Open Studio Discussion a Successful Launch of the 2012-13 Season

Posted Nov 26th, 2012

On the evening of Wednesday, November 21,  a group of artists, thinkers and community members met at Mahtay Café in St Catharines to launch neXt Company Theatre's season of work related to the Arab Spring: a new work entitled Khalida, and The Arab Spring Monologues, a community-engaged project that will see a dozen Niagarans of a mix of cultural heritages write and deliver a monologue about the Arab Spring.

Participating panelists included: Mahabba Ahmed, emerging scholar and poet; Natalie Azzi, emerging scholar and activist around women, war and trauma; David Fancy, co-artistic director of NeXt; Jason Jasrawy, actor of Iraqi-Canadian heritage; Athena Madan, emerging scholar and creative arts therapist; Karrie Porter, NeXt artistic associate and board member; Jenna Sweiss, teacher, scholar and activist; Vojin Vasovic, filmaker, director and designer.

Each presented for five minutes on how their work and their participation with the season's theatre projects intersected with concerns around the Arab Spring. Questions of Arab-Canadian identity, the wars in the middle east, immigration, trauma, and artistic responses to difficulty and displacement were invoked and covered,

The audience was then invited to speak amongst themselves to determine questions or reflections they might offer. A lively discussion and debate ensured on a variety of topics and, by the end of the session, a solid consensus became clear in the room: Khalida and The Arab Spring Monologues are timely projects that can help complexify the region's understanding of the important revolution which is the Arab Spring.


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  • "Bravo!!! That was so nice. Tasteful for Niagara Falls! I wasn’t going to stay til the end.....but you couldn’t have dragged me away. Amazing work by all participants! Good Job!"
    - B. Little, Niagara

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