"It would be an incredible opportunity to meet again like this, consistently, with the same folks and new ones, to keep building. A retreat like this once a year would be amazing. There are too few opportunities for artists of colour to share space, strategize and create like this."
"I feel like we would need more of these meetings to build a better vocabulary as a group to really feel safe with what each of us needs to say."
March 19-20, 2016
Visceral Visions hosted a weekend retreat for an invited group of Aboriginal and culturally diverse theatre artists. Working with facilitators Chris Creighton-Kelly and France Trépanier in Harrison Hotsprings, BC, where we were welcomed to the beautiful Sto:lo territory by Elder Amy Victor, the Redefining Normal Retreat was a rare opportunity for activist theatre creators to engage more deeply on issues of diversity and representation in Canadian theatre, and the impact of these issues on our work as artists, and the theatre community of colour.
A fuller report on our discussions will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, Visceral Visions would like to thank the following artists for their committed and thoughtful participation:
Anoushka Ratnarajah (South Asian heritage): writer, performer, director, producer, arts organizer
Beverly Yhap (East Asian heritage): writer, co-founder - Cahoots Theatre
Chris Gatchalian (East Asian heritage): writer, producer, Artistic Director - the frank theatre company
Diane Roberts (African heritage): director, dramaturge, writer, cultural animator
Kevin Loring (N'lakap'amux, Lytton First Nation): writer, performer, Artistic Director - Savage Society
Lisa C. Ravensbergen (Ojibwe/Swampy Cree): writer, performer, director
Marcus Youssef (Middle Eastern heritage): writer, performer, Artistic Director - Neworld Theatre
Margo Kane (Cree-Saulteaux): writer, performer, director, Founder + Artistic Managing Director - Full Circle: First Nations Performance
Nicola Harwood (European heritage): writer, director, interdisciplinary artist
Odessa Shuquaya (Kluane First Nation): performer, filmmaker (retreat videographer)
Omari Newton (African heritage): writer, performer
Pedro Chamale (Latin American heritage): writer, performer, Co-Artistic Director - rice & beans theatre
Valerie Sing Turner (East Asian heritage): writer, performer, director, producer, Artistic Producer - Visceral Visions
Images, top to bottom: Pedro Chamale foregrounds Chris Creighton-Kelly, France Trepanier and Margo Kane; Beverly Yhap; Margo Kane with Lisa C. Ravensbergen; Chris Gatchalian; Omari Newton with Valerie Sing Turner; the gang bonding over Japanese food. Photographer credit for all images: Odessa Shuquaya.