Our vision is to build relationships and partnerships with diverse community groups––such as Indigenous communities, immigrant/refugee communities, different ethno-linguistic communities, LGBTQ+ communities, people of diverse abilities, People of Colour groups, social justice groups,  and inter-faith communities. Third Space Playback Theatre Edmonton aims to connect to various diverse communities in Edmonton to create a joyful, critically engaging, and safe space for sharing stories and creating community relationships. 

Photo: Aloys Fleischmann

About Us

We are a group of diverse individuals committed to exploring the themes of intersecting identities through Playback Theatre in order to promote dialogue, community change, and social justice. Playback Theatre is a form of improvisational theatre that invites audience members to share stories from their lives, which actors reflect back using improvisation including movement, words, metaphor and music. Playback theatre makes space for sharing personal stories in order to honour and make known collective experiences. 

We are engaged in hearing stories of negotiating and navigating the margins and the centre, as well as our constructed or chosen identities along the spectrum of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation. We formed as a group of diverse people representing different ethnocultural communities, language groups, and Indigenous communities. We are a group of creative arts therapists, artists, academics, and activists who are passionate about critically engaged participatory theatre. We are committed to creating spaces of dialogue from a diversity of Indigenous voices and different settler communities.

Download Third Space Playback Theatre CV

Photos: Jordon Hon

Innovative Social Pedagogy Project (2021-24)

Funded by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

The Innovative Social Pedagogy to Empower Indigenous Communities, Reduce Gender, and Racial Biases project takes place over 3 years in 3 locations, Montreal, Chicoutimi, and Edmonton. Project Someone (Concordia University, Montreal), the University of Alberta and l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, along with community partners, will co-create, adapt and evaluate four distinct types of interventions through interactive workshops, documentaries and multimedia, online courses, and policy briefs.

Third Space is part of the Edmonton team, working with community members from Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) experiences. Our work is to acknowledge the deep kinship relations Indigenous nations/peoples have in these traditional territories, and to make space for Black and People of Colour communities to share in their stories and relations. As we learn about our diverse experiences through the power and impact of theatre, we trust that a relational process can offer insights on how our communities can work towards decolonization, how to best centre self-determination and sovereignty, and improve solidarity among racialized individuals and groups. ISP allows for this to happen by making space for stories from storied places. These storied places where we live, work, and play are on Indigenous lands and hold the stories and knowledge of our collectivities (i.e., different nations/peoples, and communities/families). ISP provides a tiered approach to communicating and recognizing each of our individual and collective perspectives in order to create solidarity and resist oppression and marginalization.

Download Edmonton ISP Brochure


In response to racialized attacks, Muslim women practice the art of healing​ through theatre
The Globe and Mail article by Rukhsar Ali (June 12, 2022).
"After watching her playback performance, some of the words and movements she had experienced through her screen stayed with her long after the metaphorical curtain had dropped. Yassin says she felt like she could now take a step toward finding ways to navigate society in a safer manner after receiving private messages from other participants who related to her story."

Multi-university project uses digital literacy to fight discrimination
University Affairs article by Sparrow McGowan (Apr 14, 2022). Researchers in Quebec and Alberta are undertaking a range of initiatives to help marginalized communities over the next 3 years

Concordia-led initiative empowers Indigenous and racialized communities
Concordia News article by Amy Sharaf (Jan 20, 2022). Members of Project SOMEONE are working with partners in Quebec and Alberta to build resilience against discrimination

Photos: Aloys Fleischmann

Past Projects

Revisiting the Three R's- Resistance, Resilience, and Reconcilia(c)tion (2019-21)  |  funded by University of Alberta

In 2019 Thirdspace received seed funding from the University of Alberta Signature Area in Research at the Intersections of Gender (IG) to use Playback theatre as arts-based-research to explore strategies for creating dialogue between settler and Indigenous communities.

After our first few performances we realized that we were not reaching the communities we wanted to see in our audiences to facilitate the kinds of dialogues we wanted to have as an IBPoC performance group. The aim of the IG Development Grant was to build relationships with IBPoC communities through playback workshops/performances, leading up to a performance. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we had to postpone the project to 2021 while we pivoted to performing online. Over the past year we have hosted open rehearsals targeted towards specific identity groups. We will host our final performance on December 18th, 2021, inviting the various communities we have been working with throughout the year. 

Storylines: Community Dialogue Through Playback Theatre (2019-20) A collaboration with Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association of Alberta  |  supported by Edmonton Heritage Council and UAlberta Arts Based Research Studio

Storylines was a collaborative project that provided a series of playback workshops with members of the Saranay community in order to support sharing intergenerational heritage stories. The project began in the Fall of 2019 and ran in-person workshops in Jan-March 2020 using Playback Theatre and movement activities with students, parents and teachers of the program. We worked through the pandemic by shifting our process online and were able to hold our Filipino-centered community event on December 6, 2020 which included performances from Saranay musicians, story interviews by youth with community members and elders, a live on-line performance with Third Space Playback Theatre Edmonton and a 50/50 draw.

Contact us at thirdspaceplayback@gmail.com