Ruth Bieber is the mother of two adult sons, has a Master’s degree in education, has a long history in the theatre, is an enthusiastic traveler and paints pictures, one of which was recently on display at the Creston Chamber of Commerce.
She is also blind.
In May, Bieber will be presenting a one-woman theatrical production, To See or Not to See; Homecoming, which she wrote and produced originally as a 14-actor ensemble. Audiences will be encouraged, but not required, to wear blindfolds so they can be fully immersed into Bieber’s sightless world. Bieber toured Alberta with To See or Not to See last year, performing 15 shows –primarily in private homes to small audiences – in 17 days.
To See or Not to See is a memoir that takes its audience on a journey through Bieber’s life. The multi-media solo is a soul-searching journey of adventure, discovery and ultimate forgiveness. She describes the play as “intensely personal, but universal in its dramatic and historic appeal.”
Much of Bieber’s adult life has provided the basis for her one-woman show. Her Master’s degree included a specialization in rehabilitation and theatre, and she worked for many years at the University of Calgary. In the 1990s she founded Inside Out Theatre and served as its artistic director for 17 years.
During that time, she spoke and performed at conferences and festivals, both nationally and internationally, including the Learned Conference in Newfoundland (1998), the High Beam Festival in Adelaide, Australia (2000) and the Come To Your Senses Conference in Toronto (2009). Her publications also reflect the evolutionary nature of this process. Her most recent publication, Disability Theatre from the Inside Out is available as an E-book, or in paperback.
After a two-year stint in New York City, Bieber moved to Kelowna, where she took up painting, curated “Just Imagine”, an exhibition of works by blind artists, and developed art gallery appreciation programs for people with vision impairments. She is also a freelance writer and active with the Creston chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind, where she often collaborates with the president, Darren Douma, who is active in blind golf and other sports.
The Grand Forks performance is part of a larger tour that Bieber has been making through southern B.C. To See or Not to See will be presented at Gallery 2 on Sunday, May 12 at 2:30 p.m. (doors open at 2 p.m.). Musician and friend Shelli Hutcheson will provide technical and sound support.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students 16 and over only (Bieber says the material is unsuitable for children under 16) available at the door, cash only please.