Micheline Chevrier, Artistic Director of Imago Theatre, introduces Her Side of the Story.
Conversation has always been at the heart of why I do theatre. I constantly seek an exchange with others who, like me, love the art of storytelling, appreciate its importance, and seek to understand and change the world through the act of telling tales.
Last fall I spent 10 exciting weeks in the city of Berlin. I had the opportunity of seeing many shows featuring dance, theatre, video work. I visited many galleries and museums. I also attended several gatherings – whether they were conferences or symposiums – where the various communities came together to share their knowledge and experience, offering insights into the work they do. Included in those communities were artists, academics, community members (often activists), and us, the audience. What struck me, as I witnessed the variety of choices of such encounters, is how eager the Berliners were to formalize their conversation around art. I found these encounters inspiring, affirming and re-energizing.
In Canada, I find that most of the conversations that we have about our craft are expressed at opening night parties or over drinks at the bar. While valuable, these conversations usually have at their focus only the production that has just occurred, or are presently in rehearsal. We lack a forum for discussions about the broader topics of theatre creation – divorced from a single production – in which to discuss culture, values, and voice.
In Berlin I saw a community that made space for these conversations and invited everyone to participate, recognizing the relationship between makers, scholars, and viewers.
That is why I am thrilled that Imago Theatre is hosting an encounter that will invite conversation around the topic of the feminine perspective on our stages. Around the Imago office, we have already begun talking, of course! We have explored the definitions of ‘feminine’, ‘female’, ‘woman’… We are asking many questions about the representation of women on the stage, the number of female playwrights being produced in our theatres, and the nature of this perspective… What makes a woman’s perspective actually ‘feminine’? Is it simply because of her physiological make-up or because of how society views and treats women?
I look forward to hearing from others who, like us, wish to reflect on the nature of our work in the theatre. I believe it is a rich and worthy conversation, and one that will continue long after these two days in May… I hope.
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