It’s a story that’s unique, personal and close to the heart and it’s a brand new musical on stage right now at Regina’s Globe Theatre. Us, written by Kelley Jo Burke with music by Jeffery Straker is a show about finding your way as a LGBTQ youth in Saskatchewan.
The story is a fictional one based on personal accounts Burke gathered while working as an artist in residence at Camp fYrefly, a retreat for gender and sexually diverse youth in Saskatchewan. Burke had this show in mind when she began collecting stories from the campers and says she had to be open and honest with them as she started the process.
“I told them, ‘I’m an old straight woman’ the only way I can come at this story is by just listening and I had to listen for a long time.” She explains, “This is not a true story. I was at the camp to be educated by what they told me.”
The story follows Carley who’s just beginning her journey as a transwoman. “She’s had a rough go at it,” says Burke. “She’s trying to find her place in this community. What I heard at Camp fYrefly is that camp is sometimes the first time these young people have ever felt they were part of the majority.”
“What I heard at Camp fYrefly is that camp is sometimes the first time these young people have ever felt they were part of the majority.”
When Burke first approached musician Jeffery Straker, it was to use some of his existing songs in the piece. Once on board, Straker created fresh music for the show. He says it was an uplifting experience.
“It was wonderful and a bit therapeutic.” Straker explains, “There was a real joy in expressing what it’s like to come out, to try and find your place in the world and do it all through music. I’ve been there too.”
Burke and Straker say it’s exhilarating to see the show finally on stage. The pair take inspiration from other Canadian musicals like the hit Come From Away that were worked and re-worked to the version audiences see today.
“It’s very much a living, breathing, evolving thing,” says Burke. “We are working with audience feedback to tweak the text and staging. There will likely be many more versions before we feel it’s done.”‘
The show just opened its two-week run and the creators say the audience response has been great.
“We have been blessed with a killer cast,” says Straker. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive with raucous applause after the songs. It’s started some really good conversations after the show about being queer in Saskatchewan and that’s what we want. We want people to go away and think about the experience.”
For more information on the show and to get tickets, click here.
Now – Mar. 18, 2018
Globe Theatre – Regina
Tickets: $30 – $60