August 04, 2020
As the direct result of dialogue between PARC and TODOS Productions around increased representation and opportunities for BIPOC artists, PARC is pleased to announce that Santiago Guzmán is PARC's new Artistic Associate.
This position is a one year appointment with the potential to be renewed for a second year. At the end of Santiago's term, the position would be open to competition.
We are very excited to have Santiago join the PARC team!
PARC Artistic Director Pamela Halstead connected with Santiago to talk about the vision he brings to PARC in the role of Artistic Associate.
PH: The world has changed a lot since we featured you as our March Playwright. How have you continued to be creative during these months?
SG: I haven't stopped working. I can't. Since PARC's Residency I have been directing, writing, and producing theatre and film. Some highlights include directing and performing in The Tales of Dwipa by Prajwala Dixit, produced by White Rooster Theatre in partnership with Resource Centre for the Arts Theatre Company; dramaturging new scripts for the 2020 Fundy Fringe Festival in New Brunswick; a small writing commission for Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland's upcoming fall project; and writing some scenes for my new piece Juan, Juana, G'wan-Neenah that I will be sharing through the National Theatre School of Canada's Art Apart Program later this month.
PH: One of the things we were talking about in regards to your company, TODOS Productions, is your desire to promote scripts with BIPOC artists in leading roles. How have you been doing that in Newfoundland?
SG: I personally started writing when I looked around my community and realized that there were only a few people creating space for marginalized voices in their writing- and most times, these characters served to tell the story of a privileged one and perpetuated stereotypes. As an actor, I found myself getting cast as background or very small parts. That's when I decided to grab a pen, a piece of paper -sometimes napkins- and put down stories for me to perform. That's how ALTAR, my first one-man-show, was born. With this piece, I was seen and heard loud and clear in my community. So, I wanted to share the platform I had created with other under-represented artists in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Through my theatre company TODOS Productions, I recently hosted a writing mentorship led by award-winning playwright Robert Chafe and myself. We received 13 applications from across the province, proving that there are a lot of under-represented artists that have something to say. We selected three writers, Vanessa Cardoso, Xaiver Campbell, and Jamie Merrigan who had to write a play where a marginalized voice was the protagonist of the story. After three months of work, they completed their first drafts of a script. Two of them will be produced at the 5th Annual St. John's Short Play Festival later this fall.
PH: What are the areas where you want to focus your work as Artistic Associate of PARC?
SG: Through my short, but productive career, I have discovered that there are so many communities and groups that are not seeing themselves onstage. Established arts organizations should go beyond posting open calls, putting posters up, and expect people to show up. We should actually seek to strengthen relationships with other communities. Not to check a box, but to create meaningful bonds for the sake of the community at large. Through my role at PARC as Artistic Associate I would like to strengthen relationships with other organizations that focus on supporting marginalized communities across Atlantic Canada; engage with Universities in Atlantic Canada and create awareness of the programs/contests for emerging writers; and create programs to provide skills and mentorships to under-represented writers in Atlantic Canada.
Santiago Guzmán is a theatre and filmmaker from Mexico, now based in St. John’s, NL. He holds a BFA in Theatre from Memorial University, Grenfell Campus. Upon graduation, Santiago has worked professionally as a writer, performer, director and/or producer with CBC NL, White Rooster Theatre, Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, Resource Centre for the Arts Theatre Company, Rising Tide Theatre, Power Productions, Shakespeare By The Sea Festival, etc. His work as a writer aims to put local, under-represented narratives and characters on the frontlines, whilst inviting audiences to appreciate the vibrancy of Newfoundland and Labrador from a diverse perspective. Santiago was featured as PARC's March 2020 Playwright Profile which can be viewed here.