The Omnibus Bill
by Darrah Teitel
Directed by Esther Jun
In Bowmanville, Ontario, 1969 Maria needs an abortion. An underground network of feminists, midwives and doctors who want to help her, come up against the changing laws and politics of Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s first legislative mandate. The Omnibus Bill is about Pierre Trudeau’s 1969 Justice Omnibus Bill (“…the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation”) and the negative impact it had on abortion access in Canada. The play begins in Parliament and shuttles back and forth in time looking at the people most deeply affected. From a pregnant immigrant, to a “self-health movement” activist, to a sex worker trying to start a new life, The Omnibus Bill tells an intersectional history about reproductive rights that Canada has forgotten. This play unfortunately becomes more relevant with every passing news cycle as we endure a resurgent political attack on reproductive rights.
MAINSTAGE SERIES world premiere production
Jacqui du Toit – Actor
Michael Swatton – Actor
Darcy Gerhart – Actor
Neta J. Rose – Actor
Tayves Fiddis – Actor
Patrice-Ann Forbes – Set and Costume Designer
Laura Wheeler – Lighting Designer
Connor Price-Kelleher – Stage Manager
Quinn Melenchuk – Assistant Stage Manager
John Koensgen – Fight Director
Bronwyn Steinberg – Producer
Darrah Teitel (playwright) was the GCTC’s Playwright in Residence in 2015 and 2017, during which her two most recent plays were written. Her journalism, fiction and poetry have appeared in various periodicals and journals throughout the country. Darrah is the winner of several awards, including the 2011 Canadian Jewish Playwrighting Award, and the 2007 Canadian Peace Play Prize. Her plays have received nominations for Dora, Betty Mitchell, Rideau and META Prizes for Outstanding New Plays. Darrah lives Ottawa where she works for Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights and is a member of the Courage Coalition and Independent Jewish Voices. Her most recent credits include Behaviour (GCTC, 2019) Corpus (Teesri Duniya 2014, Counterpoint 2014), The Apology (Alberta Theatre Projects 2013, Next Stage Festival 2011), Marla’s Party (SummerWorks 2008) the CBC radio drama Palliative (2007) and She Said Destroy (National Theatre School of Canada, 2007).
Esther Jun (Director) is thrilled to be finally bringing The Omnibus Bill to life after 7 years of workshops and dreaming. Thanks to Darrah for her words, passion and belief in me. Thanks to Bronwyn for being such a champion of our voices. Thanks to Mike and Lola for always keeping me afloat. Credits include The Gamblers (TIFT); Theory (Tarragon), The Private Life Cabaret (Theatre ARTaud); Girls Like That (Tarragon); Amadeus (Talk is Free Theatre); The Last Wife (The Belfry, GCTC);Tales from Folks-Laos & Mongolia (Soulpepper); Rococo (Shaw Festival); And Now, The End (Ante Up); Bremen Rock City (Song Trolley); Cowboy Mouth (Heart In Hand); Yellow Face (Hart House), Trout Stanley (Heart in Hand) Fear & Misery of the Third Reich (DeusXM), First Hand Woman (Fire Up Productions). Co-director: Hiding Words (Eventual Ashes), Strange Mary Strange (Theatre on the Verge). Esther is the Co-Artistic Director of Directors Lab North and the former Assistant Artistic Director at Tarragon Theatre.
Produced by Counterpoint Players
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council in the creation and presentation of The Omnibus Bill. Thanks also to our senior colleagues at the Great Canadian Theatre Company, who have supported this project from the beginning.