By Vlad Gerasimov

There’s been a lot on the go, much of it underneath and unseen as we gear up for the world premiere of SHN.

Two things have clearly crystalized through the process of bringing this story to life: we want produce great theatre and we want to lead people in a response. The play is the dramatic telling of an imagined story placed in a plausible setting of a fictional trafficking case.  It is meant to shine light on the real world of trafficking, to ask big questions, and dare I say, make some suggestions.

Given the subject matter, though, it’s not enough to ask questions.  Art reflects life, but in this case it must effect it as well.

As you may well know (if you’ve followed the play’s journey over the last year) the series of public readings we hosted has made it very clear to us (by us I mean burnt thicket theatre and raise their voice) that beyond telling a powerful story, we have a responsibility to help people address the reality of trafficking locally and abroad.  We want to do this effectively and in a strategic way.

In that regard, I’m busy at work to help organize an event in April in Red Deer, which is national trafficking awareness month, as a way to educate and equip audience members about trafficking at the local, national, and international level.

We are pulling together an exciting line up of people.  To borrow a phrase from a good friend, things are coming together so fast “my head is spinning.” I can’t wait to share the what and who as I can, so it can be on your radar too.

The process is requiring the team at rasie their voice to plan for the future in a much more comprehensive way and to understand afresh that our mandate really is all about creating: stories, possibilities, spaces for hearts to be engaged, truth to be affirmed, and transformation to be activated.

I guess life and circumstance prepare you for such things, but that doesn’t mean it feels that way.  If I step back and look at my (young and still developing) creative life, I’m interested at the pattern that seems to emerge.  Each project that I have a hand in shaping also has its hand in shaping me.  It’s astonishing in a way, but probably shouldn’t surprise, that there’s so much beyond the scenes framed in the lens or scribbled onto the page, that we can’t control or influence. We act on what we know, believe, what we hope for – what we can and cannot sense – in the context of all we don’t know and can’t see.

This post is me licking my finger to raise it to the wind, identifying it does breeze.

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