The Love Booth & Other Plays

Image credit: benjamin lee hicks

The Love Booth and Six Companion Plays

Director: Jenny Salisbury
Playwrights: Tara Goldstein with contributions by Jenny Salisbury & Alec Butler

The Love Booth and Six Companion Plays is a set of seven short plays about queer and trans activism in the early LGBTQ liberation movement. Gailey Road staged the plays at the 2023 Toronto Pride Festival to mark the 50th anniversary of homosexuality being taken out of the American Psychiatric Association (APA)’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973. The first play in the set, The Love Booth, tells the story of their activism.

The other six plays tell the stories of other moments of activism taking place in the 1970s and early 1980s by queer and trans Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (QTBIPOC) activists and their allies. They include stories of activism undertaken by Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to run for President in the United States in 1973; the work done by Iris de la Cruz to challenge the stigma and shame of living with HIV; the creation of Kitchen Table- Women of Colour Press by Black lesbian poet Audre Lorde and Black scholar and writer Barbara Smith; the poetry writing of Two-Spirit artist and activist Chrystos, and the activism of trans activists Marcia P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and Chelsea Goodwin to support homeless young drag queens, gay youth and trans women living in New York.

The Love Booth and Six Companion Plays were performed on June 9, 2023, at the William Doo Auditorium at New College, the University of Toronto. Biographies of the performance and production team appear below.

Credits Six Companion Plays

The Love Booth and Six Companion Plays: The Audio-Play (86 minutes)

Playwright: Tara Goldstein
Director: Jenny Salisbury
Audio-Play Sound Editor: Doug Friesen
Composer: Kael Reid
Musicians: Alec Butler
Doug Friesen
Don Kerr
Kael Reid

Performers

Introduction-Love Booth and Six Companion Plays:
(1 minute, 8 seconds)
Narrator: Playwright Tara Goldstein
Director: Jenny Salisbury
Musician: Kael Reid

The Love Booth (40 minutes, 14 seconds)
Narrator: Playwright Tara Goldstein
Director: Jenny Salisbury
Barbara Gittings: Moynan King
Kay Tobin Lahusen: Mary Ellen MacLean
Dr. Anonymous: Ty Walkland
Musician, singer: Kael Reid

Play 1 – Chisholm and the Advance Men (7:00 minutes)
Narrator: Playwright Tara Goldstein
Director: Jenny Salisbury
Shirley Chisholm: Lashae Watson
The Advance Men: Ryan Singh, Ty Walkland
Musician, singer: Kael Reid

Play 2 – The Great Sero-Positive Seder (17 minutes, 18 seconds)
Narrator: Playwright Tara Goldstein
Director: Jenny Salisbury
Beverley Rotter: Beth Anne Cole
Iris De La Cruz: Neta Rose
Musician, singer: Kael Reid

Play 3 – Lies in the Library (7 minutes, 59 seconds)
Narrator: Playwright Tara Goldstein
Director: Jenny Salisbury
Barbara Gittings: Moynan King
Musician, singer: Kael Reid

Play 4 – Press of Our Own (7 minutes, 39 seconds)
Narrator: Playwright Tara Goldstein
Director: Jenny Salisbury
Audre Lorde: Sashoya Simpson
Barbara Smith: Sierra Haynes
Musician, singer: Kael Reid

Play 5 – I Walk in the History of My People (7 minutes, 49 seconds)
Writing contributions from Jenny Salisbury, Alec Butler
Narrator: Playwright Tara Goldstein
Director: Jenny Salisbury
Chrystos: Alec Butler
Leanne Simpson: Nicole-Joy Fraser
Drummers: Alec Butler, Don Kerr
Musician: Kael Reid

Play 6 – Star House (13 minutes, 56 seconds)
Narrator: Playwright Tara Goldstein
Director: Jenny Salisbury
Cheslea Goodwin: Savannah Burton
Sylvia Rivera: Rosalind Goodwin
Musician, singer: Kael Reid

Our Funders
Social Science and Humanities Research Council Connections Grant
Jackman Humanities Institute Arts Program Grant, University of Toronto
New College Initiatives Fund, University of Toronto

 

Biographies.

Pam Baer

Videographer

Pam Baer (they/she) is a filmmaker, educator, and scholar with a focus on community-engaged artistic practice. Pam has been an artist-research with Gailey Road Productions since 2012.

Savannah Burton

Plays Cheslea Goodwin (Star House)

Savannah is originally from Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. A union performer since 2006, she has appeared on Beauty and the Beast on the CW, Killjoys on SYFY, and most recently, in the award winning short film Junior’s Giant. In 2017 she was featured in WE are Canada: Future 50 portrait series. An accomplished athlete, who was a member of the 2015 Canadian National Women’s Dodgeball team. She is the first out Trans athlete in Canadian history to compete in team sports internationally.

Alec Butler

Plays Chrystos (I Walk in the History of My People)

Alec is of Mi’kmaw, and Settler descent, is non-binary, trans, Two-spirit, author of the play Black Friday? (1990), nominated for the Governor General’s Award for drama (English), amongst other plays and films, including Trans Cabaret and My Friend Brindley. In 2014, Alec published their first queer novella Rough Paradise. Currently, they are working on a new play called Three Maries, a generational memory play about the rise of fascism and a film about a Two-Spirit Indigenous Dancer who disappears into the gay world of Berlin, circa 1923, called Looking For Alec, based on a true story.

Beth Anne Cole

Plays Beverley Rotter (The Great Sero-Positive Seder)

Beth Anne began performing at fifteen on CBC radio and television. For twenty-two years she delighted kids on Mr. Dressup. She has appeared extensively in theatre roles, notably at the Shaw Festival and Carnegie Hall, NYC , and in concerts across Canada and the U.S. Her latest CD is Perhaps the Gods of Love.

Nicole Joy-Fraser

Plays Leanne Simpson (I Walk in the History of My People)

Nicole Joy-Fraser (Dene Zaa, Nehiyaw, Métis, Euro-Settler) is an award-winning Niagara based performing artist. For over 20 years has been storytelling for stage and screen across Turtle Island and beyond and has collaborated with many celebrated companies such as The Stratford Festival, The Shaw, Mirvish, Factory, Tarragon, Soulpepper, Theatre Aquarius, Native Earth, The Blyth Festival, Nightwood, The Charlottetown Festival, Talk is Free Theatre, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, CBC, CBS, BBC and Telefilm. As a proud Bear clan member and Hand drum carrier, supporting each other through healing and the arts continues to be a passion of hers and she is grateful to her communities that have been guiding her unique journey and helping her embrace her own queerness. Kinânaskomitin~All My Relations

Doug Friesen

Musician, Audio-Play Sound Editor

Doug Friesen is a teacher, musician, and researcher who leads folks through ways of using listening and sound to facilitate community. He is a PHD candidate and has taught public school and post-secondary courses. He has toured and recorded for many musicians, including Selina Martin and John K Samson.

Tara Goldstein

Playwright, Dramaturg, Producer

Tara Goldstein is the Founder and current Co-Artistic Director of Gailey Road Productions. Tara is also a professor, researcher and playwright at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Tara’s first novel Home of Her Heart was published in May 2023 by Tellwell Publishing.

Rosalind Goodwin

Sylvia Rivera (Star House)

Rosalind Goodwin (fae/she/they) is an Irish settler based in Tkarón:to. Originally from Treaty 6 territory and the small town of Ponoka, Rosalind finished a BFA in Performance Arts at the University of Lethbridge before relocating for work. Rose has since produced Jizz Sock for the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival, and Rose’s Buds- A Trans Cabaret for the 2021 Paprika Festival. She has also co-produced the short film Scaring Women at Night which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Sierra Haynes

Plays Barbara Smith (A Press of Their Own)

Sierra Haynes (she/her) is an emerging, Dora award winning multi-disciplinary artist from Regina, SK. She is an Artistic Associate at The Globe Theatre in Regina, SK, and facilitator at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. Sierra comes from a devised theatre background. Sierra’s writing has been produced by The National Theatre School, Studio 58, and The Globe Theatre. Recent stage credits include: A Tonic for Desperate Times (Theatre Gargantua); Miss Caledonia (Globe Theatre); The Red Priest (Guild Festival Theatre); upcoming The Drowning Girls (Guild Festival Theatre) and her directing debut at Studio 58 this upcoming fall 2023. Composing credits include: Paper (Globe Theatre); The Radium Girls (Studio 58); Lady Macbeth and the Not Quite Dead (MusicalTheatre Works); and Emilia (United Players of Vancouver) where her work was reviewed as “stirring”. She is a proud graduate of Studio 58. To see what she’s up to next, her website is sierrahaynes.ca

benjamin lee hicks

Visual Artist

benjamin lee hicks, PhD (they/them) is a visual artist, elementary school teacher, and educational researcher. benjamin’s graphic scholarship infuses teacher professional learning with conversations about relationship-building, emotional presence, and the importance of activism for equity in education. Beyond conventional classrooms, benjamin has been facilitating arts-based programs with/in communities for the past 25 years. benjaminleehicks.com

Don Kerr

Musician

Don Kerr is a Toronto musician who has traveled the world with Ron Sexsmith, Rheostatics, Bahamas, Dan Mangan, and his own band Communism. He is also a proud husband, father, and rooftop gardener, with a deep faith in humanity’s ability to create a much more equitable society for all.

Moynan King

Plays Barbara Gittings (The Love Booth)

Moynan King is an actor, director, writer, performer, and scholar. The recipient of a Canadian Screen Award for her writing on CBC’s Baroness von Sketch Show, Moynan was just nominated for a Dora Award for her work on Trace with Tristan Whiston. Moynan is currently working on Queer Resonance, a Post-Doctoral research project supported by the University of Western Ontario.

Mary Ellen MacLean

Plays Kay Tobin Lahusen (The Love Booth)

Mary Ellen is a performer, creator, educator, director, and producer. She was a founding member of the award-winning Halifax physical theatre ensemble, Jest in Time, touring worldwide for twenty years as well as starring in three national CBC television specials. Her one-woman play Frankie toured across Canada and aired on Bravo TV. She is currently working on a new one person play For Puck’s Sakes. Mary Ellen and her wife Wendy have created an artist retreat – Open Skyridge Studio -located in Gatineau Park.

Flavia Martin

Stage Manager

Flávia F. Martin (she/her) is a Portuguese Stage and Assistant Stage Manager based in Tkaronto. Recent credits include New (Necessary Angel), Rubble (co-production between Aluna Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille), Two Sided Mirror (Mixed Company Theatre), Beautiful Renegades (Peggy Baker’s Dance Projects), Cacao| A Venezuelan Lament (Victoria Mata Productions), Light: A Tribute to Toni Morrison (Luminato Festival), The House of Bernarda Alba (Modern Times and Aluna Theatre), Songs for a New World (Randolph College For the Performing Arts), and Lätt Lûtf (Teatro de Creación Remota).

Megan Pham

Videographer

Megan (she/her) Pham-Quan is a recent graduate of the MA in Child Study and Education program at OISE. Having come to this program from her undergraduate studies in women and gender studies, Megan is interested in creating justice-oriented, liberatory spaces in primary/junior classrooms. Additionally, Megan has varied experiences in media production: producing a short film screened through the New Visions program at the Inside Out Festival in 2018 and more recently, co-creating a podcast Building Our Roots highlighting youth voices in climate action.

Kael Reid

Composer, singer, musician

Kael Reid is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University (Toronto, ON). Kael teaches courses in Children, Childhood, and Youth Studies and conducts research with young people using various ethnographic songwriting methods they developed.Kael also combines public pedagogy with musical activism related to queer and trans equity by delivering workshops, concerts, and musical keynote addresses to universities and colleges, secondary schools, youth conferences, unions, and community service organizations.

Bella Rogal

Videographer

Bella (she/they) is a graduate of the George Brown Social Service Worker program, and is currently working as a Housing Follow Up Support Worker. They are interested in affordable housing, disability justice and creating authentic, caring connections within the Toronto community

Neta J. Rose

Plays Iris De La Cruz (The Great Sero-Positive Seder)

Neta J. Rose (they/them) is a proud non-binary Jewish actor and poet. They are a founding member of Create! Performing Arts in Scotland, now in its 14th year. Last year the Toronto Star called Neta’s performance in The Garden of Alla “revelatory”, and they’re not over that yet. @neta.j.rose.

Ryan Singh

Plays the Advance Men (Shirley Chisholm & The Advance Men)

Ryan Singh (she/he/they): Ryan is a Toronto-based educator and performer who has created theatre all over the city. In another life, Ryan was co-director of Fly By Night Theatre, which presented 6 seasons of independent theatre. Presently, she is Senior Manager, Education at Young People’s Theatre. They are thrilled to be joining Gailey Road again for The Love Booth and Six Companion Plays.

Jenny Salisbury

Director and Producer

Jenny Salisbury is a theatre artist, researcher, and educator. She is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, studying community & performance. Jenny is co-artistic director of Gailey Road Productions and a director of the Centre for Spectatorship and Audience Research. She specializes in ensemble and community-engaged theatre.

Sashoya Simpson

Plays Audre Lorde (A Press of Their Own)

Sashoya is a writer, storyteller, audiobook narrator, theatre practitioner and future animation screenwriter and picture book author. She’s currently in the process of reinventing herself as her work now gears towards young audience through various mediums. She’s also in the midst of launching an artist collective dedicated to creating work for black young audience. Join the read for her first stage play, LULU, happening on June 17th.

Kate Walker

Associate Producer

Kate Walker is a Toronto based arts manager. She has previously worked as the Company Manager of Common Boots Theatre and has produced for companies including Shakespeare in the Ruff and ARC. Kate is currently Theatre Direct’s Managing Director. Her favourite role to date is becoming a mum in 2021.

Ty Walkland

Plays Dr. Anonymous (The Love Booth)

Ty Walkland is a Toronto-based writer, researcher, and occasional teacher. He is pursuing a Ph.D. at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), where his research explores critical and care-centred approaches to school-based drug education. He also hosts the Toronto Writing Project’s Teaching Writers Speak podcast.

 

Lashae Watson

Plays Shirley Chisholm (Shirley Chisholm & The Advance Men)

Lashae Watson is a Youth Advocate and recent University of Toronto Undergraduate where she double majored in Equity Studies and Human Geography. She has a passion for the arts and social justice. Hence, her role as Shirley Chisolm in this play has ignited both of those passions.

 

gaileyroad@gmail.com


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