Pictured from left to right: Leetta Kaxwaan Diane Gray, Rob Vestal, Erin Tripp, Erika Stone, Jane Lind and Dylan Carusona
Photo credit: David Bedard
In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, we are thrilled to offer a streaming, online version of Our Voices Will Be Heard, written by Tlingit/Dena’ina Playwright-in-Residence, Vera Starbard, and directed by Larissa FastHorse, who is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. This production was part of Perseverance Theatre’s 2015/16 season. The show is a powerful mother – daughter journey that reveals how generations face the choice of continuing to perpetuate—or disrupt—family violence. Through the lens of fiction and the palette of Alaska Native Storytelling, Vera tells the true story of her mother’s strength against impossible pressure. Our Voices Will Be Heard weaves together legend and truth in a fierce call for healing and forgiveness.
You can listen online here: https://www.nv1.org/our-voices-will-be-heard/, or stream the recording through the Native Voice One app. Here is the pathway to the NV1 app:
- Go to your App Store icon—tap it
- Search for NV1 (Native Voice 1)
- Tap on “Download”
- Once downloaded, scroll down to the category Specials.
- Scroll over to “Our Voices Will Be Heard” and ENJOY!
The recording is free and open for anyone to enjoy. If you are able to make a donation to support Perseverance Theatre during this health crisis, it would be immensely helpful to us. Like most arts organizations across the country, without our regular stream of revenue, we need your support now more than ever! It’s quick and easy online here: ptalaska.org.donate-now.
About the Playwright, Vera Starbard:
After graduating from East Anchorage High School in 2000 as the editor of the school newspaper, Vera began editing newspapers professionally. She was editor of the Anchorage Native News for six years at Southcentral Foundation, and was a contributor to the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Book of the Year, “Alaska Native Culture and Issues: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions.”
Vera completed a historical fiction book in 2010 with an Individual Artist Award from the Rasmuson Foundation, and has received numerous awards for writing and editing from the Public Relations Society of America, Alaska Professional Communicator’s Society, Alaska Press Club, and the Alaska Federation of Natives. She has also received the Juneau Mayor’s Individual Artist Award, and the Alaska Literary Award.
Following her passion for journalism and communications, Vera became Editor of First Alaskans Magazine in 2013, a position she continues to hold.
Our Voices Will Be Heard, Vera’s premiere play, was produced at Perseverance Theatre in 2016, playing in Juneau, Hoonah, and Anchorage, with a revival showing in Fairbanks. It was published the following year in the anthology textbook “Contemporary Plays by Women of Color.”
Vera was selected for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency Program in 2016. She is the first Alaskan and first Alaska Native/American Indian resident in the history of the program. In 2019, her residency was renewed for an additional three years, so she will continue her employment and commission with Perseverance through July 2022.
Vera’s first play commissioned through the residency, Devilfish, premiered at Perseverance Theatre in Juneau on Sept. 20, 2019, and in Anchorage Oct. 25 to packed houses.
Vera is a writer for the PBS Kids animated children’s program “Molly of Denali.” The show premiered in July 2019, and Vera wrote several episodes, including New Nivagi, Turn On the Northern Lights, Canoe Journey, and Eagle Tale.