INSPIRE+DO GOOD#3: Annabel Soutar, activiste en théatre/theatre activist

What she does that’s inspiring == Que fait-elle d’inspirant ?

(EN below) Annabel est la co-fondatrice de Porte Parole, une compagnie de théâtre documentaire pas comme les autres, fondée en 2000. Elle et son partenaire Alex Ivanovici produisent des pièces de théâtre sur des sujets qui ont un impact social tels que la santé, la globalisation et l’immigration. Leur objectif ? De provoquer et susciter le dialogue citoyen.

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Annabel is the co-founder and artistic director of Porte Parole, a documentary theatre company she founded in 2000 with her husband Alex Ivanovici to focus on social conflicts in Quebec and Canada. From GMOs to access to fresh water, from racial profiling to energy politics. Annabel’s goal is to use theatre for democratic dialogue, and to promote curiosity, creativity and critical thinking between diverse people.

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If you had all the money/power in the world, what problem would you solve? == Si tu possédais tout l'argent/pouvoir au monde, quel problème résoudrais-tu ? 

I’d put more resources into the hands of theatre artists to create moments of encounter… so many communication problems evolve because things become abstracted from reality and to bring them back, to root them allows us to be more human…I wish that artists were not at the periphery of society. If you gave me all the money in the world, I would find a way to make the theatre model more of a useful tool for solving problems.

What propelled you to do what you do? Qu'est-ce qui t'a amené à faire ce que tu fais ?

I happened to come across two very inspiring women (while at university), both documentary playwrights…I realized that theatre could be a force for change, not just a decorative entertainment medium….and I saw Quebec as a really interesting arena for this because people are very engaged but there are also a lot of taboo subjects here.

Who or what inspires you? Qui ou quoi t’inspire ?

…the people who really inspire me are the people who face the injustices they see, and despite being hard done by, find a way to transform that into a positive experience for themselves and for others.

What scares you? Qu’est-ce qui te fait peur ?

… I often have this fear that we’re running out of time…sometimes you have to recognize the intrinsic value in things and a lot of artists are trying to justify the value of their work by the bottom line, by how many tickets they sell….I fear right now that the pace of work and delivery is not allowing human beings to improve…we just don’t have the time to ask the deep questions we have to ask.

If you had to stop doing what you do, then what? Si tu étais forcée d'arrêter ce que tu fais, tu...?

I’d find something else to do (laughs).

What is the best thing about being a woman? Quel est l’avantage d’être femme ?

Everything! I can’t even think about not being a woman…I feel like we’re starting to finally recognize and monetize and acknowledge women’s skills, which are that we are very collaborative, we are very nourishing…our moral compass is generally about taking care of people. And so we always put that first instead of getting ahead, which we’ve been punished for in the past, but which is now being recognized as a sustainable business model.

 En vacances...in holiday mode!

En vacances...in holiday mode!

What’s the hardest part about being a woman? Et quel est l’aspect le plus difficile en tant que femme ?

Trying to do it all.

What do you want your obituary to say about your life? Que voudrais-tu qu’on dise sur toi à ta mort ?

That people enjoyed working with me. That people had fun – but I think that they would never say that because I’m so f*cking serious, I’m such a workaholic, and I can be driven to the point of no mercy…so maybe it’s good that you’re asking me that question now because if I want that to be said, I’m not achieving it at all (laughs).

What advice can you give people who want to DO something but don’t know how? Quel conseil donnerais-tu à quelqu’un qui veut FAIRE du bien dans le monde mais ne sait pas comment ?

Just do it, like the Nike tag line says.

If you were a man, what would you do to empower the girls around you? Si tu étais un homme, que ferais-tu pour soutenir les femmes ?

… I would respect women...But I don’t think it’s up to men to empower women, I think it’s up to women to just empower themselves.

Anything to add about inspiration? As-tu autre chose à dire sur l’inspiration ?

… I am so inspired by those teenagers in Parkland Florida right now, who according to what I read, were drama students! They had the guts after a traumatizing experience to recognize the power they had in that moment, to stand up in front of the media, and say that’s enough…

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