29th Annual Forum of Original Theatre

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VIRTUAL CONFERENCE EXPLORES PERFORMANCE DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC

Artists, scholars, and activists from across Canada and beyond will come together from February 25 to 27 for the first virtual iteration of the Forum of Original Theatre (FOOT). Hosted by the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (CDTPS) and now in its 29th year, FOOT features an eclectic mix of programming such as paper panels that include performances and roundtable discussions that evolve into DJ sets. Continuing FOOT’s history of showcasing cutting-edge artistic and scholarly work, participants and audiences at FOOT 2021 will forgo the traditional four walls of the theatre and meet entirely over Zoom.

This year’s conference theme, Bordered States, seeks to engage with performing our bordered existence during a global pandemic. As we ‘gather’ in a time marked by travel restrictions, lockdowns, and quarantines, we find ourselves acutely aware of the many borders that surround us. From the recent surge in regionalism and protectionism, worldwide calls for racial justice by the Black Lives Matter movement, to protests against pipelines that threaten to encroach on unceded Indigenous territory – the global politics of today are marked by borders.

Conference events will examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the arts, question the borders of culture, identity, and place, and unpack the complexities of nation. Featured panels include ‘Black Women’s Work and Joy’ on Thursday, February 25 – a conversation about advocating for antiracist work in post-secondary institutions (Ahlam Hassan, Abigail Whitney, Khadijah Salawu), as well as the Keynote Panel on Friday, February 26 which features a discussion between multidisciplinary Anishinaabe artist Rebecca Belmore, Dr. Gabriela Soto Laveaga (Harvard University), Dr. Yana Meerzon (University of Ottawa), and Syrus Marcus Ware (artist, scholar, and core-team member of Black Lives Matter Toronto).

Performances include a screening of Volcano Theatre’s Shine Your Eye by the late Kenyan literary superstar Binyavanga Wainaina, Jillian Groening’s Thirsty Concrete, and Viktorija Kovac and Nada Abusaleh’s Materialize with the B Party.

Registration for the conference is free and is now open at foot2021.com. Members of the public and the wider arts community are welcomed to attend. For more information and the full conference program please visit our website or email info@foot2021.com.