Images designed by Sam Mendoza aka @d.i.t.r.o
Michener Park is a play that centres around a real life community in Edmonton’s history: the international family housing complex at the University of Alberta’s Michener Park.
What Is the Inspiration For Your Piece?
(The seed of inspiration)
I lived in this complex of townhomes and shared grassy spaces when I was young and my father was taking his PhD. My formative experiences of Canada developed in this international space. In 2018 the U of A decided to permanently shutter the residence due to escalating maintenance costs that have affected demand and habitability. It was shut down in late July of 2020. As we speak, the construction fences are up and the housing complex is being demolished. There are no plans to replace this unique community of international students and their families. This nexus of the immigrant experience in our city will become an historical footnote as families will now be dispersed throughout the broader Edmonton area. The site itself will no longer be zoned for affordable housing of any kind. Coming to grips with this is proving to be a complex emotional process for myself and many others.
The time to write this play is now, as I witness the loss of this space in real time. I hope to shed light on an overlooked part of Edmonton’s history. I especially hope Michener Park families of the past will see this play–to see themselves reflected and rightfully remembered as integral to the history of this community. It will be a love letter, a chronicle and a polemic.
What Point In Process Is Your Piece At?
(What stage of growth is your piece at, sapling, sprout, tree, shrub, whatever you feel)
Michener Park is in the early stages of development, with a workshop happening during Expanse 2022, followed by a public reading. The growth of the play runs parallel to the emergence of the writer. Michener Park marks Natércia Napoleão’s debut as a playwright.
Approximate or Estimated Duration (work-in-development)
Playwright and Performer: Natércia Napoleão
Director and Cultural Dramaturge: Carmen Aguirre
Stage Management: Andrea Handal Rivera
Projection Design: T. Erin Gruber
A special thanks to…
Napoleão family, Morgan Yamada and Sue Goberdhan, Farren Timoteo, April M. Killins, David van Belle, Canadian Latinx Theatre Artist Coalition (CALTAC), National Arts Centre’s Transformations Project, Daniel Carter, Cole Alvis, Derrick Chua, Megan Dart, Beth Dart, Hannah Moscovitch, Noella Steinhauer, Dane Ryksen, Adam Kidd, Raelene Youngchief, Lebogang and Mbaki Disele, Elsa, Shima and Judah Robinson, Senetsihuf Abebe, Farella, Neema and Bertrand Bickersteth
Michener Park is supported by the Edmonton Heritage Council, Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton. We also acknowledge the support of the Canada Council of the Arts.