Why you should RSVP ASAP for Reclaiming Hope, the exciting new project from Theatre For Living
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Reclaiming Hope is the new project from Theatre for Living

In its 35th year of working to build bridges between unlikely communities and affect policy in the Lower Mainland, Theatre for Living's (formerly Headlines Theatre) new project Reclaiming Hope, is currently being toured around various Vancouver community spaces. But before we work to build hope, we must shed light on fear, which is something artistic director David Diamond is very good at drawing out of people.

Last Friday evening I went to the Reclaiming Hope performance in partnership with The Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House. It's a testament to David Diamond that he can focus a performance out of an end-of-the-week tired, rain-soaked crowd, as we were on Friday. My view of the event is skewed, as unexpectedly, a personal story of mine was worked out on stage for most of the evening. And by worked out, I mean "given to the room," so it wouldn't be my story any longer.

While my view from onstage wasn't the same as most in the audience, I could recognize several things from my slightly elevated seat: David has a finely tuned eye for an epiphany, and his sense of separating real human emotion from performative emotion made Reclaiming Hope unpredictable at every moment, and exciting for those who were involved.

I was drawn to Theatre for Living after hearing about what they had accomplished in 2014 when the Vancouver School Board began updating their policies around homophobia and discrimination based on sexual orientation. Their project Voices of Love wasn't an attack on the right wing, conservative groups pushing back against the updated policies, it was about creating mutual respect, and empathy. And, as much of the work they do is, it was policy based because creating real change has always been the goal, though David said during Reclaiming Hope on Friday that they'd "also like to be entertaining."

I encourage you to make a reservation for one of the remaining performances which end on April 2nd. Reclaiming Hope ends with a day of action planning, which will use the issues brought up from the performances to work on as a group and propose solutions to bring back to our communities. I also encourage you to get up on stage and take the opportunity to work out a piece of your history with David, because as he said on Friday, as I'm sure he will say on every night of Reclaiming Hope: "hope is a thought process based in struggle." 

-Sydney from The Media Democracy Project

Vancouver Events - March 15-29
Thursday - March 17 - Spark: A Fireside Artist Talk with Larissa Healey (aka Gurl23)
Larissa Healey is an Ojibway mural artist and an inspirational leader for street youth drop-in cultural programs like the Museum of Anthropology's Native Youth Program. This informal lunch-time talk is hosted by artists who push at the boundaries of the traditional and the contemporary. Free at the Native Education College, presented by Grunt Gallery
Thursday - March 17 - Gone. But Not Forgotten.
Vancouver premier of the film "SIDDHARTH" from director Richie Mehta, and a showing of a photo exhibit by Tony Hoare documenting human trafficking survivors, followed by a Q+A. This event of art and action supports two organizations working with survivors locally: the West Coast Domestic Workers Association and the Children of the Street Society. At Woodward's, Tickets $15 including membership.
Friday - March 18 - Screening of "A Last Stand for Lelu" and Lax U'u'la Fundraiser
Night of film, speakers, and art to fundraise and show our solidarity for the land defenders of Lax U'u'la Camp, who are defending their traditional territory of Lax U'u'la (Lelu Island) and Flora Bank from the Petronas LNG project. Screening "A Last Stand For Lelu." Speakers include Sχɬemtəna:t (Audrey Siegl), and filmakers Tamo Campos and Farhan Umedaly. By donation.
Monday - March 21 - A Story of Canadian Anti-Fascists in Spain
Presented by The Institute for the Humanities at SFU, this lecture tells the little known story of a Canadian battalion's role in the Spanish Civil War. The speaker, "David Yorke is a charter graduate of SFU where he did early writing on the left wing labour movements of the 1930’s; subsequently graduating with a degree in law from UBC and practicing as counsel to BC unions over a three decade career." Free at Harbour Centre.
Tuesday - March 22 - Lost Words: Canada Edition
Presented by Pi Theatre, Lost Words is an event series focusing on banned, censored, and contentious artistic works. This is the last edition, and its theme is Canada and Canadians. "What turns us on? What turns us off? What happens when someone disagrees with the party in power and writes something about it, or maybe sings a song about a Prime Minister and then becomes the subject of an investigation?" At The Emerald, by donation.
Sunday - March 27 - Left Film Night "Free Angela and All Political Prisoners"
Free screening of "Free Angela and All Political Prisoners," a documentary about Angela Davis written and directed by Shola Lynch, 2012. Presented by the Centre for Socialist Education, the Young Communist League, and the Otto Rene Castillo and Vancouver East Clubs of the Communist Party of Canada
The Media Democracy Project 
Office #K7642
School of Communication
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6

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