The Flight, a new work by acclaimed theatre artist Beryl Bain, explores the ground-breaking life of aviation pioneer Bessie Colman – the first African-American woman and the first Native-American to hold an international pilot’s license.
“This play is an homage to Coleman’s courage, creativity and optimism,” said Bain. “My intention for this work is to ensure that ‘Brave Bessie’ is respected and honoured. As I was working with her story it felt like we were dancing together as active partners. This story of an iconic Black and Indigenous woman who died in flight, tragically, at the tender age of 34 years old greatly inspired me.” Bain’s writing also found inspiration in the style of Harlem Renaissance era poems such as Claude McKay’s If We Must Die (1919).
Rising above economic obstacles and social barriers in the Roaring ’20s, she earned the nickname “Brave Bessie” and even her dreams were quite literally sky high. From flight school in Paris to spectacular barnstorming shows, Bessie dazzled audiences with her bravery, beauty, and technological mastery.
The Flight evokes Bessie’s unshakable optimism, her determination, her vision, and the indomitable self confidence that led her to soar above the clouds, reaching ever closer to the sun.
The Flight will play at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street, Toronto) February 10-18, 2023.
Playwright & Performer: Beryl Bain
Director: Marcel Stewart
Assistant Director: Emerjade Simms
Dramaturg: Lisa Codrington
Stage Manager: Barry W. Cook
Lighting Designer: Shawn Henry
Projection Designer: Jason J. Brown
Set Designer: Michael Gordon Spence
Sound Designer: Floydd Ricketts
Costume Designer: Des’ree Gray
Production Manager: Gabriel Townsend