought behind their areas of development for the musical.
A panel presentation followed the performance moderated by Dr. Kathryn Ricketts. Panel participants discussed the importance of the play (and summer camp) for youth who have identified as LGBTQ+, who are needing to find an Us to which they belong, and addressed current issues around diversity and inclusion.