Conference Series

May 24 – 26, 2012 in the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace

Patricia Ariza

Panamerican Routes offers provocative sessions in English and Spanish for artists, academics, community leaders, activists, interest groups, and the public to gather and investigate theatre and issues of migration, displacement, corporate responsibility, and human rights.  Aluna Theatre is proud to partner with its academic affiliate, The Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Toronto.

Cost Per Conference

Thursday May 24th

Morning Coffee – 9:30am

Welcome & Opening with author, activist and scholar Lee Maracle – 10am

Lee Maracle is the author of a number of critically acclaimed literary works including: Sojourner’s and Sundogs, Ravensong, Bobbi Lee, Daughters Are Forever, Will’s Garden, Bent Box, I Am Woman, and First Wives’ Club: Salish Style, and is co-editor of a number of anthologies including the award winning My Home As I Remember, Telling It: Women and Language Across Culture. Ms. Maracle is a member of the Sto: Loh nation. She has served as the Distinguished Visiting Professor at both University of Toronto and Western Washington University. In 2009, Ms. Maracle received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the St. Thomas University. Upcoming work: Memory Serves: and other words. She currently teaches at the University of Toronto [Aboriginal Studies] and at Centre for Indigenous Theatre school. Maracle has appeared in a number of plays, most recently in Red Moon.

 Theatre and Displacement: Migration, Immigration & Armed Conflict – 10:30 am

The first session is a one-of-a-kind conversation about historical memory and culture in a state of displacement, with a focus on the practice of theatre with people in areas of armed conflict, refugees, and migrants. The panel features artist/activists Patricia Ariza (Bogotá), Violeta Luna (Mexico/San Francisco), and psychologist Eva Saphir (Argentina/Toronto).

Patricia Ariza, Artistic Director of La Corporación Colombiana de Teatro, is a beacon of hope and awareness in engaged theatre in a context of civil war. As a child, Ariza became one of Bogota’s million refugees. Later at university, she initiated student involvement in social issues through artistic expression. Upon graduating she began producing high quality independent theatre and in 1966 co-founded Colombia’s first alternative theatre – Teatro La Candelaria. Ariza has formulated a special approach to theatre making that promotes social interaction and thereby reduces conflict.

She focuses on specific group such as women displaced by violence, the elderly or market vendors, and through testimony and re-enactment, develops a script centered on the issues in their collective lives.  Personal experience is then transformed into matter for public dialogue through performance. Ariza is the Founding Director of projects such as the Cultural Theatre Movement, National Festival of New Theatre, Festival of Alternative Theatre and the Women on Stage Festival. Patricia Ariza has been honoured with the 2007 Prince Claus Award (Denmark) for her outstanding work over decades to empower the disadvantaged, enabling them to transform their lives through cultural activities, for her efforts to counteract injustice and restore social memory, and for her energetic commitment to the reduction of conflict.

Mexico’s Violeta Luna, now living in San Francisco, is an electrifying performance artist and activist from the famous Conceptual Institute of Hybrid Art in San Francisco, Pocha Nostra – an interdisciplinary performance collective under the direction of Guillermo Gomez-Peña. In 1995 she founded Grande y Pequeño (Big and Small), a women’s theatre company that develops original works and experimental stagings of classical plays.

She has presented her performance art work and workshops in Cuba, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Spain, France, Portugal, Norway, Slovenia and Egypt as a solo artist and as a member of La Pocha Nostra. Luna’s work in San Francisco includes a residency at CounterPulse, and the development of a performance group with Latin American immigrant day-labourer women. Her work is deeply provocative, dealing with notions of immigration, cultural identity, traditions, authenticity, rights, cultural access and ownership, in the age of globalization. She uses text, movement, video, visual arts, and installation to create pieces that challenge our notions of this place we call America.

Eva Saphir MA, D.T.A.T.I. is a mental health clinician, art therapist and mentor to mental health professionals. She has worked in the field of trauma since 1980, when she co-founded and co-coordinated Hospice Wellington for people with terminal illnesses and their families. In 1988, she created the counselling program at Casey House Hospice.

An original member of the Spanish Team at Doctors Hospital and the Toronto Western Hospital (UHN), she worked with refugees and immigrants from Latin America and created and co-facilitated an art therapy group for Latin People Living with HIV for 12 years. This work was presented at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto in 2006. At the Mennonite New Life Centre, she helped develop and supervised the Special Supports Service Project providing Mental Health Services to the Spanish Community. This led to the creation of the Bridge Program for Internationally Trained Psychologists and Allied Mental Health Workers where she serves in the Advisory Committee and is a Clinical Supervisor.  She was born in Argentina. She has a private practice in Toronto.

Friday May 25th

Morning Coffee – 9:30am

Theatre and the Law I: Terrorism and Free Speech in Canada – 10:30am

A staged reading of Homegrown, the controversial play by Catherine Frid that kicked off a national media firestorm, will be followed by a discussion about the Toronto 18 case and the human rights irregularities committed in the name of anti-terrorism. Panelists include Catherine Frid, Allan Hux, Matthew Behrens and Lwam Ghebrehariat, moderated by Natalie Alvarez.

Catherine Frid is a business consultant, community activist and arts leader.  Homegrown is her first play.

Allan Hux is a historian and educator who, as a member of the Ontario Justice Education Network, was instrumental in organizing the reading of Homegrown for 500 Toronto high school students as part of Law Day on April 11, 2011.

Matthew Behrens is a well-known Canadian human rights activist who is currently writing a book on the Canadian security-certificate detainees.

Lwam Ghebrehariat is an actor who appeared in the SummerWorks production of Homegrown and is also a University of Toronto law school graduate currently articling with Cavalluzo Hayes, a law firm dedicated to the pursuit of social justice.

Natalie Alvarez is an associate professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University where she teaches in the Theatre Praxis concentration. Natalie has two edited books forthcoming on Latina/o-Canadian theatre and performance with Playwrights Canada Press.  In 2010, she received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Grant for her book project on immersive simulations in military training, dark tourism, and contemporary performance.

Lunch Break – 12:30pm

Theatre and the Law II: The New Gold Rush & Corporate Responsibility – 2pm

We begin with The Last Walk of Adolfo Ich, a performance montage of song, story, images, and readings from public court documents about the case of Adolfo Ich, a Mayan community leader who was killed by security forces contracted to a Canadian mining company in Guatemala. This session is made possible with the support of Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors, who have lawsuits in Ontario against HudBay and HMI Nickel regarding the murder. The panel features lawyer Cory Wanless, director /designer Trevor Schwellnus, filmmaker/activist Malcolm Rogge, activist Olimpia Boido, and MiningWatch’s Jen Moore.

Cory Wanless is a lawyer at Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors in Toronto. Klippensteins currently represents 13 Mayan Q’eqchi’ in three lawsuits against Canadian company HudBay Minerals over a series of horrific attacks by mine security personnel against Mayan Q’eqchi’ community members. Cory also practices in the areas of native rights, environmental law, affordable housing, defamation and civil rights. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto.

Olimpia Boido was brought up in Argentina and has lived her adult life splitting her time between Canada and Latin America. Her passion lies on intercultural relations in search of a more equitable society. Her commitment to this idea has inspired her work in the last decade on human rights and Canadian corporate mining in Latin America, migration rights for women survivors of violence and people escaping homophobia and transphobia, as well as support for Maya communities in Guatemala involved in the genocide trials. She currently resides in Toronto.

Trevor Schwellnus is a Toronto-based scenographer – designing sets, lighting, and video for performance with independent artists. He is Artistic Producer of Aluna Theatre, and in 2009 – 2010 was Designer-in-Residence at the Theatre Centre. He directed, designed, and dramaturged Nohayquiensepa (Nooneknows) for Aluna Theatre, and designed La Comunión, Madre, and For Sale. He is currently developing a focus on the integration of artistic disciplines and intercultural practices through an OAC Chalmers Arts Fellowship.

Malcolm Rogge was born in Winnipeg and studied at the University of Manitoba before completing an M.E.S. at York University and a J.D. at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. His award-winning feature documentary film, Under Rich Earth, premiered in 2008 at the Toronto International Film Festival. He is a research lawyer and filmmaker based in Toronto.

Jen Moore joined MiningWatch Canada as Latin America Program Coordinator in November 2011. Prior to this, she worked as a freelance print and broadcast journalist with strong interests in community-based media, human rights and Canadian foreign policy in Latin America. From 2006 to 2010, she was based in Ecuador and frequently reported on the struggles of mining-affected communities.

Her work has been heard on CBC Radio Dispatches, Free Speech Radio News, the Green Planet Monitor and NPR’s Weekend America. She has published with the Latin American Information Agency (ALAI), Briarpatch Magazine, Alternatives, Upside Down World, and The Dominion, and contributed research to an Al Jazeera People & Power documentary about mining in Ecuador called Water or Gold.

Late Night Film Screening – 10:30pm

Under Rich Earth is a story about ordinary people with extraordinary courage. In a remote mountain valley in Ecuador, coffee and sugarcane farmers face the dismal prospect of being forced off their land to make way for a mining project. Unprotected by the police and ignored by their government, they prepare to face down the invaders on their own. Their resistance ultimately leads to a remarkable and dangerous stand off between farmers and a band of armed paramilitaries deep in the cloud forest. In a world dominated by news of massacres and terrorism, Under Rich Earthoffers a surprising and poignant tale of hope and determination. ~ A film by Malcolm Rogge

Saturday May 26th

Morning Coffee (yes, an hour later . . . hey, it’s Saturday!) – 10:30am

Breaking Models I: What to do with the Macho – 11am

Nuevas Masculinidades (The New Masculinity) is a humorous and thought provoking “performance paper” by playwright/director Carlos Satizábal, Associate Professor at La Universidad Nacional (Bogotá), which has been presented in conferences worldwide. Jorge Gidi will moderate the discussion, featuring performer Carlos Gonzalez-Vio, plus Wilfred Laurier Associate Professor Kim Anderson, playwright/actor/scholar Guillermo Verdecchia, and of course – the audience!

Carlos Eduardo Satizábal is Associate Professor at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Faculty of Arts / School of Film and TV – MA in Creative Writing, and a member of the prestigious Corporación Colombiana de Teatro in Bogota. He is a writer, playwright, director and actor. He teaches writing for theatre, film and television at the Universidad Nacional, and teaches playwriting at the Canadian La Salle College in Bogotá.

For 18 years he has been a researcher and editor for “Workshop of Theatrical Investigation” under the direction of the master Santiago Garcia, founder of La Candelaria Theatre, one of the most important Latin American contemporary theatre groups creating under the approach of Creación Colectiva. Satizábal works extensively with victims of the war in Colombia and has published numerous articles on forced displacement and the armed conflict. He has given workshops and conferences around the world, and collaborated artistically with many international artists and companies.

Kim Anderson is a Cree/Metis writer and scholar, and is an Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford. She is recognized as an advocate of Indigenous women and has devoted her career to researching and writing about the health and well-being of Indigenous families.

Her books include the single authored A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood (Sumach/Canadian Scholar’s Press, 2000) and Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings and Story Medicine (University of Manitoba Press, 2011).  Kim is the principle investigator on a SSHRC funded partnership grant on Indigenous masculinities. She is co-editing an anthology on the subject with Dr. Robert Innes.

Guillermo Verdecchia is a multi-award winning writer of theatre, fiction, and film, a director, translator, dramaturge, and actor. His plays include: IN Another Country; bloom; Fronteras Americanas; The Adventures of Ali & Ali(with Marcus Youssef and Camyar Chai); Insomnia and The Noam Chomsky Lectures (with Daniel Brooks). He is an Associate Artist with Soulpepper Theatre and a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at U of T.

Jorge Gidi was born in Mexico City. He has worked in theatre, film and television – both in Canada and Mexico – as an actor, director, playwright and translator. Jorge currently specializes in teaching dramatic arts to teens and young adults with learning disabilities.

Lunch Break – 1pm

Breaking Models II: Challenging Femininity – 2pm

La Pasarela (The Catwalk) by Patricia Ariza has been a notable sensation at international festivals.  Hilarious, thoughtful, and heartbreaking, La Pasarela is a fashion show turned into a feminist argument. A presentation of the “Canadian” La Pasarela  collectively created by up to 35 women artists and community members during the Panamerican Routes Festival – will be followed by a discussion between the artists, academics, and the audience.  Panelists include director Patricia Ariza and activist Anna Willats, and will be facilitated by author Lee Maracle.  The workshop of La Pasarela was made possible with the support of Nightwood Theatre.

Anna Willats has been questioning authority and confronting the abuse of power since 1982 in Toronto. She has a long history in the women’s anti-violence community. She has been teaching in the Assaulted Womens and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate program at George Brown College since 2000.  Anna also works with Toronto area drop-ins on community leadership and participant engagement activities.  In addition to regular online commentaries for Las Perlas del Mar Media Network, she also publishes the weekly email newsletter, Rise Up! News and Events.

Late Night Film Screening – 10:30pm

In the Paradoja del Brillo (The Glittering Paradox) professors and creators Alberto Amaya and Rodolfo Ramirez from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia look at the social and environmental effects of Canadian Gold mining in Colombia, a country with gold and poverty.  It begins with an example of a balanced gold extraction by the indigenous peoples until the Europeans arrived.  Then it follows three different modern cases: Barbacoas, a town where they have extracted gold for more than five hundred years and where the people continue to live in poverty. Marmato where the population is opposed to open pit mining and Choco, where violent groups extract gold and leave only environmental destruction behind.

This film examines the human obsession of acquiring gold at any cost, including the sacrifice of human lives and the destruction of the environment of the future.

* Conferences and participants subject to change without notice