Wednesday, August 09, 2017

meet the apprentice | mariam barry

It's time to introduce our final apprentice to you! This team of emerging artists have completed their training in theatre and are ready to bridge into the professional world of theatre. While they are with us, they will run our box office and front of house, as well as create and produce their own work and get involved in our mainstage season. Last but not least, we have the third apprentice to introduce: Mariam Barry.

About Mariam: 

I was born in New York City into a family that holds an unparalleled love for travel; and so my parents' immense wanderlust gave my siblings and I the incomparable experience of a diverse childhood abroad. This, in turn, gave way to the multiplicity of landscapes and languages that shape my identity. I grew up internationally; in Germany, Norway, Switzerland and The Netherlands before packing up, yet again, four years ago to move to unceded Coast Salish territories in B.C., Canada, where I now live as a guest. In essence, this rich history of relocation makes me a textbook Third Culture Kid, which is to say, I am a person who has spent a significant part of my developmental years outside of my parent's passport country. The effect is that I habit a third culture which is a unique blend of the cultures of all my host countries and parental ones. This, coupled with my larger identity as a mixed race woman with a Norwegian mother and Gambian father, frames my intimate connection to stories of home, belonging, and diaspora.

What were you doing before the apprenticeship?

I'm so grateful to say that I have been immersed in the theatre community in Vancouver since I graduated from the BFA Acting program at UBC in May of 2016. Hence before the apprenticeship, I have been cultivating my craft by working full time as a theatre artist by performing in plays as an actor and creating new works with various ensembles through the year. My latest performances were being staged as part of Ensemble Theatre Company's 2017 Season where I played in A Prayer For Owen Meany by Simon Bent in repertory with In The Next Room by Sarah Ruhl.

Meanwhile, I was also working on The Cultch's latest Indigenous Youth Initiative called "UnSettled: A Journey of Our Homes on Native Land". This was one of the most profound pieces of theatre I have ever worked on. Part rehabilitation and part research, we plunged into creating content that explores what means to tell stories on Coast Salish territory through an ensemble composed mainly of Indigenous artists and artists of colour. It was a raw and empowering experience where we, as a collective, reclaimed our narratives through art.

For this, I thank our brilliant project facilitator, Kim Harvey, who is not only the Youth Coordinator at The Cultch but a compelling artist and advocate in her own right and an instrumental mentor to all of us.

What are your favourite shows that you’ve worked on so far?

I must say that "UnSettled" with Kim Harvery, "Eurydice" by Sarah Rhul as directed by Keltie Forsyth and "Arabian Nights" by Mary Zimmerman as directed by Evan Frayne are at the top of my list.

Yet with that being said, there is no doubt in my mind that "Ruined" by Lynn Nottage, which will be playing as part of Pacific Theatre's 2017-2018 season, is shaping up to be an incomparable experience. I can't wait to work on this show as an apprentice!

What is your non-theatrical specialty?

black girl magic + vegan recipes + the art of claiming space

What is the number one thing you are excited about doing during your apprenticeship?

I can't wait for all the learning that will take place (re: to keep on glowing & growing)! As I am absolutely floored by the abundance of opportunities that the apprenticeship provides as a means to deepen one's artistic practice. This is extremely exciting to me, as a theatre maker, in that I strive to attain a holistic skill set in my practice. Exposing myself to new areas of the theatre is both enriching and invaluable, which is why - believe it or not - I am very much looking forward to being mentored in grant writing.

What is your favourite thing about theatre? 

To me, the theatre is a sacred space: a rare setting where we intentionally gather as a community to witness wondrously imperfect people muddle their way through the universe. It is the oldest form of knowledge sharing. To take on the role a storyteller is to engage in an ancient oral tradition. It is how I honour my ancestors.

What would your top three categories in Trivial Pursuit be? (invented or real)

The collected works of August Wilson, the evolution of Beyoncé's rhythm & sound, and the wizarding world of Harry Potter.

If you received $1 million dollars that you couldn’t keep for yourself, what would you do with it?

This is an easy answer. I would build youth programs, community centres and state-of-the art hospitals in my family's village in The Gambia. I would also establish a federal scholarship fund for bright students who wish to pursue a post-secondary education.

In other words, I would give back to my ancestral community. With my passion project being the creation of our country's first national theatre; a safe space dedicated to reclaiming our vast histories and envisioning a bold future.

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