Tag Archive for stories

The Shoe Project Antigonish: Immigrant Women Tell Their Stories

The Shoe Project Antigonish
Immigrant Women Tell Their Stories

Press Release      Antigonish—January 16, 2019

Something amazing is afoot in Antigonish! Immigrant women are telling their stories and letting us walk a mile in their shoes. This group of women, led by Anne Simpson and Laura Teasdale, are joining in a movement that is sweeping across Canada, called The Shoe Project. But what is it?

Initiated by novelist Katherine Govier, the Shoe Project began in Toronto as a way to assist immigrant women in telling their stories. It started with Katherine facilitating ten-week writing workshops followed by a drama expert organizing and leading the women in a performance at the Bata Shoe Museum. Since then, immigrant women across Canada – from Vancouver to Halifax – have been involved in Shoe Projects in their communities, with professional writers and drama specialists helping to bring the stories to the stage.

The Shoe Project Antigonish, funded by the Shoe Project and Nova Scotia’s Culture Innovation Fund, marks the first time the project has been offered in a small, rural community, yet immigrant women have inspiring stories to tell here, too. Locally sponsored by Arts Health Antigonish, in partnership with Theatre Antigonish and Antigonish County Adult Learning Association, The Shoe Project Antigonish began with a small group of women who came together for writing workshops with Simpson throughout the fall of 2018 and it will culminate in a performance at the Bauer Theatre on February 8 & 9, 2019.

When asked about the impact of the project, local coordinator and writing facilitator Simpson says, “When I went to see the Shoe Project performance in Fredericton last spring, I watched, entranced, as the women told their stories. I knew it could be done in Antigonish. It has been great: AHA! has been a wonderful sponsor and ACALA has been supportive from the beginning. We also have a theatre that brings really good community projects to the stage—Theatre Antigonish. Most of all, at the heart of this project is a group of women who wanted to explore their own stories. They’ve told me they don’t want it to end.”

It was not easy to find people brave enough to want to write and present their stories in front of an audience, but with much help from Jyotsna Jain at ACALA, a perfect group was formed. Diverse in age, experience, and native land, they were united in their trust of Simpson, a writer herself. Together they explored their voice and style of writing, while having fun and really supporting each other. The resulting stories to be presented on the Theatre Antigonish stage are touching, wise, funny and smart. Their immigration is a central theme, and each chose a pair of shoes as a jumping off point in their writing, but that is where the similarities end. The narratives are as diverse as this group of women.

To highlight the stories of these fascinating women, Laura Teasdale was brought on board as a theatre consultant. She was tasked with putting the stories together in a creative way and coaching the participants in feeling comfortable on stage and allowing their personality to shine through. Thanks to partners at Theatre Antigonish, the show will be a visual feast as well.

Andrea Boyd, Artistic Director for Theatre Antigonish says, “We are so happy to be able to include The Shoe Project in this year’s Theatre Antigonish season. This project is a powerful symbol of what community theatre is all about, and it is also a wonderful chance to celebrate and embrace our rich diversity. When Anne brought this project to our attention, I knew right away that it would be the perfect fit for us. I cannot wait to watch the show and hear all the stories by these amazing women. The show is being presented free of charge, so I hope we have a packed theatre. Come early to get your seat – It will be worth it!”

Teasdale adds, “The women range in age from 25 to 75 and hail from India, South Korea, Germany, Spain, Vietnam, the Philippines, and the Netherlands. These eight women have a unique perspective on life in Canada and why they love to call it home.” The participants are Karen Bissonnette, Renée Romero Brown, Willie Duykers, Almudena Garcia-Garcia, Anu Joshi, Jyotsna Jain, Soo Kyeong Lee, and Yen Ngoc Nguyen. And as a special treat, Simpson also engaged dancer and choreographer Liliona Quarmyne, whose dance will be her way of telling her own story of immigration from Ghana.

Yen Ngoc Nguyen, one of the participants, points out, “The project has given me an opportunity to pause, look back and re-think my whole journey to Canada. It serves as a point of reflection, enabling me to appreciate more of my effort, my growth, and my appreciation for the beauty of living in this country. I treasure the time I spent with other immigrants in this project as it has widened my understanding and perspective.”

The Shoe Project Antigonish takes place on Friday, February 8 and Saturday, February 9 at 7:30 pm at the Bauer Theatre. Admission is free. The line up will begin at 6:30, doors open at 7. Seating will be on a first come, first served basis. For information call (902) 867-3333 or email tickets@stfx.ca.


The Shoe Project Antigonish

The Shoe Project Antigonish

Immigrant Women Who Tell Their Stories

Feb 8 and 9 – 7:30PM

Bauer Theatre, StFX Campus, Antigonish

Admission Free

Sponsored by Arts Health Antigonish

Story Telling with Brendan at Play Along with AHA!

First of all, big huge humongous thanks to everyone who participated at my table on Nov 14th at Play Along with AHA!  I hope you enjoyed the recording sessions as much as I enjoyed putting them all together.

Stories at Play Along with AHA!

Stories at Play Along with AHA!

Secondly, enjoy! None of us knew what the finished product would look like, but the quality of content made me sure that it would be something worth listening to. It was my privilege to be the one who got to watch it take shape.

Brendan Ahern has been messing around with audio since elementary school. In 2011 his radio show “Radio Potter” won the “Foxiest Night of the Week” award from 93.3 The Fox. He spends the winter plotting for the summer.

The Road Home – March Performances Cancelled

NOTE – The March performances are cancelled.
We expect to perform again in the fall of 2015. Stay tuned for details.

Through the Eldertree Project, writers gathered stories from elders at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home and Highland-Crest Home. This gathering of tales, songs, and dances culminated in “The Road Home,” a performance that will be shown again this March at the Bauer Theatre (St. Francis Xavier University).

From tales about what it was like to fiddle with some of the best in Cape Breton to the life of one of the greats in Canadian country music, “The Road Home” covers storied ground. It pictures life in rural Nova Scotia, revealing what it was like to grow up, raise families, work, and relax with music and square dancing in a place that was vital to so many.

Eldertree - Road Home Poster

The Road Home

Sunday, March 29th at 2 pm and Monday, March 30th at 7 pm
Bauer Theatre, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish


General Admission: $20
Students/Unwaged: $10
Generosity option donation at the door (depending on seating availability)

For more information contact:

Tickets available at the Antigonish Five to a Dollar and at Lyghtesome Gallery, Main St Antigonish.


The Road Home: A Theatrical & Musical Journey

The Eldertree Project presents “The Road Home”  A Theatrical & Musical Journey inspired by the Stories of Elders

Tuesday, December 2, 2013,  7PM
Claire Marie Auditorium
St Martha’s Hospital, Antigonish

Eldertree Performance

Eldertree Performance


See more about the Eldertree Project

Eldertree Community Performances

Mark December 2nd and 9th on your calendars! Those involved with the Eldertree Project through Arts Health Antigonish have gathered stories and songs of elders at Highland-Crest Home and the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home. Now they are working hard to put on several community performances. Anne Simpson and Stacy Doiron, point out that “the culmination of the project is coming soon” and that “everyone in Antigonish will want to see it”.

Mary Beth Carty, Stacy Doiron, Donald MacLennan, Noella Murphy and Rebecca Wild are set to give several rousing, humorous, poignant, and truly memorable performances in early December.

The first Eldertree Project performance for the community will be at 7 pm on Tuesday, December 2nd at the Clare Marie Auditorium at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital and the second performance will be at 7 pm on Tuesday, December 9th at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home.

Call for Emerging Artists for the Eldertree Project

The Eldertree Project, sponsored by Arts Health Antigonish, is an opportunity for emerging artists of various genres to be involved in gathering stories from elders at the RK MacDonald Nursing Home and the Highland-Crest Home during the summer of 2014. In June and July, young artists will help to gather stories, and in August, they will work together with a team to transform the stories into a performance. The two selected artists will be offered a stipend of $1,000 for part-time work during the three-month period. They will have some experience of working with seniors. A background in creative writing, storytelling, or performance (music or drama), will be regarded as an asset. Young artists in their twenties or early thirties are welcome to apply.

Interested artists should submit a resumé together with a statement of interest to arthealthantigonish@gmail.com by May 23rd, 2014. Only those who are selected for interviews will be contacted.

Call for Reflections

Arts Health Network Canada  (AHNC) has recently launched a Call for Reflections that may be of interest to the some of the folks involved with Arts & Health Antigonish.

Each month, the AHNC website and e-newsletter feature a short article written and submitted by an individual reflecting on how the arts have contributed to their personal health, healing or well being.  Personal narratives communicate the value of arts for health in a distinct and powerful way; this is a platform to share those first person stories.  The “Reflection Series” complements the news articles, research and resources we also post, all with the intention of increasing Canadians’ appreciation and understanding that arts engagement can contribute to individual, community and population health and well being.

Please see the Call for Reflections for more information and submission guidelines.

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