On Wednesday 28th November, playwright and CAPITAL Fellow of Creativity Djanet Sears presented a masterclass on her work for an audience in the CAPITAL Studio.Sears is a Canadian playwright, actor and director with particular interest in themes of the search for identity, race relations and gender issues. Her plays include Afrika Solo, The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God and Harlem Duet, and she has received numerous awards. Her work combines classical theatre with modern politics effectively to define the "black experience". Earlier this year she spent two months working with the Royal Shakespeare Company on their production of Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad. She is the founder of Obsidian Theatre, a company which specialises in African and Caribbean Canadian drama, and is a professor at the University of Toronto.
Oliver Turner, a student, attended the masterclass.
Djanet Sears' masterclass proved to be as enriching and enjoyable as a little known, but brilliant piece of theatre at Edinburgh festival - sadly lacking the attendance it deserved, but certain to inspire those lucky few who were able to witness it. The hour long talk was all too short and served to fire my interest in a playwright I knew very little about.
Djanet recited sections of her work and then spoke passionately (and with great charisma) on its relation to a wider context, namely the identity of the black woman. It was an entirely accessible hour, which made me wish it had happened a year earlier, when researching a essay on black women's identity in theatre - the written information on this topic has a huge role to play - but to hear a writer beautifully acting (and singing) her work was a moment of history and an unique opportunity to gain primary insight into the work of a writer of our time, an experience I only wish could occur more often. She is a contemporary playwright and I felt very much that I was experiencing something which even in years to come would still provide an insight other means of education could not. Wonderful & thank you.