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).
Perhaps SExT came out when the world needed hope the most, because 2016 was by far our strongest year. In 2016 SExT grew from a get-together in a small room at the the Flemingdon Health Centre to a semi-private show at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute that sparked a passionate debate about consent among the students, to a critically-acclaimed Toronto Fringe and Summerworks phenomenon. The grants we received from the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Council enabled us to grow as a production and enlist the help of several local professionals to put on a show that received a "NNNN" review and Critic's Pick from NOW Magazine and a Best Ensemble recognition from The Torontoist. We performed for Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne whose emotional response to the show left us validated and inspired to continue our work to reach ever larger audiences. Recently, Toronto Mayor John Tory dropped by our rehearsal to pump us up for our performance at the Willowdale Winter Fest.
SExT began three years ago as a dialogue among high school students who wanted to talk about sexuality as it related to them and their communities. When creator Shira Taylor first came to Marc Garneau Collegiate, she was told that she would have a hard time amassing a group of students who would be interested in this project. Now the SExT family is stronger than ever and after our most exciting year yet, we are ready for more exciting ventures to continue in 2017. Stay tuned! And Happy New Year! :)
- Post by Elena Juatco, SExT Creative Facilitator
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