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2 March 2017 – Modern Times Stage Company proudly announces Beyond Representation, a three-day symposium that moves the conversation about cultural diversity in the theatre beyond issues of representation, identity politics, and “tolerance” to examine how diverse cultures can actively, productively, and creatively come together in theatrical practices that issue in exciting and challenging new theatrical forms.

What might it mean for theatre professionals to think of culture as a practice rather than an identity, what people do rather than who they are? What creative opportunities might be presented if directors, dramaturges, designers, and actors took advantage of the diverse cultural forms and processes that are embodied and inhabited by Canada’s diverse theatrical communities in the exploration of new, inter- or cross-cultural forms?

Beyond Representation will be held from Sunday April 9 – Tuesday April 11, 2017 at Aki Studio and Ada Slaight Hall, Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas St. East, Toronto, ON.

Beyond Representation is co-chaired by Natalie Alvarez, Associate Professor at Brock University and Ric Knowles, Professor Emeritus at Guelph University. The symposium will open with a reception and keynote address by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard.

Beyond Representation is part of Modern Times’ ‘Postmarginal’ project unfolding this Spring. The project also includes a four-day directing and acting workshop for theatre practitioners called Subject and Creation.

Artistic Director Soheil Parsa and Co-Artistic Director Peter Farbridge have conceived of Postmarginal as a way to share the creation methodology that roots Modern Times’ unique body of work:

“There is no denying that Modern Times has been working in an intercultural way for years, and that this has become a part of the company’s identity,” says Parsa. “These days I am very curious to understand how our particular approach to interculturalism can contribute to the cultural diversification of Toronto’s stages. I would like to see the walls isolating diversity in the theatre come down.”

Symposium Schedule

Sunday April 9, 2017, 6 – 10pm
Ada Slaight Hall

Opening reception and keynote address by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard. St. Bernard is a dynamic and provocative emcee, playwright, and arts administrator, whose work has been recognized with a SAT Award nomination, the Herman Voaden Playwriting Award, the Enbridge playRites Award, a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, and two nominations for the Governor General’s Literary Award. She will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about cultural diversity.

Monday April 10, 2017
Aki Studio

10am – 12pm: Directing Across Difference
Concerned with “practicing difference,” this panel explores techniques for how directors working with actors, dramaturges and designers can take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the presence of people of different cultures, abilities, backgrounds, training, and traditions in the studio and in performance.

1pm – 3pm: Beyond Accents
This panel focuses on the various languages of the theatre, on translation, on acting with accents, on signing, and on supertitles in order to explore techniques by which linguistic differences (interpreted broadly) can be used as tools for the creation of new theatrical forms.

4pm – 6pm: The Critical Difference
How can theatre critics find inspiration from theatrical practices that emerge from diverse cultures (interpreted broadly)? How can they learn to watch culturally specific and intercultural shows with new eyes, welcoming
difference beyond clichés about tolerance, tokenism, representation, and universalism? Have Euro-American theatrical traditions limited our understandings of what is “professional” and, in turn, what is possible in the theatre? What is the critical practice of difference?

Tuesday April 11, 2017
Aki Studio

10am – 12pm: Topic TBA, based on a call for papers issued earlier this year (refer to website for updates)

1:30pm – 4:30pm: Gender Fluidity and Theatrical Practice
A community discussion organized by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA)
This guided open forum asks how award categories might better acknowledge artistic practices that move beyond the gender binaries of “Outstanding Performance-Female” and “Outstanding Performance-Male.” Using Toronto’s Dora Mavor Moore Awards as the conversation starter, an invited panel of speakers will help unpack the practice of gender fluidity and equality, beyond issues of representation, and beyond identity politics. What new aesthetic and political possibilities are generated for directors, designers, and actors in rehearsal and performance? How might critics and juries take such opportunities and possibilities into account?

Beyond Representation, April 9 – 11, 2017
Aki Studio and Ada Slaight Hall, Daniels Spectrum
585 Dundas St. East

Info / registration:
#postmarginal | #SubjectCreation

Delegate Registration (includes access to all events)
Institutions: $60 per representative
General Public: $40
Arts Workers: $30
Students: Free (Advance registration is required, show valid ID at the door)

Opening night reception and keynote address only: $15

ASL interpretation will be provided throughout the symposium.

Media Contact:
Sue Balint, Associate Producer | 647.216.3974

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Modern Times Stage Company was founded in the belief that individual voices, experiences and backgrounds can unite in a common vision and create theatre that expresses the essence of a shared human spirit. Now in its 27th season, Modern Times has explored stories from across the globe, producing adapted, translated and original works for audiences in Canada and internationally.

Postmarginal is presented in partnership with: Canada Council for the Arts, Modern Drama, Canadian Theatre Review, Canadian Consortium on Performance and Politics in the Americas, TAPA, PACT, Artscape, Native Earth Performing Arts, Theatre Ontario, Aluna Theatre, University of Toronto's Centre for Drama, University of Toronto Press and Theatre Research in Canada.

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