TNB Announce The Stage Equality Initiative

Category: stage 237

Theatre New Brunswick announces a new development program aimed at bringing the voices of New Brunswick women to the stage.


Samaqani Cocahq-Natalie Sappier, Kirsten Alter and Jena McLean are the first playwrights to received support from this new program.

If the past six months are any indication, Theatre New Brunswick is well on its way to becoming a regional leader in new play development. Following the success of its inaugural Fall Festival of New Plays which championed the voices of 12 new, emerging and established New Brunswick playwrights by providing mentorship, dramaturgy and staged readings of new work through various digital technologies, TNB has now announced the Stage Equality Initiative, a new program aimed specifically at developing new work from New Brunswick female playwrights.

The 2021 Stage Equality Initiative will support the work of Samaqani Cocahq-Natalie Sappier (Tobique First Nation), Jena McLean (Fredericton) and Kirsten Alter (Quispamsis).

“We’re excited to launch this new project with new work by three New Brunswick women whose collective work and history is directly informed by their experience as members of the broader queer, Indigenous and BIPOC communities,” said TNB Artistic Director Natasha MacLellan.  “We believe this initiative will not only help to highlight the work of three diverse New Brunswick women, but also speak to the continued importance theatre plays in reflecting our regional culture, a culture that’s diversity is often overlooked in the fields of literature, music and theatre.”

The Stage Equality Initiative will mark TNB’s first major investment in the development of new work by New Brunswick women. This new initiative will provide a creation grant to each participating playwright as well as dramaturgical support and a digital strategy aimed at elevating these three women and their work to a national audience through readings, video interviews and other digital means.

“We see both our Fall Festival and The Stage Equality Initiative as cornerstones in our renewed investment in New Brunswick playwrights,” said MacLellan. “It is our aim to make these new initiatives an annual part of our programming at Theatre New Brunswick. The generous support we received from the Greater Saint John Community Foundation’s Fund for Gender Equality will allow us to create, test and deliver our first year of the Stage Equality Initiative and help plot a future path to welcoming the voices of more women to stages here in New Brunswick, and across the country. That’s pretty exciting stuff!”

This project was supported through a $12,000 grant from the Greater Saint John Community Foundation and the Fund for Gender Equality (Community Foundations of Canada). The Fund for Gender Equality (The Fund) was created to shift power into the hands of women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse individuals by supporting their leadership and engagement in community-level initiatives.

Learn more about the playwrights by visiting

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