Join historians and graduate students from across Canada this May for an evening of live performances connected by the themes of history, memory and narrative. The first-ever Staging Our Histories happens at the National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage on May 31st, 7:30pm.
Hosted by the CBC’s Adrian Harewood, Staging Our Histories spotlights eight artists as they creatively employ film, theatre, poetry and storytelling to examine the ways in which we both remember and forget the past. The performers, who responded to an open call for submissions last winter, are both professional and amateur artists, and come from Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Nova Scotia. The pieces are diverse both in subject matter and storytelling techniques; they range from the first-person embodiment of a slave in 1734 Montreal, to memories gathered from interviews with a 92-year-old grandmother depicted through video and live performance.
The co-directors of Staging Our Histories, Arpita Bajpeyi, Sinead Cox and Marie-Anne Gagnon are all graduates of Carleton’s Public History MA Program. They invite attendees of other history-focused events occurring in Ottawa that weekend to capitalize on this chance to experience history (a)live. The Carleton Centre for Public History will host this year’s annual Public History Partnership Network Reception in conjunction with Staging Our Histories at the National Arts Centre. The May 31st date also coincides with the Canadian Historical Association’s AGM and the 2015 Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, which are happening at the University of Ottawa that week.
Bajpeyi, Cox and Gagnon were inspired by studying performativity and narrative at Carleton to create a live event that would take history off the page and onto the stage. They hope that the night’s powerful performances, as well as interactive talkbacks moderated by Harewood, will facilitate a conversation regarding how historical narratives are shaped and shared everyday outside of academia and the classroom.
The event’s volunteer organizers also include Carleton grad students Kathryn Boschmann and Matthew Moore, as well as alumnus Christina Parsons. Staging Our Histories is not-for-profit, and supported by Carleton University’s Department of History, the Carleton Centre for Public History, and Carleton University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences-Office of the Dean.
Audience members are also invited to a brief reception to follow the performances and talkbacks. Tickets are available now via the NAC’s box office.