WORDS of the YUKON: A staged reading

Open Pit Theatre presents a staged reading of:

Words of the Yukon 
written by Geneviève Doyon
directed by Jessica Hickman

Saturday March 28, 8pm
Sunday March 29, 2pm
The Old Fire Hall
Admission by donation
Each reading will be followed by a talk back with both the director and playwright.

Words of the Yukon (working title) is a verbatim play by Geneviève Doyon. The script was created with transcriptions of interviews that took place in several Yukon communities over the past 9 months. Open Pit Theatre went to Dawson, Keno, Carcross, Teslin, Ross River and Whitehorse to lead interviews that always started around the theme of "Home and Land in the Yukon". The interviews were carefully transcribed with every hesitation, "um", "like", sniffle and laugh. 

50 interviews later, Open Pit Theatre is inviting the community to a staged reading of the very first draft of this play. This presentation of this work in progress is crucial step for the playwright to take before jumping into a second phase of interviewing and writing. 

Come and discover a piece of theatre, made from the exact words of Yukoners! And contribute to what it will become!

Please be advised there is coarse language and mature content in the script.

Thank you to Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des Arts du Canada and Yukon Government's ArtsFund for making this project possible. 


Open Call: Readers required for The Verbatim Project

Open Pit Theatre is casting five local actors for a Staged Reading of The Verbatim Theatre Project happening at the Old Fire Hall on March 28 and 29. This is a great opportunity to be a part of an exciting local project. We are seeking actors of all genders, age groups and cultural backgrounds, especially First Nations.

To find our readers, we will be holding a group audition that will consist of the applicants reading short excerpts from the play.  

Audition details:

                Date: Wednesday, March 4th

                Time: 5:30pm – 7:00pm

                Location: Centre de la francophonie (302 Strickland Street)

To attend the audition, please send a short email to Geneviève Doyon (genevieve@openp.it) with the following information:

- Name

- Contact info

- Previous acting experience

- Head shot (or photo of any kind)


Please note that all actors need to be available for evening rehearsals the week of March 21-27 and for two public presentations on March 28 and 29.  This is a paid contract.

About The Verbatim Theatre Project:

Since July, Open Pit Theatre has been interviewing and collecting words from over 50 different people across the Yukon.  The interviews always started around the themes of "home and land in the Yukon." With the help of community members, Open Pit Theatre then transcribed these interviews word for word, with every sniffle, hesitation and "um". With only the words of the interviewees, the playwright Geneviève Doyon is creating a script for the Verbatim Theatre Project. Jessica Hickman (co-artistic producer of Open Pit Theatre) will be directing the staged reading. 

Talk about Verbatim'

As we ease into the fall and continue to gather interviews from Yukoners from all over the territory, let's catch our breath and take a look at the development of The Yukon Verbatim Project so far.

To this day, Jess and Geneviève interviewed 40 people in Carcross, Dawson, Keno and Whitehorse. They talked to a 4 year old boy. An 89 year old man. A mother who's descendance goes back to the Gold Rush days. A Tlingit dancer. Yukon residents from Ireland, the Philipines and Switzerland. People in the Yukon for a week-end. Long timers who established themselves 40 years ago. Born and raised young Yukoners who left and came back. Some told us hunting stories, some confided they don't understand why anyone would kill an animal when you can get meat at the grocery store. There have been tears, laughter, long silences and bourbon. 

Every conversation brings a new perspective and colour to the theatre mosaic we are building, one interview at a time. Themes and stories are already starting to emerge and intertwine, but before we decide on a direction to take, there are more stories to be gathered. Geneviève is headed to Teslin, Haines Junction, Faro and Ross River in October and November to collect more interviews. And if anyone wants to bring her to Old Crow, she'll happily tag along.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far, and a special thanks to our transcribers who took on the long and labour intensive mission of transcribing these stories. Word for word for word for word for word for word....

In November, Jessica and Geneviève's creative brains will get together in front of the thousands of words collected over the past months to start shaping and landscaping all these stories into a script. 

We are often asked what the play is about, and it's always exciting to answer "You tell me."

An evening in the 1920's

Open Pit has been busy organising a multidisciplinary event under the esthetic of the Silent Movie Era as a fundraiser for our Yukon Verbatim Theatre Project. 
A 1920's evening of fun is coming your way! Get ready for silent movies, a live soundtrack created and performed by kick ass musicians, actors improvising the dialogues before your eyes, pop corn of all flavours, a photo booth, door prizes and more. 
And it's all happening on Saturday November 8th! Names and details to come in the next few weeks.

On veut vous entendre!

La compagnie de théâtre Open Pit développe un projet de théâtre verbatim sur le thème de « chez soi » (Home en anglais). Geneviève Doyon , codirectrice artistique de Open Pit, rencontre des Yukonnais et Yukonnaises à travers le territoire pour discuter du Yukon et leur « chez eux » : Pourquoi décide-t-on de s’installer au Yukon ? D’y rester ? Comment a-t-on vu le Yukon changer depuis nos premiers souvenirs sur le territoire ? 

Pour développer ce projet verbatim, Open Pit enregistre toutes les entrevues et les transcrit mot à mot. Avec uniquement les mots des Yukonnais et Yukonnaises, sans ajouter ou modifier un seul caractère à ce qui aura été récolté au cours des entrevues, Geneviève va ensuite créer une toute nouvelle pièce de théâtre.

Souhaitez-vous contribuer à un nouveau projet artistique yukonnais ? Il suffit de contacter Geneviève Doyon à genevieve@openp.it ou au 867-336-0176 pour organiser une entrevue. 

Open Pit welcomes Joel Bernbaum to The Yukon Verbatim Project

Open Pit is happy to announce that Joel Bernbaum, from Saskatoon, will be working as our project dramaturge on The Yukon Verbatim Project!   

Joel is an actor, playwright, journalist and the artistic director of Sum Theatre. He is a graduate of Carleton University, where he did his Master’s Thesis on Verbatim Theatre’s Relationship to Journalism. In 2014, his verbatim play Home Is A Beautiful Word premiered at the Belfry Theatre and his play Operation Big Rock premiered at Dancing Sky Theatre. Later this year Sum Theatre will tour his play My Rabbi (created and performed with Kayvon Kelly) to Edinburgh, Victoria,  Vancouver, and Saskatoon. As an actor, Joel has performed across Canada and in Europe. 

"As a theatre artist and journalist, I see verbatim theatre as an infinitely potent opportunity for both artistic creation and community engagement. Open Pit’s artist’s are proposing an ambitious and pertinent project: They want to know what people in the North feel about their connection to the land. I am impressed with the proposed scope of the project, and the fact they have already cultivated several community partnerships. This type of artistic project engages and strengthens communities in both the process and the product. It is wonderful to see. "



We need transcribers!

Would you like to be part of the development of our new play behind the scenes?

As part of our verbatim project, Open Pit will tour the Yukon to interview Yukoners around the theme of home. In order to create a script with Yukoners' stories, we are looking for people to donate some of their time to transcribe the audio files of these interviews!!!

Because all the interviews need to be transcribed the same way (with all the hesitations, ums, pauses etc), Open Pit is offering free training and snacks on Tuesday, August 5th from 6 pm to 8 pm at the meeting room of the Public Whitehorse Library.

Please contact genevieve@openp.it if you'd like to be a transcriber and sign up for the training. 

Also feel free to contact me if you have any questions 867-336-0176. 

You can chose to transcribe only one interview, or a dozen if that floats your boat. There is no minimum commitment required and any help is welcomed with open (pit) arms. 



Thank you and enjoy the sun!

The Yukon Verbatim Project - Press Release

Yukon theatre company uses people's words to create a play


The Yukon theatre company, Open Pit, received a total of $21, 000 in grants from both the department of Tourism and Culture of the Yukon Government and Canada Council for the Arts to develop a new verbatim play. It will directly involve Yukoners throughout the territory and will be based on the theme home.   


Verbatim theatre is a form of art that uses the exact words of those interviewed to create a play. Throughout the summer and the fall, Open Pit will interview Yukoners from at least 8 different communities to discuss their homes, their land, and how they feel about living in the north.


To gain the widest and most accurate Yukon perspective, Open Pit will be interviewing people of different generations, cultural backgrounds, and social standing. Based only on the transcriptions of these interviews, Open Pit will create a script for a new play.


"Home is a theme that is relevant to us all, but that exists in different forms and that triggers different responses. Whether you are an immigrant or First Nations, whether you live in a van, a big log house or an overpriced and crowded downtown apartment, we want to explore what it means for people to live right here, right now." explains Open Pit's co artistic producer Geneviève Doyon. 


A first draft of this play will be presented to the Whitehorse audience in the spring of 2015. In their 2016-17 season, Open Pit plans to tour the final production back into the communities where the initial interviews took place.


In order to generate enough raw material, Open Pit hopes to conduct over 200 hundred territory-wide interviews.  If you, or someone you know, would like to participate in the Yukon Verbatim Project please contact Genevieve Doyon at genevieve@openp.it to arrange an interview. 

Funding for this project is made possible through the assistance of Arts Fund, Department of Tourism and Culture, Mike Nixon, Minister, and Canada Council for the Arts.


Open Pit in Banff!

Jessica and Geneviève are currentely at the Banff Centre working with Ramschackle Theatre to develop a brand new puppet show, Tombstone : A Sci-Fi Western. 

What we do all day: Build puppets, experiment with different shadow screens, develop robot and cowboy characters and hike the occasional mountain.

Open Pit AGM

Join us for our Annual General Meeting on May 5th at 6 pm at the Whitehorse Public Library! Snacks and refreshments will be provided for all.  

You are all welcome to come check out what we've been up to and what projects we've got coming up.

If you'd like to get involved in a Yukon theatre company and contribute to the exciting year ahead of us, Open Pit is looking for board members for the following positions :

- Director

- Treasurer


If you'd like to know more, e-mail genevieve@openp.it or just show your face on May 5th!



Thank you! Merci!

THANK YOU to everyone who came out for the workshop of Leave a Message (après le bip). It was an amazing week and we look forward to keep working on the script. 

Special thanks to David Skelton for believing in us, Sam Bergman Good for being our first Zack, Brooke Maxwell the sound wizard, Fletcher de Graff the box builder, Andrea McColeman and her magic keys, Nicholas Mah the Stage Manager extraordinaire, DD Kugler for dramaturgic wisdom, Zoe Toupin for filming the show, Gary and Brianne Bremner for shooting a promo video, our board of directors for support, and the Association franco-yukonnaise for the use of their space.

We would also like to thank the following people for contributing to the messages you hear in the show. We weren’t able to use all of their voices but we appreciate the time they spent recording them. 

Tara McCarthy, Winluck Wong, Tracy Erman, Anthony Trombetta, Anna Crawford, Roy Neilson, Sara Carlé, Julie McIsaac, Doug Rutherford, Claire Ness, Jess Amy Shead, Aislinn Cornett, Marjolène Gauthier, Cyril Catto, Baptiste Bohelay, Brian Fidler and Caitlin Hinton.

What's a workshop production?

Leave a Message (après le bip) will be presented on Thursday and Friday night. Jessica who is directing the show gets in Sunday night. I'm sure you can all do the math, but let me confirm that we've got 4 days to put this show on its feet for you guys. 

The purpose of this workshop production is for us creators to take the script off the page, to hear those words on stage and see the characters come to life. It's also an amazing opportunity to throw the fruit of numerous months of hard work to you, the audience and see how it lands. Does it bounce back? What does it trigger? Does it feel nice?

No set, no costumes and no time to rehearse the play enough to get comfortable. What we're inviting you to, is a raw theatre experience of witnessing a work in progress, before it's politely polished result. 

Thank you Nakai Theatre for giving us the opportunity to develop this new Yukon piece of theatre work.

We hope many of you join us in this exciting and crucial step of our play development! 

Leave us a message!

Open Pit is preparing for our upcoming workshop of Leave a Message (après le bip) and we need Yukon voices for the messages that will be pre-recorded and then used in the production. 

Please send jessica@openp.it an email if you are willing to help us out. 

This is how it will work:

Jessica will email you a blurb (1-2 sentences) and then you will phone her house, at any time, and leave the message on her machine. We are encouraging everyone to do 3-4 tries so that we have a few options.

We need 12 different people and some of the messages are in French. Please specify in your email if you would like a French message. 

Please let us know by Friday, January 10th if you are willing to contribute! It will take 10-15minutes of your time.


The team is complete!

Whitehorse actor Roy Neilson will be playing the role of Zack in the Pivot workshop of Leave a Message (après le bip). 

You may have seen Roy's talent in leading roles in Whitehorse productions such as David Ive's Venus in Fur and The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh. 

We are excited to have him part of our team for this workshop!


Seeking MALE ACTOR with strong movement ability.

Open Pit is workshopping a new one-act play called Leave a Message (Après le Bip), written by Geneviève Doyon & Aislinn Cornett, as part of Nakai Theatre's Pivot Theatre Festival.  

We are seeking one male actor/mover for the role of Zack.   The play is a two-hander, with Claire as the lead. The role of Claire has been cast and will be played by Geneviève Doyon.   

Character Descriptions: 

     ZACK – 23, Small town boy, poetic yet awkward.

    CLAIRE – 25, Francophone, grew up in big cities, confident and brutally honest.

The festival is from January 19th-26th, 2013 in Whitehorse, Yukon.  Accommodation, a  wage, and a one way flight will be provided.  

Within the next year, Open Pit intends to produce the play fully in Whitehorse, and then tour.  The actor playing Zack may have the opportunity for further employment beyond this workshop, but that is not a guarantee. 

To apply:

Please email the director, Jessica Hickman, at jessica@openp.it and include a cover letter indicating your interest/experience, a resume, and a photo.    

Thank you! 

Open it up

After writing throughout the Yukon's hottest summer in years, it was time for us to let people in the writing bubble we had created for ourselves over the past few months.

On August 20th, we held a private reading of Leave a message (après le bip) followed by a discussion. Knowing that our work on this play isn't done, we felt the need to take those words off the page and share them with others. It was a great way to get a sense of where our play stands and find direction for the work that still awaits us in the fall.

Thanks to those of you who took part in our creative process last night, you inspire us! A special thanks to our readers : Erin Corbett as Claire, Winluck Wong as Zack and Shauna Jones who read the stage directions.