2021 UPDATE: SO FAR, SO GOOD!
A return to our roots: Artist-Community Collaboration
We're super happy to report that Creative Justice, our applied Theatre of the Oppressed practice, is keeping us thriving in this global pandemic rather than only surviving!
Thanks to Dr. Linden (Linsday) Crowshoe's confidence in us we're now (a) artists-in-residence to the UCalgary's Indigenous, Local & Global Health Office, with whom we're decolonizing medical education, practice and policy - through social innovation; (b) supporting his research in dementia in Indigenous communities and in building an Indigenous Youth Knowledge Platform; and (c) co-authoring a paper called (TBC) Metaxis: Principals of Ethical & Equitable Space.
Thanks to The Mustard Seed's faith in us, we managed to adapt Forum Theatre virtually into an arts-based Social Justice unit for diverse students in elementary and middle schools, as part of their partnership with Calgary Board of Education, called SEEDSchool.
We're honoured to be working with such a great Creative Justice team, which so far includes Sam Hindle, Chris Dovey, Cristian Gutierrez, Onika Henry, Troy Energy Twigg, Melaina Sheldon and Alan Shain, and to be supporting the work of Dr. Crowshoe's peers: Drs. Dianne Mosher, Aleem Bharwani, Sara Weeks and Pamela Roach, Renee Huntley, Katrina Fras, Mike Paget and so many more potent catalysts of change.
A return to the streets: Urban Interventions
Our current CCEDA collaborators and The Underground Army (anonymous street artist/ activists) are putting Invisible Theatre to potent use as pop-up social justice encounters – on the front lines of labour organizing, anti-racism campaigns, migrant worker rights, Indigenous land protections, and disability justice.
A return to the stage: Closet Freaks
GCTC remains committed to premiering our show-in-development, Closet Freaks, as part of their 2022/23 season! We look forward to a return to a stage – for us and hundreds of thousands of others of us. FYI: In 2017, the cultural industries in Canada had a $58.9 billion impact in Canada, outpacing agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting at $39 billion, accommodation and food services at $46 billion, and utilities at $46 billion.
A return to the basics: Integrating Arts Equity into professional theatre training
We've partnered with the Canadian College for Performing Arts to advance our Full Spectrum Arts Equity program. In exchange for facilitating training intensives for their Board & Faculty, their Cultural Safety Working Group Chair, Alana Hibbert, is co-creating arts equity training curricula for professional theatre students and AD, Caleb Marshall, has joined our Governance Think Tank!
Equalizing Boards: A Governance Think Tank
We're excited to be building a decolonized, equalized, and ethical board model, from the bottom-up, for artist-driven companies – with the support of some major thinkers and do-ers in the arts sector (Caleb Marshall, Clayton Windatt, Kate Cornell, Robin Sokoloski and Tamara Ross) and many of our Advisors (who prefer to remain anonymous, in their humility).
Equalizing Discourse: Digital Dissemination
Thanks to investment from CADA, we're making public impact through (a) Dis/ Patches: 30 years of earned (vs learned) disability arts knowledge, culminating in a funders forum at which we'll be presenting a series of policy and practice recommendations – from the field (vs academy) and through (b) ARTifacts YYC: Digital profiles of forgotten firsts in the diversification of Calgary and area's arts sector over the past 50 years.
Growing her own garden: Sara Meurling retires from the arts
As she recently retired from the arts, and thus also from Stage left, we want to amplify the many contributions to professional theatre Sara Meurling made over 35 years and say "Thank you, Sara".
updated May 2021
2020 Year in Review
We remain ridiculously disappointed that the principals of equity, for the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, have been dropped like a hot potato amid the worst public crisis (so far) in recent memory; ironically, we've noted that public health crises have most often emerged throughout history during times of greatest social inequality.
We're not providing a public summary of our 2020 activities, as too many of us haven't even made it to the "recovery" stage yet. We're not willing to exploit this very real struggle, for the far too many of us who are back on the margins again, for the benefit of this company's public profile. We're still deeply immersed in the struggle for basic human needs, as so many of our collaborators have to navigate the added inequities from the bottom up.
We especially won't be sharing any of the "we promise to do better, at long last" virtue signalling that we're seeing too much of now. We will, however, keep reminding our colleagues that Stage Left's team of arts-based activists has been "building back better" since 1999...
We'll also keep reminding you all of the *many* proven, positive impacts of our social justice praxis of "systemic equity, for all protected classes of people".
updated February 2021