Hope McIntyre with the Winnipeg Harvest-sponsored food bank at the First Unitarian Universalist Church
Program: WITH ART Project
Location: The play originally had its first public reading at The First Unitarian Church and Food Bank located at 603 Wellington Crescent
empty is a play by Hope McIntyre inspired and influenced by the time she spent with participants at the Winnipeg Harvest sponsored food bank at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg. A reading of the play took place on November 29, 2011 and included professional actors as well as food bank clients performing the script.
Created through the WITH ART program that matches community groups with artists, this particular project has seen the artist immersed and in process with the community for two years. Working through interviews, surveys and anecdotes, McIntyre set out to reflect the diversity of people who utilize the food bank, and the drama of their stories.
“I felt so honoured that so many volunteers and clients have shared their stories and feedback throughout the creation of this play,” said playwright McIntyre. “The daily struggle to simply access food, yet the humour and community they have created at the food bank is inspiring. The WITH ART program has truly allowed for something memorable to occur and it has been a pleasure introducing theatre to those who don’t often get to access the arts.”
“Art is an important vehicle to illustrate complex issues…this is a way to explore these issues and some misconceptions,” said Brian Klowak, a food bank volunteer, and a member of the selection committee that selected McIntyre for the project. “Hope’s personal involvement in the food bank on a regular basis throughout the year has made her relationship with the food bank participants more meaningful and has in turn informed her writing. Her including the food bank participants in this process also reflects the philosophy of the food bank.”
empty performance November 29, 2011:
Playwright – Hope McIntyre
Director – Nan Fewchuk
Dramaturg – Alison McLean
Featuring – Elena Anciro, Kevin Anderson, Rick Caslake, Kami Desilets, Murray Farnell, James Firby, Cheryl Gensiorek, Ashley Hurt, Adam Hurtig, Lorraine James, Janice Klyne, Mike Kluczkowski, Heather McKenzie and Elizabeth Stephensen
Hope has a BFA (University of Saskatchewan) and an MFA in directing (University of Victoria). She also completed an apprenticeship in England. Hope is the founding Artistic Director of Sarasvàti Productions. She is an award-winning playwright. Jail Baby (co-written with Cairn Moore) premiered in May 2013 and has been published by Scirocco Drama. EDEN premiered in May 2012 and Empty premiered at FemFest 2012. Her most recent work focuses on community-based creation including touring productions of Shattered (2016) and Giving Voice (2014). In 2006 Hope was awarded the YWCA Women of Distinction Award. She currently teaches at the University of Winnipeg and has previously taught at Mount Allison University, Brandon University and University of Manitoba. She is a former President of the Playwrights Guild of Canada.