Christmas Carol: A Drag Story

Hi! We're Blue Jeans Theatre.
We are a new queer theatre collective in Mohkintsis (Calgary, Alberta) aimed at bringing community together, spreading joy and acceptance, and providing opportunity for queer artists in the city. 



The Past:
Shannon Murphy:

Shannon is a gay theatre artist in Mohkinstsis. Producing and creating work started in Toronto, where she worked and trained under the mentorship of theatre companies Nightwood Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times, and Volcano Theatre. While in Toronto she co-founded Kindling Collective, a company focused on sparking new flames in old tales. Kindling Collective went on to successfully produce a sold-out run of Arthur Miller's The Crucible and a 2017 Toronto Fringe Critic's Choice production, Monsters by Nature. 

Since returning to Alberta she has worked with Theatre Calgary in Shakespeare by the Bow's Two Gentlemen of Verona, as well as working with YouthRiot, a queer youth playwriting program with Theatre Alberta. She returned with the hopes of nurturing a queer theatre community in Calgary and hopes Blue Jeans Theatre will be the first step in this creation. 

Kristy Benz:

Kristy is a queer theatre artist born and raised on Treaty 7 Territory. She studied drama at Bishop's University where, along with acting, she had the opportunity to direct, to serve as a department representative, and to co-produce the annual student-run theatre festival.  After graduating Kristy moved to Toronto, where she fell in love with improv and clowning. Her joyful summers at the Manitoulin Centre for Creation and Performance (also lovingly known as the Clown Farm) led her to take up physical theatre studies, and she subsequently trained at Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, California. At Dell'Arte Kristy learned the joys of collective creation and community-based arts, and acted at stage manager for the end-of-year Rural Residency.  

Since returning to her home province three years ago Kristy has worked in the Calgary theatre world as an actor, a clown, and a stage manager. You may have seen her last holiday season living her best life as Tumnus in Alberta Theatre Project's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Kristy is stepping into her queer identity and is very excited to join other LGBTQ+ artists as we find a way forward to shine our light. 

The Present:
Christmas Carol: A Drag Story

Christmas Carol: A Drag Story is very much a product of this year's circumstances. When I had learned that the larger theatres in the city would be cancelling their holiday season performances, I realized that many people who often rely on arts, shows, and concerts to get through the winter months would be left with nothing. I also saw that there was space for a risk and I wanted to take it. The concept of Christmas Carol: A Drag Story came out of a conversation with my mother. We were talking about the type of art we were consuming during quarantine: what was bringing us comfort. We started talking about Queer Eye and RuPaul's Drag Race, how these shows provided a sense of belonging and nurturing while at the same time provided excitement over self-discovery. I've always had a special spot for Dicken's Christmas Carol, and started seeing parallels between what I was seeing happen in Alberta specifically and Scrooge's journey. I saw an opportunity to bring a perspective into the story that isn't often told; where do queer people go on Christmas? In Alberta we have a youth homelessness problem and 40% of homeless youth are from the LGBTQA2SI+ community. I saw a need for this show, a need that has been prevalent for many years in this community and a need to reveal other sides of the Calgary story. With the use of drag performance, digital artistry, and a classic tale, we will bring Calgary on a recognizable yet eye-opening journey through Scrooge's transformation. Full of fun, passion and love, this production promises to warm your hearts this season. 

- Shannon Murphy

The Future:
The Impact of Blue Jeans Theatre

The LGBTQA2SI+ community in Calgary continues to face erasure and discrimination. As a city with a population of over one million in a largely conservative province we recognize the ongoing need for queer support, recognition, and expression. Yet Calgary has been without an accessible queer theatre scene for many years now. With Blue Jeans Theatre we hope to create a brave space for queer theatre artists to speak their truth, to work cohesively as a community, to engage with allies, and to strive for a more joyful and accepting world. We recognize the efforts of past and present organizations on whose shoulders we stand. Without their work we may not be here.

The founders of Blue Jeans Theatre are white settlers and cannot ignore the privilege this has afforded them. We are committing to the 35//50 initiative in our casting and hope to soon see greater diversity amongst our organizing members.   

Blue Jeans Theatre hopes to dismantle hierarchy in the traditional theatre structure and wishes to act as a true collective in which leadership is passed project to project. Our goal is for Blue Jeans Theatre to serve as a means of facilitation for queer work and that anyone in the queer theatre community who adheres to our mandate can create with us. 

Other initiatives proposed for the future of Blue Jeans:

CongreGAYtion: 

Community and ritual are incredibly vital to humanity and the living of a meaningful life. Unfortunately, many community groups exclude or erase LGBTQA2SI+ people. Blue Jeans Theatre wants to create a space for the queer community and its allies to practice community, establish connection, and foster mentorship. And so we have dreamt up the CongreGAYtion, a Sunday gathering for all your queer community needs. The CongreGAYtion will include a drag performance, a facilitated discussion on a specific LGBTQA2SI+ issue, and doughnuts for all! 

Christmas Carol: A Drag Story, a Funding Campaign
Our Team
Cast:

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Crew: 

Adapted and Directed by Shannon Murphy
Technical Direction by Graham Kingsley
Production Management by Kristy Benz

About the Campaign

Our Projected Budget: 

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Funding:

Unfortunately, none of the grants we applied for came through. Which means we are in need of community help to fund this project. That's where you come in. We are humbly asking community members who wish to see more queer programming in the Calgary theatre scene to help fund this inaugural production. 

But because community is all about give and take, we want to give back to you for your contribution! We've been working hard to think of fun perks for you to enjoy as a thank-you for your donation.

Here's what we're offering: 

A shout-out on social media (at $10) 

+ a personalized Christmas card and a button (at $25)

+ a ticket to the show (at $50)

+ a Christmas ornament with a quote from the show (at $75)

+ one of fifteen $10 gift cards from local retailer Pony Friday (at $100)

+ one of four $25 gift card from local retailer Pony Friday (at $250)

+ the one-and-only $50 gift card from local retailer Pony Friday  (at $500)

+ a personal Christmas caroling experience brought to you at a safe distance outside your home (at $500)

But that's not all!

In addition to the perks you get when you donate, Blue Jeans Theatre will also be posting exclusive content to our social media platforms when we hit major campaign milestones!

When we reach $1,000 we will post a video of members of the cast singing a Christmas carol.

At $2,000 we will share a video of Blue Jeans Theatre founders Shannon and Kristy in an epic drag battle! 

When we hit $3,000 we will post a video of a beloved Calgary theatre icon reading "The Night Before Christmas"  

Other Ways You Can Help

We know these are tough times and maybe you just can't afford to pitch in right now. But that doesn't mean you can't help. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @BlueJeansYYC. Like and share our posts to help spread the word!  

Donations

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  • Simon Mallett 
    • $50 
    • 1 d
  • Griffin Cork 
    • $35 
    • 1 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 1 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 1 d
  • Delia Barnett 
    • $20 
    • 2 d
See all

Organizer

Kristy Benz 
Organizer

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