Have you heard that theatre is going through a major reckoning?
‘Letter to Audiences’ is a conversation brought to you by artists Natércia Napoleão and April MacDonald Killins about equity in theatre. Information shared is local to Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton) and discusses how arts patrons have agency and power to profoundly shift the theatre industry.
This project brings together academic research, lived experience, and action-oriented community engagement in a podcast that audiences will experience for the first time as a roaming auditory experience in Old Strathcona during Found Fest 2021.
STEP 1: SURVEY First up, we invite audiences to stop by and participate in our YEG Theatre Patron Perspectives on Equity survey. Click here to participate! Findings will be released at a later date through Common Ground Arts.
STEP 2: PODCAST Have you heard that theatre is going through a major reckoning in regards to equity? Click here during the Festival July 8-11 to listen to Natércia and April’s pilot episode of a new podcast exploring equity in Edmonton theatre. Podcast is approximately 40 minutes in length.
This podcast includes a discussion of marginalization and the experience of historically oppressed groups in the theatre. The conversation is solution-focused and seeks to engage listeners in a found experience of reflection that may lead to action.
STEP 3: CONVERSATION Join Natércia, April, and a small number of other community members for a solution-focused conversation about equity in theatre. Each slot will be limited to six participants (including Natércia and April) to ensure everyone has space to share, reflect, and ask questions. We encourage artistic leaders and those with proximity to artistic resources to join us for these conversations to check in about lived experiences and ongoing challenges to equity in Edmonton theatre. Book your conversation slot on Saturday, July 10. This will be a seated, outdoor, distanced conversation at a private location near the Found Grounds in Old Strathcona. We encourage all participants to be masked throughout the event.This location is wheelchair-accessible.
If you require or would benefit from any access supports to engage in the conversation, please contact April at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing a special report into my findings on anti-fat bias in the theatre. My work examining these new findings was commissioned by the Citadel Theatre and the full report can be viewed here.
Stories to Action: Co-creating Inclusive Pathways to Professional Theatre Salon A Livestream Event that took place over Zoom on March 26, 2021 at 5:30pm MST
This podcast was recorded during our live salon that took place as part of Azimuth Theatre’s Chinook Series, 2021. The salon was billed as an opportunity to further explore research conducted by April M. Killins, exploring equitable access to professional theatre in Edmonton.
The conversation starts with a presentation of research findings and ties into a panel discussion led by Barry Bilinsky, with theatre professionals whose experience speaks to the findings in April’s report.
Accessibility: The live event included ASL interpretation and the resulting podcast is closed captioned.
THE PANEL: April MacDonald Killins Barry Bilinsky Carly Neis Chris Dodd Natércia Napoleão NIUBOI Sue Goberdhan
The recorded podcast can be watched below, or by following this link.
STORIES TO ACTION: CO-CREATING INCLUSIVE PATHWAYS TO PROFESSIONAL THEATRE IN EDMONTON
April MacDonald Killins is seeking panel participants for a virtual salon at the 2021 Expanse Festival, part of the Chinook Series by Azimuth Theatre.
This panel will bring together 4 theatre artists with a variety of lived experiences, to speak candidly about accessing the theatre community in Edmonton. This opportunity is open to any artist with experience facing barriers to inclusion. This is an open call to provide equal opportunity within the community.
COMMITMENT: Speakers will receive a $150 honourarium. The salon will take place sometime between March 25 and April 4. We can work around reasonable scheduling needs. This event will happen on an evening or weekend. At least one prior conversation will be necessary with April, and perhaps one more with the full panel prior to the event. The agenda with talking points will be provided to speakers at least two weeks in advance and open to feedback.
SELECTION: The chosen speakers will be selected based on the following criteria:
MUST self-identify with one or more groups that is typically underrepresented in Edmonton’s theatre scene
MUST be reasonably comfortable speaking candidly about their experience accessing theatre training and/or opportunities for emerging artists
MUST have experience specific to the Edmonton context
It is preferred that the panel achieve representation from a variety of communities, such D/deaf and disability arts, Black arts, Indigenous arts, queer and trans perspectives, etc. For this reason, candidates will be selected to complement and enhance the lived experience of the group
HOW TO APPLY:
[Option #1] Fill out the questionnaire at this link: CLICK HERE
[Option #2] Call April at 780-666-0059 to discuss this opportunity over the phone
April has completed a year-long research project studying the accessibility of theatre training programs and opportunities for emerging artists. The discussion in this salon will be framed by her research findings which can be viewed here:
Community response to our survey was extraordinary with 133 responses! Thanks to the Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF), every artist who requested a cash reimbursement received one. Support from ECF also allowed us to reimbursed artists who consulted on the research framework and helped examine our project through a variety of lived experiences.
Our biggest thanks go out to the artists who gave us 20 minutes of their time, and so many different perspectives. The volume and candor of your responses has created a powerful dataset that speaks truth to a multitude of experiences.
These community perspectives will be combined with findings from a set of interviews we conducted with theatre training programs through the summer of 2020.
Combined findings of this research, along with recommendations directly from community, will be presented to the 36 performing arts organizations in the YEG Performing Arts Accessibility Ad Hoc Group in January 2021. Shortly after that meeting, the report will be available to the public. Sign up here if you’d like to be emailed the report when it’s available.
Thank you again, for your participation in co-creating inclusive pathways to professional theatre in Edmonoton.
In partnership with the YEG Performing Arts Accessibility Ad Hoc Group, our survey is now live! It will remain open until October 30th at 9:00 pm.
This survey allows Edmonton’s theatre community to speak directly to institutions, anonymously. More details are available on Theatre Alberta‘s website and below. You can also contact me with questions.