Sum Theatre’s #consent brings a message of healthy sexual relationships to teens
An unwanted touch, inappropriate comment or outright sexual harassment; chances are, you’ve experienced one of them.
The headlines are everywhere. The rise of #MeToo and the Time’s Up movements have opened the flood gates on discussion about sexual behaviour in our society. Sum Theatre is taking a hard look at sexual responsibility in its new play #consent. The theatre company hopes this play will open up discussion among teens as it tours Saskatoon high schools.
“When I was young, we were taught, young girls shouldn’t wear short skirts or walk down dark alleys alone. It was up to you to protect yourself. If something happened, it was your fault.” explains #consent creator Heather Morrison. “Now things have changed. We know that it’s not the dark alleys where abuse takes place. More often, it’s partner violence or the people we know and trust that are often the perpetrators.”
Writing #consent was a collaborative venture with cast and crew each sharing their experiences. (Britainy Zapshalla)
The show’s design mimics a social media feed with different scenes, songs, memes and photos that look at different aspects of inappropriate sexual behaviour.
“We wanted to meet teens where they are at,” says Morrison. “We move from scene to scene as a teen would navigate the digital world. As if you looked up #consent on Instagram.”
“We move from scene to scene as a teen would navigate the digital world. As if you looked up #consent on Instagram.”
This inclusive production was created by a team of interdisciplinary artists. #consent includes work from queer, trans, gender non-conforming, male and female artists from right here in Saskatoon. Over the past two years, these artists have gathered to share their own individual experiences with sexual violence.
“We’re giving teens the tools that would have been useful when we were their age,” says Morrison. “We’re empowering them and giving them an understanding of what true consent means.”
The artists hope this production will create an opportunity for families to talk to their teens about sexual responsibility and consent creating a healthier future for everyone.
For more information and details on public performances, visit sumtheatre.com.