Essays and Editorials

Confessional – Theatre Outré
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Who Are We Now? Theatre Alberta Essay Series

Who Are We Now? is an initiative from Theatre Alberta that brings you editorial perspectives from a variety of Albertan artists, educators, administrators, and technicians about the ever-changing world of live theatre. We hope you’ll find them useful as you process your own evolving reality.

Amena Shehab_headshot

Who Are We Now? Theatre Alberta Essay Series – Amena Shehab

We are children of the wind, we are children of the water, the fire, and the light. These are the things that make us who we are. Our voices sing the memories. The sound of mahbash – coffee ground by a father’s hand and the smell of khubz – bread kneaded with a mother’s heart.

Amena Shehab_headshot

Who Are We Now? Theatre Alberta Essay Series – Amena Shehab

We are children of the wind, we are children of the water, the fire, and the light. These are the things that make us who we are. Our voices sing the memories. The sound of mahbash – coffee ground by a father’s hand and the smell of khubz – bread kneaded with a mother’s heart.

Sofia Huarte Aguilar

Who Are We Now? Theatre Alberta Essay Series – Sofia Aguilar

The following essay was brought to our attention by University of Calgary School of Performing Arts Sessional Instructor Léda Davies. We’re thrilled to get this insight into what post-secondary theatre students are thinking about, researching, and writing about right now. Thank you Sofia Huarte Aguilar for sharing this excellent essay! THE ETHICS OF INTERSECTIONAL REPRESENTATION AND THE MODEL MINORITY Sofia Liliette Huarte Aguilar Theatre in colonial first world countries, like everything else that exists within the structures of power in what we call the Western world, upholds the cisgender, heterosexual, non-disabled, middle-to-upper class man as

White Man With Sort Hair Looks at Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From a New World – Chris Dodd

MOVING TO A BIGGER STAGE – Chris Dodd Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it. The Pandemic is a

White Human With Curly Hair and Glasses Smiles and Looks Into Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From a New World – Kathryn Smith

WHAT I WOULD LEAVE AND WHAT I WOULD KEEP I’m a designer during a pandemic. I’ve been trying to write an essay about the experience of designers, technicians, and production staff during COVID, but admittedly (and unsurprisingly) it’s not easy. There is no succinct phrase or line of dialogue to capture why this experience is so bizarre for this specific group of artists. While I can’t speak for all theatre designers or technicians, I can speak from what I have felt and witnessed over the last year. It’s a feeling of being incredibly valued while

Lebanese Man With Goatee Smiles and Looks Into The Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From a New World – Luay Eljamal

LOOKING TO THE PAST TO SEE THE FUTURE: A LEBANESE-CANADIAN MANIFESTO – Luay Eljamal The following essay pulls from research I conducted in 2016 for a paper entitled “The Manipulation of Collective Memory Through Art in Post-Civil War Lebanon”, which can be read in its entirety here. When I first left home for university ten years ago, I remember having to learn a number of new skills in a passionate attempt to gain my own independence. Things I had taken for granted—like knowing how to cook my own meals—suddenly had to be mastered as efficiently

White Woman With Red Hair Smiles and Looks Into The Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World – Suzanne Hermary

FORGING A NEW PATH – Suzanne Hermary The thoughts herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations with whom I work. I’m fairly new to the Board of the group I work with, so most observations are coming from the perspective of a community theatre volunteer, but a volunteer with professional theatre experience and training working with lovers of theatre – amateurs in the true, original and entirely respectable sense of that word. What do you do when COVID closes your smallest show of the season and the hotel

Black Woman Wearing Red Smiles and Looks into the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World – Lebogang Disele

WHO ARE WE NOW, AND WHERE ARE WE GOING – Lebogang Disele Pandemic Round 1: NextFest goes online. I submit my performance in the form of a video excerpt. Pandemic Round 2: Antidote to Violence as Care, a collaborative project led by Brandon Wint, shifts from a live performance to something along the lines of a visual album. Pandemic Round 3: I join rehearsals for Azimuth Theatre’s production of All that Binds Us via Zoom from Botswana. Pandemic Round 4: I am invited to participate as a story collector in SkirtsAFire’s digital offering for the

Woman With Dark Hair and Glasses Looks Up and Poses For the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From a New World – Sue Goberdhan

FACING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK A Letter To (and From) Sue Goberdhan, for you Well Homeslice, we made it. 28. Holy shit. Almost don’t have the audacity to believe it, but we’re here. When you really stop and think about it, it’s kind of a miracle, isn’t it? Our dumb ass has fallen into laughably shallow holes, walked into windows with the precision of a Windex crow, and contracted a virus that feels like it’s murdered half the world and somehow, we’re still out here kicking ass. People are always saying that we should live like

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World – Simone A. Medina Polo

IT IS NOT JUST TO HAVE A MESTIZO TRANS WOMAN IN POWER – Simone A. Medina Polo At the beginning of October 2020, I took on the role of Festival Producer for the Nextfest Arts Company. Though it is most certainly exciting and a significant personal achievement, it is not without a context that intersects at the central question for this essay. In light of the resurgence of Black Lives Matter for anyone who is not a Black person, many organizations across this colonial state scrambled to assure themselves that this political moment did not

Metis Woman With Long Dark Hair Glasses Beadwork Necklace and Jean Jacket Smiles and Looks Into The Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World – Jacquelyn Cardinal

FROM THE DESK OF AN APOCALYPSE DOULA – Jacquelyn Cardinal One of the clearest varieties of memory I have of my childhood were the nights when Hunter, my younger brother, and I were treated to myth-sharing by our Dad. Rather than reading the usual storybook chosen from our shared collection, he would tell us epic stories from our people, the nêhiyawak, brought to life with shadows cast by his hands on our bedroom walls. These stories almost always starred animals, spirits, and grand challenges met with courage, love, and sacrifice.   In a wash of

Woman With Dark Hair and Pinkish Shirt Smiles and Looks Into the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World – Jenna Shummoogum

TURNING TOWARDS – Jenna Shummoogum   As I look around at what appears to be the second wave, the highest numbers of COVID cases in Alberta ever, new restrictions looming and medical doctors sounding the alarm, all I can see is grief.   I’m pretty familiar with the messiness of loss. My best friend died six years ago, and I was swallowed by grief. The truth is that it isn’t just sorrow, and it would be so much easier if it was. Grief is rage and resentment as well as deep sorrow and loss.  

Lebanese Man With Glasses and Short Brown Hair Looks Down and To His Left

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World – Makram Ayache

THE BEST MAN FOR THE JOB – Makram Ayache When a friend of mine shared the news of the new Alberta Artist in Residence on social media, they were understandably leery of the decision. The current government hasn’t exactly been discreet about some faith-based motivations underlying their legislative decision making.    Most recently, their leaked school curriculum revision recommendations proposed that we teach bible verses as poetry in our public schools in the first grade. We also need to look at the 21 of the 26 post-secondary institutions that faced provincial cuts; the only ones

Black Woman Wearing Blue Smiles and Looks Into The Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World – Makambe K Simamba

21 QUESTIONS FOR THE WHITE MAN IN PONOKA – Makambe K Simamba It was the summer, and I’d found myself at the County Fair of Ponoka of all places. I was there by circumstance, not choice. I’m a theatre artist, so between gigs, I do wacky jobs to help make ends meet. This wacky job involved driving to all major outdoor events in Alberta in a milk truck, giving away free milk while encouraging social media engagement…and oh yeah, did I mention that I had to dress as a 1950s milkman?   Safe to say,

Teenage Girl With Short Brown Hair and Glasses Smiles and Looks to Her Right

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World – Nalyn Tindall

COVID-19 AT 17 – Nalyn Tindall When schools across the country were put on hold last March, I had no idea that this is what life would become. I did not picture entering my high school classroom masked each morning, coating my hands in sanitizer after each doorway I step through, but this is life now.   I fell into a degenerate slump after the lockdown first began; I would lay in bed each morning, sleeping though my virtual classes, video calling friends constantly, and distancing myself from the responsibilities of the world. I did

White Man Wearing Pink Shirt and Glasses Smiles and Looks Into the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World – Daryl Cloran

THE NUMBERS DON’T LIE – Daryl Cloran The numbers don’t lie.   At the Citadel Theatre we spent the summer collecting data on the composition of our artists, staff and board from over the past 10+ years. Executive Director Chantell Ghosh and I have worked closely with our incredible Associate Artists (Helen Belay, Tai Amy Grauman, and Mieko Ouchi) and the whole Citadel team to assemble and interpret this data, focusing on categories such as racial identity, gender, age and disability. Based on the data, we have committed to metrics and actions to make change.

Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World – Inside Out Theatre

Our next essay comes to us courtesy Inside Out Theatre’s Point of View Ensemble with contributions from Meighan Wong, Jennifer Stewart, Mike Keir, and Damon Lawson, and support from Jeremy Park and Michelle Brandenburg. SCATTERED BUT STILL THERE – The Point of View Ensemble | September 2, 2020 In Mid-march, the members of Inside Out Theatre’s [IOT] Point of View performance ensemble were already a few months into crafting their next collective theatre piece. The now in-hiatus show, The Rude Mechanicals, was an exploration of the larger lives of Shakespeare’s iconic characters of Midsummer Night’s

Metis Woman With Long Dark Hair and Beadwork Earrings Looks Into the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World – Tai Amy Grauman

  ONE YEAR AGO – Tai Amy Grauman Exactly one year ago I was in Paris, getting on a train that was Edinburgh bound. Funny how time works isn’t it?   Around this time is also when I decided it was time to move home.   For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Tai. I’m not new to Alberta, but I was gone awhile and I returned about five months ago. I’m Metis Cree and Iroquois. My father is Metis Cree and Iroquois from Frog Lake and Saint Paul and my

Brazillian Woman With Long Very Curly Blonde hair Looks Into the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World – Natércia Napoleão

2020: YEAR OF THE ICONOCLAST – Natércia Napoleão In February of this year, I flew to Vancouver to attend Coyuntura 2020, an international theatre gathering where Latinx theatre artists from all over the world discussed a variety of topics and took workshops led by some of our most innovative leaders.     On the first evening of the weekend gathering, I attended an opening panel discussion. At the end of the discussion there was an opportunity for an open mic question and answer period. Renowned Chilean playwright and moderator Carmen Aguirre invited anyone to come up and to not be shy. A few seconds

Young White Man In Shirt and Tie Laughs and Looks at the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World–Mac Brock

TAKE A SHOT ON US – Mac Brock If I may be so bold: shit is pretty fucked right now. (I would offer that we both take a shot every time something like that is mentioned throughout this, but we might both be dead by then. You do you, though!) Companies across our community – and across the world – are being confronted with their status quo, every move and project and choice, and asked to start over. We’re watching our favourite performers through screens, we’re sending emoji instead of hollering from the seats… we’re

Amena Shehab_headshot

Who Are We Now? Theatre Alberta Essay Series – Amena Shehab

We are children of the wind, we are children of the water, the fire, and the light. These are the things that make us who we are. Our voices sing the memories. The sound of mahbash – coffee ground by a father’s hand and the smell of khubz – bread kneaded with a mother’s heart.

Sofia Huarte Aguilar

Who Are We Now? Theatre Alberta Essay Series – Sofia Aguilar

The following essay was brought to our attention by University of Calgary School of Performing Arts Sessional Instructor Léda Davies. We’re thrilled to get this insight into what post-secondary theatre students are thinking about, researching, and writing about right now. Thank you Sofia Huarte Aguilar for sharing this excellent essay! THE ETHICS OF INTERSECTIONAL REPRESENTATION

White Man With Sort Hair Looks at Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From a New World – Chris Dodd

MOVING TO A BIGGER STAGE – Chris Dodd Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred,

White Human With Curly Hair and Glasses Smiles and Looks Into Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From a New World – Kathryn Smith

WHAT I WOULD LEAVE AND WHAT I WOULD KEEP I’m a designer during a pandemic. I’ve been trying to write an essay about the experience of designers, technicians, and production staff during COVID, but admittedly (and unsurprisingly) it’s not easy. There is no succinct phrase or line of dialogue to capture why this experience is

Lebanese Man With Goatee Smiles and Looks Into The Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From a New World – Luay Eljamal

LOOKING TO THE PAST TO SEE THE FUTURE: A LEBANESE-CANADIAN MANIFESTO – Luay Eljamal The following essay pulls from research I conducted in 2016 for a paper entitled “The Manipulation of Collective Memory Through Art in Post-Civil War Lebanon”, which can be read in its entirety here. When I first left home for university ten

White Woman With Red Hair Smiles and Looks Into The Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World – Suzanne Hermary

FORGING A NEW PATH – Suzanne Hermary The thoughts herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations with whom I work. I’m fairly new to the Board of the group I work with, so most observations are coming from the perspective of a community theatre volunteer, but a volunteer

Black Woman Wearing Red Smiles and Looks into the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World – Lebogang Disele

WHO ARE WE NOW, AND WHERE ARE WE GOING – Lebogang Disele Pandemic Round 1: NextFest goes online. I submit my performance in the form of a video excerpt. Pandemic Round 2: Antidote to Violence as Care, a collaborative project led by Brandon Wint, shifts from a live performance to something along the lines of

Woman With Dark Hair and Glasses Looks Up and Poses For the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From a New World – Sue Goberdhan

FACING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK A Letter To (and From) Sue Goberdhan, for you Well Homeslice, we made it. 28. Holy shit. Almost don’t have the audacity to believe it, but we’re here. When you really stop and think about it, it’s kind of a miracle, isn’t it? Our dumb ass has fallen into laughably shallow

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World – Simone A. Medina Polo

IT IS NOT JUST TO HAVE A MESTIZO TRANS WOMAN IN POWER – Simone A. Medina Polo At the beginning of October 2020, I took on the role of Festival Producer for the Nextfest Arts Company. Though it is most certainly exciting and a significant personal achievement, it is not without a context that intersects

Metis Woman With Long Dark Hair Glasses Beadwork Necklace and Jean Jacket Smiles and Looks Into The Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World – Jacquelyn Cardinal

FROM THE DESK OF AN APOCALYPSE DOULA – Jacquelyn Cardinal One of the clearest varieties of memory I have of my childhood were the nights when Hunter, my younger brother, and I were treated to myth-sharing by our Dad. Rather than reading the usual storybook chosen from our shared collection, he would tell us epic

Woman With Dark Hair and Pinkish Shirt Smiles and Looks Into the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World – Jenna Shummoogum

TURNING TOWARDS – Jenna Shummoogum   As I look around at what appears to be the second wave, the highest numbers of COVID cases in Alberta ever, new restrictions looming and medical doctors sounding the alarm, all I can see is grief.   I’m pretty familiar with the messiness of loss. My best friend died

Lebanese Man With Glasses and Short Brown Hair Looks Down and To His Left

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World – Makram Ayache

THE BEST MAN FOR THE JOB – Makram Ayache When a friend of mine shared the news of the new Alberta Artist in Residence on social media, they were understandably leery of the decision. The current government hasn’t exactly been discreet about some faith-based motivations underlying their legislative decision making.    Most recently, their leaked

Black Woman Wearing Blue Smiles and Looks Into The Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World – Makambe K Simamba

21 QUESTIONS FOR THE WHITE MAN IN PONOKA – Makambe K Simamba It was the summer, and I’d found myself at the County Fair of Ponoka of all places. I was there by circumstance, not choice. I’m a theatre artist, so between gigs, I do wacky jobs to help make ends meet. This wacky job

Teenage Girl With Short Brown Hair and Glasses Smiles and Looks to Her Right

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World – Nalyn Tindall

COVID-19 AT 17 – Nalyn Tindall When schools across the country were put on hold last March, I had no idea that this is what life would become. I did not picture entering my high school classroom masked each morning, coating my hands in sanitizer after each doorway I step through, but this is life

White Man Wearing Pink Shirt and Glasses Smiles and Looks Into the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World – Daryl Cloran

THE NUMBERS DON’T LIE – Daryl Cloran The numbers don’t lie.   At the Citadel Theatre we spent the summer collecting data on the composition of our artists, staff and board from over the past 10+ years. Executive Director Chantell Ghosh and I have worked closely with our incredible Associate Artists (Helen Belay, Tai Amy

Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World – Inside Out Theatre

Our next essay comes to us courtesy Inside Out Theatre’s Point of View Ensemble with contributions from Meighan Wong, Jennifer Stewart, Mike Keir, and Damon Lawson, and support from Jeremy Park and Michelle Brandenburg. SCATTERED BUT STILL THERE – The Point of View Ensemble | September 2, 2020 In Mid-march, the members of Inside Out

Metis Woman With Long Dark Hair and Beadwork Earrings Looks Into the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World – Tai Amy Grauman

  ONE YEAR AGO – Tai Amy Grauman Exactly one year ago I was in Paris, getting on a train that was Edinburgh bound. Funny how time works isn’t it?   Around this time is also when I decided it was time to move home.   For those of you who don’t know me, my

Brazillian Woman With Long Very Curly Blonde hair Looks Into the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World – Natércia Napoleão

2020: YEAR OF THE ICONOCLAST – Natércia Napoleão In February of this year, I flew to Vancouver to attend Coyuntura 2020, an international theatre gathering where Latinx theatre artists from all over the world discussed a variety of topics and took workshops led by some of our most innovative leaders.     On the first evening of the weekend gathering, I attended an opening

Young White Man In Shirt and Tie Laughs and Looks at the Camera

Who Are We Now? Essays from a New World–Mac Brock

TAKE A SHOT ON US – Mac Brock If I may be so bold: shit is pretty fucked right now. (I would offer that we both take a shot every time something like that is mentioned throughout this, but we might both be dead by then. You do you, though!) Companies across our community –

Divider Image of Theatre Alberta Logo People Icons In Yellow, Green, and Dark Blue