I am a theatre artist and an education consultant providing professional growth training, facilitating community-based projects using theatre arts to create dialogue in diversity and complexity.

Please drop me a note in comments, I would love to hear from you.

Friday, October 14, 2016

De-Railled - Canadian History and Theatre Project at Lawrence Heights Middle School

With Stephanie Dotto and Lauren Spring, I facilitated a theatre devising project with a group of girls from Lawrence Heights Middle School.
De-Railled is an organization that Stephanie conceived and has been running for a few years. Her mission is:
  • to connect students' stories to stories from Canadian history,
  • devise a theatre show based on those connections, and
  • present it to the audience at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace in downtown Toronto
Inevitably, theatre devising process is an intimate endeavor. I cherish the moments of creativity as the girls improvise dialogue and movement for the piece.
Nasra, Yolanda and Lauren

Yolanda, Nasra, Isheba, and Lauren

And I also cherish the challenges of the rehearsal process as they are great teachers for both me, the facilitator, and the girls. Stephanie, Lauren, and I have been challenging the girls constantly with critical reflection not only on the historical and social issues discussed, but also on their own behaviour and attitudes displayed toward each other.
One rehearsal session ended up with a physical fight between the girls. The next session, Stephanie, Lauren, and I created a short Forum Theatre piece showing bullying and escalation into physical violence. The girls were instantly drawn to the story we presented to them and stayed focused the entire hour. We asked them to step into the shoes of the bullied girl and suggest a different approach to manage the situation. And we also asked them to consider potential allies in such situation and what their role might be. The girls knew just the effective solutions or options for such volatile situations in the safety of our forum theatre "lab". However, in real life situations, they still have a long way to go. 

The theme of our work is what a community is for those who live in that community and how a community is perceived from the outside. The two communities juxtaposed to bring the theme forward are contemporary Lawrence Heights, Ontario and historical Africville, Nova Scotia.

De-Railed and the youth of Lawrence Heights Middle School will be presenting their play, From Lawrence Heights to Africville, on Monday, June 20th, at 7:15pm at Theatre Passe Muraille. The show is pay-what-you-can with no minimum donation required or requested. After the performance, the students will host a talk-back and there will be a reception with treats. 
facebook page for the event Africville

No comments:

Post a Comment