Emerging Company in Residence
June 22 + 23

“Bridge the gap, don’t widen the divide.”

— Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon

In January, we welcomed our first ever Emerging Company in Residence at Buddies. Deaf BIPOC artists Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon and Courage Bacchus have been working with Buddies staff and outside mentors to gain experience in script development, grant-writing, workshop planning and facilitation, and communications – using their play, The Two Natashas, as a focal point and case study.

For our Queer Pride Festival, Gaitrie and Courage present two events centring Deaf theatre artists: a panel discussion and an improv workshop.

The Gap – Deaf Queer Women: Where Is Their Space?

June 22, 7PM

Courage Bacchus is joined by three Deaf women artists – Tamyka Bullen, Thurga Kanagasekarampillai, and Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon – for an open discussion of their journeys through queerness and art-making, and the barriers that they’ve had to overcome.

In ASL, with English interpretation.

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Participant bios

Courage Bacchus (moderator)
Natasha “Courage” Bacchus is a Tkaronto-Guyanese, Deaf Black Female Queer, 3 timer Deaflympian Sprinter, and 2020 Black Lives Matters monologues winner. She advocates for IBPOC/QIBPOC Deaf artists to get the recognition they deserve. Natasha is passionate about doing theatre, monologues, improv and music. She has worked with companies across the country including Red Dress Productions, Obsidian Theatre, Kingston Circus Arts, Tangled Arts, and Inside Out Theatre.

photo by Mana Bijandgoodarz

Tamyka Bullen (panelist)
Tamyka Bullen has been involved in social services for women, immigrants, youths, and the LGBTQA community for many years. In 2015 she became involved in the theatrical world as an ASL poetry performer. In 2018, she debuted as an actress for the Sound Off Festival production Deaf That! and Judith Thompson’s play After the Blackout.  She loves to craft and mingle stories, arts, poems, acting, and dance on stage, and to voice her feelings and thoughts through her hands, body language, and facial expressions. Her motto: Embrace Yourself, Show Yourself!

You can see her ASL poetry videos from https://starrygirl45.wixsite.com/website.

Thurga Kanagasekarampillai (panelist)
Thurga Kanagasekarampillai is a Deaf Tamil Queer artist. She has worked as Deaf Interpreter and ASL performer with Cahoots Theatre for The Enchanted Loom (2016); Red Dress Production for Drift Seeds (2017) as ASL performer; Million Billion Pieces (YTP 2019); The Holy Gasp (July 2020); Speculation (2018, 2019, 2021). She is also an actress and was in The Tempest at Citadel Theatre as Miranda in Edmonton in April – May 2019. She is the one of three founders of Deafies’ Unique Time with Ali Saeedi, and Ralitsa Rodriguez. Deafies’ Unique TimeEye So Twisted (Rhubarb Festival / Sound Off Festival 2019), Deafies Detective Agency (Sound Off Festival 2020) & Ministry of Mundane Mysteries with Outside the March (Sound Off Festival 2021).

Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon (panelist)
Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon is a Tkaronto-Guyanese, Deaf IBPOC/QIBPOC activist who is passionate about music, activism, empowering Deaf artists and ASL music, and also an ASL coach, ASL music performer, actress for The Two Natashas and founder of Phoenix The Fire. She is also the host, Enchante, of the talk show Be Enchante or Be Impotent.

photo by Mana Bijandgoodarz

Splitting the Lens

presented by Phoenix the Fire
June 23
The Village

Led by Gaitrie Persaud, Deaf actors and hearing actors re-imagine improv and create a way to work together without ASL interpreters. This workshop hopes to bridge language divides, and create more opportunities for Deaf and hearing performers to share a stage.

The Artists

Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon // Facilitator
Courage Bacchus, Jaideep Goray, Robert Haughton + Sage Lovell // Deaf actors
Derek Kwan, Uche McKenzie, Tsholo Visions + Suchiththa Wickremesooriya // hearing actors

Queer Pride 2021