- Music and lyrics by: Jane Siberry
- Story by: Alon Nashman
- Written by: Sadie Berlin, Alexandra Lainfiesta, Alon Nashman
From the iconic and eclectic songbook of Jane Siberry springs this celebration of freedom which chronicles the transformation of two teens in the early 80’s. We are in an Ontario farm community near Chatham, last stop in the Underground Railroad. Rosi, a 15 year old being raised by a single mom on a small farm, is an exuberant, imaginative young person, intoxicated by the natural world of colours, plants and animals. When Miguel, a child of migrant farm workers from Guatemala, arrives at school Rosi senses a kindred spirit. Miguel’s alter ego Mimi makes a full-flowering appearance when the gang of friends and frenemies who populate their life head to the beach on Lake Erie. Their teachers include a closeted gay man, who revels in teaching Shakespeare’s gender bending plays experientially, and a Black woman descended from Mary Ann Shadd, a leader of the Black community which settled in the region in the 1850’s, who sees disturbing similariities between the plight of her forebears and Miguel/Mimi’s family. Moving through the seasons of one year, When I Was A Boy traces the life changing relationships and realizations which form these young people and transform a community.
Sadie Berlin, co-Writer
Sadie Berlin is a Black, queer, and neurodivergent writer of post-dramatic performance texts, a performance artist, a jurist and an anti-racism consultant. She has a B.A. and M.A. in literature and a law degree. Sadie was recently appointed the Artistic Director of b current performing arts in Toronto. In previous incarnations, she has been a legal anthropologist and ethnographer, an offshore finance journalist, and a literary buyer for a bookshop chain in London, U.K.. In theatre, Sadie’s bailiwick consists of developing new modes of creation in different workshop environments. Sadie was a Metcalf Foundation dramaturgy intern for The Lab at the Stratford Festival. The focus of her internship was based on what she terms “integrated dramaturgy”, an expansive view of the discipline that encompasses literary management, production dramaturgy, institutional dramaturgy and cultural dramaturgy.
Alexandra Lainfiesta, co-Writer
Born and raised in the volcanic lands of Guatemala, Alexandra is an actor and writer who divides her time between Vancouver, Toronto, Stratford and Guatemala. As a writer she is currently developing her first full length play Bella Luz as part of the 2021 Arts Club Theatre’s Emerging Playwrights Unit. She also started the development of the operetta Calderona with music by Beau Dixon, with initial support from the Stratford Festival. As an actor Alexandra has worked across Canada and is the recipient of a Jessie Richardson Award for best actor in a lead role. Most recently she collaborated in the podcast for Clean/Limpia with Aluna Theatre and Neworld Theatre. Her training includes the Canadian College of Performing Arts, Studio 58 and Stratford’s Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre. She is thrilled to be collaborating with Alon and Sadie in this new musical and looks forward to the journey together.
Jane Siberry, Songwriter
Jane Siberry is an eclectic and prolific Canadian singer-songwriter, composer, musician, record producer and poet, renowned for her hauntingly beautiful music, a signature sound that is uniquely her own, and for her unfailing artistic integrity and creative innovations. Siberry’s work has spanned over three and a half decades … her discography now totals 15 critically acclaimed CDs, including the hits Calling All Angels (with kd lang), Love Is Everything, It Can’t Rain All The Time (‘the crow’), Mimi On The Beach, Everything Reminds Me Of My Dog, One More Colour, Bound By The Beauty, amongst others. She has worked with a number of fine musicians including k.d. lang, Rebecca Jenkins, Peter Kiesewalter, David Travers-Smith, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Kevin Breit and others.