Keynote Series

Keynote Lecture @ 12PM Friday May 5

Laura Levin (York University)

Are We There Yet?: Magical Acts, Feminist Futures

This talk examines ideas of trauma and transformation that have shaped feminist performance, and asks how staging feminist futures also requires a reconceptualization of the temporal and spatial terms through which self is narrated, pushing against the very idea of self as story. How might performance provide a resonant material site for reworking neoliberal and heteronormative conceptions of time, along with conventions of storying women’s experience that are uncritically sutured to these models? What happens when we attend to the collaboration of bodies and/in spaces as the ground of political meaning over against the personal transmission of memory? I address these questions by thinking through The Magic Hour by Jess Dobkin, a performance artist who has spent much of her career meditating on the questions of feminist durationality, spatiality, and intergenerational legacy. An immersive show staged at The Theatre Centre in January 2017, and structured as a series of magic acts, The Magic Hour asks how and on what terms women’s traumatic pasts can be performed and transformed. It also, I suggest, invites us to consider other feminist futures recently imagined and enacted in the North American public sphere—in the form of handmaiden cloaks, women’s marches, and shoe and soft drink commercials.

Dr. Laura Levin is Associate Professor of Theatre at York University. She is Director of York’s MA/PhD Program in Theatre & Performance Studies and her research focuses on contemporary theatre and performance art; site-specific, urban, and immersive performance; performing gender and sexuality; and political performance. She is the author of Performing Ground: Space, Camouflage, and the Art of Blending In (Palgrave, 2014); co-editor of Performance Studies in Canada (with Marlis Schweitzer, McGill-Queen’s Press, 2017); associate editor at the Canadian Theatre Review; and co-investigator with Canadian Consortium on Performance and Politics in the Americas.

Keynote Panel @ 1:25PM Friday May 5

The Keynote Panel features curators and programmers from the Vancouver area. Together, we’re going to talk about how they program and why they are programming next what they are programming next. (Bios forthcoming.)

Allison Collins (Western Front)

Vanessa Kwan (grunt gallery)

Joyce Rosario (PuSh International Performing Arts Festival)

Donna Spencer (Dancing on the Edge)