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Far From the Heart: Interactive forum theatre coming to Fleming College




farfromtheheartPeterborough ON – (October 10, 2017) – A play intended to engage and educate teens about the different forms of pressure and violence in dating relationships, and the issues that lie beneath the behaviour, is coming to Fleming College on Oct. 18

Far From the Heart is interactive forum theatre inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. Presented by the Unitarian Fellowship and community partners (Fleming College, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, and John Howard Society), the play and its message hopes to reach youth and their parents, guardians, and mentors.

Originally developed in 2006 as a collaboration between Grey Bruce teens and local artists, the play has since toured with Sheatre eight times in two provinces and has been adapted into an interactive film.

The show follows four teen characters on the night of a big party as they struggle with personal expectations, peer pressure and relationships. After the story plays out, key scenes are revisited and the audience is invited to intervene and change the outcome. This interactive format allows the audience to explore issues that can lead to dating abuse and sexual violence and also talk about ways that healthy relationships can be encouraged.

“I began Far From the Heart as a summer project for youth in Grey-Bruce, Ontario, in 2006 in response to a growing problem with sexual violence among youth, and a reluctance to admit that it was happening in our rural community. No surprise. Who wants to talk about rape and sexual assault? At first, no one, but then kids came forward, and the dam broke as we provided a way to explore these themes together safely, respectfully and with fun.  We created a play that doesn’t shy away from the truth.  It’s brave,” said Joan Chandler, Artistic Director for Sheatre. “Far From the Heart endures because it works.  Because the issue is universal, the problem rampant, the project provides a useful, in-demand, entertaining vehicle to combat it. We believe in the art form. I love this little play and what it does.”

“As part of our commitment and transition to consent culture, Far From the Heart offers such a unique and effective modality of addressing a very sensitive subject,” said Lisa Ducharme, Director of Health Services at Lakefield College School. “The sincerity of the actors and interactive nature of their performance create a genuine experience for young people. The resulting debate, controversy, and reflection (from exposing bias, prejudice, and truth) provided our students a formidable platform for greater understanding, empowerment, and transformation on a systemic level.”

Far From the Heart will take place from 7-9 p.m. on Oct. 18 in the Whetung Theatre (B3 100) at Fleming’s Sutherland Campus, 599 Brealey Dr., Peterborough. The play is intended for ages 13 and up with a suggested donation of $15 or pay what you can. However, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Please note: while the cast is white and the story presented in this play is heteronormative, dating violence and sexual abuse are issues for all races and cultures, gender identities and sexual preferences. Representatives from the Unitarian Fellowship and the partnering community organizations will be available for support and referral at the event. The organizers are committed to creating an open and inclusive dialogue and interactive session that recognizes that Indigenous People and People Of Colour and the LGBTQ* community (among others) are at a higher risk of violence.


For more information, please contact:

Graham Petty


Laura Copeland
Communications Officer
Fleming College
705.749.5530 x 1370