Stage lights illuminate an ensemble of actresses of diverse ethnicity standing in a line facing the audience. The actresses all depict a single character in the play ‘Red Bike’ by Caridad Svich. And yet their expressions are as varied and as unique as their colourful theatrical attire.
Thursday, September 7, 2023

SDS Prof Dr. Kristina Llewellyn co-director and CLS Prof Dr. Amir Al-Azraki collaborator of Staging Better Futures, a project recently awarded $2.5 million to place spotlight on minoritized voices.

Renison Social Development Studies (SDS) professor Dr. Kristina Llewellyn and Culture, Language, and Society (CLS) professor Dr. Amir Al-Azraki are part of an important new project, Staging Better Futures, led by a team from Brock University.

Staging Better Futures/ Mettre en scène de meilleurs avenirs (SBF/MSMA) is a project giving minoritized voices centre stage in transforming theatre education. The project was created in response to experiences in theatre education like those of Deneh’Cho Thompson, a displaced and dispossessed member of the Pehdzeh ki Nation. Thompson took more than a decade to complete his undergraduate degree as a result of the systemic racism he faced. Thompson eventually became an academic, driven by a desire to reform theatre education. He has since become an Assistant Professor and co-ordinator of the wîcêhtowin Theatre Program at the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Drama. Thompson is a member of the governance committee for the project.As a co-director of the project, Dr. Llewellyn is supporting community education principles for research and practice. Dr. Al-Azraki, who is a collaborator, brings a wealth of experience from his work in the field of theatre of the oppressed.

The Principal Investigator of the project is Jennifer Roberts-Smith, Professor and Chair of Dramatic Arts at Brock. “The research team’s success demonstrates the need for systemic practices and structures in dramatic arts education to be transformed so that knowledge and expertise from minoritized artist-educators form a core part of the education,” said Brock University Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon.The $2.5 million grant covers a period of 7 years.

For more details about the project and grant, read the official announcement from Brock University.

Image: The cast of Brock’s 2022 Mainstage production ‘Red Bike’ by Caridad Svich, directed by Mike Griffin. Mainstage productions will be among the focus of Brock Dramatic Arts faculty, including Griffin, as they develop more inclusive approaches to teaching theatre as part of the new partnership project, Staging Better Futures/ Mettre en scène de meilleurs avenirs (SBF/MSMA).