Presented by Rumble

Tremors special presentation: The Stages of Transformation Creative Cohort Showcase

May 22nd - 26th, 2023

In partnership with National Arts Centre - English Theatre

Stages of Transformation is a multi-year project brings together theatre artists, arts workers, and creative communities from across so-called Canada to explore how abolition and transformative justice can impact theatre-making in process, content, form, and dissemination. “I believe that without the framework of abolition, all of our work in the theatre sector to achieve racial justice, gender justice, disability justice, trans justice, climate justice, and all other forms of justice, will fall short. Abolition offers a rigorous lens through which to examine these issues, and pathways toward change. Like theatre itself, abolition is about the power of human relationships, collaboration, generative conflict, and imagination,” says Stages of Transformation curator Nikki Shaffeeullah.

The Stages of Transformation Creative Cohort:
A process-driven creative initiative, in partnership with Chromatic Theatre, Gwaandak Theatre, lemonTree creations, Rumble, TODOS Productions, and Undercurrent Creations. Stages of Transformation has commissioned five artists to undertake theatrical creation processes that explore the project’s themes of abolition and transformative justice. The resident artists are: Raven John, Keira Nolting, Sobia Shaheen Shaikh, Kris Vanessa Teo Xin-En (张欣恩), and Ravyn Wngz. Additionally, Yasmine Espert will work as an embedded critic alongside the resident artists, creating a written piece that will document and reflect on their creative exploration. Photography and multimedia artist Raven Davis will also spend time with the SoT Creative Cohort, documenting and reflecting on their process.

Tremors is proud to present the works-in-progress from the Creative Cohort as part of this year’s festival.

To learn more about Stages of Transformation, please visit:


Artwork by Amber Williams-King



May 22nd, 5:30pm
But First, We Eat

A welcome and tabletop installation by Mpoe Mogale & Nikki Shaffeeullah. Free event


May 25th, 7pm
Stages of Transformation Showcase: Night One

On Native Land by Raven John
Braiding Peonies by Sobia Shaheen Shaikh


May 26th, 7pm
Stages of Transformation Showcase: Night Two

feel ur feels (CRINGE LIBERATION) by Kris Vanessa Teo Xin-En (张欣恩)
SIGNALS by Ravyn Wngz
Transformation by Keira Ash aka Cece A. Blossom



About the works

On Native Land
by Raven John

What is our proximity to Colonization? Ink, Paper, and the space we take up.

Without the daily reminders of orange shirts, red dresses and shoes, so many people walk through their lives devoid of an understanding of their relationship to colonization.

What is our proximity to the atrocities that have been enacted, and continue to be perpetuated today? As a descendant of residential school survivors, this work by Raven John creates a rare embodied relationship, personal and physical.

Raven’s practice has always included a sharing of knowledge, history and skill. A combination of workshop and community care, there will be the option to participate in this work. No one walks away unchanged or ungifted. This work will have you walking away with a sense of self and place.

Creative Team
Raven John – Creator, Performer, Survivor
Jamie King – Dramaturg, Director
Aidan Hammond – Emotional Support Person

In partnership with Rumble Theatre


Keira Ash aka Cece A. Blossom

An exploration on shame, the transformative effect of love, and finding freedom afterward. “Transformation” is a burlesque piece that utilizes religious imagery to show how intergenerational shame is limiting and judgemental. Looking to the night sky for guidance, Cece is embraced by ancestral love and breaks the chains of chastity to take flight.

Creative Team
Keira Ash aka. Cece A. Blossom – Creator/Performer
Cherry Cheeks – Performance Mentor
Raven John – Set design

In partnership with Gwaandak Theatre



Braiding Peonies
by Sobia Shaheen Shaikh

Braiding Peonies (working title) is a play-in-progress about a family who is dealing with the aftermath of racist, anti-Muslim hate in a violent encounter directed at a group of Muslim teenagers. Using transformative justice lenses, the play explores the themes of justice, protection and healing through the experience of the protagonist, Sadiqa (mother), and her 17-year-old, Samreen, as the family grapples with a crisis of trust in institutions that fail to provide meaningful resolution. The family finds support in racialized and transformative justice communities, as they begin to dream of radical and relational possibilities.

Creative Team
Sobia Shaheen Shaikh – Playwright
Santiago Guzmán – Dramaturge and Director

In partnership with TODOS Productions


feel ur feels (CRINGE LIBERATION)
by Kris Vanessa Teo Xin-En (张欣恩)

As we attempt survival in a white supremist and capitalistic society, it is so easy for us to cut ourselves off from how we are feeling, to deny ourselves pleasure, to move at high speeds, to ignore our needs, to bypass processing our lived experiences, to numb sensations that come up, to live through our days on autopilot, to hide who we are and to fast-forward anything that feels uncomfortable.

In her essay Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power, Audre Lorde describes the erotic as a power that “rises from our deepest and nonrational knowledge” and “the measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings.” As someone with a lot of feelings all the time, I was deeply moved by this. It made me question when and how I tap into my strongest feelings, gut instincts, and my deepest, nonrational knowledge. It made me wonder about what the potential was if I trusted, listened and took action on these feelings a little more, a whole lot more. How would our relationships with each other evolve if we practiced this deep listening with one another? How big and wide are the possibilities of community and relationship building if we were all peering this intently into ourselves, and moving with this knowledge?

Right now, I have more questions than answers, and I might never find all the answers, and certainly not on my own. But I find comfort and awe in adrienne marie brown’s words: “Emergence notices the way small actions and connections create complex systems, patterns that become ecosystems and societies. Emergence is our inheritance as a part of this universe; it is how we change. Emergent strategy is how we intentionally change in ways that grow our capacity to embody the just and liberated worlds we long for.”

Creating feel ur feels (CRINGE LIBERATION) is a way for me to practice the small actions and connections of listening to the deep feeling and nonrational eroticism within me, and to practice with my friendos, pals and buddy buds, through conversation, stopping to notice what’s around me, in me, and to follow the curiosities that come up along the way.

Audio Pleasure Recipe Contributors
Keshia Cheesman
Filsan Dualeh
Bianca Guimarães de Manuel
Liz Hannay
Bianca Miranda
Mpoe Mogale
Isabelle Sinclair
Kiana Wu

Special Thanks
Thomas Geddes – Sound Design Consultation
Tori Morrison – Projection Design Consultation
Kodie Rollan – Dramaturgical Support
Pam Tzeng – Movement Consultation + Creation

In partnership with Chromatic Theatre


by Ravyn Wngz

A movement and vocal story that follows the journey of 6 enslaved Africans traveling from the Mason Dixie to British North America (Canada) on the 3rd voyage through the trails. A tale of hope, collaboration, survival strategies and liberation.  Signals is a love letter to abolition with a goal of inviting audiences into the ceremony that is freedom work.

lemonTree Creations
Abi Cudjoe
Rodney Diverlus
Dedra McDermott
Nickeshia Garrick
Jaz Adina Simone
Mandela Lopez

In partnership with lemonTree creations


But First, We Eat
by Mpoe Mogale and Nikki Shaffeeullah

A tabletop installation and hors d’oeuvres spread offering an annotated exploration of Stages of Transformation’s findings to date.
Creative Team
Mpoe Mogale and Nikki Shaffeeullah – Creators
In partnership with Undercurrent Creations

Stages of Transformation is in partnership with the National Arts Centre, Chromatic Theatre, Gwaandak Theatre, lemonTree creations, TODOS Productions, and Undercurrent Creations.  

With support from