Women's Work 2021 Playwrights
Vanessa Cardoso Whelan
Vanessa Cardoso Whelan is a playwright, multidisciplinary artist, street performer and clown hailing from Brazil, with a passion for contemporary theatre and body movement awareness, especially related to Flamenco dancing.
Graduating in Theatre Arts in 2004, she has performed with several artistic groups onstage and in street productions, as an actress, Flamenco dancer, puppeteer and fire flow dancer.
Other activities include production assistant, stage manager assistant, wardrobe, daily AD and BP for TV shows.
Vanessa has been actively engaged in the local arts scene since moving to NL in 2014, performing in theatre productions, dancing Flamenco, clowning, doing her Living Statue, participating in diverse artistic workshops and festivals.
Vanessa likes to give her art back to the community, doing volunteer performances for new Canadians/refugees and nonprofit organizations.
Yasmine Beverly Rana
Yasmine Beverly Rana’s plays have been developed at theaters including The Looking Glass Theatre (NY), The Jewel Box Theater (Los Angeles), La MaMa Experimental Theatre, and Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey among others. Fellowships and grants include a NJ State Council on the Arts TRANSITional Art Project, New Jersey State Council on the Arts Award in Playwriting, and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship. Publications include The Alabama Literary Review, Blackbird, The Contemporary European Idea, The Kenyon Review, Lilith, TDR: The Drama Review, and anthologies, The Best Contemporary Monologues, The Best Stage Scenes, and The Best Men’s and Women’s Monologues (Smith and Kraus and Applause Books). The University of Chicago Press and Seagull Books “In Performance Series” published The War Zone is My Bed and Other Plays, an anthology of four of Yasmine’s plays. Yasmine is the co-host of “Conversations with Ken and Yasmine” and is represented by Susan Gurman in New York.
Veronica is a professional entertainer from St. John's, NL. Best known for her stand-up comedy, she is also a writer of plays, short films, comics, sketches, songs, and essays. She is a cartoonist, juggler, musician, and improviser who has been working as an artist for over 10 years. Her works have been featured at various festivals in Atlantic Canada, including the St. John's Shorts Festival, the Braxton Comedy Festival, the Charlottetown Film Festival, and the Nickel Film Festival. She is thrilled to be a part of the Women's Work Festival this year.
Nicole Smith studied theatre at the University of Guelph and spent 2016-18 working as a Producer for Pat the Dog Theatre Creation. She is founding Artistic Producer of Sonderlust, a theatre collective dedicated to the creation of original work and the staging of women’s stories. Her work both with and apart from Sonderlust has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), the Metcalf Foundation, the Shaw Festival, mammalian diving reflex and Canadian Stage. Girls From Away is Nicole’s most recent play-in-progress – a co-creation with the inimitable Bernardine Stapleton about the hundreds of women who were recruited from Newfoundland to Cambridge during WWII. Early development of this play has been generously supported by Newfoundland's Arts and Culture Centres, the Canada Council, ArtsNL, CEDP and the OAC. Nicole is thrilled that Girls From Away will have its first public reading at the Women’s Work Festival, which was created and is run by artists she admires greatly. This is Nicole’s fifth consecutive year involved with the Women’s Work Festival, but her first as a playwright.
Nicole's essays and short fiction can most recently be found in The New Quarterly (TNQ), Textile Magazine and Ember Chasm Review. In 2019, she was recipient of TNQ's inaugural Young Writer's Bursary, and she is currently working on her first novel through Humber’s Creative Writing Program, under advisor Camilla Gibb. Nicole is also co-founder and co-Artistic Director of the Kitchen Party Theatre Festival (KPTF) in Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland. KPTF is dedicated to professional artists working with their community to build something sustainable. The inaugural season launched virtually in 2020 and is a partnership between Girl Power Inc., the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts, the town of Grand Falls-Windsor and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). Nicole splits her time between her home in Cambridge, and her beagle in St. John's.
Bernardine Ann Teraz Stapleton
Bernardine Ann Teraz Stapleton is a Newfoundland- Labrador writer and performer of unique distinction. She is the co-founder and co-artistic director of the newly founded Kitchen Party Theatre Festival, based in Central Newfoundland!She was the writer in residence at Memorial University of Newfoundland-Labrador in 2019. Her play The Pope and Princess Di was recently listed on the Playwrights Guild of Canada Sure Fire List of top 23 plays from female playwrights in Canada. She is the recipient of the 2018 Arts and Letters best dramatic script for her one-woman play Dolly. Her newest book for young Selkies and other creatures being published this year is called: Girly Muckle and the Queer Hands. Her fiction work love, life is also hitting the shelves this year. She is one of the featured performers in the acclaimed Artistic Fraud production of Between Breaths.
Last year her plays professionally produced included: The Double Axe Murders, A Tidy Package, Offensive to Some, The Haunting of Margaret Duley, and, the hit musical chomping at the bit to tour the country: No Change in the Weather.
She was recently nominated for Arts NL artist of the year. She also launched a blog series championing body image acceptance and produced a one-woman show of her own called “A Broad’s Perspective” in which fairy tale tropes were dismantled and rewritten to reflect a more accurate viewpoint.
She is a recipient of The Rhonda Payne award from Arts NL. She is a past recipient of the WANL award for best work in non-fiction for her contribution to the book They Let Down Baskets. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Riddle Fence and The Newfoundland Quarterly. She is a recipient of the Ambassador of Tourism award from Hospitality NL. Berni was the Artistic Director of the Grand Bank Regional Theatre Festival for 11 years.
She has been a playwright-in-residence with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal, Alberta Theatre Projects, CanStage, PARC, and other national companies. Her plays are regularly produced nationally and internationally. They include Offensive To Some, Brazil Square, and Our Frances. Berni’s other books include This is the Cat, and Rants, Riffs and Roars.
Bernardine was the originating director and dramaturge for and helped devise transVersing with For The Love of Learning, and Artistic Fraud. Find out more by checking out www.bernistapleton.com.