“Incredibly strong, driven women” – those are the kinds of women “Come From Away” star Petrina Bromley works with in theatre.
It’s not by chance.
Bromley said they have no choice but to be that way.
“It tries to push you out,” she said.
“Sometimes there really is only one role in a show for a woman. Literally, there might be seven guy roles and one female role.”
That’s why it was so important for Bromley to contribute her talents to the main fundraiser for Persistence Theatre Company, the Pink Tie Gala that will be held Friday.
The St. John’s-based company is a non-profit organization that promotes the core beliefs of feminism – including political, social, economic and personal equality for women and those who identify as female – through its theatre work.
“It’s hard, and I think a company like Persistence has the opportunity – and wants to make the opportunity – for women to just be able to do things that they wouldn’t get to do otherwise,” said Bromley.
Now in its second year, Persistence aims to employ women in theatre, and produce shows in which at least 50 per cent of the text is spoken by female characters.
The company’s producing artistic director is Jenn Deon.
Deon said a feminist theatre company is needed because only 38 per cent of the professional acting roles in Canada are for women.
Worse, she said, is that in the past couple of years only 25 per cent of professionally produced plays in Canada were written by women.
“We really need to give a boost,” she said.
“This is the little part that we’re trying to play here in our community.”
That part includes using 90 per cent of the funds raised at the gala to employ women.
“We’re there to raise money for the company, but it’s also just a really amazing room to be in, to be around that energy of people who support this cause.”
The gala will be held at the CLB Armoury and will feature performances by Bromley, who will sing a variety of Broadway tunes about women.
“It’s a great coming together of not just women, but people, in celebration of what women bring to the community,” said Bromley.
The evening will be hosted by Toni-Marie Wiseman of NTV News, and guests will enjoy a five-course dinner prepared by five female chefs. Halifax’s poet laureate and feminist icon El Jones will perform, and a live auction will be conducted by a female auctioneer, Patricia Lawlor from Fitzpatrick’s Auction.
While there are many items up for auction, there’s one that even Deon knows nothing about – Bromley said she has a surprise item that will be revealed at the gala.
As of Wednesday night there were still a limited number of tickets available. They can be purchased online at persistencetheatre.com or by calling 743-7287.