‘Playwright in a Shop’ welcome on Broadway

Posted on: March 29th, 2019 by
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SASKATOON – What do you think would happen if an entire neighbourhood collaborated on a story? We’ll soon find out because the first ever ‘Playwright in a Shop’ is underway.

Joel Bernbaum, Sum Theatre artistic director and playwright, set up in the window of Foster’s Shoes on Broadway Avenue to write short plays with the help of Saskatoon residents. The stories are projected on a large television monitor from inside the store. The hope is to attract the attention of passers-by and get them involved in the collaboration process.

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“We at Sum Theatre believe that theatre should be exciting and that it should bring people together. What we have with Playwright in a Shop is the opportunity for anyone who is walking down the street to be involved in the playwriting process,” said Bernbaum.

WATCH: Globe Theatre’s production of All Shook Up

The idea started in the spring when Bernbaum and his colleague met with the Saskatchewan Arts Board to develop a project to improve the Nutana neighbourhood. After brainstorming with residents, Playwright in a Shop was born.

“We believe that theatre and the arts in general present a real opportunity to empower and engage people in their own confidence, in their own self worth. Art is a public act, art is for everyone and everyone is an artist,” explained Bernbaum.

This unique artistic experiment provides people with the opportunity to go outside their comfort zone, interact with the community and try their hand at play writing.

Watch below: Sum Theatre is setting up shop on Broadway Avenue and inviting passers-by to help pen the stories. Morning Live reporter Joelle Tomlinson learned more about the community initiative.

“I think what is really important to emphasize is that if you can think, if you can feel, you can write a play. If you have a story to tell, you can write a play. Of course everyone can think and feel, so everyone is a playwright,” said Bernbaum.

Some participants were really excited about the idea, others were a bit hesitant at the start.

“I’m a creative guy. I recognize everyone is an artist so my mind is all over the place thinking about where this can go,” said one participant, Grant Unrau.

Unrau and his family worked together with Bernbaum to put a modern twist on their father’s childhood story.

After this week at Foster’s Shoes, Playwright in a Shop will move down Broadway to The Better Good, where writing will continue.

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