Been a victim of anti-LGBTQ violence? Theatre LAB and VAVP hope to address these true stories in upcoming production, but need your stories
“Violence is underreported because, for many queer people, it’s a fact of everyday life.” Said Monica Gamble, Board Secretary and Chair of the Sustainability Planning Committee at the Virginia Anti-Violence Project (VAVP), when asked about the level of abuse and LGBTQ people in Richmond face on a regular basis.
For the last two and a half years, VAVP has been focused on intimate partner violence, but decided to go another direction last year. The result of this is NERVE: Stories of Queer Resilience, which will specifically address sexuality-based hate and bias related violence in Virginia. But how do you share some of the stories of hate and bias fueled violence? They reached out to the folks at Theatre LAB for some ideas and sure enough, a play’s the thing.
The production hopes to collect true stories from people in the community, giving them a chance to share these stories in a safe place. VAVP hopes to have several dozen incidents or stories collected by March to start composing the script.
VAVP and Theatre LAB are partnering with the Richmond Triangle Players to produce NERVE. This isn’t the first time VAVP has worked with RTP – they worked together to bring “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later” in April of last year, but for this play, all three companies are collaborating to create a completely original work based directly on the stories of the pain and violence that those in the Richmond queer community have faced.
The ambitious initiative’s script will be the result of a compilation of personal narratives from a large variety of members of the Richmond LBGTQ community about hate-motivated harassment and bullying.
There are story gathering events throughout the month of February, were the VAVP will interview anyone who wishes to come forward.
Listening sessions are being held at the Gay Community Center of Richmond on (today) Monday, February 9th from 5:30 to 8:00pm. In addition to this, there will be another event specifically for stories from trans members of the community at the Fan Free Clinic on Wednesday, February 11th from 5:30 to 8:00pm.
The final story gathering event will take place at the Richmond Triangle Players on Sunday, February 22nd from 11:00am to 1:30pm.
According to Monica Gamble, queer violence in Virginia is often underreported, with many instances of hate-violence, bullying, and intimate partner violence going unaddressed, specifically in the transgender community.
“This is a chance for the community to come together to share their common experiences and also have it be healing,” said Gamble. “We’re recognizing that these terrible things are happening, but here’s how we survive them and here’s how we thrive in spite of them.”
In addition to these interviews, The Virginia Anti-Violence Project has an online survey where you can anonymously answer a few of their questions and contribute your own story.
The finished play is slated to hit the stage on May 26th and 27th at Richmond Triangle Players.
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