Voice and Responsibility: Verbatim technique and Research exploration

“Voice and Responsibility: a praxis workshop on Verbatim technique and Research exploration”
Organizers: Kathleen Gallagher and Andrew Kushnir
Contact e-mail: Kathleen Gallagher (kathleen.gallagher@utoronto.ca‎) and Andrew Kushnir (Andrew@projecthumanity.ca).

Call for participants
Deadline: prior to the conference

How do we receive and tell each other’s stories?

Kathleen Gallagher is Distinguished Professor at the University of Toronto and a long-time researcher of young people in the drama classroom. Andrew Kushnir is a Toronto-based theatre-maker and artistic director of Project: Humanity, a leading developer of Verbatim Theatre. Together they’ve been collaborating on a project that connects the voices and insights of young people, artists, and teachers in Canada, India, Taiwan, Greece and England. Towards Youth: a play on radical hope is a new work built from this study. Premiering in Toronto at Crow’s Theatre in March 2019, the piece has been developed through an international, intergenerational and intercultural framework. A central question in this work: how do we share the stories of others and maintain our ethical responsibility to them? Or as Kwame Anthony Appiah (2006, xxi) has aptly asked, “What do we owe strangers by virtue of our shared humanity?”

The purpose of the workshop is to discuss and explore the challenges of representation and embodied practice in Verbatim theatre-making and in ethnographic research. How do we take care around the appropriation of voice, questions of power, and the authority of speaking? Is it possible or just to “take a walk in another person’s words” (Anna Deavere Smith, 2003)? Beginning from Kathleen and Andrew’s scholarly inquiry and creative practice through the sharing of some Towards Youth excerpts and filmed footage, we will invite participants to share their experiences and questions, to consider Verbatim Theatre as a storytelling form, and to explore some techniques together.

Interested participants should contact the organizers in advance of the conference to secure a space as space may be limited.

  • Appiah, K. A. (2006). Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. New York, London: W. W. Norton and Company.
  • Deavere Smith, A. (2003). Twilight—Los Angeles 1992. New York: Dramatists Play Service Incorporated.
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