EASTDALE THEATRE PROGRAM

 

The Eastdale Theatre Project began in 2007 and ran for two years, offering a lunch-hour theatre workshop for 15-19 year olds at Eastdale Collegiate, in Toronto, Ontario.  The school served students who struggled with a myriad of socio-economic issues, as well as those with learning exceptionalities.  Lisa Anne Ross, supported by a team of professional artists, worked in collaboration with Eastdale teachers to create a safe and educational space for the creation of theatre.

‘The students confided that safe spaces were few and far between in their lives and that Eastdale Collegiate could be a dangerous and scary place, particularly at lunchtime when teachers had less control over the students.  Students shared that this program provided a sanctuary where they could be free to be themselves.’  Workshops included clowning with Erin Bouvy, writing with Hannah Moscovitch, and African Dance with Lua Shayenne. The program sought to engage students in a positive way, provide alternate means of communicating the challenges in their lives, create a safe space, and develop theatre in a way that would encourage a sense of community and pride among participants.   The program was funded by The Toronto District of Education and Theatre Ontario.