Our organization militates by the core endeavors of diversity, aesthetic consciousness and artistic leadership.
Case for Diversity and Shared Values
Cultural diversity is a treasure-trove of aesthetics as well as the social fabric to build a nation of shared values. Cultural diversity became pronounced due to mass-migration since the 19th century that brought waves of peoples from all over the world to Canada, already inhabited by indigenous people. Cultural diversity has become part of all Western societies. Recognition of diversity has meant progress and survival of nation’s socio-political economy; and non-recognition, a source of social unrest. 28% of Quebec population is foreign born, 14% visible minority, 2% indigenous of which 1 in 5 people live in Montreal. Today, diversity is present in every walk of life, except on our stages, which remain monochromatic and monocultural - dominated by the Euro-French in Quebec and the Euro-English in the rest of Canada - reducing diversity to a junior component of biculturalism (read Eurocentrism). In contrast, by acknowledging modern reality, Teesri Duniya Theatre chooses multiculturalism over biculturalism, heterogeneity over homogeneity and diversity over sameness. Teesri’s aim is to bring visible minorities from the margins to the center and facilitate interaction across different cultures.
Art succeeds when it communicates; communication occurs when art is practiced with excellence. So, it’s important to define excellence. But excellence isn’t merely spectacle and sensory pleasure; it is artistic quality with aesthetic consciousness. A play is depiction of human condition with relevance. That said, a play, however relevant, will mean nothing if not done with conscious narrative performed with the highest possible aesthetics. Excellence is not attained by one but by many things simultaneously; excellence is wide-ranging. In Teesri definition of excellence of a play is categorized by 6E formula: entertain, express, enlighten, engage, examine, empower. For us, both community engagement and excellence are two sides of the same coin. Culture lives within our communities from where the aesthetic evolves. It will be by applying all E’s that we can hope to engage with communities.
Multicultural Diversity and Aesthetic
Contrary to the perceived stereotype, multicultural aesthetic isn’t exotic food, costume, customs and reminiscences of cultural roots; instead it is a tool to critique and tell stories of people ignored by the mainstream. Hence we de-marginalize ignored communities and put a greater emphasis on new plays and playwrights conceived and created by female artists. Our plays are about utilizing creative dissent that combines personal experiences with the experiences of human societies preserved in the form of rituals, behaviours and power-relationship. We are not moved by knowledge or emotions alone, but by the whole of their imaginations and creative impulses of the artists that are rooted in their desire to express their own personalities by putting form to the expressions in the material world with the community.
Self-expression or self-awareness isn’t the primary motive. We ask ourselves a question, “do we want to engage people, or do we want to please ourselves with self-portrayal.” The driving force is the relational beauty of life that seeks an outlet in creation of theatre, for our world is built upon the relational existence of different people and cultures and society’s experience. We see no separation between the political and the personal, between the issue and the aesthetic. The issue lives in the characters. But the characters don’t exist in isolation as individual entities-they exist in a socio-political context that determines their personality, experience, and humanity. A character’s human experience is multilayered -biological, psychological, socio-cultural, spiritual-and all these things are determined by the political system surrounding the character. We prefer plays in which the character’s personality embodies multilayered human experience and reveals truth that connects the otherwise compartmentalized areas of personal and political.
Artistic Leadership, Expansion, Team
We are a company in which the founding artistic director, Rahul Varma, is a playwright, essayists and political commentator. Our senior associate artistic director Ted Little is specialist in Theatre for Human Development. Our in-coming editor-in-chief Aaron Frank is an actor and theatre researcher. To sustain a steady growth and maintain excellence, thanks to improved funding, we are joined by two of the leading artistic personnel: Liz Valdez as an associate artistic director and Deborah Forde as Play and Fireworks Play Development Coordinator. We are supported by numerous artistic associates, interns and researchers from diverse communities in different fields.
Our artistic, administrative leadership is gender and culture balanced.