A Season Launch Message

To those of you joining us for the first time, thank you! To those of you who have been with us for a while, welcome home to the sweet 16th season of Zee Zee Theatre.

A dear friend and mentor of mine always talks about organizational life cycles being 5 years. Well, we are now entering our fourth cycle. And, true to this idea, so much has happened, so much has changed and we stand at the next major juncture. 

With the departure of my brilliant long-time collaborator (and husband), Associate Artistic Director Dave Deveau, which timed out with the departure of our incomparable Operations & Development Manager Sabah Haque, Zee Zee is once more at a moment of great possibility. We are starting something new with someone new. 

It is my great pleasure to officially welcome someone who has been a part of the Zee Zee family and our own family for many years. From first serving as my student Assistant Director in 2015 during the development of Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical at Studio 58, all the way to being the brilliant playwright whose work we premiered last season with Unexpecting, the incredible Bronwyn Carradine joins the team in the new role of Artistic Managing Producer. I am thrilled for what the future of this new Zee Zee looks like. 

After our biggest season to date – our mammoth crystal anniversary season, we are focussing on development in all its forms this season at Zee Zee: new play development, new partnerships, new community connections.

We open this season with the final stage of my passion project that’s been in the works since early 2020. The Public Reading Series, which is the culmination of 10 months of paid writing in our National Queer & Trans Playwriting Unit. Five new plays, written by five exciting writers from across the country will happen in real life in five cities across Canada and streamed through our Presenting Partner The Cultch’s RE/PLAY digital playground. Starting in Vancouver at the Cultch, continuing to Halifax, Saskatoon, Lethbridge, and finishing in Montreal. I am so thrilled that we have been able to support these writers with something more sustainable than the current commissioning rates in Canada while connecting us all to the eight other partner companies in this initiative. I can’t wait to see the fruits of this labour. 

Our annual storytelling project is back with our long time partner the Vancouver Public Library, to celebrate Queer Asian Stories curated by the mother of the House of Rice Shay Dior, event producer and co-founder of Theatre as a Second Language Society Yanting Qiu, and theatre maker and storyteller Jaylon Han. 

We are continuing the development of what started as TERF Wars now renamed You Could Be My Safe Space written by JD Derbyshire and Dave Deveau in consultation with Morgane Oger and Jessie Anderson. With the protesting of drag queen story hours and attack on trans rights and trans children in this country and to the south, this work couldn’t be more vital. 

We wrap the season with a new partnership that continues our work of providing queer families opportunities to see themselves reflected on stage. We will be producing in association with Carousel Theatre for Young People and the Vancouver International Children’s Festival the world premier of Dave Deveau’s The Papa Penguin Play, a family musical all about gay penguins who happen to be drag queens who happen to be parents. Sound familiar? 

We have had lofty ambitions for this organization from day one, and we are thankful that so many of those dreams and goals have been realized. This season is about creating the blueprint for those next lofty ambitions, those artistic dreams that make the impossible suddenly possible. And we can’t wait to reveal them to you in the coming seasons. As I’ve said, this is an exciting time for Zee Zee and I am so thankful and honoured that you are joining us. 

Thank you for your support. 

Let’s change the world!!

Cameron Mackenzie
Artistic & Executive Director
September 2023