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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - As part of It's Never Okay, Ontario's groundbreaking action plan to end sexual violence and harassment, Far From the Heart will embark on a 44-show tour across the province from October 11-November 11, 2016. The long-running and successful teen dating violence prevention program from Sheatre, a professional community arts company located near Owen Sound, is one of 11 inaugural recipients of Ontario's $2.25 million Creative Engagement Fund. Administered by the Ontario Arts Council, this three-year support allows Far From the Heart to be presented this fall to 7,500 students in grades 7-12 in 20 communities.

Rita Davies, Chair, Ontario Arts Council (OAC)
"It's inspiring to see how professional artists from a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds have come together with experts in sexual violence and harassment prevention to initiate projects of high artistic quality. They will build on the work already being done in Ontario communities to raise awareness and change attitudes on this issue. These collaborations, which deal with prevention, education and healing and include individual and collective experiences, will have universal resonance."

Ontario Tour Schedule

Rehearsals will be held September 26-October 7, 2016, from 9am-5:30pm at the Harmony Centre, 890 4th Ave. East in Owen Sound. A preview performance will also take place there on Friday, October 7th at 7pm. This show is free and open to the public, but donations are welcome. The following schedule is subject to change, so please email david sereda at for updates.

October 11: Alexandra Community School, Sydenham Community School
October 13: St. Mary's High School
October 21: Hillcrest Elementary School

October 12: Beaver Valley Community School

October 13: Beavercrest Community School

October 14: Peninsula Shores District School

October 17-18: Grey Highlands Secondary School

October 19: Hincks-Dellcrest Centre Farm

October 20: Huron Heights Public School
November 7: Kincardine District Secondary School

October 24: Chesley District Community School

October 25: Listowel District Secondary School

October 25: Sacred Heart High School
November 8: Walkerton District Community School

October 26: Markham District High School

October 27: Boys & Girls Clubs of Kawartha Lakes

October 31: Twin Lakes Secondary School

October 31: Innisdale Secondary School

November 1: Lakefield College School

November 3: Eden High School
November 4: Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School

November 4: Thorold Secondary School

November 7: Saugeen District Secondary School

November 9-10: John Diefenbaker Secondary School

For media opportunities, please contact Janette Luu at . Photos can be downloaded at

Far From the Heart

Sheatre's Far From the Heart uses a live forum theatre production and an interactive film to engage and educate teens about the different forms of pressure and violence in dating relationships, exploring the issues that lie beneath this behaviour. Also available in French as Loin du Coeur, the program is supported by a comprehensive educational package that includes interactive discussions, an educational guide, teacher training and in-class activities to help deliver the core curriculum in the areas of sexual health and violence prevention.

Created in 2006 by youth and professional artists, Far From the Heart is a story about coming of age, violation and redemption. It begins with two boys (Warren and Adam) and two girls (Felicity and Rachel) getting ready for "the big party." The play uses interactive "forum theatre" that allows audience members to change the outcome of various realistic, problematic scenarios. Spectators are able to suggest different actions onstage, as well as act out their ideas with the professional cast. A facilitator (The Joker) emcees the performances, and trained community partners help lead lively discussions to debrief the audience interventions. In the end, Far From the Heart seeks to help young people develop healthy attitudes and behaviours based on honesty, equality, respect and safety.

The Cast

TIANA ASPERJAN (Rachel) - Originally from Thunder Bay, Tiana graduated from York University's acting program with honors. She has appeared in various roles including Lucentio in Taming of the Shrew, directed by Ted Witzel and Donalbain in Macbeth, directed by Ker Wells, both part of Canadian Stage's Shakespeare in High Park. She was also in Red Light District's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, playing the part of Clark and has appeared in Alumnae Theatre's New Ideas Festival. She played the part of Izzy in a staged reading of Theresa Rebeck's Seminar, directed by Jeff Seymour. And she recently returned from a trip to L.A. where she played the part of Karen in David Mamet's Speed The Plow, directed by and starring Jeff Seymour. Tiana was recently given the position as Director of Marketing with Jeff Seymour's The Real Life Actor studio, with which she will play a key role in opening a two-year acting conservatory based in Toronto.

WARREN BAIN (The Joker) is a theatre artist, facilitator, and artist educator hailing from Toronto and is a graduate of Ryerson University's BFA Performance-Acting program. Theatre has taken him across Canada in roles ranging from sea monsters to 1930s British aristocrats. He is Co-Artistic Director and Company Manager of Bain & Bernard Comedy with whom he has created, directed, and produced numerous projects. He has training in the creation, development, and execution of the Forum Theatre methodology, and this will be his fifth tour with Far From the Heart. He is also a fan of thick newspapers, good conversation, and all things music.

JOSH CRUDDAS (Warren) - Originally a 6-year-old radio host from Halifax, Josh (now slightly older than age 6) couldn't be more stoked to be back working with Sheatre. Select film/TV credits include guesting on Reign, Rookie Blue, Private Eyes, Murdoch Mysteries, Call Me Fitz for HBO and 11/22/63 opposite James Franco. He was lucky enough to star alongside two-time Oscar nominee Peter Fonda in the movie Copperhead for Warner Bros, and last month he shot Jason Stone's (This Is The End) sci-fi film First Light with Disney's Stefanie Scott. On stage, he's been fortunate to play leading roles at most professional theatres in Nova Scotia, and had the life-changing experience of performing Be Our Ally with Sheatre last Spring. Josh also teaches acting to kids, is a SOCAN Award-winning film composer - writing the music for movies in Los Angeles and across the world - and was nominated for the 2013 ACTRA Maritimes Best Actor Award for Copperhead. A graduate of Dalhousie University's Acting Programme, he is honoured to be working on this brutally important piece of theatre with an incredible team. Josh appears courtesy of the Canadian Actor's Equity Association.

KYLE ORZECH (Adam) is excited to return to Far From the Heart (Sheatre). Selected theatre credits include “Sam” in If I Were You (Theatre Aquarius), “Leo” in The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt (Shaw Festival), “Mason” in Beneath the Banyan Tree (Theatre Direct) which received Dora Awards for Best Ensemble and Best Production in the Theatre for Young Audiences category, Arcadia (Shaw Festival/Mirvish), In the Heights and Jesus Christ Superstar (YES Theatre), Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth (Classical Theatre Project), Scooter Thomas Makes It to the Top of the World and The Velveteen Rabbit (Theatre New Brunswick), Wife Begins at 40 (Upper Canada Playhouse), It's Munsch Time! (George Brown Theatre School), My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding (Mirvish). Film & TV: An Amish Murder (Lifetime), Storming Juno (History), Wendy (Red Kite Animation), Fuzzy Tales (CBC).

KESHIA PALM (Felicity) is a multi-disciplinary artist from Battleford, Saskatchewan. Toronto credits include Pearls & Poison (Intersection Theatre), Persephone (Pencil Kit Productions, Toronto Fringe) and Underneath the Above Show #1 (Bread & Puppet Theatre) - all of which she both acted and puppeteered! Since graduating from University of Victoria's acting program, she has taken workshops of all sorts on movement, devised theatre and puppetry, which is currently her jam. Favourite credits from Victoria include: The Hidden City (Scrumpy Productions), Lieutenant Nun (SKAM/Puente/SNAFU Theatre), August: Osage County (Langham Court Theatre), and Unity (1918) (UVIC Phoenix Theatre). She is delighted to be exploring Ontario for the first time and thanks Sheatre, her family, and you for getting her here. Enjoy!

The Sheatre Team

JOAN CHANDLER (Director, Playwright, Producer) - Award-winning producer, director, writer, arts educator and workshop facilitator, Joan Chandler is the founding Artistic Director of Sheatre (1985 to present). She has led the collective creation of 114 plays reaching about 96,000 people, facilitated over 1,000 projects, and led about 9,000 participants in groups in primarily underserved rural and small urban environments in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. She is delighted and gobsmacked to be bringing Far From the Heart to you during its tenth anniversary!

DAVID SEREDA (Artistic Associate, Co-Producer) has over 35 years of experience and a national reputation as theatre artist, singer/songwriter, composer, producer and activist. He has worked with Sheatre and Joan Chandler since 2002. As a singer/songwriter, he has performed at major festivals and concert halls across Canada. He has released three albums on his indie label Rocky Wednesday Records. He is a seasoned collaborator on new music theatre productions and was nominated for a Dora Award for best musical (Love Jive, book by Don Hannah, music, lyrics and music direction by Sereda, Tarragon). As a producer and administrator, david helped organize successful school tours for Sheatre's groundbreaking Far From the Heart in Saskatchewan and Ontario, and the inaugural tour of Loin du Coeur.

JON FARMER (Education and Tour Coordinator) is a storyteller and writer from Owen Sound who is working to reduce violence by shifting cultural narratives. His entrance into art for social change was an original theatrical production called "Manologues" that he researched, wrote, and produced to examine men's perceptions of masculinity for his undergraduate thesis at Quest University. When he's not on the road with Sheatre, he presents with the Canadian Mental Health Association, facilitates at the Men's Program in Owen Sound, and hosts the weekly radio show Georgian Bay Roots.
JILLIAN COCKBURN (Resource Development Coordinator) is a freelance arts administrator with over 10 years of experience in the field of arts administration and cultural management. Through her work, she provides administrative support and consulting services to arts groups and independent artists across Ontario in a range of areas including fundraising, marketing, outreach, communications, and volunteer management. Her client list includes: Arbez Drama Projects, Ballet Creole, Guelph Dance, Mixed Company Theatre, and Sheatre. Jillian holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science and Dance from York University and a Post-Graduate Certificate (Honours) in Arts Administration/Cultural Management from Humber College.

Shawna Cox and Robyn Wilson: Grey and Bruce
Meghan Park: Kawarthas, Simcoe and York
Gabriella Iannetti: Niagara

Far From the Heart's generous supporters include: Ontario Arts Council Creative Engagement Fund to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment in Ontario, Ontario Arts Council Touring Office, J.P. Bickell Foundation, The George Lunan Foundation, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, Community Foundation Grey Bruce, Investors Group (Ron Todd), OPSEU Local 260, ETFO Bluewater Local, Bluewater Occasional Teachers' Local, Grey Bruce Labour Council and Caframo.

Sheatre - Community Arts for Social Change

Sheatre believes in the power of theatre and the arts to change lives and help build a compassionate and healthy society. The groundbreaking community arts organization was established in rural Ontario in 1985 and since then has reached more than 85,700 youth and adults through the creation and production of over 110 original plays and 600 events in small urban and rural communities in Canada, the U.S. and England.

Joan Chandler, Artistic Director, Sheatre
"When we first presented Far From the Heart in 2006, oh, what a noise the kids made! The moment they roared, there was this shift. It changed the world. 17,500 people later, we still hear that roar. We see people have moments of realization right as they watch it. We hear how this piece has played a positive part in people's lives -- here in Owen Sound where it was made, across Ontario, Saskatchewan, in other parts of Canada and around the world via the Internet. To me, this is theatre. It's gratifying, it's humbling, it's hard, and I'm so honoured to still be doing this ten years later, as a part of this provincial initiative."


Mary Anne Alton, Former Director of Education, Bluewater District School Board
"I cannot imagine an investment that has the potential to impact so many students within Bluewater and provide our staff with the necessary resources to tackle the crucial conversations that must take place related to relationship issues." Travis, Student
"You guys were incredible at O'Neill High School. You're doing great things and you're very down to Earth. Keep going; you're changing the world. :)"

Scott Woodhouse, The Meaford Express
"The scenario, the dialogue, the action, could all have 'viewer discretion advised' warnings, but that's the point. It makes you squirm in your seat. It makes you think."

Deb Matthews, Former Ontario Minister Responsible for Women's Issues
"You are to be commended for your creative use of the power of theatre and the arts in promoting healthy, safe relationships between boys and girls."

Debra Gonsalves, Markham District High School
"I am the Child and Youth Worker running our school's student support center. Over the days following the play we have had serveral students come in to ask questions about the play and discuss issues/events about healthy relationships. You were informative and a wonderful opener to the conversations that youth need to be having."

University of Regina 2012 Research Study
"Forum Theatre allows participants to explore the action component to prevention. Within the forum there is an opportunity to learn from mistakes in a safe space. Sheatre's Far From the Heart Forum Theatre presentation is an innovative approach that challenges youth to speak and act out their thoughts and attitudes surrounding dating violence... Far From the Heart's efforts should not go unnoticed as a potential catalyst for change."

Paul Hartmann, Phil Hartman Arts and Humanitarian Award
"Sheatre is a great organization which works to promote social change and fix what is socially wrong. We need to stand up and speak out about these issues, bringing them out of the closet and onto people's lips."
Community Supporters include: AIDS Committee of York Region, Grey Bruce Health Unit, HopeGreyBruce Mental Health & Addictions Services, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, The Men's Program - Canadian Mental Health Association - Grey Bruce Branch, M'Wikwedong Native Cultural Resource Centre, Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre, Ontario Provincial Police - Bruce Peninsula & South Bruce Detachments, Optimism Place Women's Shelter and Support Services, Owen Sound Police Service, Positive Living Niagara, Sandgate Women's Shelter of York Region Inc., Saugeen First Nation, Victim Services Bruce Grey Perth, Victim/Witness Assistance Program - Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, Wes for Youth Online, West Niagara Second Stage Housing & Counselling, The Women's Centre Grey and Bruce Inc., Women's House Serving Bruce & Grey, Women's Place South Niagara, Women's Support Network of York Region and York Region Centre for Community Safety.


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Kemble, ON N0H 1S0


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170069 Centre. Road, RR #1 Kemble, Ontario N0H 1S0 Canada

(519) 534-3039

(519) 534-3039