Community Partner: Immigrant Women Services of Ottawa (IWSO)
Participants: New Canadian women and girls
Art Practice: Theatre
Description: From the Roots Theatre Project will engage immigrant women and girls in building leadership, communication and theatre skills and culminate in the co-creation of a play that seeks community support in addressing and transforming the intergenerational conflicts common to immigrant women and girls.
To build towards the creation and performance of their play, participants will learn and participate in: theatre games, improvisation, acting, storytelling, playwriting and devising original theatre, dramatic warm ups, Playback Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed techniques including: image theatre, rainbow of desire and forum theatre. Participants will also learn how to build and facilitate their own theatre and storytelling workshop with youth. Within each workshop, the theatre games exercises and techniques will encourage the sharing of personal stories, experiences and exploring themes and conflicts common to the immigrant women community. The later workshops will involve identifying the focus for the forum theatre play, co-creating the script and rehearsing the play. Naomi will direct the play encouraging and supporting participants’ in exploring their own staging ideas. Following each performance, the ensemble members will co-facilitate a short popular theatre workshop for the audience as a means to invite audience members to creatively share their feedback from the play, have the opportunity to share their own stories and deepen community connections.
Naomi Tessler is a popular theatre artist who is passionate about using theatre as a tool for social change. She continually seeks to serve marginalized communities through community arts projects-using theatre as a pathway to support confidence building, community engagement and self-empowerment.
As an artist, Naomi strives to bring out the artist in each individual she works with. She is deeply inspired by witnessing participants in her workshops and community arts projects evolve from a place of shyness to a place of pure confidence. Co-creating theatre with new communities presents the chance for Naomi to listen and learn from each participant’s experience and support groups in weaving those experiences together to share a collective story onstage. Naomi is an advocate of the forum theatre practice for its innate ability to help communities give voice to their conflicts and use theatre as a tool to transform them. She is eager to continue to share her expertise as a popular theatre artist with all those she is able to collaborate and create with.
Immigrant Women Services Ottawa (IWSO) is a haven for immigrant and visible minority women. At IWSO, we create opportunities for women as they integrate into a new society, rebuild their lives free of violence and achieve their personal goals. Leaving an abusive situation is one of the toughest things any woman or child has to face. Every year, over 2,000 women and their children are helped by IWSO’s dedicated and talented staff who are assisted by volunteers.
Naomi Tessler, M.A. has been working with communities globally for 9 years, using theatre to inspire positive change! She is a graduate of the Masters of Arts program in Educational Theatre for Colleges and Communities, New York University and currently facilitates and develops Branch Out Theatre workshops and productions with organizations and groups in Toronto and Ottawa. She is passionate about using theatre as a tool for encouraging self-empowerment, self-confidence, environmental awareness, social justice and well-being. As a facilitator, Naomi has an extensive background in Theatre of the Oppressed,Playback Theatre, acting, physical theatre, storytelling, directing and playwriting and strives to share these tools with those she works and collaborates with. In addition to being a dynamic workshop facilitator and educator, Naomi also works as an actor, director, playwright, poet, singer and Reiki Master. She believes in uniting communities through theatre to build bridges and break through barriers.