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During the months of June, July, and August, safeword welcomes artistic leaders from across the country to speak in a three-part series called Flip the Script! Summer Symposium Series. Each event will focus on different elements of storytelling that venture beyond assumptive, colonial paradigms and amplify practices that liberate the artistry of dramatic creation. All three events are FREE to attend and will be live streamed on our YouTube channel with an audience Q&A. Stay connected to all our social media platforms (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook) as we will be revealing each subsequent event over the coming months! 


This series is made possible through the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.


Our first event in the series is Dramaturgy Now featuring guest speakers Taiwo Afolabi,

Sadie Berlin, Davey Samuel Calderon, and

Lindsay Lachance.


The practice of dramaturgy is rich with complexity but problematic when rooted in upholding dominant systems of power. Four artistic innovators share their own unique approaches to dramaturgy and explore the question: what is dramaturgy now?


Saturday, June 26th

12pm PDT / 1pm MDT / 2pm CDT

3pm EDT / 4pm ADT / 4:30pm NDT

FREE event

ASL Interpretation provided


The live broadcast of Dramaturgy Now is no longer available.

Meet our Guest Speakers


Taiwo Afolabi

Taiwo Afolabi, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the University of Regina's Theatre Department and representative for the ITI/UNESCO Network for Higher Education in the Performing Arts. He is an applied theatre practitioner-scholar working across a variety of creative and community contexts. His practice and research interests include research ethics, theatre and education, theatre and policing, decolonizing dramaturgy, and art leadership. He is the founding artistic director of Theatre Emissary International, Nigeria and a research associate at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.


Sadie Berlin

Sadie Berlin is a published author, a writer of theatre texts, and a performance artist. In previous incarnations, she has been a legal anthropologist and ethnographer, an offshore finance journalist, and a literary buyer for a bookshop chain in London, U.K. In theatre, Berlin is known for her work on cultural dramaturgy. From 2019 to 2021, Berlin worked at The Lab of the Stratford Festival as a dramaturge and curator, and sometimes director and producer of digital projects. Berlin is an educator, activist and anti-racism consultant. Sadie has recently taken the role of artistic director of b current.


Davey Samuel Calderon

Davey Samuel Calderon is an emerging director, curator, writer, producer, drag artist, dramaturg and settler on the unceded territories of the coast salish peoples: Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and the Squamish nations. He is the Co-Founder of New(to)Town Collective, an emerging theatre collective. Davey is the playwright for Big Queer Filipino Karaoke Night!  (2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival; reading at the 2020 Tales of the Flipside Festival), A Body of Constellations and the short film, RUN (2018 Vancouver Queer Film Festival). Currently, he is Playwrights Theatre Centre’s Dramaturg, Public Engagement, Resident Curator for 2021 rEvolver Festival (Upintheair Theatre), and dramaturg for MSG 2’s Before They Cut Down our Tree by Jenna Masuhara (vAct).


Lindsay Lachance

Lindsay Lachance (Algonquin Anishinabe) has worked as a dramaturg for over a decade and has a PhD from the department of theatre and film at the University of British Columbia. Lindsay’s dramaturgical practice is influenced by her relationship with birch bark biting and the Gatineau River. She is also the director of the Animikiig Creators Unit at Native Earth Performing Arts, which focuses on the development of new Indigenous works.


Our next event in the series is It Takes Two featuring writing pairs Amy Lee Lavoie & Omari Newton, and Nick Green & Andrea Scott.


Let’s replace the auteur with the accomplice. Two dynamic writing duos behind the plays “Redbone Coonhound” and “Every Day She Rose” share their experiences working collaboratively and offer advice on writing about sensitive subject matter in pairs.


Saturday, July 24th

12pm PDT / 1pm MDT / 2pm CDT

3pm EDT / 4pm ADT / 4:30pm NDT

FREE event

ASL Interpretation provided


The live broadcast of It Takes Two is no longer available.

Meet our Guest Speakers


Authors of “Redbone Coonhound”


Amy Lee Lavoie

Amy Lee Lavoie is an award-winning playwright and a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Playwriting Program. Her first play, Rabbit Rabbit, received its premiere production with Infinitheatre, earning Amy Lee two MECCA’s for Best Text and the Revelation Award. Rabbit Rabbit has since been produced across Canada and in the US. Other plays include Me Happy (co-written with Matthew Mackenzie/Summerworks Festival), Stopheart (Factory Theatre) Genetic Drift (Pi Theatre/Boca del Lupo), My Tom (Railtown Lab Series), Scout’s Honour (Radio Play/Imago Theatre), and C’mon, Angie! (Touchstone Theatre/Leroy Street Theatre) which was hailed as “visceral, important, life-changing theatre.” Amy Lee was also the Head Digital Writer for the CBC drama Strange Empire, which won a Gracie Award (Women’s Alliance Media) for Best Website in recognition of its interactive Storytelling. Amy Lee is currently co-writing multiple projects with her husband/fellow writer Omari Newton. They include Redbone Coonhound, generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and The Arts Club Theatre through their Silver Commission Program, and an adaptation of Titus Andronicus, commissioned by Repercussion Theatre.


Omari Newton

Omari Newton is an award-winning professional artist. As a writer, his original Hip Hop theatre piece Sal Capone has received critical acclaim and multiple productions, including a recent presentation at Canada’s National Arts Centre. He has been commissioned by Black Theatre Workshop (BTW) in Montreal to write a companion piece to Sal Capone entitled Black & Blue Matters. Omari and his wife, fellow professional playwright Amy Lee Lavoie, recently received a generous grant from the Canada Council to co-write a new play Redbone Coonhound. Their latest collaboration is a bold and innovative satirical comedy that confronts instances of systemic racism in the past, present and Future. Newton’s work in Speakeasy Theatre's production of Young Jean Lee's The Shipment earned him a 2017-2018 Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor, as well as a nomination for Best Direction. Notable film & TV credits include: Lucas Ingram on Showcase’s Continuum, Larry Summers on Blue Mountain State and Black Panther in multiple animated projects (Marvel). Most recently, Omari has a recurring role as Nate on Corner Gas (the animated series) and a recurring role as Corvus of Netflix’s hit animated series The Dragon Prince.


Authors of “Every Day She Rose”


Nick Green

Nick is a Dora and Sterling Award winning playwright, and the creator of the Social Distancing Festival. Credits include Happy Birthday Baby J (Shadow Theatre); Every Day She Rose (Nightwood Theatre, co-written with Andrea Scott); Fangirl (book; Musical Stage Company, Launch Pad); In Real Life (book; Canadian Music Theatre Projects); Dinner with the Duchess (Next Stage Festival, BroadwayWorld Toronto Award); Body Politic (Buddies in Bad Times/lemonTree Creations; Dora Award); Poof! The Musical (book and lyrics; Capitol Theatre, Sterling Award nomination); and The Fabulous Buddha Boi (Guys UnDisguised, Sterling Award).


Andrea Scott

Andrea Scott’s first play, Eating Pomegranates Naked, won the RBC Arts Professional Award, and named Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Production at the 2013 SummerWorks Festival. Better Angels: A Parable won the SummerWorks Award for Production and was published in 2018. Don’t Talk to Me Like I’m Your Wife, won the Cayle Chernin Award for Theatre and ran at SummerWorks in 2016. Her play about Viola Desmond, Controlled Damage, had its sold-out world premiere at Neptune Theatre in 2020 and will open at The Grand Theatre in 2022.


Our final event of the series is Knowledge Speaks featuring guest speakers Jennifer Alicia, Pesch Nepoose, Tyler Pennock and Brenda Wastasecoot.
Going beyond the supremacy of the written word, four Indigenous artists come together in the circle to have a conversation about the stories that live and breathe in their bodies, memories, and dreams.

Saturday, September 11th
12pm PDT / 1pm MDT / 2pm CDT/ 

3pm EDT / 4pm ADT / 4:30pm NDT

FREE event
ASL Interpretation provided


The live broadcast of Knowledge Speaks is no longer available.

Meet our Guest Speakers
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Jennifer Alicia - Curator

Jennifer Alicia (they/she) is a queer, Mi’kmaw/settler (German, Irish, Scottish) multi-disciplinary artist originally from Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk (Bay Of Islands, Newfoundland), now residing in Toronto. She is a two-time national poetry slam champion and member of Seeds & Stardust Poetry Collective. Jennifer Alicia's debut chapbook titled Mixed Emotions was recently released by Moon Jelly House. They are currently working on a play titled Restor(y)ing Identity and presented an excerpt of it at the first ever Nogojiwanong Indigenous Fringe Festival in June 2021. Find out more about Jennifer Alicia's work here:


Pesch Nepoose

Pesch Nepoose is a Cree multidisciplinary artist from Edmonton, Alberta. Currently residing in Toronto, Ontario. She graduated from the Centre for Indigenous Theatre. Now a full time actor, she has been a part of many theatre projects including film. She was in By These Presents with Ange Loft, and Hunger by Ariel Smith which premiered at the imagineNATIVE Film Festival 2019. Pesch enjoys working with Clay and Paper Theatre, Jumblies Theatre, the Encounters collective and many others. Also a playwright, Pesch formed a collective with her two classmates and created the play S.O.S. Saving Our Sovereignty, which was part of the Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival. Pesch is also completing the first draft of her one woman show titled The Bridge, which has gone through many workshops with the Paprika Festival and Nightwood’s Groundswell Festival.


Tyler Pennock

Tyler Pennock is a Two-Spirit Cree person from northern Alberta. They’ve been in Toronto for over twenty five years, trying just about everything as a job or a hobby. They are a graduate of Guelph’s Creative Writing MFA program.


Brenda Wastasecoot

Brenda Wastasecoot is Cree from Churchill, Manitoba. She is a mother, grandmother, and great-great Aunt of the Wastasecoot and Brightnose family. Their roots begin from the York Factory fur trading post, flowing south along the Hudson Bay railway to Winnipeg. Currently, Dr. Wastasecoot teaches at the University of Toronto, where she resides in Toronto. She consults with the Arts & Science Faculty members to better reflect the historic truth and to open doors to reconciliation. Dr. Wastasecoot’s doctoral dissertation: “Showing and Telling the Story of Nikis: Arts Based Auto-ethnographic Journeying of a Cree Adult Educator.” In telling the stories from a memory map of her childhood home in the 1960’s she exposes the impacts of the Residential School policy.

Meet our Collaborators

Digital Producer Nicole Eun-Ju Bell

Nicole Eun-Ju Bell is a Toronto based mixed-race multidisciplinary artist with a passion for performance and technology.  She is fascinated with cyborgs and Loïe Fuller.  Among other things, she is a projection designer, actor, writer, and stage manager.  More recently, she has branched out into producing podcasts, delving into live-streaming, and experimenting in AR and VR.  She’s worked on shows with Theatre Passe Muraille, Canadian Stage, Hart House Theatre, Single Thread Theatre Company, as well as shows at Toronto Fringe, Next Stage, and SummerWorks.

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