January 23 at 7 pm on Zoom

Rita Shelton Deverall

 2022 Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award (Broadcasting and Film)

NFB film produced for this occasion: https://www.nfb.ca/film/rita-shelton-deverell-queen-bee/

 Television broadcaster, theatre artist, scholar and activist

 Throughout her distinguished career in broadcasting, journalism and theatre, Rita Shelton Deverell has stood out for her innovation, creativity and inclusion. Driven by her commitment to social justice, she has focused on telling the stories of those whose voices are often unheard. She co-founded VisionTV, the worlds first multifaith, multicultural network, and is one of the first Black women in Canada to be a television host and network executive. An inspiring mentor, she is a role model for young artists, students and audiences alike.

 Born in 1945 in Houston, Texas, Dr. Deverell joined CBC TV in 1973, ultimately becoming a producer and host. In 1988 she co-founded VisionTV, where she produced and appeared on several shows, including the series Skylight (Gemini, Best Lifestyle Information Series) and It’s About Time (Gemini, excellence in mainstream television programming reflecting Canada’s racial and cultural diversity). She also created Arts Express, which explores the intersection between spirituality and the arts.

 From 2002 to 2005 she was news director of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, and mentored her Indigenous successor.

 She retired from broadcasting in 2005 and returned to drama, her first profession. Her play Who You Callin Black Eh? won the Teen Jury prize at the 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival, and she received a Canada Council grant to create a ‘pivot’ digital version.

 She is the author of several books, most recently American Refugees: Turning to Canada for Freedom (2019).

 Of her multifaceted career, Dr. Deverell notes, “One of the reasons I have worked at so many things is that when a door or a wall or a glass ceiling is put up around me, rather than beating my head against it, I change direction.”

 Sharing “new” work, Rita Shelton Deverell finds these themes jumping out of her “bottom drawer”: the challenges of women’s Black/White and Jewish/Muslim friendships; slavery and pretendians; new and old McCarthyism. A discussion for CFUW of being ahead of our time and discerning when our time is now.

If you are a woman but not a member of CFUW Stratford who would like to attend this meeting, please email cfuwstratford@gmail.com and you will receive a link to the meeting a few days prior to the event.