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Learn the latest news, views and attitudes from safeword

Photo Credit: Christine Buijs

6 / 11 / 21

When I founded safeword in 2012 with fellow collaborators Alex Dault and Claire Hill, we were a rebellious group of emerging artists struggling to carve out a space for ourselves in an environment still recovering from a global recession. Luckily, we weren’t alone and the city was experiencing an explosion of independent theatre set in pop-up venues such as Videofag, Storefront Theatre and any strange, affordable venue artists could get their hands on. We produced events and initiatives with minimal resources supported by volunteers and artists working on profit shares. We relied on ingenuity, risk and the generosity of others to do what we loved but eventually our way of operating became unsustainable and wasn’t meaningfully serving our communities in the ways we had originally envisioned. 


In 2018, the entity of safeword went on hiatus to pause, reflect and deeply evaluate our purpose within the vast arts ecosystem. For myself, this respite offered time and space to undergo a process of self-discovery that involved pursuing independent initiatives, personal transformations, and a year of further education to enhance my skills in arts management. Now in 2021 armed with the same rebellious spirit in the face of profound hardship and turmoil, we are reintroducing safeword to our communities as a new beginning. A chance to reimagine, revolt, redistribute and rebuild. We’ve learned a lot since we last had an encounter with you and we are grateful to have the opportunity to offer our services in this time of need and to share our vision for a better future.


We are living in revolutionary times. Rules are changing, new languages are forming, power is being reclaimed, crimes are coming to light, old monuments are crumbling and a time for deep reckoning is upon us. It is all at once exciting and inspiring but fraught with uncertainty, resistance, and violence. This summer, we want to help navigate this new landscape with a series of online programs featuring an incredible roster of guest artists that engages with the issues of the times and presents possible pathways for moving forward. 


During the months of June, July and August, we present a three-part panel series called Flip the Script! Summer Symposium Series funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. 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. Our first event, Dramaturgy Now, will be broadcast on June 26th at 3pm EDT and features Taiwo Afolabi, Sadie Berlin, Davey Samuel Calderon, and Lindsay Lachance. Learn more at our Flip the Script! page HERE.


We also recognize a great need for creative facilitators to become better equipped at implementing equitable practices in their workplaces. In July, we are thrilled to offer a two part seminar course called Head, Heart, Gut: The Foundations of Trauma-informed Practice facilitated by Ronnie Ali (she/her) who recently starred in the documentary series “Shine True” on OUTtv and Fuse TV.  For an incredible deal, we invite you to join a community of learners to explore the philosophy and practice of anti-oppression and trauma-informed care. Everything you need to know about the course is available HERE.


Before our practice was solely focused on creating live theatre but we’re not too hung up on labels. safeword currently defines itself as a multidisciplinary arts collaborative meaning we’ve expanded our reach to include a multitude of different art forms and view our role as a supportive collaborator. Do you have an idea, project or initiative in the works that you think safeword can help bring to life? We now accept unsolicited proposals for collaborations from individuals, groups, collectives and organizations in our new Cruise form available HERE.


Being isolated and inundated with daily traumas can leave us all feeling lost these days. Let’s try to find each other again in the dark. In the unknown with our arms stretched out wide. Let’s say yes to what ifs and fearlessly live in the present. We’re not alone anymore. We’re in this together. Welcome back.




Brandon Crone (they/them)

Artistic Director of safeword

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