Shoe Project Newsletters

Shoe Project logo


November 26 2016

Hello supporters of The Shoe Project,

We’re still coming down from our high after the Nov 11th Standing Room Only V performance at the Arts & Letters Club, which played to a sold-out crowd and a standing ovation. It was our best ever, I think. Too bad theatre is ephemeral. We didn’t videotape, but there are photos here:

What a terrific group of twelve women from Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Poland, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Congo, Uruguay, Taiwan, and Brazil. We met in the Senior Common Room at University College, a grand location arranged for us by Professor Ito Peng. Some did voice coaching with Leah Cherniak of the Soulpepper Academy and others with Banuta Rubess, a director and actor with many credits to her name. And they were dynamite onstage. Here’s just one of the comments:

"I was quite unprepared for the emotional roller-coaster that Standing Room Only turned out to be! As each woman told her story, I felt myself enter her world and experience the uncertainty, hope, grief or guilt of abandoning one's homeland and coming to live in Canada. The stories are sometimes funny, often sad, but always spellbinding, told with dignity and courage. The simple staging allowed the most important message to shine through:Canada is enriched by these beautiful, brave women and their families.
We are so lucky they chose to come to our country."

— Marny Gibson

A month ago we launched our website:, working with website designer Lannie Messervey at WordsandMore.  Have a look! Lannie continues to add news, working with Simten Osken, an alumna. Simten also manages our very popular facebook page:

And now for the real stretch—we’re going out across the country! This fall we held our first workshop in Calgary. Our partner was CIWA, the very impressive Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, which offered us room to meet. And we’ve been asked by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Her Honour Lois Mitchell, to perform at the McDougal Centre, Calgary’s historic building where citizenship ceremonies are held.

Speaking of Alberta, The Shoe Project appeared at the University of Calgary/ UNB hosted conference “Speaking Her Mind: Women in Public Discourse” in October. Members flew in from Toronto and Nan Poole of Banff prepared them for the stage and extended Q and A. We are lucky to have Nan working with us. You can all our coaches’ credentials, on our website:

Maria Gregorish, one of the alumnae from our Canmore session in 2014, raised some funds from the Community Fund for the Bow Valley and is working with artsPlace in Canmore. The Canmore session will take place in April and May, with the performance in mid June. And because I have reluctantly admitted I can’t do it all, The Shoe Project has hired its first-ever senior writer to coach in Canmore: she is novelist Marina Endicott of Edmonton,, author of The Little Shadows.

And there’s more—in the first half of 2017 we have 5 workshops and performances planned, in Toronto, Canmore, Calgary, Vancouver, and  most excitingly, in Halifax at Pier 21, Canada’s Immigration Museum.

We are growing, we are putting a structure in place, and building a network of supporters across the country. Please let us know if you would like to be informed of the events near you, or to volunteer.

We have been fortunate in finding local hosts and we do have a committed sponsor. But we need help. You can donate by sending a cheque to The Shoe Project, c/o 218 Poplar Plains Road, Toronto M4V2N6, or online at The Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust Please indicate that your donation is for The Shoe Project.

For five years now the Shoe Project has been creating arrival stories—veteran artist to newcomer, page to stage. Building it has been an amazing journey for me. Thank you for coming along. We’re going to have even more fun next year.


Katherine Govier
Director,  The Shoe Project