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The Red Betty Theatre in Hamilton is about to celebrate 10 years, providing a thoughtful theater experience for savvy audiences.
It consistently performs its duties, showing the audience stories from IBPOC (indigenous, black, colored) women and introducing them to novel and interesting experiences.
"It's about increasing the chances of getting these types of performances while also contributing to the richness and diversity of Canadian theater. It does this through bold and relevant artistic choices." The company's founder, Art Director and cultural guru Radha Menon (Radha Menon) said.
Menon has an interesting background, acting, directing and creating bold new dramas.
"I stumbled into the theater literally. I was shy and eight years old in a new school in Cardiff, Wales. My task was to move the chair from the backstage to the center stage. I was trapped in the narrow doorway. The 30 seconds of my struggle for freedom shocked the audience. They applauded my antics and I was captivated. After that, they couldn't let me step down."
She went to high school in India and won the Rotary Club's "All India School Script Award" at the age of 14. She has been winning in her script ever since.
Menon worked in British theaters when he was in his 20s. When she went to get married in Saskatchewan in 1995, she found that she could not be employed in the theater there.
She said: "This motivates me to continue writing." "When faced with more of the same things as a writer, my choice is to open the Red Betty Theater or give up my art, which is a big deal."
Menon hopes to contribute to Canadian theater through relevant artistic sounds. She envisioned an inclusive platform.
She moved to Hamilton in 2008 and eventually established the Red Betty Theatre in 2011.
"We are a non-profit organization. Our vision is to develop and produce works that reflect Canadian cultural diversity through a Canadian perspective. We believe that theaters will consider difficult international and cultural issues. By providing space in our works, we are an IBOPC artist Provide a safe space for sharing stories with the community."
None of this is easy. Some doors have been closed. Support is not always available.
Menon's most acclaimed play "Rukmini's Gold" was developed with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and received dramatic support from the Cali Theatre in London, England in two years. The play tells how British colonialism and ancient patriarchy affected Indian women and achieved great success. At the 2015 Hamilton Fringe Festival, he won the Toronto Fringe New Play Competition and the Hamilton Fringe Critics' Choice Award.
In 2020, the play won the Sanhita Manch script writing competition in India and the Tata Literary Live Music Festival. Menon said: "Apart from the original Fringe production, the show has not yet been screened in Canada."
In 2021, Red Betty Theatre will cooperate with the Canadian Theatre Company to show Menon's play "Blackberry" in Ottawa and Hamilton.
She said: “Based on my experience growing up in Birmingham, England, this is a gentle and compelling story of the times.”
Menon’s relationship with international theater companies stems from the need to collaborate with professionals who can help her develop her theater and ultimately her voice.
"I got funding to write scripts through many grants allocated by the Ontario Theater Company, but developing scripts requires more than words. Dramas need to be displayed in front of the audience, including actors, directors and ideal theater performers. It all costs money. ."
Menon believes that "many theater spaces do not welcome non-white or middle-class people. This must change. Theaters should be open to everyone."
A firm believer in the decolonization of the Menon Theatre said, this means: “The IBPOC institution occupies space to express a unique identity while expressing culturally distinctive ideas.”
Menon's play "The Rise of the Prickly Pear" about the rift in the family during the Cuban Revolution is a good example. It performed at The Staircase and Artword Artbar Theatre in Hamilton in 2014, and all performances were sold out. It was then further developed on the American stage in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2017. But Menon had no funds or performance partners to reschedule Hamilton's performance.
So why doesn't she move to a larger theater center, such as Toronto or Calgary?
She said: "I love Hamilton." "I have been productive for 12 years here. I believe Red Betty will soon have a partner in Hamilton."
In the coming year, Menon will have a season dedicated to predicting the development of new dramas supporting IBPOC female writers in Ontario. The company's planned "Near-Ear New Theatre Festival" will leave a deep impression on people, that is, Red Betty Theatre and Radha Menon will stay here. Get used to it.
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