Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Diversity, Engagement, and Inclusion in Theatre

By charles c. smith, Project Lead/Cultural Pluralism in Performing Arts Movement Ontario

Ravi Jain, Yvette Nolan, Soheil Parsa, Trevor Schwellnus – what do they have to say to us about theatre today?  Is what they have to say important?   And if it is, why?  This panel discussion, Diversity, Engagement, and Inclusion in Theatre, is part of the timely conversations happening across Ontario.  Co-sponsored by Theatre Ontario and Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), it takes place alongside conversations held by Magnetic North, CAPACOA, CCI—Ontario Presenting Network, the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, Flato Markham Theatre, MT Space and its biennial IMPACT Festival, and others who have been interested in exploring the challenges and opportunities of pluralism and diversity in contemporary Canadian arts.

This conversation is part of the fabric of reflecting upon and creating content that addresses changes in Canadian society and innovations in theatre, looking at diversity in both form (the bodies we see on stage) and content (i.e., the stories revealed, their uniqueness and universality, and how they open doors to histories and experiences of the world that come from the deep reservoirs of Aboriginal and ethno-racial artists, are central to our times and how we see the world through the lens of theatre.)

As well, this conversation is central to the drive to engage communities who want to see theatre that is immediate to them, that brings to the stage stirring content, enabling them to see the diversity of expression presented by artists from Aboriginal and diverse communities and, through this, to see the fullness of our society, its peoples and how they contribute to artistic expression in ways that are stimulating, challenging, sad, humourous—the full spectrum of human experiences.

CPAMO is honoured to partner with Theatre Ontario to share ideas and thoughts that will likely emerge in this conversation.  Together with the artists who will be on this platform, CPAMO and Theatre Ontario are committed to exploring and providing valuable insights into changes taking place within Canadian cultural activities and to inviting others into this conversation.  Our collective goal is to highlight some of the key issues and models for developing and supporting the important contributions to theatre being made by Aboriginal and ethno-racial artists and how this enriches theatre and our communities.

In convening this session, CPAMO and Theatre Ontario are looking to initiate a conversation amongst theatre practitioners that will grow over time and become a common reference point for the theatre community.

Read more about CPAMO on its website

Diversity, Engagement, and Inclusion in Theatre will be part of Theatre Ontario’s Annual Meeting on Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 10:30am.  Read more about Theatre Ontario’s Annual Meeting on our website

charles c. smith is a published poet, playwright, and essayist.  He won second prize for his play Last Days for the Desperate from Black Theatre Canada. He has edited three collections of poetry, has one published book (Partial Lives), and his poetry has appeared in numerous journals and publications.  charles is also Lecturer, Cultural Pluralism in the Arts at the University of Toronto Scarborough and Project Lead for Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario.  Further, he is a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, board member FUSE Magazine and advisory board member for the Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre and the Scarborough Arts Kaleidescope Program.

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