BACKSTAGE: Exploring queer theatre

Get to know us in our Backstage at CCPA blog. Contributors are students, faculty, and members of our community. 
Finn Letourneau talks about creating her musical theatre piece in CCPA’s Mentorships Program. 

 

My name is Finn Letourneau, I am a second year student here at CCPA. I am participating in the Mentorships Program, and I have the honour of opening the TD Festival of New Works with my piece, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”! I grew up being home-schooled, and when I was in kindergarten, every Friday my mom would go to work at her part time job, and I would stay at home with my older sister and brother. We would watch The Sound of Music almost every week, and it quickly became my favourite movie. It’s the first musical I can remember seeing. I would sing the songs all around the house, and my sister and I knew all the harmony parts. When I had the opportunity to apply to be a mentor this year, I knew I wanted to do a mentorship featuring something from The Sound of Music. It was originally going to be with a guy and a girl, a more traditional take on the “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” scene, but after a late night conversation at a party with a CCPA alumni, I realized that what I truly want to be creating is queer theatre.

“I thought I would create a piece of theatre centered around a teenage love story, but this time it happens to be with two girls. “

As a queer person, I am alarmed at the lack of representation in theatre, film, and media today. You can go with your family to see any movie – and there is usually an example of a straight couple. But if you’re looking to see the stories of people with LGBTQ+ identities, you have to look much harder. I was so happy to see that there has been more movies representing queer people recently – including Love, Simon and Call Me By Your Name, which won an Oscar! In my studies at CCPA, I have come across more queer theatre than I knew existed – but there’s still barely any. So I thought I would create a piece of theatre centered around a teenage love story, but this time it happens to be with two girls. When casting this piece, I wanted to make sure that the people I was casting were of LGBTQ+ experience. Regina and Rose, my mentees, have helped this dream of mine come true. My vision for this piece was always focused on the relationship between the two characters, so naturally, our creation process reflected this. We used various theatre devising exercises, including fluff, and round-by-through to create movement sequences that flow naturally between the two actors. With the help of my wonderful mentees, Rose McTavish and Regina Rios, and my mentor, Jessica Hickman, we have created a piece of queer theatre we are proud to present on Tuesday night!

 

Finn’s musical theatre piece opened the TD New Works Festival last night. Don’t miss the final performance of the festival tonight (March 28) at 7:30 p.m. Admission is by donation based on availability of seating. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.

 

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Finn Letourneau

Finn Letourneau

Finn is a performer from Nanoose Bay, BC. They have known that performing is what they want to do as their career since they were three years old, singing The Sound Of Music with their sister. Finn has a passion for contemporary dance, as well as writing music, playing the fiddle, and singing almost every genre of music. Earlier this year at CCPA, Finn enjoyed playing the characters First Fairy and Snug the Joiner in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as music directing for the show alongside Barbara Poggemiller.