Debbie Patterson

Debbie Patterson

Debbie Patterson - Winnipeg Arts Ambassador (Theatre)

Winnipeg, MB

Presenting as part of the session: Performing the CIty - Saturday, November 6 at 1:00 pm

Debbie Patterson is a Winnipeg playwright, director and actor. Currently she is serving as Artistic Associate at Prairie Theatre Exchange and sits on the Arts Advisory Panel of the Manitoba Arts Council. She is an alumnus of  the National Theatre School of Canada and the former Artistic Director of the Popular Theatre Alliance of Manitoba.  She is a founding member of Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR) and has been involved in most of SIR’s productions. Favourite roles have included Titania, the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, and Jenny in Threepenny Opera.

Her musical Head, about the final days of Anne Boleyn was produced in 2006 by SIR to a completely sold out run. Her other plays include Candy From a Baby and Molotov Circus, which was nominated for the Harry Rintoul Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She has written several adaptations for of Robert Munsch stories for Prairie Theatre Exchange which have gone on to be produced at Festival Antigonish, Carousel Theatre, Neptune Theatre, Quest Theatre, Chemainus Theatre and Bumbershoot Theatre.

Directing credits include Stripped Down Macbeth and Taming of the Shrew for SIR and Saint Joan for Theatre by the River. She lives in Winnipeg with her family: Arne MacPherson, Gislina Patterson and Solmund MacPherson.


Debbie Patterson's talk:

Stories of Sargent and Victor

A corner of our city is still breathing, but barely.

The area around Sargent and Victor is in a critical state. The crime rate is so high that residents often feel like they're under siege. Homes are broken into repeatedly, property is vandalized, streets are routinely blocked off by yellow police tape. Teenage single moms work the streets, muggers lurk in alleyways and gang tags are spray-painted everywhere. The city was shocked by a rash of shootings in the area recently, by the tender ages of the victims and the perpetrators.

But this area wasn't always troubled. Many people remember the area as a centre of Icelandic culture and society. They talk about the First Lutheran Church and the Weevil Cafe as places where the sense of community and safety were strong and nurturing. While that aspect of this neighbourhood seems to have vanished, other aspects remain.

Morden's Chocolates has been operating out of their location on Sargent, just a few doors east of Victor since 1959. It remains a family run business. Given the current character of the area, itís difficult to imagine such a business choosing to set themselves up there now.

How does the transformation of a neighbourhood happen? How does it affect the people who live and work there? How does the land itself respond to the fear that covers it?

Debbie Patterson will share some of the stories she's collected from this area, and speak about the process she has embarked upon. Through a series of interviews she is created a verbatim theatre piece; a record of a time and place, in the words of the people, not the playwright.  She'll explore the value of drawing the stories out of the city, of giving voice to the oft-unheard.

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