© Amber Williams-King

The SoT Creative Cohort is a group of artists and organizations exploring how abolition and transformative justice can impact theatre-making in process, content, form, and dissemination.

Curated by Nikki Shaffeeullah and Mpoe Mogale, the Creative Cohort is an experiment in applying abolitionist principles to theatre-making. The Cohort includes representatives from five arts organizations across the land; an artist from each of their communities; and additional artists and arts workers supporting the process.

The SoT Creative Cohort gathered on Wasan Island in October 2022 for a retreat to launch their process. They engaged in activities and conversations about what abolition means to them as artists and activists and how abolitionist ideas like mutual aid, harm reduction, non-punitive action, community support, abundance, and pleasure can and could be part of theatre-making. Artists shared writing and performance, and the cohort worked together to workshop early versions of performance ideas.

Throughout the 2022-2023 season, resident artists worked, with support from their host companies and other artists in their communities, to each develop a piece of performance grounded in the project themes.

In May 2023, the Cohort gathered again on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Vancouver, to share their works-in-progress at Rumble Theatre’s Tremors Festival.

Resident Artists: Sobia Shaheen Shaikh, Ravyn Wyngz, Kris Vanessa Teo, Keira Ash, Raven John
Partner Companies: TODOS Productions, lemonTree creations, Chromatic Theatre, Gwaandak Theatre, Rumble Theatre
Company Representatives and Artistic Supporters: Santiago Guzmán, Cole Alvis, Indrit Kasapi, Kodie Rollan, Miki Wolf, Jiv Parasram, Jamie King, Aidan Hammond
Multimedia artist and documentor: Raven Davis
Writer: Yasmine Espert
Production Manager: Senjuti Sarker
Curators and Facilitators: Nikki Shaffeeullah and Mpoe Mogale

On Native Land
by Raven John


In partnership with Rumble Theatre

What is our proximity to Colonization? Ink, Paper, and the space we take up. Without the daily reminders of orange shirts, red dresses and shoes, so many people walk through their lives devoid of an understanding of their relationship to colonization. What is our proximity to the atrocities that have been enacted, and continue to be perpetuated today? As a descendant of residential school survivors, this work by Raven John creates a rare embodied relationship, personal and physical. Raven’s practice has always included a sharing of knowledge, history and skill. A combination of workshop and community care, there will be the option to participate in this work. No one walks away unchanged or ungifted. This work will have you walking away with a sense of self and place.

Creative team
Raven John – Creator, Performer, Survivor
Jamie King – Dramaturg, Director
Aidan Hammond – Emotional Support Person

by Keira Ash aka Cece A. Blossom


In partnership with Gwaandak Theatre

An exploration on shame, the transformative effect of love, and finding freedom afterward. “Transformation” is a burlesque piece that utilizes religious imagery to show how intergenerational shame is limiting and judgemental. Looking to the night sky for guidance, Cece is embraced by ancestral love and breaks the chains of chastity to take flight.

Creative Team
Keira Ash aka. Cece A. Blossom – Creator/Performer
Cherry Cheeks – Performance Mentor
Raven John – Set Design

Braiding Peonies
by Sobia Shaheen Shaikh


In partnership with TODOS Productions

Braiding Peonies (working title) is a play-in-progress about a family who is dealing with the aftermath of racist, anti-Muslim hate in a violent encounter directed at a group of Muslim teenagers. Using transformative justice lenses, the play explores the themes of justice, protection and healing through the experience of the protagonist, Sadiqa (mother), and her 17-year-old, Samreen, as the family grapples with a crisis of trust in institutions that fail to provide meaningful resolution. The family finds support in racialized and transformative justice communities, as they begin to dream of radical and relational possibilities.

Creative Team
Sobia Shaheen Shaikh – Playwright
Santiago Guzmán – Dramaturge and Director

feel ur feels (CRINGE LIBERATION)
by Kris Vanessa Teo Xin-En (张欣恩)


In Partnership with Chromatic Theatre

As we attempt survival in a white supremist and capitalistic society, it is so easy for us to cut ourselves off from how we are feeling, to deny ourselves pleasure, to move at high speeds, to ignore our needs, to bypass processing our lived experiences, to numb sensations that come up, to live through our days on autopilot, to hide who we are and to fast-forward anything that feels uncomfortable.

As we attempt survival in a white supremist and capitalistic society, it is so easy for us to cut ourselves off from how we are feeling, to deny ourselves pleasure, to move at high speeds, to ignore our needs, to bypass processing our lived experiences, to numb sensations that come up, to live through our days

In her essay Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power, Audre Lorde describes the erotic as a power that “rises from our deepest and nonrational knowledge” and “the measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings.” As someone with a lot of feelings all the time, I was deeply moved by this. It made me question when and how I tap into my strongest feelings, gut instincts, and my deepest, nonrational knowledge. It made me wonder about what the potential was if I trusted, listened and took action on these feelings a little more, a whole lot more. How would our relationships with each other evolve if we practiced this deep listening with one another? How big and wide are the possibilities of community and relationship building if we were all peering this intently into ourselves, and moving with this knowledge?

Right now, I have more questions than answers, and I might never find all the answers, and certainly not on my own. But I find comfort and awe in adrienne marie brown’s words: “Emergence notices the way small actions and connections create complex systems, patterns that become ecosystems and societies. Emergence is our inheritance as a part of this universe; it is how we change. Emergent strategy is how we intentionally change in ways that grow our capacity to embody the just and liberated worlds we long for.”

Creating feel ur feels (CRINGE LIBERATION) is a way for me to practice the small actions and connections of listening to the deep feeling and nonrational eroticism within me, and to practice with my friendos, pals and buddy buds, through conversation, stopping to notice what’s around me, in me, and to follow the curiosities that come up along the way.

Audio Pleasure Recipe Contributors
Keshia Cheesman
Filsan Dualeh
Bianca Guimarães de Manuel
Liz Hannay
Bianca Miranda
Mpoe Mogale
Isabelle Sinclair
Kiana Wu

Special thanks
Thomas Geddes – Sound Design Consultation
Tori Morrison – Projection Design Consultation
Kodie Rollan – Dramaturgical Support
Pam Tzeng – Movement Consultation + Creation

by Ravyn Wngz


In partnership with lemonTree creations

A movement and vocal story that follows the journey of 6 enslaved Africans traveling from the Mason Dixie to British North America (Canada) on the 3rd voyage through the trails. A tale of hope, collaboration, survival strategies and liberation. Signals is a love letter to abolition with a goal of inviting audiences into the ceremony that is freedom work.

lemonTree Creations
Abi Cudjoe
Rodney Diverlus
Dedra McDermott
Nickeshia Garrick
Jaz Adina Simone
Mandela Lopez

Prologue to the Stages of Transformation Showcase at Tremors Festival 2023:

But First, We Eat
by Mpoe Mogale and Nikki Shaffeeullah


In Partnership with Undercurrent Creations

A tabletop installation and hors d’oeuvres spread offering an annotated exploration of Stages of Transformation’s findings to date.