Beyond Words at the Telus Studio Theatre: No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

The Beyond Words series explores the transformative power of storytelling through multidisciplinary works. Past performers include Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Tanya Tagaq, Shane Koyczan, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), and Laurie Anderson.

Beyond Words at the Telus Studio Theatre

Chan Shun Concert Hall

Poet Gwendolyn Brooks was an icon of American literature. The first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize, she died in 2000 after a lifetime of heroic endeavours—not only as an artist, but as a teacher, mentor, and advocate. In her hometown of Chicago, she worked for decades to help foster the literary scene, speaking truth to power and empowering others. This stunning production that celebrates Brooks’ radical life and legacy was written by poets Eve L. Ewing and Nate Marshall with a live score composed by Ayanna Woods and Jamila Woods, and will be brought to life onstage by multimedia troupe Manual Cinema. Using exquisite puppetry, shadow play, video projection, and a six-piece live band, these Chicago-based artists pay tribute to a legend. Innovative, inspiring, and—of course—poetic, No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks is an astonishing feat of the literary and performing arts.

In their 2017 Vancouver debut, Manual Cinema wowed a sold-out Chan Centre audience with Ada/Ava, a remarkable, poignant piece on aging. Adventurous and ceaselessly inventive, the group combines cinema with the experience of live theatre in a “spectral parade of fantastical images” (The New York Times) that is unlike anything you have seen before—or will see again.


Manual Cinema merges elements of theater, cinema, and shadow puppetry in such a way that the stage is witness to two stories at once: that of the artwork itself, and that of the artwork’s creation.
New Haven Independent, 2017