Stages of Transformation

© Amber Williams-King

Listening to and learning from abolition movements

Stages of Transformation is a multi-year project of research, rumination, creative exploration and conversation, bringing together theatre artists, arts workers, and creative communities from across so-called Canada. It takes up the imperatives of abolition movements and transformative justice frameworks, and investigates their applications to our work in the theatre sector.  

Introduction to Stages of Transformation

“What do abolition movements have to do with the performing arts here in so-called Canada? Like many, I believe that without the framework of abolition, all of our work in the theatre sector to achieve racial justice, gender justice, disability justice, trans justice, climate justice, and all other forms of justice, will fall short. Abolition offers a rigorous lens through which to examine these issues, and pathways toward change. Like theatre itself, abolition is about the power of human relationships, collaboration, generative conflict, and imagination.”

Essay: Stages of Transformation

Nikki Shaffeeullah introduces the Stages of Transformation project, and reflects on abolition movements and what they mean for the performing arts in so-called Canada.

Perspectives on abolition and theatre

Spotlighting people, projects, and communities who are engaged in abolitionist ideas and approaches. Searching for new patterns and possibilities for the theatre sector and beyond.

  • Transform

    Perspectives on transformation, including a video by Mpoe Mogale and Pam Tzeng; an interview about arts and incarceration with Amina Mohamed, Charlene Chapman, April Labine and Laverne Malcolm; and a duet of reports by Makram Ayache and Marilo Nuñez.

  • Listen

    A series of audio interviews with theatre leaders Tanisha Taitt, Yvette Nolan, and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, on topics including conflict transformation, organizational governance, and collaboration.

  • Discuss

    In these panel discussions, leading artist-activists from across the land, including Cole Alvis, Audrey Dwyer, Kim Senklip Harvey, Taiwo Afolabi, Omari Newton, and Makambe K. Simamba, come together in longform conversations about the intersections of theatre and justice.

  • Envision

    In three visual art series, theatre designers Rachel Forbes, Joanna Yu, and Bianca Guimarães de Manuel, and illustrator Amber Williams-King, invite us to visualize what liberated futures in the arts could look like.

  • Create

    The Stages of Transformation Creative Cohort is a group of artists and arts organizations who are exploring how abolition and transformative justice can impact theatre-making in process, content, form, and dissemination.

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