PerSIStence Theatre Company

About: local theatre company seeking to address gender equality
Available At: various theatrical venues in St. John's metro
Tel: (709) 743-7287
Email: info@persistencetheatre.com

“As an art form, theatre is a way to promote a cultural shift in our society,” says Jenn Deon, artistic director of the newly-formed Persistence Theatre Company.

The shift is feminism.  Persistence Theatre Company produces fabulous theatre in response to the persistent and universal need for promoting, understanding and embracing political, economic, personal and social equality for women. No more.  No less.  The idea was conceived when Jenn  and couple of other local women participated in the Women’s March on Washington, and came to be through the efforts of a multi-generational group of smart local women doing cool things, many of whom now form the non-profit organizations’ board of directors.

In practical terms, Persistence produces plays adapted from Bechdel criteria for film:  it has to have (1) at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides man. Jenn says, “The Persistence basic standard has at least 50% of the story spoken by female characters.”

And oh, the stories!  This season’s performances include:

  • Isle of Demons – The Robert Chafe play tells the story of Marguerite de Roberval – marooned by her uncle on an island off northern Newfoundland in 1542 for daring to love a sailor.
  • Offensive to Some – Berni Stapleton’s one-woman story, told from her prison cell.
  • Women Playing Hamlet – The story of a young woman who is conflicted in her opportunity to play Hamlet.
  • Julia Caesar – in April – A matriarchal turn on one of Shakespeare’s best-known plays.

Community is important to the organization.  Jenn explains: “Persistence is committed to a supportive, empowering community.  We are paying artists a fare wage, and we offer hiring opportunities to all genders, focusing on people identifying as female. Working for the community, and with community support is the only way any nonprofit survives.  Unless the community believes the show is worth the price of admission, and will support what we are trying to do then we won’t exist.”

Along with performances, Persistence Theatre Company is putting off a smashing fundraising gala on November 3.  Entitled Grit & Grace, the Pink Tie Gala Fundraiser is an all-out celebration with host Cathy Jones (yes, THE Cathy Jones), with entertainment by Petrina Bromley (yes, THE Petrina from Come From Away, Broadway), an amazing four-courses crafted by five amazing chefs, with a vegan meal option that is second to none.  Live auction with Wayne Bartlett, silent auction, games, and more.  It will likely be the first of many.

A little further down the road, Persistence will be working on an educational program for students.  Good things are coming!