Lesson 1: All Hamzas are Late.
Elena and Shira kept gushing over how this big shot actor dude was going to come to our rehearsal and teach us something. I never heard of him or saw him. His first impression wasn’t good since he was late. Not awfully late, but still late. All people named Hamza are always late (Cardinal Rule #1). That’s okay though; if a Hamza in your life is early, something is terribly wrong.
So I've been numb for a few days. Honestly most of the news makes me numb, so much that I usually avoid the news when I can. But the van attack that happened in Toronto this week that killed 10 people and injured 16 (most of whom were women) has stirred something in me. Basically ... I'm pissed.
We are thrilled to announce that SExT has received a grant from Ontario Arts Council! The Artists in Communities and Schools Projects Grant will enable us to provide mentorship to our peer educators as we expand our outreach to the community and gear up for some exciting upcoming shows in the GTA. Thank you OAC and stay tuned for more!
SExT was was a hot topic of conversation at the 2018 Power of the Arts National Forum in Montréal this past weekend, where speakers across Canada came together to share on the theme of "The Arts As Tools For Peace". It was here that our very own director and creator, Shira Taylor, was awarded the TD Michaëlle Jean Foundation Bursary, which is given to a young changemaker who has demonstrated excellence in using the Arts to address issues of concern in Canada.
What an incredible weekend spent at The Art of Changing the World 2017 conference in Ottawa. It was such an exciting experience to present the "Working with Youth in Change Agendas" workshop with our director, Shira Taylor!
SExT: Sex Education by Theatre came together because of Shira Taylor, a PhD candidate out of the University of Toronto, deciding to focus her thesis on using the arts to give youth the tools, information and voices they need to educate themselves and each other on the various topics of Sex Ed. More importantly, SExT gave my community (Toronto’s Thorncliffe/ Flemingdon Park) the chance to decide what was important to us, and how we wanted to communicate those learnings back to our community.
I feel like it was just yesterday that I was writing a blog about the exposé on Jian Ghomeshi. I grew obsessed with the case and wondered why a woman like myself, “who is one of the 50% of women in Canada who have never experienced physical or sexual violence”, would be so affected by the allegations of sexual misconduct made against him. I felt a deep, visceral connection to the women who stepped forward and I chalked it up to the fact that we, as women, have a shared experience and consciousness in a male-dominated world. And that my empathy towards survivors of sexual violence is because we all share the same pain.
I (Aleef) and Shira (Director of SExT and mother of 13 kids) attended the UJA (United Jewish Appeal) Federation’s first ever Mental Health Empowerment Day on September 17th on a Sunday. Yes, Sunday morning at 9 am 🙂
In ancient times, rites of passage meant more than just getting your freak on at your best friend’s barmitzvah. They were downright horrid traditions that were meant to push you out of your comfort zone. In order to become a man from a boy or woman from a girl, you had to go through one of the most dreadful experiences in your whole life.
Some in-depth discussion and perspectives from our SExT cast about mental illness are in the inaugural publication of Be Scene Magazine! Pick up your copy now! bescenemag.wordpress.com/
On June 3rd SExT had the pleasure of performing for Jane Street Hub as part of their Community Info Fair, highlighting sexual health as well as health and wellness in the African, Caribbean, Black, and Latino communities. The event included resources, community services, workshops, counsellors, performances (wink-wink), and anonymous testing for STIs. Having a safe space for conversations on these stigmatized topics such as STIs and mental health, and having it be accessible to everyone, is so incredibly important. I would like to thank the organizers for this.
Over two weeks last May, SExT partnered with OPHEA Canada to provide free shows to highschools in the GTA at downtown Toronto's Factory Theatre. We performed for over 1000 students and we want to thank every single person that came to our show and shared your energy and enthusiasm with us! Let's take a look back to that amazing time with another behind-the-scenes look from our resident vlogger extraordinare: Thuriga Bala. Enjoy!
Our show has officially opened at the Factory Theatre and we would like to give special shout outs to John Polanyi Collegiate, Louise Arbour Secondary School, and Central Technical School for coming this week!
Our Resident Vlogger and SExT Cast member Thuriga Bala has created a vlog that gives you a behind the scenes look into our rehearsal process. Enjoy!
We always say a variation of this in our love lives. If we meet someone awesome we say, "It was always meant to be!!!" But when the same person leaves us because we stepped on his Hello Kitty collection or some other stupid shit we say, "It was never meant to be *cry*". What the hell is this exactly?
SExT is thrilled to be partnering with Ophea to deliver FREE theatre performances created and performed by youth for youth for GTA secondary schools connecting to H&PE, Drama and Language studies! Performances run May 10 – 26 at the Factory Theatre and a stipend is available to support transportation costs.
Limited spots still available! Sign your school group up now: https://www.ophea.net/node/6846
Valentine's Day is a sham. If you are not in a loving relationship on Feburary 14th, all you are left with is a whopping amount of Seasonal Affective Disorder and that dreaded feeling of utter singlehood. Sure, being single has its perks (that empowering sense of individuality and freedom, that beauty of unattachment and self-discovery, and the fact that you don't have time to date because you're too busy doing more important things like making a difference in the world), but being in love is the whole reason why we make art and why movies are so damn good. I can be the happiest single girl in the world and Valentines Day can make it all come crashing down.
We here at SExT love supporting similar-minded projects that aim to spark dialogue about sexual health and healthy relationships within the community. Nuance is a project by NU which strives to create a space for diverse stories (blogs, art, poetry) about sex and sexual health that bring in cultural and religious perspectives from Newcomer, Immigrant and Second Generation Youth (NISY).
SExT is proud to be the keynote performance at the 2017 Youth Sexual Health Research Symposium: Fight Forward, Fight Back. The symposium aims to bring together youth and university students to share their research and artistic pieces on youth sexual health.
Your disadvantages and shortcomings can be used to turn the tables. With a little bit of reframing, you can actually turn what makes you feel insecure into an advantage.
We know what social media is saying: 2016 was a bad year. We lost music legends and film stars, mourned victims of war, political unrest and hate crimes, and there has been an increase in violence and hate speech. Even The Walking Dead is bringing us down to emotional depths we've never experienced before (DAMN YOU NEGAN).
Google defines “self-esteem” as "confidence in one's own worth or abilities; self-respect."
There has been a lot of stigma associated with the feminist movement. With supporters being coined “feminazis,” the movement has received copious amounts of negative attention. Women, too, have started denouncing the term, opting for more neutral titles, such as “egalitarians” or “equalists.” What these women don’t realize is that they are actually all feminists—and we should all be feminists, too.
Nearly three years ago, I walked into one of Toronto’s most diverse and populated high schools with the crazy idea of making sex education more comprehensive, relevant, and impactful, by finding a group of youth willing to sing and dance about it. Last month, I sat next to the Premier of Ontario as we watched a group of the bravest and most dedicated humans I know sing and dance a packed house through everything from periods to chlamydia and homophobia to multiculturalism, eliciting belly laughs and quiet tears.
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