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One woman’s personal journey behind B.C. ‘Black and Rural’ production

Click to play video: 'This is BC: Personal journey behind ‘Black & Rural’ production'
This is BC: Personal journey behind ‘Black & Rural’ production
Shayna Jones has returned to Vancouver from Kaslo, to stage her latest production called "Black & Rural" at the Pacific Theatre. It's a project that's the result of a personal journey as well as dozens of heartfelt interviews all across Canada. Jay Durant reports in This is BC – Apr 2, 2023

Shayna Jones has come from Kaslo to Vancouver to stage her latest production called “Black and Rural” at the Pacific Theatre.

It’s a project that’s the culmination of years of life experience and dozens of heartfelt interviews all across Canada.

Born in Chicago, and raised in Vancouver, it was Shayna Jones’s move from the big city to small town B.C. that gave her a fresh perspective and changed the course of her career in the performing arts.

“Everything is slowed down. And everybody knows you, or they think they know you,” Jones said.

Jones came up with the concept for Black and Rural after interviewing dozens of black Canadians living in remote communities across the country.

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“I’ve spoken to farmers, mechanics, small business owners, and RCMP officers,” she said. “If they have chosen to live rurally… why are they there? And more importantly — what keeps them there?”

It’s the latest production from an artist who has transitioned from traditional stage acting. Jones became an oral storyteller by what she calls divine chance when living in Agassiz after once offering a librarian to read stories to local children.

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It changed her journey as an artist, and she’s never looked back. Black and Rural have upcoming dates booked in Victoria and Courtenay with the hopes of more shows being scheduled in small towns across the country.

“Because of what it is, it has to go to rural settings, who am I, if I’m not going to bring this to rural settings,” Jones said.

“This is a humble peak in my trajectory. My hope is that by coming to see this people see behind the titles of black and rural and encounter the human beings underneath.”

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