Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sulong gets Schooled

While being interviewed in the sun at the Big Carrot Juice Bar, I realized this is one of many times academics have gotten in touch with me.

This time, it was the lovely Ryerson grad student, Parvin Vahdat, whose thesis involves the role of media and art in policy building around Live-In Caregivers. While sipping juice we discussed audience reactions to Future Folk and how I thought the play could move audience members towards changing their views on migrant work.

The first time academics caught onto our work was through George Brown College's Labour Fair, where we performed a 10 minute excerpt of Future Folk. Word spread like wild fire from then on when Shasha Nakai asked if she could film the presentation for the Ryerson student documentary, Baby Not Mine. It went on to win the Best Documentary at the Canadian Student Documentary awards.

More recently, Wilfred Laurier University Professor of English Eleanor Ty presented her paper on the Past As Affect in my play Singkil at the fu-GEN Asian Canadian theatre conference earlier this month.

Since then, as well as the presentation of my one-woman puppet show, Eating with Lola, I have been blessed with the interest of even more academics who would like to see the work in their schools.

I mention all of this because I am realizing the power of education in the distribution of our work as theatre artists. Of course I knew it somewhat before. But only now am I realizing that the interest of academics in theatre helps the work live beyond the curtain call and helps the message connect with people long after our fleeting runs.

Images: Above, Eleanor Ty at the fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Conference; Below, Parvin Vahdat during our interview.

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