Unscripted: Cultivating Languages of Access & Storytelling

White text on a black background with colourful outlines of leaves. The text reads Unscripted: Cultivating Languages of Access and Storytelling. At the bottom of the image is a golden orange half circle. Inside the half circle, in black lettering it reads Panel Series April 7, 8 and 9. Beneath the half circle is a thin black strip with Red Dress Productions, Theatre Passe Muraille, TD Bank Group, Ontario Arts Council, & Toronto Arts Council logos.

Unscripted: Cultivating Languages of Access & Storytelling is an online panel series exploring ideas around accessibility, decolonization and various approaches to performance and storytelling. With a roster of artists approaching storytelling from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, the Unscripted series hopes to amplify conversations between artists who are engaging creatively with elements of sensory-based, linguistic and cultural accessibility.

April 7th, 8th & 9th 2021, via Zoom

The Unscripted series was co-produced by Red Dress Productions & Theatre Passe Muraille, co-curated by Becky Gold and Wy Joung Kou with panel coordination by Rinchen Dolma, and generously supported by TD Bank Group, Ontario Arts Council, & Toronto Arts Council.

A square image with a black background. On the left side of the image  are three photographs  positioned in the shape of an ‘L’. Colourful outlines of flowers emerge from the top right corner.
The photo in the top left of the image is of Yolanda Bonnell, a self-identified Fat 2Spirit Anishinaabe/South Asian person, posing by a colourful mural in an alleyway. She wears a red t-shirt, brown leather fringe vest, patterned white and brown ribbon skirt with a spider design on it, a thick black belt at the waist, and rings, bracelets, a pendant and earrings. They have long brown hair that they wear down and in a few small braids on the left side. Directly below Yolanda’s photo is a photo of Merlin Simard. Merlin, a white transfeminine person with a shaved head and brown eyes. She is wearing a bright red turtleneck and is standing in front of a cream-coloured background. To the right of Merlin’s photo is a photo of Aria Evans. In their photo, Aria, a mixed-race person with light brown skin and long dark brown hair, poses outdoors amongst trees, branches and tall grasses at dusk. Aria wears a rust coloured button up, a blue patterned blazer, a septum piercing, and dangley earrings. They have their fingers interlaced in front of them and gaze off to their right.

Sovereign Bodies, Sovereign Stages

April 7th, 7-9pm EST

What emerges at the intersection of ceremony and artistic creation; of movement and storytelling; of spirituality and physicality on stage?

Panelists: Yolanda Bonnell & Aria Evans

Moderator: Merlin Simard

ASL Interpreters: Carmelle Cachero & Rogue Benjamin

Yolanda Bonnell (she/they) is a Queer 2 Spirit Anishinaabe-Ojibwe & South Asian Dora nominated multidisciplinary performer, writer and facilitator. Originally from Fort William First Nation in Thunder Bay, Ontario (Superior Robinson Treaty territory), her arts practice is now based in Tkarón:to. In 2016, Yolanda and Michif (Métis) artist Cole Alvis began manidoons collective and in February 2020, Yolanda’s four-time Dora nominated solo show bug was remounted at Theatre Passe Muraille. Recently, she was also the Indigenous artist recipient of the Jayu Arts for Human Rights Award for her work. Yolanda proudly bases her practice in land-based creation, drawing on energy and inspiration from the earth and her ancestors.

Aria Evans (they/she/he) is a queer, Toronto-based, West Coast born award winning interdisciplinary artist who’s practice spans dance; creation, performance and film. As a public speaker, activist and creative leader Aria draws on their experiences with Afro-Indigenous + settler heritage. With a large-scale vision, collaboration is the departure point to the choreographic work that Aria creates under their company POLITICAL MOVEMENT. Aria has collaborated across dance, theatre, film and opera with a number of the city and country’s most recognized companies and organizations. Advocating for inclusion and the representation of diversity, Aria uses their artistic practice to question the ways we can coexist together. www.politicalmovement.ca

Merlin Simard (iel/elle/she/they) is a disabled, Franco-Ontarian, trans-feminine performer, playwright, dramaturgy, and filmmaker originally from Tiohtiá:ke (Montréal) now based in Tkarón:to (Toronto). Select theatre performance credits: TRANSACTIONS (Buddies In Bad Times/BCurrent/NTS), Curious Voyage (Talk Is Free Theatre/DLT), Tape Escape (Outside The March), FEAR OF MEN ((Staged Reading) Assembly Theatre) and Gruesome Playground Injuries (Playground Productions) TV/Film: Grand Army (Netflix), This Life (CBC) Playwriting: FEAR OF MEN (in development at Theatre Passe Muraille), ZADDY ISSUES (In development at Ergo Arts Theatre) and TRANSACTIONS (co-written with Gabe Maharjan and in development at bigT). Merlin currently holds the position of Dramaturgy Intern at Theatre Passe Muraille.

A square image with a black background. On the right side of the image are three photographs  positioned in the shape of an backwards  ‘L’.  Colourful outlines of flowers emerge from the top left corner.
The photo in the top right of the image is of Anna Camilleri. This grainy photo depicts a white woman with a blank facial expression staring into the camera. She has dark curly hair and a filter has been applied onto the image that gives her a royal blue aura. Behind her is a background image of Lake Ontario, with part of a pier visible to her left.
Directly below Anna’s photo in the bottom right corner of the image is a photo of Victoria Mata. This artistic black and white photo shows Victoria dancing. She has dark curly hair just past her shoulders and wears a white tank top. In the photo, she is leaning backwards with her hands raised above her head and has a serious look on her face. A canopy of trees and some people can be seen standing in the background. 
To the left of Victoria’s photo is a photograph of Leelee Oluwatoyosi Eko Davis. In this photo, LeeLee, a non-Binary mixed-race Nigerian/Algonquin/French person, is looking at the camera against the backdrop of an ivory wall, wearing a forest green toque, with a grey button-up collared shirt. They have brown eyes, and their hair is dark brown. It falls in waves just below their shoulders. They are also wearing a medicine pouch around their neck made of brown leathers that falls three buttons down on their chest.

(Re)building Sensory Worlds

April 8th, 7-9pm EST

Where does world (re)building fit into the world of theatre and performance? How can our understanding of a narrative change or expand when it is told via multisensory means of storytelling and immersive design

Panelists: Victoria Mata & Leelee Oluwatoyosi Eko Davis

Moderator: Anna Camilleri

ASL Interpreters: Rogue Benjamin & Amanda Hyde

Victoria Mata is Venezuelan-Canadian settler in T’Koronto. Poly-lingual choreographer, dance artist and activist with a background in expressive arts therapy. Mata’s career was first sculpted by pedagogic, self-directed training, which proceeded with training under internationally renowned choreographers.  Mata’s sensibility to inclusion and border stories is due to her eclectic upbringing in three continents before the age of fifteen. Intersectional, multi-framed community-arts and the abolishment of violence against women are some of Mata’s passion. She has intricately weaved these themes in her MFA in Contemporary Choreography and is foundation for some of her recognitions such as being a recipient of the Metcalf Foundation, a finalist of the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award and 7 Dora nominations. Mata deeply believes in the arts as a core and tangible mode of sustaining and transforming the paradigms of oppressive tropes to populate a sphere of reflection, exploration and possibility.

Leelee Oluwatoyosi Eko Davis’ practice is rooted in foundations of contemporary dance and intermedia creation methodologies. As a disabled, transgenderqueer artist of Nigerian/French/Algonquin descent, working in decolonial frameworks is central to their research and creations. Being from Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Leelee has had the opportunity to train and work professionally across Kanata (Huron-Iroquois word for Canada). Their artistic goals are to merge performance and life, stage and experience, building a bridge to revealing the human condition. They can most commonly be found producing their own work as a solo artist, however often collaborate across milieus. Leelee has had the profound pleasure of collaborating with artists and choreographers such as Jolene Bailie, Dayna Danger, Raven Davis, Jesse Dell, Yannick Desranleau, Vanessa Dunn, Audrey Dwyer, Reginald Edmund, Gambletron, Chloe Lum, Ryan MacNamara, Kate Nankervis, Evalyn Parry, Lou Sheppard, and Alexandra Tigchelaar on works for theatre, film, and stage. Leelee also works as a program designer, facilitator, and consultant in the field of Social Innovation and Adaptive Change. www.leeleedavis.com instagram: @leeleeoluwatoyosi

Anna Camilleri has been working with performance, image, and text for over 25 years, with professional credits including book works, performance and theatre, and permanent and ephemeral public artworks and installations. Camilleri’s book publications have been recognized with distinctions from the LAMBDA Literary Foundation, Association of Independent Publishers, and the American Library of Congress.  Upcoming projects include May I Take Your Arm?, a Theatre Passe Muraille and ReDefine Arts co-production upcoming in May 2021. Camilleri is artistic co-director of multi-disciplinary arts organization ReDefine Arts (Est. in 2005 as Red Dress Productions). @anna.camilleri.red

A square image with a black background. On the right side of the image are four photographs  positioned in a 2 by 2 grid. Colourful outlines of flowers emerge from the bottom left corner.
Top left photo: Amelia, a black person, poses and smiles, glowing in the sun. She wears a cream coloured shirt and medium sized hoop earrings encrusted with sparkly gems. Her hair is parted on the left and neatly styled back and away from her face.
Top right photo: Jenelle, a dark skinned black person with shoulder length natural hair, stands and leans on a grey brick wall with her hands in her pockets. She wears blue jeans, a blue shirt, jean jacket, red and black glasses, small teardrop shaped earrings and a chunky silver ring. She smiles and looks directly at the camera.
Bottom left photo: Marsha, an Oneida Elder with grey hair, stands and smiles in front of some pine trees. She wears a blue patterned ribbon skirt, beaded earrings, and a black t-shirt that reads “O.S.L. Oneida Sign Language”. 
Bottom right photo: Courage, a black woman with short natural hair dyed bright red, poses for the camera with one hand on her hip in front of a black backdrop. She has muscular arms, a tattoo on her forearm, and stares into the camera. She wears dangly triangular earrings, a form fitting pink velvet dress, eye makeup, and a soft red light is cast onto her from outside the frame of the photo.

Intersectional Stories

April 9th, 7-9pm EST

A panel of Deaf individuals discuss the impact of language colonization on everyday life.

Moderator and Curator: Natasha “Courage” Bacchus

Panelists: Amelia Palmer, Jenelle Rouse & Marsha Ireland

ASL Interpreters: Carmelle Cachero & TBA

Natasha Cecily Bacchus is an athlete and artist, passionate about mental health, deaf advocacy, fitness and physical expression. Throughout her life, she has nurtured her passion for fitness by competing as a professional athlete and securing medal positions in both the Deaf Olympics and Pan Am Olympics as well as many other competitive sporting events. While running was her first passion and a means of emotional release, she used acting as a mode of physical expression and found theatre and film to be the preferred spaces to thrive as an actress. She has participated in a number of theatre and film productions and has a strong desire to continue to grow and develop as an artist in these industries, expanding representation to include  differently-abled persons and empowering Black Deaf women in Canada to shine on and off the stage.

Amelia Palmer was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, to Jamaican immigrant parents. She grew up in oral public school from K-12, and she identifies as a Deaf individual. Amelia is currently an undergrad at Gallaudet University, majoring in Deaf Studies and a minor in linguistics. She wants to be part of the change, to transform the stigma against IBPOC Deaf/HOH individuals with many intersectional identities in Canada and the USA. Amelia has a strong belief in giving back to IBPOC Deaf/HOH through empowerment and mentorship. By doing so,  she hopes to change the perspective of IBPOC deaf people to the hearing community. 

Jenelle Rouse (she/her/hers) leads a dual career as an educator with a doctorate in Applied Linguistics and as a visual body-movement artist. Over ten years, she has performed various shows such as Talking Movement, Withered Tree, Perceptions II, Home: Body, Crossings, Hear, Feel, See, What! and Proud. Through her personal project, Multi-Lens Existence, she explores and experiments with different mediums to share stories through body movements without any reliance on words and sounds/music. Additionally, Jenelle has taken on different roles (e.g., facilitator, collaborator, co-researcher, writer, workshop provider, and consultant) while working with a variety of local (Ontario) arts-related projects.

Teyuhuhtakweku (Marsha) is a wife, mother of 5, grandmother of 12 and great grandmother of 1 from Oneida Nation of the Thames – Turtle Clan. Over the past few years she has developed Oneida Sign Language with her partner Max Ireland and the many fluent speakers whose company and wisdom of the Oneida spoken word was instrumental in achieving the success of their project. “During this time it was truly an honor and a privilege to share and spend time with speakers. Sadly we have lost so many fluent speakers, a total reaffirmation of the need to have our spoken and now Oneida Sign Language carried respectfully into our future. O.S.L has Created a circle of inclusion where there was none between the Deaf and Hearing members of the Oneida Nation. I am also and residential school survivor and a Staunch Advocate with Deaf Native Education and a Mighty Water Protector” – Marsha Ireland