Col Cseke

Photograph of Col Cseke

Artist and community organizer Col Cseke

Photo: Courtesy Col Cseke

Col Cseke

Col Cseke is many things to the Calgary arts community. A community organizer, playwright, director, storyteller and the artistic and executive director of Inside Out Theatre, a Deaf/disabled and mad theatre company. 

Since moving here years ago as a recent grad from the University of Lethbridge, Cseke has found his artistic home, his lifelong people, and his purpose — bringing people together and bringing awareness and activism into the arts sector.

“When I moved to Calgary, I was very, very lucky, specifically because I found what I often think of when I look back now, was my kind of first artistic home and that was at a theatre company called Downstage who had a permanent kind of creation ensemble that I joined,” he says. “We were emerging artists at the time, really exploring and learning, and I think we were quite adventurous together. It was the time and the place where it all started — I met all the folks that would turn out to be my lifelong people.”

The ensemble shared a strong social political standpoint that inspired and influenced Cseke, broadening his connections and leading him to find friend and collaborator Jamie Dunsdon and the project This is My City, where “professional artists work and engage with homeless folks in the community.” 

Working with people experiencing homelessness became a defining part of his career and ultimately led Cseke to Inside Out Theatre. “When I started about 10 years ago, (Inside Out) was explicitly disability. And over the years, our mandate has expanded as well to first kind of formally include D/deaf arts and D/deaf culture as part of our mandate, and then more recently to formally include mad arts and mad culture as part of our mandate. 

“So the company is evolving kind of all the time. Like really, it’s very, it’s very engaged with today, very engaged with what’s happening in the disability worlds, D/deaf worlds, and in the arts worlds, and those are all rapidly evolving, changing cultures as well.”

Tune in to hear more about Cseke’s capacity for community building through the arts, his work with Inside Out Theatre and the struggles of being an activist and advocate in today’s world on this week’s Storytelling Podcast.



About The Storytelling Podcast

Sharing diverse stories of creativity in our city, The Storytelling Podcast shines a spotlight on artists and projects that connect Calgarians to the arts. Part of The Storytelling Project, this series raises awareness about Calgarians who, by living creative lives, are making Calgary a better city, affecting positive change and enriching others’ lives.

Have a story to share? Email us at submissions@calgaryartsdevelopment.com.

Living a Creative Life Logo

About The Storytelling Podcast

Sharing diverse stories of creativity in our city, The Storytelling Podcast shines a spotlight on artists and projects that connect Calgarians to the arts. Part of The Storytelling Project, this series raises awareness about Calgarians who, by living creative lives, are making Calgary a better city, affecting positive change and enriching others’ lives.

Have a story to share? Email us at: submissions@calgaryartsdevelopment.com