Set in the summer of 1969, rochdale is a fictionalized account of life at Rochdale College; an eighteen-storey building located at 341 Bloor St, in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. In the 1960’s, Rochdale was a bold experiment in communal living and education that became the heart of Toronto’s vibrant counterculture. Drawing from extensive archival research, playwright David Yee and director Nina Lee Aquino have created a dynamic ensemble piece that depicts an important part of Toronto’s history.

rochdale premiered in November 2018 as part of the 2018/19 Theatre@York season, where it ran for one week. It featured a 14-person cast made up of members from York University’s fourth year Acting Conservatory and received design and production support from both undergraduate students and faculty. Through its depiction of life at the college, rochdale captures the spirit of the Flower Power movement with its successes, and its failures, as it sought to challenge traditional power structures and bring about a utopic vision for peace. After its successful run at York, we are thrilled to see rochdale return as part of the 2019 SummerWorks Festival.

moving publics


Presented in partnership with York University

Come on board our neighborhood bus for curated conversations on the performance and politics of mobility – everything from public transportation to protest in public spaces. Part public dialogue, part collectively created site-specific installation, this project will invite participants to reflect on questions of access, assembly, and public choreography as we travel together along Queen West. Participants will be asked to do some preliminary reading in advance of the conversation. Articles can be accessed here. ASL interpretation will be provided for this event.

Part of SummerWorks Exchange Day 2; limited capacity, we advise you RSVP in advance by choosing this event option when booking your Exchange Day Pass. Part of the SummerWorks Exchange programming – a series of events to facilitate artist and community growth, to strengthen the ecology of live performance in Canada, and expand our dialogue and collaboration with the international arts community. 

When: Monday, August 12th, 3:00pm-5:00pm

Where: Bus departs from The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St W, Toronto.

For tickets and more, please visit: http://summerworks.ca/artists/moving-publics-an-in-transit-conversation/


Devon Healey 

Devon Healey works in the area of critical disability studies, theatre and drama as well as in education. All of her work is grounded in her experience as a blind woman guided by a desire to, as Paul Gilroy (2000) says, “re-educate the sensorium.” She holds a two year SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship with York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design as well as the Sensorium Lab. Devon is a classically trained actor and holds a PhD in Disability Studies from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. The aim of her work is to show how blindness specifically and disability more broadly can be understood as offering an alternate form of perception and thus, is a valuable and creative way of experiencing and knowing the world. Making use of theatre and drama studies together with critical disability studies and phenomenology, Devon engages an exploration of how, as Rod Michalko (2011) puts it, “we have come to say what we say and do what we do in relation to blindness and disability.” She is currently working on developing her PhD dissertation titled, “Blindness in V Acts: Disability Studies as Critical Creative Inquiry” into both a play and a book. Devon’s publications include,“Eyeing the pedagogy of trouble: The Cultural documentation of the problem subject,” The Canadian Journal of Disability studies, as well as a paper co-written with Drs. Tanya Titchkosky and Rod Michalko titled, “Understanding blindness simulation and the culture of sight,” the international Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Hope University, Liverpool, UK.  

Taien Ng-Chan

Taien Ng-Chan is one half of the Hamilton Perambulatory Unit (HPU), an artist-research collective that has given performative walking events internationally (most recently this July on anti-Olympic sites in Tokyo); a founder of the social activist artists group NEW Committee at the Hamilton Artists Inc.; Chair of the Art and Cartography Commission at the International Cartographers Association; and a founding member of Zineposium, an annual DIY arts and zines fair. Taien has also published four books and anthologies of creative writing, produced multimedia arts websites, and written for stage, screen, and CBC Radio. In addition to her recent exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and Art Gallery of Windsor, her scholarly work can be found in such publications as Wi: Journal of Mobile Media and Humanities. Her website is www.soyfishmedia.com.

Sunita Nigam

In September 2019, Sunita Nigam will be a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Theatre & Performance Studies at York University, where her research will focus on the performance and politics of housing in rural and urban environments in Canada. In particular, she will use community-engaged research to explore different spatial practices citizens are innovating in response to growing housing crises. As she is learning more about sharing knowledge through storytelling as a consultant for a podcast production company, Sunita is interested in experimenting with the podcast as an accessible and evocative medium for disseminating her research. 

Sunita is scheduled to defend her PhD in English at McGill University, where she published on the history and politics of popular performance forms in Montreal and researched the relationship between cultural performances and urban development in North American cities (specifically, Mexico City, New York, and Montreal) from 1968 to the present. Ever-on the move, Sunita currently lives and works in North Hatley, Quebec.   

Rodney Diverlus

Rodney Diverlus is a Haitian-Canadian movement artist, creator, and activist. Central to his work is the dissection of Blackness; specifically, Black bodies interacting with non-traditional performance spaces, and have reinterpreted his work for the stage, film, phone screen, art gallery, the street, container, and as protest. Beyond his artistic practice, he moonlights as a provocateur, community activator, and emerging writer. He is the co-founder of Black Lives-Matter – Toronto and is currently finishing co-editing his first book: Until We’re Free- Black Lives Matter in Canada, to be released by University of Regina Press in Feb 2020. 


This event was made possible by generous funding from the Office of the 
Vice President Research and Innovation at York University.

Moving Publics bus route