In 2012, Vera began a program through the Alaska Native Heritage Center called the Alaska Native Playwright Project. It took established Alaska Native writers and, through workshops and mentorship, taught them how to turn story ideas into plays.
Our Voices Will Be Heard
The playwright project resulted in Our Voices Will Be Heard, which was first developed by Native Voices in Los Angeles. It premiered in 2016 through Perseverance Theatre, with performances in Juneau, Hoonah, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. It was also adapted into a one-hour radio play, and published in the textbook “Contemporary Plays by Women of Color.”
Listen to the one-hour radio adaptation of “Our Voices Will Be Heard.”
Some highlights and reviews:
Juneau Empire interview: “Our Voices Will Be Heard: A universal story in a distinctive voice”
Anchorage Press interview: “Raising Voices”
“Devilfish” premiered at Perseverance Theatre in 2019, and was commissioned through the Andrew W. Mellon National Playwright Residency Program.
Some highlights and reviews:
Juneau Empire Review: “Devilfish is a hell of a play”
Anchorage Press Review: “Alaskan Masterpiece: Last weekend to catch Devilfish, Starbard’s masterpiece about everything”
KTVA Interview: “‘Devilfish’ highlights indigenous folklore, addresses trauma”
Anchorage Press interview: “Starbard’s spectacular Ice Age vision of Alaska comes to life”
A Tlingit Christmas Carol
Vera adapted her full length play “A Tlingit Christmas Carol” into a five-part series premieres Nov. 27 with Perseverance Theatre. To watch, head to the Perseverance website or Facebook page. Each stave will be released each Friday from Nov. 27 to Dec. 25, 2020.
Online Short Works
Once the COVID era hit, Vera got to work exploring the world through online theatre. These include:
- “See You on the Zoom” with Stream On!
- “Keep Talking on the Zoom” with Stream On!
- “Interdependance Day” with Permafrost Theatre Collective
Vera also began a playwrighting group called Dark Winter Productions with four co-founders, Lucas Rowley, Richard Perry, Marleah LaBelle, and Vera’s husband Joe Bedard. Dark Winter seeks to develop Alaska Native written plays, as well as give Alaska Native actors (both experienced and novice) more experience with acting.
There are many theatre projects underway for Vera, and as she is the playwright-in-residence for Perseverance Theatre through June 2022 with the Andrew W. Mellon National Playwright Residency Program, you’ll be seeing plenty works soon!
Some of her upcoming projects:
- Native Pride (and Prejudice)
A modern adaptation set in an Alaskan village. This play has been workshopped and/or read at the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program, Native Voices at the Autry Festival of New Plays, and showcased through the National New Play Network’s National Showcase of New Plays.
- Fog Woman (working title)
A Tlingit legend in a domestic violence advocacy play.
- Unnamed Tlingit opera
- Unnamed biographical play about Marlene Johnson