Theatre of Upheaval

Healing and action through live performance

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Theatre of Upheaval is jointly presented by Canadian Stage, Native Earth Performing Arts and Volcano Theatre.

Theatre of the Upheaval is presented as part of Canadian Stage’s Spotlight Australia Forum Series, presented by TD with support through Toronto Arts Council Strategic Funding. Canadian Stage presents Spotlight Australia from March 29 – May 7, 2017.

Two mind-blowing workshops led by:

Founding director of Rwanda Professional Dreamers and Ingoma Nshya (“New Era”) – Women Initiatives.

Artistic Director of Ilbijerri Theatre Company (Australia)

Theatre of Upheaval is a rare opportunity to work outside your comfort zone in a risk-friendly environment with two world-renowned creative powerhouses. These workshops invite participation from all kinds of artists who are looking to expand their horizons and delve into the political undertones of making art.

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Led by Kiki Katese
Dates: March 31st – April 5
Time: 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

In this project, international award-winner Odile Gakire Katese, a giant of Rwandan performance, will take participants through a process of self-examination, imagination, letter writing and performance. This project is designed not only to give participants a sense of how Ms. Katese constructs art from both memory and pain, but also to become part of a global artwork that she is creating in 100 countries worldwide. The Book of Life is a multi-component initiative designed by Ms. Katese as a way of helping her country heal from the 1994 genocide. Expanding into realms of publishing, film, radio, theatre and dance, the project has at its core a collection of letters written to the dead. Ms. Katese has spent several years soliciting letters from both survivors and perpetrators of the genocide, and, increasingly, from people around the world – the idea being that memories of trauma need to be actively brought into an affirmative realm through an act of imagination. The act of writing a letter creates a space of creation in the wake of death, trauma or tragedy. This act can then expand into other forms – turning isolated grief into collaborative life.

“The one thing that seemed to hurt Rwandans the most was the fact that the victims were dead and nothing else,” Ms. Katese has said. “What if we could create a very symbolic way of keeping in touch and, in this way, somehow bring peace…“ This is about memories that reconcile you with yourself, it’s a kind of memory that appeases your pain, and brings to life the victims… because I think that, over time, if we only tell the story of how they died, we kill them again and again.”

Participants will work for six afternoons with Ms. Katese on imagining, finding and crafting words to those who are gone. These letters will then be the building blocks for a performance on the 6th day as part of the Book of Life.


Led by Rachael Maza
Dates: April 3 – April 5
Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

In this project the Artistic Director of Australia’s ILBIJERRI, the internationally acclaimed Rachael Maza, will guide participants through the notion of helping to rewrite and re-right the dominant narrative through theatre. This class will delve into the role and significance of Black Theatre as a political tool and the significant role that international discourse between Indigenous and black American peoples played in spring boarding the Black theatre movement in Australia.

Participants will work for three mornings with Ms. Maza on exploring what makes theatre worth making and its responsibility to be honest, bold, unapologetically political and ultimately here to provoke change. Specifically, participants will explore:

1. Context: Understanding that we don’t make work in a utopian vacuum, a non-Aboriginal audience comes in already thinking they know about you. The artist must know who their audience is and what tinted glasses they wear.

2. “Jack Charles V the Crown” Sample Case: In this session Ms. Maza will talk about the making of this work. The work’s journey from inception to international touring, and the profound path of healing for both Uncle Jack and the audience. This session will also focus on the art of cross cultural collaboration and its dangers.

3. Truth V. Art: Participants will investigate the intersection between truth and fiction; where art meets documentary; Verbatim theatre Vs. Drama… and when does truth get in the way of good Art. Case study: “Beautiful One Day”.


ToU schedule


Theatre for the Living/Theatre of Dreams (6 classes):
$350.00 HST Included
Re-Righting the Narrative (3 classes):
$175.00 HST Included
Upheaval Package (both classes):
$475.00 HST Included

Workshop fees for either class also include one ticket to
Canadian Stage’s production of Jack Charles V. the Crown
on Friday March 31st at 8:00pm.


Canadian Stage
Berkeley Street Theatre
Rehearsal Hall



For inquires please contact Michele Charlton
at michele[at] or call 416-538-4436.