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Hit play Myra's Story headlines local content at IMPACT 13
Submitted by Tim on Mon, 08/26/2013 - 1:58pm
When we booked the play Myra’s Story for the IMPACT 13 theatre festival we had no idea it was an audience favourite in the making. The play, performed by Kitchener actor Jennifer Cornish, has impressed audiences and critics alike since its debut at the London Fringe Festival in June.
In fact, we hadn’t seen the play when we booked it as part of our local showcase at IMPACT. All we needed to know was that Jennifer Cornish is passionate, serious, and local.
At IMPACT 13, KW’s intercultural theatre festival running Sept. 24-29, local matters.
“It is very important that we showcase our local identity,” says artistic director Majdi Bou-Matar. “We’re extremely choosey about the international and national theatre we bring to KW but when it comes to local content we program without judging. Local theatre artists who are serious and passionate, if they ask to be part of IMPACT our only answer is yes, and how can we help?”
“There’s no way to grow and survive and be relevant if the community does not have ownership of IMPACT.” he says. “The festival was made to create a cultural interaction -- between traditional and contemporary theatre, between new and established, students and professionals, and also between local and national and international talent.”
Local productions at IMPACT 13 include KW’s internationally unique Asphalt Jungle Shorts X, Balancing on Moonbeams by Shadow Puppet Theatre, works by local youth, a UW drama production, as well as MT Space’s own workshop presentation of Occupy Spring.
“The works we are bringing to IMPACT this year, they are stunning,” says Bou-Matar. Kitt Johnson from Denmark is a riveting artist, Sankofa Danzafro from Columbia is an intense mix of Afro-Colombian rhythm and movement, and we have innovative and ground-breaking works from across Canada. With a cultural parade of that calibre, with theatre artists and scholars coming from far-flung places, we have to show off our local identity. We have to say, this is who we are, this is what we do here, and some of it is great.”
Myra’s Story comes to Ontario through a theatre artist who grew up in Kitchener and still calls it home. The play is the work of Irish playwright Brian Foster, and tells the story of Myra Hennessey, a down and out ‘wine connoisseur’ on the grubby streets of Dublin.
Jennifer Cornish discovered the play through an ad: ‘Irish playwright has successful one-woman show, requires brilliant actress.’ She’s spent the last two years working to bring the hilarious and heartbreaking Myra’s Story to the stage. The play is directed by Kitchener actor Darlene Spencer and has enjoyed 5-star reviews and standing ovations since its debut in London. “The response has been breathtakingly wonderful,” Cornish says.
“Enthralling!” writes one reviewer.
“Excellent, Excellent, Excellent are the only words to describe this production,” says another.
Cornish became a professional actor at the age of 19, but has also devoted a good deal of her working life to community theatre in and around Waterloo Region.
“Jennifer Cornish has done so much for community theatre in the region and is the kind of actor and community member that we advocate for,” says Majdi. “She’s a talented and passionate theatre artist rooted in her own community, a voice for that community.”