There’s a clue about our name in our logo if you can read Hindi: lal beti - red daughter. Red symbolizes rage, blood and love; these three elements fuel women - forgotten women, shunned girls, outsiders daring to question patriarchal dominance while subverting beliefs that set up women and girls as accessories, impediments, or glorified servants.
Red Beti Theatre is the sole not-for-profit Indigenous, Black and People of Colour (IBPOC) Theatre company in Hamilton, Ontario.
RBT commissions and presents live performances created and written by IBPOC Women in order to contribute bold and relevant artistic voices to the Canadian theatrical landscape.
Our vision is to develop and produce work reflecting the diversity of contemporary Canadian culture. We believe in theatre that considers difficult, international, and cultural issues, and by providing space through our creative endeavours, providing IBPOC artists and communities a safe space to convene, share stories, and be entertained.
Red Beti Theatre (RBT) was formed in Hamilton in 2011 when founding Artistic Director and playwright Radha S. Menon realised that she was being excluded from professional opportunities due to institutionalized white supremacy. Radha formed RBT as a platform for her writing and soon thereafter began presenting her work to Hamilton audiences. As an artist-driven company without core operating funding, Red Beti Theatre has established itself against considerable financial odds as a leader in the Hamilton theatre scene. RBT has consistently presented provocative and critically acclaimed productions since its inception, carving out a space for diverse voices in Hamilton and Ontario.
In the winter of 2021, Red Beti Theatre welcomed Claire Burns as Artistic Producer of the company. Claire focused on growing organizational capacity, expanding board membership, solidifying company policies, and developing a mentorship program for young IBPOC producers. Interim General Manager Gia Nahmens was brought onto the team in 2022 and is working on solidifying policies and securing operational funding.
As Red Beti moves into its second decade and the next phase of its growth, we look ahead to fostering new playwrights with the annual Decolonise Your Ears New Play Festival and collaborating with partners like the Hamilton Fringe and Theatre Aquarius to produce multi-disciplinary work for audiences in and outside of Hamilton.
"The idea of decolonisation is just being able to claim space... to celebrate our own stories, our own ways of thinking, our own processes, our own specific forms of theatre... that don't particularly fit into Western aesthetics of what theatre is."
-Radha Menon in an interview with CBC News, 2020
Funding for our staff has been generously provided by the Alfred & Joan Robertshaw Memorial Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation