My Place Is Right Here: Hugh Burnett and the Fight for a Better Canada by Aaron Haddad
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This play is a research-based, dramatic exploration and celebration of little known African-Canadian hero Hugh Burnett's personhood and human rights legacy. The setting of the play is the world of Hugh Burnett's memory and our memory. Like our dreams, it is not confined by space or conventional rules. Through the interplay of text, theatre and movement, it is hoped that Hugh Burnett may speak his memory and our memory even as memory shifts and changes like the countless grains of a sand dune.
Note: This piece seeks to intertwine education, memory, and art and be accessible to all audiences, and performing artists of many ages. The playwright, who works as a public school educator, has also made an accompanying educator's guide appropriate for grades 7 to 12. There is also a recording of a stage performance that may be made available expressly for learning purposes. Contact the playwright for further information.
Keywords: hugh burnett, national unity association, aaron haddad, Dresden, black, black history, african canadian, african-canadian, education, history, memory, Ontario, Canada, human rights, activism, underground railroad, black male, black male voice, family, small town, hero
Run time: 60 minutes
Suitable for students 14+
Content note: There are a number of references to class-, ethnic- and race-informed discriminatory behaviour portrayed through characters' words and embodied actions. There are references to interpersonal violence, including the mentioning of weapon use and aggression towards vulnerable persons.
Cast size: 3 actors
Male roles: 2 (Hugh Burnett + 1 chorus member)
Female roles: 1 (chorus member)
In its inaugural run Hugh Burnett was played by 1 male actor. The Sand Chorus consisted of 4 actors, 1 male actor and 3 female actors. The Sand Chorus can be as small as 2 actors, or as large as the director deems fit. The model of the inaugural run need not be copied. Exercise care, consideration and creativity. Embrace working with the strengths of what you already have. Determine what you need in order to bring forth your strengths and the heart of the story.
This work is best played without an intermission.
Selected as a Semi-finalist in the 2020 Black Screenplays and Stories African-American Screenwriting Competition.
"An unforgettable performance...will not only entertain audiences, but provide unique insight about an African-Canadian civil rights leader who changed the course of history."