2020 shifted from a full schedule of productions and in person events, to the year of video. What a priviledge to share important stories of heart and hope. Using the power of story to cross isolation, social distancing and lockdowns. Many organizations had to shift to video to connect with clients. So our company collaborated to create a platform for these voices to emerge from behind the data and statistics.
This video highlights the important work of Sihle BLOOM for young women. Check out my Youtube or Vimeo page for more stories of community building.
Two very dear and deeply loved women who had great impact in my personal and professional life died a week ago. Accomplished, smart,talented, beautiful and blessed with a lovely streak of mischief. Beacons of joy, they radiated love and kindness. Cruelly, both were ravaged by disease.
Janet Heerema battled ovarian cancer then acute leukemia fighting until her last days when she finally, gracefully, stopped. In the midst of her illness, Janet organized a ‘Celebration of Life’ which was a monumental sold-out concert raising thousands for Ovarian Cancer research. Janet had a way of inspiring, bringing out the best in people. She created community, using music as a balm and an inspiration. The times I needed counsel, Janet would offer thoughtful, experienced, kind reflection. She lived fully, with the belief love was the reason and the answer. Her example is one I will always draw upon.
Lesleigh Turner’s battle was also courageous. Struck down by the relentless illness of depression, Lesleigh put a brave face on her struggle finally succumbing to her disease by taking her own life. An unfair end to an unfair diagnosis. An incredibly talented woman – photographer, actor, director, producer, creator of community. Over her challenging final years she moved heaven and earth to build a home for her family. Lesleigh was a great friend, a great collaborator and a champion of everyone she knew. She loved and lived fiercely, an example I will carry.
My friend Donald D’Haene beautifully described Lesleigh as having ‘drowned with love’. I would say that Janet was ‘buoyed by love’. The world shifted with the loss of these powerful women. It’s a different place this Sunday then it was a week ago. I don’t believe Janet and Lesleigh knew each other but they have impacted my life and our communities through similar gestures of love.
Living too far away to be able to attend their memorial services and life celebrations, this reflection is my way of honouring the lives and my friendship with Janet Heerema and with Lesleigh Turner.
Our initiative to ‘Buy Your Sister a Ticket’ for our upcoming show Heroines of the Sexual Gothic was sparked in a conversation with Kimberley Young Milani (Brescia University College). How could we make our presentation accessible to as many people as possible?
The Sister Ticket idea is simple: when you purchase your ticket online you have the option to purchase a 2nd (or 3rd or 4th…)at a reduced rate. These extra tickets are then distributed through the tremendous community organizations that work directly with women who are facing personal challenges.
The ‘Buy Your Sister a Ticket’ really hit the mark with our advance ticket purchasers! Also, I have heard from a colleague in New York City who is adopting this idea for her upcoming productions – her words ‘ this is brilliant… can I copy you? I am adding this to my shows and recommending it to my contacts!‘.
There is still time for you to participate. Even if you, sadly, cannot make it to our show perhaps you would assist someone else from this community to attend?