what’s on(line) + celebrating soheil parsa
June 17, 2021
july marks the beginning of a new year for the theatre centre.
Everything we’ve accomplished could not have been possible without your presence, feedback, energy, and participation — thank you! As we head towards the end of our fiscal year on June 30, we’re asking for your help so we can continue supporting artists.
“The Theatre Centre is uniquely a hub for artists to create & explore without the pressure of production. There is no other venue so purely suited to the creative process. Most are risk averse & oriented towards the end presentation so heavily, the artist doesn’t feel liberated in creation, so the end product is compromised. It’s like picking fruit too early. The Theatre Centre is a fantastic organic orchard, and our theatre ecology is greatly bettered by their artist-first mission & mandate.” –Anand Rajaram, Exploration Artist
let’s celebrate: soheil parsa, barbara hamilton memorial award winner
On June 16, Soheil Parsa, Artistic Director of Modern Times Stage Company and former Theatre Centre board member, received Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts‘ Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award celebrating artists who demonstrate excellence in the performing arts and are dedicated to advocating and being an ambassador for the arts. If you know Soheil, you’d know that describes him to a tee, and we’re so excited to see him recognized in this way.
In nominating Soheil, General & Artistic Director Aislinn Rose wrote: “No other artist in this city has gifted us a clearer lens through which we can see that diversity makes the work better. And I think any artist who has worked with Soheil will agree with me when I say, ‘and Soheil always wants to make the work better’.”
Soheil is a groundbreaker. As an immigrant in Canada he recognized there were few opportunities for him as a racialized artist, and so he built a company to create his own opportunities. He infused that company with deeply human values, showing us the possibilities of what a truly inclusive artistic process could look like, and smashing open opportunities for so many others in our community — some of whom have gone on to start companies of their own.
We also want to congratulate the amazing Jani Lauzon (Prophecy Fog, co-produced by The Theatre Centre and Paper Canoe Projects in association with Nightswimming) for taking home the John Hirsch Director’s Award!
Click here to watch her acceptance speech.
bookmarked: "the hazy economy of cannabis" by alanna mitchell
When Canada legalized recreational marijuana, a team of statisticians set out to decode how much exactly the weed business is worth. For the latest edition of The Walrus, science journalist Alanna Mitchell (Sea Sick, produced by The Theatre Centre) looks at the difficulty and importance of collecting data on the economic contributions of a newly legal drug—and on the wider underground market.
May 27, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced that the remains of 215 children were found in unmarked graves on the site of a residential school in Kamloops, BC; since then, 104 children have been discovered at the site of a residential school in Manitoba, 35 in Saskatchewan, and as more sites are searched, more children will be found. On June 5, just days into Pride month, David Gomez was beaten unconscious on Hanlan’s Point Island, a beach where queer people have gathered for decades. On June 6, a white supremacist murdered four members of a Muslim family — Salman Afzaal, Madiha Salman, Yumna Salman, and Grandmother — on their evening walk, leaving the 9-year-old sole survivor Fayez Salman in serious condition.
What does it mean to be Canadian? Settlers beam with pride when travellers note how “nice” Canadians are compared to Americans, as if who we aren’t is more important than who we are, but the myth of the “nice Canadian” is a flimsy delusion that comes at a grave cost.
Indigenous people have been saying their children never came home. Muslim people have been saying Islamophobic rhetoric fuels white supremacist violence. Queer and trans people have been saying people are targeting and harming them. Marginalized communities have known exactly what the problem has been, and yet conversations and policies addressing white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, and settler-colonialism remain superficial, prioritizing white comfort over black and brown lives.
No amount of EDI training will eradicate the violence marginalized people face because the problem is not solely educational; it’s a staunch unwillingness to dissect, examine, and abandon whiteness as a cultural force. White people constantly deny and ignore the experiences of marginalized people, then feign shock when confronted with reality. These events, while tragic, are not shocking at all. All you have to do is listen.
Introducing X University: An Open Letter To The Community From Indigenous Students by Indigenous Students from X University