Elena Belyea is a queer playwright, performer, producer, and arts educator from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
She is the Artistic Director of Tiny Bear Jaws (a little theatre company with teeth), former Artistic Director of the Common Ground Arts Society, and a co-founder of the Edmonton Found Festival, a showcase of multidisciplinary arts events that take place in non-traditional venues. She was a member of Nightwood Theatre's 2016-2017 Write from the Hip playwriting program, where she developed her play Smoke.
She studied theatre at the University of Alberta, earning a BA Honours in Theatre and Creative Writing, as well as the National Theatre School of Canada, with a focus in Playwriting. Her plays have received numerous awards, including First Place in the 2015 Wildside National Playwriting Competition with her play Cleave, as well as Best Production and Best New English Text at the 2015 Montreal Fringe Festival for her one-woman show Miss Katelyn's Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable-which we are honoured to host here at the Sunset.
She has mentored emerging writers and theatre-makers for almost a decade through numerous arts organizations such as the University of Virginia’s Young Writers’ Workshop, The Citadel Theatre’s Foote Theatre School, and the University of Alberta’s New Works Festival.
James Douglas is a director and performer. Local to the town of Wells, James will be making a guest appearance for Miss Katelyn's Grade Threes Prepares for the Inevitable by Elena Belyea.
Emma Tibaldo is the Artistic and Executive Director of Playwrights’ Workshop Montrealand while working as a freelance director across Canada. She grew up in St. Michel, a very working-class Italian community where the rights for women were never discussed. But grew up with: “Get an education. Learn to speak. People will otherwise take advantage”. Learn to speak stayed with her as her dad, who is not a feminist, taught her that she had the right to speak.
So Emma loves when women yell, get messy, speak their mind... She looks for women that demand change or cause change or despair for change. Women who are not an appendage or secondary to the story. When she considers a project she asks: "Is this something the twenty-year-old me was starved for? Does it leave me wondering or uncomfortable? Does it make me consider the world in a new way? Is it off centre enough for my mind to engage?"
She is am a feminist. For her, that means she looks for female characters with a full voice and a full story. She chooses female playwrights that express their full voice through their fully embodied characters, whether female or male. When She chooses male playwrights, it is essential for them to have fully considered the female characters telling their story. If she loves the complexity of the characters if she feels she can get behind the telling of the story, if she knows the world may understand something differently by being present at the telling….well, then Emma is compelled to part take.
"You see, boys and girls... bad things happen to good people all the time. So, it’s our job to make sure we’re as prepared as possible for the innumerable threats that can and will come our way. And not just prepared. Miss Katelyn prepared."
Montreal, Columbine, Newtown, Orlando. Welcome to class 3B at Saint Joseph's Elementary School. Your teacher, Miss Katelyn, knows the world is a dangerous place and her life-saving lesson is about to begin.
“Earns its transformation from laughs to tears as it sinks its teeth into weighty subject matter. By the end, Belyea has made us laugh, terrified us, and tugged at our heartstrings. An A+ show!” - Vue Weekly
"There’s no denying this shows... gut-wrenching power.”
- Montreal Gazette
Winner of Best Production and Best New English Text at the 2015 Montreal Fringe Festival, Miss Katelyn's Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable is a comedic drama about one woman's desperate attempt to keep her students out of harm's way. Not everything is as it seems in this breakneck investigation of panic, prevention, and paranoia in a post-truth world.
Miss Katelyn is afraid. As a passionate and loving teacher, she knows the dangers the world holds for her innocent grade threes and she is concerned that they are not adequately prepared for the event of an active shooter, a present threat in today's society. She stays up all night crafting the perfect lesson to teach her students how to survive this inevitability.