Victoria Awkward, Cheyenne Wyzzard-Jones, and Annalise Guidry. (Photo by the Theater Offensive)
BOSTON: The Theater Offensive (TTO) has selected three artists to participate in its Queer (Re)public Emergent Artist Residency Program. This year’s cohort includes Cheyenne Wyzzard-Jones, Victoria L. Awkward, and Annalise Guidry. Piloted in July 2021, the program is dedicated to supporting queer and trans artists of color whose work demonstrates artistic vigor and inquisitive exploration of queer aesthetics.
The 22-month residency starts in September, as the artists begin to develop and discover a deeper understanding of their own personal aesthetics. Public community workshops and readings will taking place throughout the process. Residents’ work will also be featured in the Queer Republic festival slated for June 2025.
“TTO values itself as an incubator for queer and trans artists of color,” said Jess Ernst, director of development, communications, and capital campaign, in a statement. “Our process seeks to affirm the nuances queer and trans people of color create from, as named in our Queer Aesthetics work. We believe our community deserves this intention.”
“We are looking forward to helping each artist create deeper relationships with local and national communities through artist-led and industry-supported development,” said TTO director of programs Tonasia Jones in a statement.
Cheyenne Wyzzard-Jones comes from a political art background through her work as director of arts programming of the movement organization, In Solidarity. Their project The Messenger is a musical journey that shares an intimate “coming of age” story about a young femme, Zanyah, who has been chosen to become the next Messenger for her nation, the In-Between. Over the course of Cheyenne’s residency, they will work with a musical director to develop the musical score of the play, with mid-residency work-in-progress readings and a culminating multi-experienced listening session of the musical score on Noepe land, also known as Martha’s Vineyard.
Originally from Massachusetts, Victoria L. Awkward, trained at Impulse Dance Center with LuAnn Pagella and worked with Boston-based artists such as Karen Krolak. Her project In the Space Between follows a soloist as they inspire their community to delve into an infinite space between their reality and their wildest dreams. ITSB showcases a dynamic fabric set by architectural firm NADAAA, extravagant handmade costumes by Mitzi Eppley and the show’s costume team, light design by Elmer Martinez, original music by Aaron Brown, and performance by VLA DANCE. ITSB originally premiered as a short work at Boston Center for the Arts and The Dance Complex.
Informed by feminist notions of A Love Ethic by bell hooks and Knowing Together by Allison Weir, Annalise Guidry will work to introduce a thesis for a theatre of union that emphasizes storytelling, deep listening, and understanding to build worlds of knowledge that bring people together. During their residency, and through the development and praxis of their thesis in community through playwriting and directing for True Colors Troupe, they will interrogate the question, “In what ways can our stories bring us together?”
The Theater Offensive is a Boston-based theatre company and social change organization. TTO seeks to present liberating art by, for, and about queer and trans people of color that transcends artistic boundaries, celebrates cultural abundance, and dismantles oppression. As of 2022, the Theater Offensive had an approximate budget of $1.5 million.
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