Testimonial Theatre, Transnational Debate and Filipina Labour Migration to Canada

Friday, July 18, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Geraldine PRATT , University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
I have for many years worked with the Philippine Women Centre (PWC) of BC to document the experiences of Filipina migrant domestic workers and their families in Canada. Our latest project, a collaboration with Caleb Johnston and theatre artist, Alex Ferguson, involved creating a testimonial play based almost entirely on verbatim transcripts of interviews conducted with migrant Filipino domestic workers, their children, Canadian employers of domestic workers and nanny agents. In the first instance, we turned to theatre to put disparate experiences of care and need into dialogue and to stimulate wider public debate within Canada. But for domestic workers involved, the theatre project also solidified their desire to narrate their stories of life in Canada differently to their families in the Philippines. In November 2013 we presented the play at PETA Theatre in Manila in an effort to contribute to a complex transnational debate about Canada’s Live-in Caregiver Program. I discuss some of the challenges of transnational translation, given that the same migration experience can look and be thought about differently from different locations, and the potential of theatre as a platform for dialogue and organizing and promoting cultures of solidarity and resistance.