Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland and For the Love of Learning (FTLOL) are co-presenting the premiere performance of transVersing tonight at 8pm, at theSt. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.

FTLOL’s Gemma Hickey approached Artistic Fraud’s Robert Chafe with the idea for this play, and he “jumped on board immediately.” Hickey chose Artistic Fraud because of their unique way of presenting theatre.

“It’s just what this type of production needs,” Hickey says, “because there is no one way to present gender. Gender is a construct and therefore, we need to think outside the box. Artistic Fraud has done for theatre what these youth will do for gender. After you see this play, you will be transformed.”

Hickey is “in the process of transitioning myself, and have been on testosterone for a little over a year. I just had top surgery in January, so it’s no coincidence that the play is happening at this time.”

Hickey “knows the challenges that these extraordinary young people face every single day, so I wanted to offer them a safe creative outlet where people could come together and truly hear what they had to say. The play is a powerful tool, and we will use it to build one another up.”

Hickey says For The Love Of Learning is a vehicle for many at-risk youth in our community. “The youth are our drivers. We empower them to move beyond their circumstances by providing creative opportunities that boost their self-esteem and employability. Trans youth are at a higher risk for suicide, addictions, and homelessness. They need our help. Even the audience has a role to play.”

The voices of some of this city’s most vibrant trans youth will take centre stage in the production, “where fiddle meets Shakespeare meets slam poetry meets soapbox rant.” This performance aims to challenge preconceptions about the trans experience “and burst hearts and minds wide open.”

“I’m very proud of it. These youth are my personal heroes, especially now during this stage of my life.” The artists Hickey is referring to are Violet Drake, Daze Jefferies, Fionn Shea, Perin Squires, Taylor Stocks, and Dane Woodland.

It is dramaturged and directed by Berni Stapleton with directorial and dramaturgical support provided by Sharon King-Campbell. “The final frontier of exploration lies not in outer space as Captain Kirk suggested, but within,” says Berni Stapleton. “These brave young talented artists are the astronauts who explore the universe within, seeking the ultimate human authenticity.”

For Tickets call the Arts and Culture Centre Box Office 729-3900