A choral work using afro-centric techniques and texts
Led by Warona Setshwaelo
April 13, 2023 at 20:00*
April 14 at 19:00 and 20:30*
April 15 at 16:00 and 20:00*
The beauty of an ensemble. The power of a chorus. A movement and voice based exploration of choral connection and ensemble based performance using Afro-centric technique. Texts will be poetry predominantly from Black poets.
*The performances are free but limited seating. Kindly reserve tickets at the button below.
I'm a Third Culture Kid. Growing up across several different Afrikan countries and then moving, as a young adult, to North America.
I was professionally trained in the latter but my artistry will always be rooted in Afroccentrism. In Blackness.
As a theatre artist, my main interests lie in the evolution of Black performing arts and the technical training we recieve through cultural rituals, games and traditions.
In an effort to bring this passion to action, I have spent years curating performance technique from a Black lens.
Black people both diasporically and continentally have historically presented theatre in a multidisciplinary form. This form of choral work is the foundation of exploration by the Weaving Voices ensemble over the last few months.
I chose the poems, Invitation to Love by Paul Laurence Dunbar, For Women Who Are Difficult to Love by Warsan Shire, And I Have You by Nikki Giovanni and Caged Bird by Maya Angelou, not just because they were penned by Black artists, but because the main theme is LOVE. In a world where Black trauma is all too common, presentation and reminder of BLACK LOVE is essential in the healing process.
Big-up to the Weaving Voices ensemble, made up of 15 performers, an assistant director and a dramaturg who worked tirelessly to create a choral performance where all 15 performers share the stage throughout the show. Using their bodies to create percussion, music, movement, scenes and tableau as well as improvisational elements which keep each presentation truly unique.
After having woven voices, bodies, stories, hearts, energy and art, the last step is to weave in the witness;
Thank you for attending.
Warona Setshwaelo, Director/Instructor
It has been such a gift to work with an ensemble as generous and caring as this group is, and such talented production team members. Devising this piece brought us so much joy, and I hope that you feel that same joy when watching our performance. I am extremely thankful to have been involved in a production with so much learning and love at its heart. Connecting over cultures and their relationships to theatre brought us together and has allowed us to weave the stories you are hearing tonight; thank you for being here to hear our voices!
Lyssa Chiara, Assistant Director
LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND PLEDGE TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Crafted by Anjali Pandit in conversation with the ensemble and creative team.
The Kanien’ké nation, also called Mohawk, are recognized by many as the traditional stewards of the unceded territory on which we stand today. It is important to remember that the treatment of land as a thing to be ceded, as well as the dissection of any piece of Earth into territories, are tools of colonialism used to further fracture the rights and spiritual imperative of Indigenous communities to live in dialogue with their environment. Indigenous and First Nations peoples across the continent which many call North America share one sky and one land, called Turtle Island.
The ensemble of Weaving Voices have come here today from all over Turtle Island and beyond, descended from lands and peoples that have endured as well as enacted colonialism, imperialism, and oppression in a myriad of forms. As we engage in this work, using techniques drawn from African and diasporic tradition and texts written by Black artists across space and time, we also engage in a promise to the original descendants of this land: to remember the lives, resources, and stories lost, as well as those that persist in the face of interpersonal and systemic violence, to call ourselves and our audience to not only remember but take action to restore Indigenous sovereignty, Indigenous culture, and Indigenous families, and to listen to Indigenous people and raise them up, for they are at the core of the past, present, and future of Turtle Island.
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author (Islands of Decolonial Love, Rehearsals for Living*)
Kathleen Absolon (Anishinaabekwe), Associate Professor in Aboriginal Field of Study and Faculty of Social Work at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University; author of the book Kaandosiwin: How we Come to Know about Indigenous research methodologies
Indigenous multidisciplinary artist: Bobby Sanchez (Ayachucho Peru) Bobby Sanchez (@bobbysanchezmusic) • Instagram photos and videos
* Rehearsals for Living is a collection of letters between Simpson and Robyn Maynard, a Black woman writer and activist based in Toronto, sent during pandemic lockdowns.
Indigenous Social Media Content Creators
[Links to all their other content on their respective platforms]
Michelle Chubb- Cree (@indigenous_baddie on Tiktok)
James Jones (@notoriouscree on Tiktok)
Shina Nova (@shinanova on Tiktok) and her mother, Kayuula Nova (@kayuulanova on Tiktok)