Each November, Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region hosts an annual community awareness event in recognition of Woman Abuse Awareness Month. In 2015 we marked nine years of educating our community and inviting them to move beyond violence with us.
To engage our community in a new and impactful way, Dwight Storring (videographer) and Gary Kirkham (screenwriter/actor) were called upon to help us with the project. In collaboration with staff, partners, survivors, and the community, they created a “theatrical performance” called “Rage Against Violence”. This one time performance was presented to the November 30, 2015 at the Dunfield Theatre in Cambridge.
Familiar faces and voices were on stage, embodying different perspectives and experience with domestic violence. All of the experiences are real.
“Rage Against Violence” is a verbatim theatre piece that draws from word-for-word interviews with real people in Waterloo Region who have experienced violence. These are people who can speak to the impact in their lives, the lives of their families and the impact on the community.
Each speaker was chosen because of their role in our community. Further, they are passionate about our work and wanted to partner with us to tell these stories.
Characters in the performance were based on the interviews. Some characters are composites developed from more than one interview. The aim of this one act play “Rage Against Violence” is to give people a deeper understanding of how violence touches their everyday lives. It gives violence a face – perhaps one that is familiar.
The night was a success performing to over 300 supporters and raising much needed funds for our shelters.
Subsequently, “Rage Against Violence” was mounted by the students of Sir John A MacDonald who interpreted and expressed the play through their eyes. They consulted with the playwrights, with WCSWR and with others along the way. The impact of this was felt throughout their school and into their home and social lives. They entered the Sears Ontario Drama Festival and competed with pride among other performances all the while raising funds to rebuild Haven House.
This play has truly lead the way for others to do just ONE ACT to help our community to move beyond violence.