Vanier College Productions brings real-life stories to the stage

Two plays based on real-life events will be presented by Vanier College Productions, a theatre company that consists solely of York University students and alumni, this November at the Fred Thury Theatre, Vanier College.

The Girl in the Photograph The Girl in the Photograph, a play based on a true story set in Mexico, tells the story of Paula, who gets caught up in a forbidden first love amidst a whirlwind of emotion and drama. It runs on select dates and times from Nov. 15 to 25.

The play leads us by the hand as we witness the development of a teen relationship with intricate consequences on everyone it touches. More than the sum of its parts as a drama, there are also several themes and thought-provoking subjects being explored: how can love develop even when circumstances would forbid it? What is that strength that carries us through moments of manipulation, how does it activate and how did it come to be in us?

The Girl in the Photograph, created and directed by Andrea Cabeza and written by Joel Pettigrew, recently had its debut at the Toronto Fringe Festival. Now moving onto the Vanier College Productions stage, York students will have the chance to perform an important message to their peers, community members and others in the broader Toronto region.

This performance is created based on memories, and the production is crucial in the time of the #MeToo movement.

The Girl on the Photograph is a raw, unapologetic telling of a power-abusive relationship told and constructed by my own personal memories,” said Cabeza. “The artists in this piece share a sensitivity and passion for this story that is rare and unique. I am excited to see how, from the seed of my memories, they can grow these characters into their own and see them go on a journey of storytelling with a collective creative drive.”

The play is assistant directed and stage managed by Kayla Ado.

It runs Nov. 15, 23 and 24 at 8 p.m.; Nov. 17 and 25 at 2 p.m.; and Nov. 18 at 5 p.m.

The production is accessible to all students and community members, with a relaxed and closed-captioned performance on Nov. 18.

The ExoneratedThe Exonerated, running on select dates and times from Nov. 16 to 25, is a play culled from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and the public record, that tells the true stories of six wrongfully convicted survivors of death row in their own words.

Moving between first-person monologues and scenes set in courtrooms and prisons, the six interwoven stories paint a picture of an American criminal justice system gone horribly wrong – and of six brave souls who persevered to survive it. Winner of the 2003 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, it was declared “the No. 1 play of the year” by the New York Times.

The Exonerated, created by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen and directed by Jane Spence, allows the audience to look directly into these situations and gather understanding for those facing situations that involve life and death, by false convictions. It is stage managed by Quanah Lawrence.

This performance is based in social justice, and in a country where we are ruled by law, it is crucial to be able to understand the injustices of the judicial systems.

It runs Nov. 16, 17 and 22 at 8 p.m.; Nov. 18 and 24 at 2 p.m.; and Nov. 25 at 5 p.m.

The production is accessible to all students and community members, with a relaxed and closed-captioned performance on Nov. 25.


Tickets are on sale online for The Girl in the Photograph and The Exonorated or at the door (cash only). General tickets are $25; students (with valid ID) are $15. Saturday 2 p.m. performances are $12 for students, and the relaxed and closed-captioned performances are $15 for general tickets and $10 for students.

For more on Vanier College Productions, visit the website.