Academic and popular literature are in agreement: anapproach to sex education that empowers youth, and recognizes the social and human context of sexual relationships and behaviours, creates real change. Sadly, for the most part, innovative and interactive pedagogies are nowhere to be found in regards to school sex ed curriculums. There is a growing relationship between the arts, public health, and education. The common conceptual threads linking sex and theatre pedagogy (and the empirical evidence substantiating this link), support the the idea that theatre is the ideal tool to teach sex education among young people. At its core theatre is a personal experience, and invites youth to invest in their own learning by becoming a dynamic part of it. The topics included in the new curriculum's sexual education requirements are complex and multifaceted: theatre is uniquely qualified to aid youth in flexing their intellectual, creative, and emotional muscles to make the subject matter immediate, accessible, and lastingly impactful.
Listen to our cast explain it in their own words:
"I love watching the audience react and get emotionally involved while we perform and educate. The best type of learning is when you don’t realize it because it’s fun." - Sara Ahmed , SExT Cast Member
The release of 2015 Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum finally answers the call for comprehensive sex education that moves beyond the biology of sex to arm youth with the information, understanding, and skills to help them navigate the myths, uncertainties, and anxieties that accompany early experiences with physical and emotional relationships and act as barriers to health. This is the first curriculum update since 1998 and newly covers consent, limit setting, bullying, sexting, harassment, relationships, LGBTQ identities, etc. While the new curriculum provides students with access to empowering and inclusive sex education, it is also accompanied by a great deal of controversy and resistance from certain groups. We hope to help equip teachers with more tools to engage with students on these subjects in evidence-based, arts-infused, and culturally sensitive ways. The new curriculum provides an unprecedented opportunity to explore the power of theatre in the health classroom and blaze new trails in Ontario, perhaps setting an example for Canada and beyond.