Imago Theatre Engagement and Exchange

Catalysts for conversation

Our TalkBacks

Imago Theatre hosts talkbacks after every performance to reach out and engage with increasingly new communities in Montreal. The invited guests join cast and director at Imago Theatre’s talkbacks and bring their expertise and new perspectives while galvanizing meaningful discourse and exchange with Imago audiences. Here is an alphabetical list of guest speakers who, over the years, have been instrumental in continuing the conversation around the important subject matter and themes put forward in Imago’s events, readings and productions. 

Keith Barker, Métis playwright and actor, and Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts
Vicky Boldo, of Cree/Métis heritage, board member for the Native Women’s Shelter, member of the Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network and the Aboriginal Advisory Committee
Orenda Boucher Courotte, Kanienkehaka scholar from the community of Kahnawake, coordinator of the First Peoples’ Center at Dawson College
Frank ChalkProfessor of History and director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia
Léonie Couturefounder of La rue des femmes, a non-for-profit organization that provides services to women in a state of homelessness in Montreal
Constable Carlo De Angelus, liaison officer for the Indigenous community at the Montreal Metropolitan Police Department
Alain Deneaultinstructor in sociology at the Université du Quebec studying globalization 
Dr. Myriam DenovProfessor at McGill University and Canada Research Chair in Youth, Gender and Armed Conflict
Elizabeth FastMétis Assistant Professor working in the department of Applied Human Sciences and First People’s Studies at Concordia
Jaswant Guzder, Associate Professor in the McGill Department of Psychiatry focusing on the impact of trauma
Erin Hurley, Theatre Studies Professor at McGill University
Stephanie Jeremie, Youth Coordinator for Apathy is Boring
Yasmin Jiwani, author of Discourses of Denial: Mediations of Race, Gender and Violence, and Communication Studies Professor
Linda Kay, director of the Graduate Diploma Program in Journalism at Concordia University
Maureen Labontédramaturge, translator, and teacher
Elodie Le Grand, human rights consultant and Imago Board Member
Anna Lise Purkey, lawyer and doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Law at McGill University working on international human rights and refugee law
LOVE (Leave Out Violence) Montrealorganization of youth leaders advocating for non-violence
Frédéric Mégret, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law of McGill University and Canada Research Chair in Law of Human Rights and Legal Pluralism
Colleen Murphy, playwright, filmmaker and librettist
Nakuset, Executive Director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal
Carmen Gloria Quintana, Chilean-born woman who was burned alive by a military patrol during a street demonstration against the Chilean dictatorship and who now dedicates her time to advocacy, retribution and justice
Catherine RichardsonMétis family and community therapist specializing in practice and research involving recovery from violence.  
Alison Rowley, Professor in Russian History at McGill University
Annabel Soutar, Artistic Director of the Montreal documentary theatre company Porte Parole
Darrah Teitelplaywright in residence at The Great Canadian Theatre Company and formerly worked for The Status of Women and Indigenous Affairs
Erin Shields, Montreal based playwright and actor
Skawennatico-director of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), a research network of artists and academics who investigate, create and critique Indigenous virtual environments
Camille Usheremerging Indigenous scholar from Vancouver, studying suicide rates among Inuit youth
Mary Vingoeplaywright, director and actor, and co-founder of Nightwood Theatre
Emmanuelle WalterMontreal-based independent journalist investigating missing and murdered Indigenous women and working for the National Film Board of Canada 
Heather WhiteMohawk-Stoney actress, educator, and aspiring playwright
Ann-Marie MacDonald, award-winning author, actor and playwright
Jennifer Drouin, scholar at the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies; elected to the Conseil exécutif national of the Parti Québecois
Marlihan Lopez, feminist, activist and community organizer; coordinates intersectionality division for the Quebec Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, president of la Fondation Paroles de femmes
Dr. Leah Temper, an ecological economist and political ecologist at McGill University; a director of short documentaries on social justice issues.
Ruth Rose, adjunct professor of economics at the Institut de recherche et d’études féministes at the University of Quebec in Montreal; named l’Ordre national du Québec for her work on family policy and women’s economic issues
Maria Torres, Venezuelan activist, gallery owner and local politician working in human rights
Lynn Kozak, Professor teaching Greek literature at McGill University and artistic director of Oimoi Productions
Karine Myrgianie Jean-François, community organizer in queer, feminist and QTBIPOC communities, works at a national organization supporting women with disabilities and Deaf women


The Long Table

Her Side of the Story: a female perspective onstage

Imago’s long table was a  public engagement conversation on the topic of the feminine perspective on stage as a way to engage with Montreal communities. The long table was a part of Imago Theatre’s Her Side of the Story festival, which explored the feminine perspective on stage. View the Her Side of the Story Zine where Imago asked women across the country to respond to why there is a need for a feminine perspective onstage.

Her Side of the Story: Revision to Resist

For our Her Side of the Story: Revision to Resist festival the Long Table focused on the need for a political revisioning of known narratives. View the Her Side of the Story: Revision to Resist zine here.

Brave Creative Spaces Long Table 
We held a Long Table discussion advocating for safer creative theatre workspaces that focused on forward-thinking solutions and community activism. The Long Table discussion created the foundation for the creation of a community-driven pledge with concrete vocabulary, resources and values advocating for safer theatre workspaces. The pledge will be available to Montreal theatre artists and companies in September, 2018. Learn more about Brave Creative Spaces here.

Imago’s Her Side of the Story Blog
Another way that Imago reaches out to Montreal and Canadian arts communities is through their Her Side of the Story Blog which you can read here.

Imago as a Hub: Artistic Partnerships


#CelebrateHer combines painted portraiture and scripted monologues to recognize 12 inspiring women who have been selected via public nomination. Interviews with these women and their nominators, in person and online, inform the creation of visual artwork by artist Aquil Virani and a script for a short theatre performance, co-presented with Imago Theatre. While the stencilled artwork investigates how a male artist can recognize, address and deconstruct the male gaze, the short monologues highlight evolving gender roles and call into question what responsibilities and labour we value as a society. #CelebrateHer will culminate with a performance in March and will exist as a virtual gallery on Imago’s website from until May.

Words from Her Side Poetry Reading 
As a part of our Her Side of the Story: Revision to Resist festival, we organized a poetry reading with emerging and established female poets to explore the human experience from a female/female-identifying perspective.
The event was curated by poet and educator Katie Gorrie, by Erin Lindsay and by Sophie Gee.
We were so grateful to become more connected to the Montreal literary community and to get to know so many phenomenally talented female poets.

OBITs-(Old Broads in Theatre)

OBITs (Old Broads in Theatre) is a playwriting co-operative comprised of seven theatre artists: Alexandria Haber, Corrina Hodgson, Deena Aziz, Ellie Chartier, Fanny la Croix, Julie Tamiko Manning and Shiong-En Chan. Together, these artists strive to create work that centres the voice of females in their prime and create roles for women who have left their twenties and thirties behind. Traditionally an age when women disappear from the stage, or become relegated to roles that limit them to “wife of” or “mother of” the protagonists, the writers of OBITs meet monthly at Imago Theatre to facilitate and support one another in the creation of work that shifts the lens to tell the rich and varied stories of mature women — stories that are often missing from our mainstage productions. OBITs started in the Fall of 2016 and is an ongoing partnership with Imago Theatre.

Imago as Advocates: Community Partnerships

Apathy is Boring

Imago Theatre is a proud community Partner of Apathy is Boring‘s Inter-action, Democracy in Action Program: 

Over the course of 2017-2018, Apathy is Boring will work with a network of community partners to create local hubs where youth from different cultural backgrounds will join themed gatherings facilitated by young leaders to discuss our place in today’s democracy.

The goal of these gatherings is twofold.The first, is to create a community of youth between the ages of 16 to 35 from different backgrounds who can exchange and discuss civic engagement topics that they deem important in an accessible and safe space. Second, the gatherings designed by these youth-groups will act as a catalyst to encourage greater engagement among those who are not currently participating in civic life.

We are continuing our partnership with Apathy is Boring following our relationship to their Youth Coordinator in our talkback for Intractable Woman. In ARTISTA 2017-2018, we are looking forward to having Apathy is Boring lead a workshop with the ARTISTA participants.

Women and Self-Censorship Panel

On January 11, 2017, Imago Theatre partnered with Béatrice Média to host a salon-style conversation to explore the theme of censorship, a topic central to Imago’s 2017 production of Intractable Woman. In the intimacy of Café Sfouf, a few dozen people gathered to take part in a conversation with our host Rebecca Munroe, along with our esteemed panelists, Dominique Pirolo,Tracey Steer and Christina Vroom.  The conversation about their experiences and lessons learnt was recorded as a special episode of Beatrice Media’s podcast (#BeaCast).  During the second half of the evening, we facilitated an audience talkback and invited the audience to share their thoughts, experiences and insights on the topic.

University of the Streets Café

Imago Theatre partnered with Concordia University’s Office of Community Engagement on January 26, 2017 a talk about theatre and its potential for social change through an initiative called The University of the Streets Café: an organization that aims to increase exchange and discourse in the Montreal community. The talk took place at the Thomas Moore Institute for Learning. View the archive Facebook event here.

LOVE, Leave Out Violence
Imago Theatre collaborated with LOVE, Leave Out Violence, in the Spring of 2015.
LOVE was founded on the belief that youth challenged by violence can be agents of change, capable of transforming their own lives, investing themselves in their communities, and making the world a safer place. Leave Out Violence (LOVE) was founded in Montreal, and now has grown across Canada, with programs in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. LOVE believes that youth are the key to ending youth violence in our communities and their mission is to reduce violence by building a team of youth leaders who communicate a message of non-violence. -LOVE’s mission. More information on the organization can be found here.
Youth leaders from LOVE participated in a moderated talkback after the performance of the Black Theatre Workshop and Imago Theatre’s co-production of the play random. random addressed youth violence, particularly in Black communities and  participants from L.O.V.E provided vulnerable and valuable insight into the conversation. LOVE was also involved in an exhibition running concurrently with random that featured art work created by youth in the LOVE program as a statement of advocacy for non-violence.