“Music videos, when done well, are more than just a visual representation of a song, and become works of art that reinforce a message. Toronto rapper Shad’s new video Keep Shining, directed by Sarah Brown is an uplifting call for females to claim their voice, and we couldn’t agree more.” –

“For the latest single off Shad’s great TSOL, director Sarah Michelle Brown decided to put the MC’s lyrics on full display in a different way. She chose not to go the route of, say, depicting his verses through a visual story, which definitely could have worked here. She also didn’t just through his words on the screen like some sort of karaoke performance. Rather, Brown dedicated the visuals to the women Shad’s rapping about throughout Keep Shining.” –

“A woman is responsible for a lot of the beautiful things we see in the world, including this video. Whenever I see film work by a female, they deliver in astounding fashion 98% of the time, men should take notes… I am…” –

“A jubilant celebration of the journey the spirit takes out of darkness.  It’s a journey worth taking.  It’s show worth catching.” – Richard Hinojosa,

“A familiar story is told in a unique way in this powerful, emotionally charged show.” – Adrienne Urbanski, Theatre Is Easy, New York City

“Used up like a pair of jeans from the Salvation Army, second hand women feel they’re stuck playing second fiddle to everything.  However, the women of this production embody its title. They are first hand women and this is a first rate show.” – Richard Hinojosa,

“Through movement and music the women cathartically express the emotions one goes through when trying to find their way out of an especially terrible break up, and in one scene show themselves laying on the stage in despair only to swim their way up and back to their lives.” – Adrienne Urbanski, Theatre Is Easy, New York City

“Brown’s script is filled with emotional peaks and valleys.  Just when things are getting a little too serious or sad she turns it around and makes us laugh despite ourselves.” – Richard Hinojosa,

“This five-woman show is a breath of fresh reality-filled air. It’s not just the alternative to the Sex and the City movie; it’s the real thing. It’s in-your-face raw emotions and you will laugh with them and cry with them The use of dance and movement, allegory and humour, and tears and rage all feels natural and real and yet incredibly entertaining. Nothing feels affected or fake with these extraordinary five actors.” – The Montreal Gazette

“I appreciate a great track as much as anyone else, but I really appreciate when that track is taken to another level in the visual form. And that’s just what we have here with Shad’s “Keep Shining.” Director Sarah Michelle Brown put together a video showcasing the topic of the MC’s verses: Women. Most importantly, those who are under-appreciated and taken for granted  by society as a whole. It’s a moving piece for sure and one that’s just extremely well done.”Andrew Martin [Potholes in my Blog]

“First Hand Woman covers familiar territory, but through its unique approach makes an old story seem new.” – Adrienne Urbanski, Theatre Is Easy, NYC

“A sparkling and witty script by Sarah Michelle Brown, dynamic staging and pitch-perfect performances transform FIRST HAND WOMAN into Self-Esteem and the City. Who knew that Denial (Kiran Friesen) was such a wide-eyed optimist, Anger (Patrice Goodman) so sexy and Acceptance (Allana Harkin), for all her good intentions, such a buzz-kill at the pity party? Therapy was never so entertaining.” – Eye Weekly

“The cast, Brown, Patrice Goodman, Allana Harkin, Nicole Maroon and Victoria Murdoch, are as cohesive as can be.  They work so well together. Murdoch’s Denial is very funny and unforgettable.  I think I felt for her the most. Goodman plays Anger with a clenched jaw smile and so many contradictions. All the characters have their contradictions.  Brown’s Depression is a little hopeful and Maroon’s Bargaining is aware of her double-dealing. Last but not least, Harkin plays a wonderfully centered Acceptance.” – Richard Hinojosa,

“The runaway hit at the Next Stage Festival is Sarah Michelle Brown’s First Hand Woman.” – Classical 96.3 fm

“The cast is uniformly electric; each woman is a fantastic, captivating performer, and the energy they generate on stage is phenomenal. Each of them deserves to be a star. The direction and design are both spot on, the choreography (oh, you know there’s choreography!) is fluid and graceful, and the sound and music design are beautifully incorporated into the whole. The script, by Sarah Michelle Brown who also plays ‘Depression’, is often funny and engaging.” –

“This show wades through the raw emotions of a woman who has loved and lost. Each of the five top-notch actors represents an emotion: denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance. Through the use of a fable,the layers of loss experienced by the fragmented woman is revealed with gritty authenticity… and the belly-dancing and orgasm scenes keep the show entertaining and light-hearted.” – The Montreal Gazette

FIRST HAND WOMAN took me by surprise and totally drew me in from all sidesThe idea is original and the writing makes it work in a way that seems effortless (but certainly isn’t – there’s clearly a lot of work that’s been put into this). As far as the writing goes, playwright Sarah Michelle Brown (also acting in the play) shows tremendous talent. Using a formula not unlike Sex and the City, this play features five extremely different characters that all make up different parts of ourselves, which I think inevitably connects us in some way or another to at least one of them. The play does lead you into reflection, but also knows how to make you laugh. Though the girls beside me were crying by the end… I didn’t find it sad as much as I felt so tall and great when I came out. Arrive early: the room fills up quickly.” – Midnight Poutine


“Your work moved me deeply, and frankly, left me feeling a lot less alone.” – Jeff, Toronto audience member

“Superb Show Leaves Us Wanting More: I’m not theatre elite, or even a regular theatre goer, but I have been to a show or two in my time. First Hand Woman is absolutely one of the best plays I have seen. Five women eloquently encapsulate the 5 stages of grieving after the loss of a serious relationship, and the audience laughs, sighs, sobs, and rages right along with them. Funny, uplifting, earth-shatteringly sad at times, this is mandatory fringing for any woman who’s survived a bad breakup, or any person who has ever loved, and lost either someone else, or themselves.” – Sara, Montreal audience member

“I freakin’ cried! Great performances, great direction, great play. Every single woman should see this show. Wow.” – Lina, Toronto audience member

“I watched FIRST HAND WOMAN last night and sat there smiling, laughing, and… weird this… there must have been onions being chopped somewhere because my eyes kept on tearing… So I kept looking through misty eyes for this cook in the theatre, but the pace of the show and the dynamic, intelligent and unexpected character interchanges would suddenly have me laughing again, so I would forget about this ‘onion’ thing. Great combinations of singing and dance-type sequences along with the incredibly moving vocals of the sensational Saidah Baba Talibah, made this an outstanding life experience, not just theatre.” – Rhett Morita, Filmmaker/Cinematographer, Toronto audience member