The culmination of multidisciplinary artist Shayna Jones’s multi-year theatrical and journalistic investigation, Black & Rural digs into the lives of Black Canadians living in the countryside.
Receiving its world premiere from Vancouver’s Pi Theatre at Pacific Theatre from March 31 through April 15, the performance is led by playwright and performer Jones’s own experiences of small-town and remote living, interspersed with the voices of interviewees about Black life in rural communities.
Jones spoke to the goals and questions that sparked Black & Rural: “Why do we live removed from the clamour of the city? Why do they, we, put up with being such an obvious minority? With skin so deeply coloured, what does it mean to belong to this land, to our roots, to one another? And what is it to belong anyway?”
Featuring original music composed and performed by Rufus Cappadocia, the show weaves Afro-centric folklore, including new tales penned by Jones, with contemporary explorations of Black life in the countryside. Intermingled with Jones’s own story are recordings of her compatriots, spanning the nation and generations of Black Canadians building lives far from urban areas.
Exploring everything from the isolation of being the only Black face in a white community to the power and autonomy derived from working with the land you live on, Black & Rural illuminates a community separated by thousands of miles but with an undeniable bond of shared experience and hopes.
Pi Theatre presents Black & Rural at Pacific Theatre (1440 W 12th Ave, Vancouver) from March 31 through April 15. Visit pacifictheatre.org for tickets and information.