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Workshop to discover the physical / scientific language of new play WONDER about Canada's 1st female nuclear physicist Harriet Brooks.
53 backers pledged CA$ 3,600 to help bring this project to life.

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CA$ 3,600

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T h e   P A S T :   Harriet who?

Not everyone is obsessed with their great-great-aunt… I want everyone to be obsessed with mine.

Harriet Brooks was Canada’s first female nuclear physicist. Her mentor, Nobel Prize winner Ernest Rutherford, called her the best woman in physics next to Marie Curie!

The theatre industry needs more female voices both as playwrights and protagonists, so I decided to write a play based on the life of my Auntie H…

WONDER will amplify the voice of this trailblazing Canadian woman who fought to pursue her passions, a right she was denied based on her gender.

Playwright Ellen Denny trailblazing through a blizzard to visit Barnard College (NYC) where Harriet was forced to choose between her job and her engagement in 1906.
Playwright Ellen Denny trailblazing through a blizzard to visit Barnard College (NYC) where Harriet was forced to choose between her job and her engagement in 1906.

With this project, I hope to honour the countless women in science who have been silenced, and invigorate those who continue the fight for gender equity.

What makes Harriet compelling is the fact that she isn’t the perfect hero. After being shut out of science when she married, she gave a speech at McGill University suggesting women were inferior to men at physics… 

Did her struggle convince her of this? Or is her sarcasm lost to the ages?

T h e   P R E S E N T :   An Experiment…

After four years, five drafts, and one public reading (in partnership with Museum London), WONDER is ready for a week long development workshop. A chance to figure out how the play moves between dramatic realism, and a second ‘subatomic’ world, devoid of time, where physical and choral story-telling take over.

Moving from the abstract theory of the page to embodiment in the room is critical to answer large structural questions, and discover the physical and scientific language of the show. These issues need addressing before the script reaches the rehearsal process, where time is already scarce.

The workshop phase of a new play is an experiment. You need all elements present - a director, choreographer, and actors - to find the right equation. Harriet loved being in the laboratory, and I can’t wait to bring her back there.

T h e   F U T U R E :   You’re invited!

For this play to grow its theatre wings and soar, it needs a boost.

By funding this development workshop YOU can help WONDER towards its goal of shedding light on a Canadian heroine the history books left out.

You will also ensure local theatre artists receive fair compensation for their work, all too often sacrificed in the artistic process.

Every donor will receive an invitation to the workshop presentation, and there’s lots more PERKS for every size of budget so check ‘em out! >>>

By the way… if you’ve gotten this far?  You’re totally a STEMinist. 

Button from the Ontario Science Centre
Button from the Ontario Science Centre

STEM fields still have a long way to go towards gender equity. 

The play WONDER is a chance to build a bridge between the science and arts communities, and to spark discussion about how to build workplaces with equitable opportunity for all. 

Risks and challenges

It is vital to me that the artists involved in the WONDER workshop be paid professional rates for their work, so this project won't move forward until that is possible. This campaign is part of a larger strategy towards achieving this...

I have applied for additional funding through the Ontario Arts Council and the Canadian Arts Council, and will be performing a fundraising cabaret called Wonderin' with dates in Toronto (Sept 16th, 2018) and London, Ontario (November 2018, TBD).

CABARET TICKETS HERE: https://ellendenny.brownpapertickets.com/

Creating a new work with a large cast (7 is large for new Canadian plays!) is no small feat. Theatres are often not financially equipped to take that kind of risk on a young writer. For this reason I am moving forward independently with this workshop, with the aim of a rehearsal ready draft to introduce to theatre companies through our workshop's culminating presentation.

This presentation will be the launch of my writing to the Toronto theatre community, so it is critical to have the time (one full week in the studio) and calibre of talent (properly paid professionals) to make WONDER's theatrical potential shine.

No matter the path this show takes, I am committed to see WONDER through to a premiere production. Because we need voices like Harriet's to understand our history beyond its patriarchal telling, and to continue down the path women like she forged.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 10 or more About $7

    Nuclear Nudge

    Heartfelt gratitude + shout out on social media + invitation to workshop sharing

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    4 backers
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    Pledge CA$ 25 or more About $19

    Atomic Amplifier

    ALL of the above + your name printed in our workshop presentation program

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    18 backers
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    Pledge CA$ 50 or more About $37

    Radioactive Ready

    ALL of the above + your logo printed in our workshop presentation program / shared on social media + mp3 recording of 'The Ground' (song written and performed by playwright Ellen Denny)

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    7 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 100 or more About $75

    Phosphorescent Fan

    ALL of the above + digital copy of handwritten letter from Harriet Brooks to MARIE CURIE!

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    6 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 250 or more About $187

    *Super STEMinist*

    All of the above + playwright Ellen Denny will bring a charming 20-minute presentation on trailblazer Harriet Brooks to your event / workplace / living room (additional travel costs apply outside Southern Ontario), including reading an excerpt from the play!

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    2 backers
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Funding period

- (19 days)