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YPT Presents World Premiere of BENTBOY Next Month

Performances run October 3 – 23, 2022.

Young People's Theatre has announced the opening of its 2022.23 season with the world premiere of Bentboy - a heroic First Nations tale about an unlikely warrior told through movement, dance and myth. As Bentboy opens YPT's newly named Ada Slaight Stage, its audiences will be the first to experience the theatre's historic $13.5 million expansion and renovation. Written by YPT Artistic Director Herbie Barnes and directed by Eric Coates, former GCTC Artistic Director, the play features choreography by Dora Award-winner Waawaate Fobister, and a dynamic cast and creative team that includes Indigenous artists from across Canada. Bentboy runs from October 3 to 23, 2022.

"I am so excited to be welcoming audiences back in person - for the first time in three years - to YPT's brand new spaces," said Herbie Barnes. "Not only will Bentboy be a joyful experience for our young audiences, but it's also an eye-opening play of heroism and learning. It reveals the epic simplicity of a child seeing their whole world for the first time."

In his first engagement with the historic theatre, YPT welcomes veteran theatre director Eric Coates. "I've always aspired to work at YPT, so I was delighted when Herbie invited me to join this project," he said. "Bentboy explores the interconnectedness of all elements, which is of particular interest to me. In a world that has suffered so deeply in recent years from a lack of personal connection, Bentboy reminds us that we are all part of the same circle."

The story begins deep in a forest, in another time, with a child called Bentboy. Hunched and hobbled by his curved back, Bentboy is cast aside by his village. Until one day, he is chosen by an elder as the unlikely warrior to embark on a quest to save the village from grave danger. And so begins his epic adventure, and a tale both treacherous and tender. Along the way, Bentboy encounters an uninvited companion, and the two are plunged into a world that comes to life in perilous and astonishing ways. Each on their own path, it will become a journey that transforms them both.

After workshops with Manitoba Theatre for Young People and Native Earth Performing Arts, Bentboy entered into development at YPT under former Artistic Director Allen MacInnis. The play received development support and two workshops with YPT in 2019. It was shortlisted for the Sharon Enkin Plays for Young People Award in 2020.

The title character, Bentboy, is played by Dylan Thomas-Bouchier, a Cree and Dene storyteller, and graduate of The National Theatre School of Canada. Joining Dylan as "Eagleseye" is Métis playwright and performer PJ Prudat. PJ holds artistic/creator residencies with Nightswimming and the Theatre Centre, and is a Co-Artistic Director at Shakespeare in the Ruff. The role of "Hummingbird" is played by Ojibwe performer Dillan Meighan-Chiblow, recipient of the Musical Stage Company's Syd & Shirley Banks Prize in 2020. Ashley Cook, Brianne Tucker and Daniel Yeh complete the cast as "Deerchild", "Tree/Anona Mouse" and "Greyfowl" respectively.

Additional credits include: Set & Video Designer: Hailey Verbonac; Costume Designer: Nishina Shapwaykeesic-Loft; Lighting Designer: Shawn Henry; Sound Designer: Keith Thomas; Dramaturg: Stephen Colella; Auntie-in-Residence: Kelly Brownbill; Stage Manager: Fiona Jones; Assistant Stage Manager: Kelsey Rae.

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