Image: Honor’s alter ego Katie, the white creole vagrant in “ Fallen Angel and the Devil Concubine”. Collectively created by Pat Cumper, Honor Ford-Smith, Carol Lawes, Hertencer Lindsay and Eugene Williams.
Honor Ford-Smith is a unique theatre artist and educator, and it is our greatest pleasure to celebrate her work today. Honor has made fundamental contributions to Canadian and Jamaican theatre, connecting theory and praxis of decolonization through performance arts and practice, an urgency that we only now begin to realize. A co-founder and first artistic director of The Sistren Theatre Collective, established in 1977, Honor profoundly contributed to Jamaican theatre, with a special focus on women’s rights, class, race and imperialism. The company produced numerous plays and workshops that focused on gender and economic and social justice, and performed throughout the Caribbean as well as in Canada, the USA, Europe and the UK. Honor’s theatrical projects in Canada have focused mainly on memory and urban violence, and they extend the role of theatre into the sphere of social justice, by spilling out onto streets (and other unexpected spaces), to give voice to Black and racialized communities that are the targets of structural violence and social inequality. As one writer puts it: “These works transform through time taking on new urgency and resonances as they travel to various locations. Her work makes it possible to see the connections between global capitalism and the lives of vulnerable people who live in its crosshairs. Honor transforms theatre into a space of inclusion, a space to grieve and heal and to bring communities from various social locations together to collectively reckon with and feel our way through what is needed for repair”. Dr. Ford-Smith brings the same qualities to her teaching and pedagogy, with generations of Jamaican and Canadian artists following in her artistic and political steps. It is a great honor to celebrate the work and the advocacy of Dr. Ford-Smith today.