Jenna Rodgers and Michele Decottignies

From Me to We: Recognizing the Impacts of Identity & Power on Diversity

A few provocative statements about our city and the world have recently inspired us:

  • Diversity stimulates local economic growth (
  • Calgary is currently the fourth largest city in Canada with the highest immigrant population, next to Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal (Diversity in Calgary: Looking Forward to 2020)
  • “Examine what you are doing to create a climate in which diversity is valued.” – George D. Calliou

Using Theatre of the Oppressed as a jumping off point, we’ll engage in a collective exploration of the role that our identity plays in the power we have access to and the influence we can therefore wield. The goal is to understand and position “diversity”; as a primary driver of artistic, cultural and economic enrichment in Calgary, by moving from individual empowerment (inclusion) to collective impact (equity) through cross-cultural solidarity.

About Jenna Rodgersimage – Jenna Rodgers

Jenna is a mixed-race Director and Dramaturg based in Calgary. She is the Artistic Director of Chromatic Theatre—a company dedicated to producing and developing work by and for diverse artists. She is a Co-Producer of the Calgary Congress for Equity and Diversity in the Arts (CCEDA), and is the Associate Dramaturg at the Playwright’s Colony at the Banff Centre.

Recent Directing credits include: Lunchbox Theatre (Let the Light of Day Through) Chromatic Theatre (10-Minute Play Festival, Cowboy Versus Samurai, Parched); and Common Ground (Beneath the Skin). Assistant Director: Lunchbox Theatre (In on It; Book Club; Epiphany; What Gives?!), Downstage (A Bomb in the Heart);Tarragon Theatre (carried away on the crest of a wave), and fu-GEN Theatre (Ching Chong Chinaman, Yellow Fever). Beyond the Banff Centre, Jenna has had the pleasure of dramaturging work at the Kennedy Center, Lunchbox Theatre, Chromatic Theatre and fu-GEN Theatre. Jenna holds a MA in International Performance Research from the universities of Amsterdam and Tampere.

About Michele Decottigniesimage – Michele Decottignies

Michele Decottignies has 30 years’ experience teaching evidence-based, anti-oppressive practice to agents of change in the arts sector and beyond. She’s spent the last 15 years exclusively prioritizing equity & diversity in the arts through her own company, Stage Left Productions – a conduit of artistic innovation and cultural freedom for diverse artists.

Through Stage Left’s globally-esteemed Theatre of the Oppressed practice, Michele has successfully facilitated over 300 arts equity workshops, across Canada, as well as in the USA and Australia. Her arts equity practice is unique: It pays equal attention to the barriers experienced by all equity-seeking communities and attends to inequities embedded in all three spheres of influence (personal, social and structural). Michele especially pays particular attention to needed cultural and emotional safeties, and her approach goes far beyond those divisive frameworks of “us versus them,” toward cross-cultural solidarity and collective impact.