“Make way for Theatre!” is the closing line of Isabelle Huppert’s 2017 WTD message.

 

These annual messages from internationally renowned and influential artists never fail to inspire us in some way. This year it’s a funny little aside in Huppert’s message that’s really sticking with me.  

 

“World Theatre Day has existed for 55 years now. In 55 years, I am the eighth woman to be invited to pronounce a message – if you can call this a ‘message’ that is. My predecessors (oh, how the male of the species imposes itself!) spoke about the theatre of imagination, freedom, and originality in order to evoke beauty, multiculturalism and pose unanswerable questions.”

 

It reminded me of the things going through my head a few weeks ago, on March 8th, International Women’s Day.

 

To a stranger perusing our site and taking a peek at our “Contact” page, Little Mountain Lion might seem like a real young(ish) white guy type of company. Yes, Mark, Johnny and I are all boys and were all born in the 80s to caucasian families. Guilty. But let’s please just call it a coinky-dink and agree that the important part is that we’re all drawn together to create Theatre, and move forward. 

 

Those who know us, who have seen our shows or been involved in them, know how we strive to share stories told for and by all people, regardless of gender, ethnicity or age. Every time we talk about what’s next for LML the question comes up early in the discussion, “How can we include more voices?” As three young(ish) white dudes, I feel we have to work even harder to meet the goal of bringing diversity to Vancouver stages.

 

This is on my mind as I re-adapt our company’s first ever production, Kurt Vonnegut’s The Euphio Question, for this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival. Where can I take the play now that will reflect the true stage picture we see in our city? Some extra license will need to be taken with the original story (written in 1951), but I think it’s necessary to make the story relevant and to evoke its true beauty for Vancouver audiences. And I’m pretty sure KV would approve. He’s dead now anyhow so it doesn’t matter too much if he would or wouldn’t.

 

Diversity and inclusivity are also on the agenda as the wheels start turning on our April 2018 production of “(soon to be announced!!!)”. So let me just go ahead and make a message of my own on this World Theatre Day/Belated Women’s Day.

 

In addition to the pursuit of our official company mandate, Little Mountain Lion pledges to pursue plays, projects and partnerships that feature stories and artists of all genders, cultures, and ages, and to reflect in our productions the diversity we see in our lives as Vancouverites. So make way! We will make way for everyone.

 

– MC