‘That’s what makes
actingproducing so attractive. You get to break all your own rules.‘
Artistic Director of Elysian Productions; Laura is a British writer, producer and researcher based in Toronto, Canada. She is currently completing the final components of her PhD with the University of Birmingham, UK. Laura has written prolifically for stage and for screen, preserving a nuancedly feminist voice as a writer. Her Canadian-based innovative praxis ‘Theatre for Emancipation’ exists as an evolution of Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed paradigm, adapted most notably for western contexts. The emphasis of her work attempts to address the immediate social, political, and economic inequities that Indigenous communities within Canada have been subjected to, whilst her methodology interrogates the adequacy of current measures employed by Canadian policymakers in pursuit of reconciliation. TE attempts to subvert hegemonic, fundamentally neoliberal ideologies and practices that have dominated settler discourse, rhetoric, education, and policy succeeding colonialism, subjecting post-colonial social constructs to a dialectical scrutiny that aims to counter further ensuing marginalisation. Through providing platforms that amplify the voices of communities who have typically been relegated to the margins of society and rendered silent, TE advocates for derivatives of theatre praxis that foster positions of allyship amongst settlers. Inspired by the poetics of Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, TE galvanises an aesthetic that transcends the traditionally passive nature of spectatorship, rallying participatory audiences to action, or rather, ‘spect-activism.’
Elysian Productions is a multidisciplinary production company founded in Dubai 2015, Elysian is currently based in Toronto, Canada. Elysian’s ethos advocates and is dedicated to the exploration of theatre for social reformation in conjunction with PhD research conducted at the University of Birmingham, UK. Elysian Productions are currently facilitating praxis-based workshops in downtown Toronto with Aboriginal communities; our practice attempts to address the immediate social and economic inequities faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. The cumulative effects of colonial homogenisation of cultural identity have rendered Indigenous epistemologies impalpable. These exacerbated tensions between Aboriginal communities and settlers within Canada have complicated efforts to forge identities within a society that largely marginalises Aboriginal peoples, voices, and values. The methodology employed involves the conduction of largely qualitative, longitudinal research that re-orients a typical interpretivist ontology via an Applied Theatre intervention eliciting from Augusto Boal’s ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ praxis and Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Theatre of the Oppressed practitioners engage with communities in processes of intentional praxis, that aim to equip participants with the skills for critical social analysis that pursue emancipation from social marginalisation and oppression. Theatre of the Oppressed participants reorient their ontologies and decolonize their epistemologies; by negotiating the terms of co-existence in innovative ways, they bridge the gap between human rights theory and practice.
Artistic Director Laura Denmar is a British actor, singer, producer, writer and educator whose work revolves around the empowered voice. Laura has worked for over a decade in the industry, and holds a substantial number of credits in film, theatre, and musical theatre. Laura received a scholarship in 2017 to attend the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where she completed her MA in Writing for Stage and Broadcast under the guidance of industry legends – Dr. Sarah Grochala, Dr. Tony Fisher, Tanika Gupta, and Sheila Preston.
Link to my portfolio; marketing campaigns, press releases etc.: https://onlybydubai.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/why-dubai/