Project ArmHer in the Sault

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The ArmHer Collective and Sex Workers Advisory Network of Sudbury (SWANS) proudly present Project ArmHer, a powerful multi-media theatre presentation based on the creative contributions of women with lived experiences in sex work and their allies, on Friday October 4th 2019 at 121 Pittsburgh Avenue (Sault Theatre Workshop).

“Project ArmHer was born out of the frustration of systematically being silenced, spoken for and about, and purposefully excluded from conversation about our work and our lives” said Tracy Gregory, Project ArmHer facilitator and SWANS Founder. “SWANS came together with Sarah King Gold, Cait Mitchell and Sarah Gartshore to develop a project that would foster an opportunity for us to speak to our own challenges, triumphs, wisdoms, and experiences. Our experiences are complex and diverse, and we believe that this performance will reflect that. Throughout this process, we have developed a strong community of peers and allies. We have shared in education exchanges with non-sex working service providers, and we look forward to continuing this work. It has been an absolute labor of love, frustration, pain, and celebration.”

This powerful theatrical experience is based on the stories of women with lived experiences in sex work, and includes visual art (body maps, life size armor and masks) and film. It explores the complex realities of women’s lives who have experienced sexual violence and highlights the idea that sexual violence is everyone’s concern. Women with sex work experience hold important knowledge that needs to be shared in our collective efforts to end violence against women.

“When it comes to challenging, divisive, and complicated issues, theatre is the perfect medium to explore and open up conversations in a safe and relatively risk-free way” said Tova Arbus, local coordinator for this event. “It creates the opportunity for people to engage on a deeper level, to learn about and become comfortable with difficult ideas and issues. We are long past the time when sex work should be recognized and accepted as real and legitimate work. The stigma associated with sex work is dangerous, and keeps people in the sex industry vulnerable, regardless of how they got there. By bringing Project ArmHer to the Sault, we hope that it will encourage a greater understanding and awareness of this issue in our community and inspire people to join in ending this stigma.”

Audience members will learn how social attitudes accompanied by women’s inequality impacts risks, trauma response and healing. The audience will gain an understanding of how they can become community allies and partners in the prevention and recovery from sexual violence.

Please note that this performance deals with mature, explicit subject matter relating to sexual violence, sex work and other topics that may be triggering to some audience members. Emotional support will be available during and after the performance and Project ArmHer has limited the attendance to ages 13+.

Show begins at 7:00 pm admission is “pay what you can” with a suggested donation of $20. Folks are encouraged to consider paying after the show. All proceeds will go towards Project ArmHer.

There will also be a special (private) performance at 1:00 pm of the same day; this show is intended for service providers, and others who work in related fields, as a learning and growth opportunity. If you would like to know more about this please email swansudbury@gmail.com

All community members with lived experience in sex work are welcome to attend either show time at Pay What You Can cost. If you would like to be put on a guest list, rather than speak to people at the door, contact swansudbury@gmail.com to make that happen.

Funding for Project ArmHer was provided by It’s Never Okay: Ontario’s Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment through the Ontario Arts Council. Learn more at www.armher.ca.