Monday, September 22, 2008

Latest Rex News

TrypTych, Canada’s Passionate Advocate of the Vocal Arts


“A BOILER ROOM SUITE” on Friday, January 23, 2009 at 7.30 PM

and Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 7.30 PM

at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 2737 Bayview Avenue

in Toronto, Ontario

Tickets $40/30


Housing and Social Services for Women

416 763 5066

Edward Franko, Stage Director

William Shookhoff, Music Director

Vanessa Grant, Aggie Rose

Doug MacNaughton, Sprugg
Lenard Whiting, Pete

Sinfonia TrypTych

TrypTych, celebrating its 10th anniversary season, presents the Canadian opera A BOILER ROOM SUITE by Quenten Doolittle with libretto by Rex Deverell. This intimate gem of music theatre deals with two street people who have climbed into the boiler room of an abandoned hotel on the Prairies to seek refuge from winter and from the world, until it has turned more kind. This life-affirming work resonates more today as it did when it was written over 30 years ago.

BOILER ROOM SUITE stars Vanessa Grant (TrypTych, Opera in Concert), Doug MacNaughton (Canadian Opera Company, Pacific Opera, Opera Hamilton) and Lenard Whiting (Canadian Opera Company, Opera in Concert, Vancouver Opera), stage directed by TrypTych’s own Edward Franko (Opera Mississauga, Opera York) with music direction by William Shookhoff (Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables).

All proceeds from this production go to support Street Haven at the Crossroads (( which provides housing and social services for women. Their goal is to innovate and establish an integrated continuum of services which will improve the quality of life of women in need and bring creative solutions to their problems.

Latest Rita News

CENTENNIAL COLLEGE – Storyteller-in-Residence Appointed September 2008. .

Rita Shelton Deverell
Storyteller-in-Residence Appointed

Rita Deverell, Storyteller-in-Residence

The Centre for Creative Communications is pleased to announce the appointment of producer, director and theatre artist Dr. Rita SheltonDeverell as its first Storyteller-in-Residence at the School of Communications, Media and Design at Centennial College.

Deverell will provide storytelling expertise to all programs at the School of Communications, Media and Design, located at The Centre for Creative Communications. She will be recognized with the world premiere screening of Not a Drop, her new one-hour docu-drama set in a fictionalized University Diversity Journalism Class, but based on real events, on:

Friday Dec. 5, 2008, at 11:30 a.m, at The Centre for Creative Communications
"Storytelling is the alpha and omega," Deverell says. "And I am pleased to find myself at the cross-section of communications, media and design worlds at Centennial College."

Commissioned by OMNI, Not a Drop will be broadcast on OMNI in 2oo9, the drama portions shot at Centennial College @Wallace Studios and the documentary portions shot on location at the Walpole Island First Nation. Not a Drop is about the aftermath of Katrina and disposable peoples in Canada.

Deverell got her start in television in 1972 when she helped to create a children’s program called All In a Tube on private TV stations. Since then, she's been an on-air journalist, a producer, a university professor, a social activist, a mentor and a visionary television pioneer. In 1974, she joined the CBC, eventually becoming a producer/host of Take 30 and CBC Access. In 1983, Rita joined the University of Regina's School of Journalism and Communications leaving in 1988 to become one of the founders of the world's first multi-faith broadcaster, Vision TV. From 2002-05 she was Director of News and Current Affairs at APTN, mentoring her Aboriginal successor.

Deverell has helped to advance the careers of visible minorities and Aboriginal people and is credited with influencing positively the portrayal of women onscreen. She was named to Maclean's Honour Roll of Outstanding Canadians, was the recipient of the Canadian Black Achievement Award, the Media Watch's Dodi Robb Award, was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame, and in 2005 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.

The Centre for Creative Communications is Canada's premiere school for Communications, Media and Design and offers forward-thinking and hands-on programs in Art + Design, Advertising + Public Relations, Integrated Media and Journalism + Publishing.

Media Contact: Paul Koidis, Manager, Communications, Marketing and Development / 416.289.5000 ext. 8609

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

McNally Robinson Books
Rita Shelton Deverell with Femfest (Reading)
Thursday Oct 02 2008 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Polo Park location, in the Events Alcove

Deverell will read from her plays McCarthy and the Old Woman and Smoked Glass Ceiling, as well as her essay Power Wrinkles. Deverell is a playwright, performer and filmmaker. On October 4th at 3pm, Deverell will present her docu-drama Not A Drop at Femfest. It follows a University class in Diversity Journalism from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to Aboriginal communities in Canada where there are severe water problems. Deverell's innovative journalism helped found Vision TV and brought her success as a television host and network executive. Deverell appears through the assistance of the Playwrights' Guild of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Rita Shelton Deverell C.M., Ed.D. Rita's career in journalism has been one of pioneering innovation and creativity. With an unceasing drive for social justice, she is one of the first Black women in Canada to be a television host and a network executive. A founder of Vision TV, the world's first multi-faith network, she held several senior positions there as well as the network anchor job. From 2002 until 2005 she was head of News and Current Affairs at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network mentoring her Aboriginal successor. In 2002 she was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Hall of Fame and in 2005 Deverell was appointed to the Order of Canada. In 2007 she became the first CanWest Global Fellow at the University of Western Ontario. In 2005 Rita was determined to return to her first profession, drama. She has written and performed two one-woman plays, Smoked Glass Ceiling (2005) and McCarthy and the Old Woman (2006). In 2007-08 her 6-part series of solo television dramas, Solo Flight, went to air on OMNI, SCN, and APTN. She is currently working on a television docu-drama, Not a Drop, is a member of the Playwright's Unit of Obsidian Theatre, and is developing a 2-act version of McCarthy and the Old Woman with the assistance of Nightwood Theatre.

FEMFEST runs September 26th to October 5th. Events take place at the Colin Jackson Studio Theatre, Prairie Theatre Exhange, 3rd Floor Portage Place Mall. For tickets and information contact Sarasvati Productions at 204.586.2236 | WWW.SARASVATI.CA.

Events with Rita Shelton Deverell:

3pm (TV Docu-Drama) Not a Drop Produced for OMNI/Rogers by Rita Shelton Deverell

4pm (Workshop) Low Budget Shorts facilitated by Rita Shelton Deverell, Presented by Film Training Manitoba

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Rita on CBC TV's Test the Nation!!!

Sunday, September 7 is the official broadcast date for Test the Nation: Canada, eh?! Tune in from 8-10pm anywhere in Canada to CBC Television!

The website will go LIVE on Thursday, August 7 so invite your family and friends to take a practice test before the show.


Big Ease, Big Sleaze: Six Characters in Search of Disaster makes its world debut at Winnipeg's Fringe
Winnipeg, July 2, 2008

Remember the images of Hurricane Katrina? Remember being a helpless witness to that massive loss of life, watching the unbelievable official indifference to the destruction of' families, homes, whole communities? What if you could revisit those traumatic days in 2005? What if you could lend a hand now and change the experience for some of the victims? Would you do it in the Big Easy? Or some of the world’s other trouble spots?

Big Ease, Big Sleaze is the story of six zany characters, one of them Canadian, who chose to do just that. They are ordinary people whose humour and heroism will move you beyond cynicism to laughter, to tears, and hope.

Rita Deverell is the creator of two previous Winnipeg Fringe Festival Hits: Smoked Glass Ceiling (2005) and McCarthy and the Old Woman (2006) She also appeared as a compelling witch in Rex Deverell's standing room only production of Wild Magic (2007).

When Katrina hit New Orleans, Rita Deverell was News Director at Winnipeg's Aboriginal People's Television Network.” As s black woman from the South, I suffered nightmares from the endless photos of Katrina’s dead. And my Aboriginal colleagues convinced me that the same death and destruction could be, and is, visited on them. Big Ease, Big Sleaze was born in my soul in those post-Katrina days.”

This is the second Deverell play directed by noted Winnipegger Cairn Moore, known for her work with Prairie Theatre Exchange and the University of Winnipeg.
Big Ease, Big Sleaze, Rita’s third one-woman show, is at the Exchange Community Church.

Media Contacts: or at 204-275-5757
Rita Shelton Deverell, 416-434-0758; -- in Winnipeg from July 14.

RJ Deverell Productions

Thursday, May 01, 2008

See a great page on Diversity in Canada (including a short article by Rita about mentoring tips. )
Go to at and DiversiPro Coach April 2008.pdf

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday, April 12, 08

The RJ Deverell Productions Blog Site
Rita Shelton Deverell & Rex Deverell
About RJ Deverell Productions.
RJ Deverell Productions is a company dedicated to the creation of thought provoking drama and documentaries. Rita and Rex Deverell are creative artists in theatre and in electronic media. Rex Deverell is a director, actor, and award winning playwright. Rita is a noted television host-producer and performer. She has written several one person theatre pieces which she has presented in fringe festivals across Canada.

Here is an invitation from Phil Aken, Artistic Director of Obsidian Theatre re the Mussorgsky Project 2 (in which Rita participates.)
"This is an great evening of new short plays that have been created by the Obsidian Playwright's Unit and I couldn't be prouder of all their hard work and delightful characters that they have created. Each piece is approximately 20 minutes long and they cover a wide range of subjects and ideas. The playwrights for this year are: Rita Deverell, Leah Simone Bowen, Rosemarie Stewart and Rachael-Lea Rickards.
The M-Project takes off on May 8th, 8pm at the Factory Theatre {Studio Theatre} 125 Bathurst Str {Corner of Adelaide and Bathurst}. This is a Pay What You Can event and it would be great to see you all there."
The Mussorgsky Project 2 is in association with Factory Theatre and the National CrossCurrents Festival 2008.

Rita's Concordia lecture about diversity and the air waves can be read via the following link:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Rita News:

460 Ste-Catherine Ouest
Suite 610 Montreal,Quebec
H3B 1A7
514.939.3342 Fax: 514.939.9763

Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell, one of Canada’s most respected broadcasters, TV roducers nd directors, performers, actors and journalism educators, will be the keynote speaker at the third Annual Lecture on Diversity and Canadian Media. Her lecture is entitled, “Who Will Inherit the Airwaves?”. The event will take place on Thursday, February 28, 2008 from 6:00 to 8:30 pm at the Samuel Bronfman Building of Concordia University, at 1590 Dr. Penfield, Montreal.
A co-founder of Vision TV, Dr. Deverell has held several television executive positions including Director of News and Current Affairs for the Aboriginal Peoples television Network (APTN); producer/director of the TV drama series, Solo Flight: International, broadcast on OMNI, and producer and host of numerous award-winning Vision TV programs. She has also received numerous honors, including: the Canadian Black Achievement Award, membership in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and an appointment in 2005 to the Order of Canada.
The lecture (at 7:30) will be preceded by a ceremony (at 6:30) to officially name the
Annual Lecture after the late Dr. Gail Guthrie Valaskakis, one of Canada’s leading experts on Aboriginal communication. Dr. Valaskakis was Chair of the Concordia’s
Communication Studies Department and Dean of the University’s Faculty of Arts and
Sciences; Research Director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and a CRARR director.
She was also a recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award. Ms. Tina Keeper, MP (Liberal - Man.) and award-winning actress on the hit CBC TV series North of 60, will deliver a speech at the ceremony. Ms. Keeper, who has worked intensely in community development in Manitoba, is a member of the Order of Manitoba
and a recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award. She is also Special
Advisor for Aboriginal Outreach to Liberal Leader Stephane Dion.
Other guests of honor include Mr. Paris Valaskakis, National Account Director with the Canadian Management Center; Ms. Vera Houle, Director of News and Public Affairs of APTN, and Dr. David Graham, Dean of Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Created in 2005 as a joint initiative between CRARR and Concordia’s Communication
Studies Department, the Annual Lecture aims to promote research and other initiatives
with the industry, government and the community on issues involving Canadian media and diversity. RBC, the Institute for Research and Education on Race Relations and the Wilfrid Laurier University Press are the event’s key sponsors.
Attendance is free. Due to limited space, seats may only be reserved for participants who register before February 26, by email at

Information: Adrienne Gibson
Communication and Research Officer, CRARR: (514) 939-3342


March 8 principal photography begins on “Not a Drop,” a 1-hour docu-drama for OMNI 1 TV on the aftermath of Katrina and Aboriginal communities in Canada with serious water related problems. The team includes actresses Pamela Matthews and Stefanie Samuels, and two former APTN videographers. Rita is the producer/director/screenplay writer.

#3 – “Smoked Glass Ceiling” on OMNI 2



February 29: a new translation of Rex's play "Weird Kid" opens in Magdeburg, Germany.

FEBRUARY 21, 2008

A Humber Theatre production

How do we perceive one another in our diverse urban culture? Set on a busy city intersection, people are rushing past each other, caught in the traffic of their own lives, assumptions and prejudices. Gradually, the masks come off and people are revealed in all of their pain, conflict and commonality.

This 50-minute performance was written by the third year graduating class of Humber’s Theatre performance program under the mentorship of award-winning writer Rex Deverell, The cast of seventeen young people, representing a typical cross-section of Toronto’s multi -cultural reality, with director Nina Lee Aquino, wove their own experiences together with original music and dance. The performance was supported by the work of students in the Humber Theatre Performance program.


In the Fall of 2007, the graduating performance class at Humber set off on an exploration into issues of diversity and inclusion. The production was commissioned by Humber College’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and Committee members, Sabra Desai and Gina Antonacci, met with the company early in the process to discuss equity and human rights issues with them.

The troupe began with a certain hesitancy. There were more questions than answers. There was some fear as to where the process would lead and how it would affect their own inter-relationships.

They reviewed their own experiences, interviewed other students, faculty, friends and family. Step by step they discovered how diversity intersected with their own lives. Finally the image of a busy city intersection became a vibrant and essential metaphor for the presentation.

The play took shape as a series of raw confrontations. The language at times emerged as violent and shocking, but under it was a search for commonality and kindness. As the process went on, the definition of diversity broadened from a euphemism for racial differences to the uniqueness of linguistic, religious, physical, mental, and class perspectives. The aspect of identity became important. How do we identify ourselves? How do we identify with others? Do we let the identity of our community impose itself on our self-identification. Are we privileged or are we victims? What is the story we tell ourselves about ourselves?


Rex is currently working on a production with Mixed Company's Cobblestone Youth Troupe: "Street Song" about a homeless young woman's first experiences living in shelters. The play will be touring in Toronto, May of '08.