About Our Voices Will Be Heard

In 2016, the play Our Voices Will Be Heard had its world premiere in Juneau, Alaska, at Perseverance Theatre, followed by performances in Hoonah, Alaska, and Anchorage, Alaska at the Performing Arts Center, Sydney Laurence Theater.


The play was written by Tlingit/Dena'ina Athabascan writer Vera Starbard. It began as a short story she wrote when she was 18 years old, an allegory about the sexual abuse she had experienced at the hands of her uncle, and the journey she and her mother took. The story was called "The Eyes of Love."


Over a decade later, Vera was accepted into the Alaska Native Playwright Project through the Alaska Native Heritage Center. She chose to turn "The Eyes of Love" into a play, but this time look at the story from her mother's perspective. The setting was a 19th century Tlingit village, and Vera was inspired by the Tlingit stories her mother told her growing up to weave in and out of the play.


After an initial reading at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in 2013, the play was accepted into a workshop through Native Voices at the Autry. In 2014, Vera spent 10 days in Los Angeles workshoppping the play with Native Voices, followed by readings at The Autry in Los Angeles, and the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego.


Perseverance Theatre began to look at the play for production, and brought Vera to Juneau for the first reading in Southeast Alaska, where the play is set. Perseverance then did a reading at the Lark Play Development Center in New York City, and started getting ready for production.


In 2015, Our Voices Will Be Heard was selected for an honorable mention on The Kilroy List, a list of plays from across the nation highlighting female authors.


The play is now set to have special partially staged readings in Fairbanks, Alaska during the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention. It will also be recorded for an adapted radio play on Native Voice One.



The Anchorage Press wrote a feature article on Vera Starbard and Our Voices Will Be Heard in 2014. The article won a first place award for arts reporting at the Alaska Press Club Awards in 2015.

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