10:50am Eliza Gardiner

Prison Theatre: Antigone at William Head Institution. Theme: Equity, Diversity & Social Justice.
Engaging New Voices in Research for Social Change
At William Head Institution from March to November, 2017, I directed a courageous cast and crew of federal offenders in a theatre project offered at the minimum-security facility located at near Metchosin, BC. Canada’s only inmate-run theatre program celebrated its 56th production with a unique version of Antigone, the famed tragedy about a family’s struggle with love, loyalty and the law.

The nine month theatre project included team-building, envisioning, and devising sessions, with the participants putting aside differences to adapt, design, rehearse, and build the show. The men of William Head on Stage (WHoS) experienced a profound success via the 15 performance run of a post-apocalyptic, dubstep rendition of the Greek classic.

In this play about the fight of female characters against a patriarchy with a will for power, the WHoS men not only identified with the challenges facing the women, but they portrayed all the heroines too. In the penitentiary environment where gender expression is limited, this was a brave artistic choice that empowered conversations about vulnerability, sexuality and feminism.