Tuesday January 09, 2018

January 9, 2018 Episode Transcript

Note: Transcripts may contain errors. If you wish to re-use all, or part of, a transcript, please contact CBC for permission. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print. Copyright © CBC 2018

The Current Transcript for January 9, 2018

Anna Maria Tremonti

STORIES FROM THIS EPISODE

Listen to the full episode

Prologue

[Music: Theme]

SOUNDCLIP

VOICE 1: Yes I think it is provocative to say let social media run amok. But this divisive new medium is also a powerful instrument of inclusion.

ANNA MARIA TREMONTI: So should we let social media run amok? If you reign it in do you sacrifice the transformational and the promising to wipe out the nefarious and the divisive? At a time of fake news of conflicting narratives and Twitter trolls, is there a place for control? Chris Kutarna says don't mess with it. He points to the efforts hundreds of years ago to ban the printing press. Those oppressive leaders, who did, missed out on science and the modern era. In half an hour our project Adaptation looks at some of the most inclusive and divisive technological tools in our society to ask how we can adapt without rolling over. Chris Kutarna joins me for that discussion. And then, Margaret Atwood's retelling of The Odyssey from Penelope's point of view was a hit at Toronto's Nightwood Theatre.

SOUNDCLIP

VOICE 1: A toast, to my wife. To the fair and intelligent Penelope!

AMT: Amidst all the calls today for women to take control of their own stories in the arts, Nightwood has been staging plays written by women, directed by women, and acted by women for decades. In an hour Artistic Director Kelly Thornton explains. Also today the messy intersection of gamers and history.

Back To Top »

Civilization video game paints an 'inaccurate and dangerous' picture of Poundmaker Cree Nation chief

Guests: Milton Tootoosis, Blaine Favel

SOUNDCLIP

VOICE 1: He ruled his people during a tumultuous time in Cree history, judiciously toeing the line between aggression and diplomacy. How will you lead the Cree? In Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Rise and Fall

AMT: The “Civilization" video game series may be popular. The descendants of the Cree leader mentioned there say the game's makers are relying on questionable history and outright fabrication. And they say Canada has embraced the same skewed view for far too long as well. We're starting there. I'm Anna Maria Tremonti. This is The Current.

SOUNDCLIP

VOICE 1: Poundmaker's unique ability is Favourable Terms. High level alliances will bring you economic and political success. And your traders will be invaluable to extending your empire. Will you stand united and strong with your allies? How will you lead the Cree?

AMT: Well the video game Civilization IV: Rise and Fall will not be out till next month. It's part of a popular series where players build up past civilizations in a bid for world dominance. But its depiction of Cree culture and Chief Poundmaker has some First Nations leaders voicing misgivings. The real chief worked as a peacemaker between the Canadian government and First Nations in the late 19th century. In 1885, after the North-West Resistance, he was convicted of treason. The Poundmaker Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, and other Indigenous leaders, say he was wrongfully convicted. For years they've been calling for his exoneration. And according to the federal government there could be something along those lines coming soon. We'll talk about that more in a few minutes. But first to the game that has us talking about Chief Poundmaker today. Milton Tootoosis is a headman-councillor with the Poundmaker Cree Nation near Cut Knife, Saskatchewan in the Treaty 6 territory. And Milton Tootoosis joins us from Saskatoon. Hi.

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: Good morning Anna Maria.

AMT: What was your initial reaction when you first heard about this video game?

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: Well when I first saw the video game through a trailer on my mobile device, I thought, 'hey that's pretty cool. Poundmaker, he's in a game'. But when I looked further into the matter, it raised some questions.

AMT: Well let's talk about some of the things. There is this promotional video. It describes Chief Poundmaker as someone known for striking a balance between aggression and diplomacy. Is that true? What concerns about how they characterize him?

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: There are certain parts of the Chief Poundmaker in the documentation they have that is certainly accurate - no doubt about it. But the point is we wanted to make was that the leadership at Poundmaker Cree Nation did not give consent. And the other message we wanted to give is that cultural appropriation of Indigenous culture is a global challenge and is being addressed by groups like the United Nations. And most recently here in our own country, Canada, we've got the guiding principles of Truth and Reconciliation calls to action. So I guess this is a call to action.

AMT: So no one consulted your First Nation about this at all?

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: No. Not to the leadership or to our elders. I've done some research there and made sure that we are good to that word.

AMT: In the clip we just heard he's presented as someone who wanted to extend his empire. Is that accurate?

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: No. That's part of the problem we have with the messages in this game that it continues to promote some of these ideologies that are connected to concepts of colonialism and imperialism and the doctrine of discovery, which are totally contrary to the beliefs and values of Chief Poundmaker and many other Indigenous leaders around the world for that matter.

AMT: What about the visuals to this? How does he look in this game?

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: Well in the game he looks very young, very fresh, well-clothed, but particularly very young and joyous - happy - which is contrary to what we're familiar with in the photographs that have been made public and the numerous pictures of him online. But the daunting images we have of him in the latter stages of his life - certainly in the 1870s or late 1800s - being very gaunt, very thin, very tattered, wearing tattered clothing. Again, it depicts very difficult time in our shared history. So again it doesn't do justice by showing a picture of him maybe - we didn't see him when he was in his teens. He looks like a kid in that video.

AMT: He wouldn't have been on in being gaunt. They were being starved, were they not?

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

AMT: Okay, so 2k Games in the U.S. publishes this. We did ask them to comment, nobody got back to us. But you say they didn't consult with the Poundmaker Cree Nation as they were developing it. What do you think you would have said if they had reached out to you?

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: Well, had they done the honourable thing and reached out to the leadership, we would have connected them to our elders, our story keepers, our traditional knowledge keepers, and we would have had a dialogue. I think - if I was there and many of our leaders were there they would ask, 'what's the manuscript? Could we have a look at the transcript?' We have community members who are not new to the world of media and show business, etc. In this case live-gaming. We would ask for a copy of the narrative and make sure we went through it before we had given any consent. So I think that's what we would have done.

AMT: Why impact do you think this video game could have on the way people view Chief Poundmaker and his place in history?

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: Well contrary to being a man of peace and being a very loyal, dedicated man. A peaceful man. I think its got potential to convey a message to naive people playing the game that his values and our Indigenous values are in line with these notions of colonialism, imperialism, expanding territories, extracting gold for profit, expanding the empire - you know those kind of messages jumped out at me when I reviewed the trailer.

AMT: Help us understand what Chief Poundmaker represents to your community Milton.

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: I'm sorry?

AMT: Help us understand what Chief Poundmaker represents to your community?

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: Well to us he represents an individual who is a very, very good human being. In our research and it's well documented by numerous scholars and they extracted a lot of information from archival documents and from the interviews that he had through interpreters of course. But he stood for peace, good order, and good governance. He really practiced this value in ancient law we have in our culture and I believe it's across all Indigenous cultures. In our language we call it manatisowin. Manatisowin speaks about respect. Having respect for yourself as a human being. Respect for your family, your band, your tribe, but also respecting the land, the air, and the water. When you understand that concept of manatisowin, you grow deeper understanding when we hear about people across this land protesting for example against certain industrial developments because we were taught - and I believe it's part of our DNA - that we need to live and practice manatisowin. We are just one small part of creation. We can't own the land. We can't own the air and can't own the water. We have to share it. We are part of that creation. So I think that's what Chief Poundmaker was trying to exemplify. And more importantly in the latter part of the 19th century, respecting other human beings and that perhaps we should not engage in war or conflict because it can only lead to greater division.

AMT: Now I want to ask you in response to our inquiries, the office of the minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs sent a statement. I am going to read it to you. It says, "The Government of Canada is now in a position to move forward with Poundmaker Cree Nation to develop a joint statement of exoneration for Chief Poundmaker. The process should commence shortly. What do you make of that?

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: We're aware that there's been some discussion around this. We're looking forward to formal communication from Canada about this new information. So I'm excited. But again it's too early to comment on what that actually entails. But I guess the days and weeks ahead of us are going to be very, very exciting.

AMT: Okay, well Milton Tootoosis thank you for speaking to me.

MILTON TOOTOOSIS: Thanks for having me.

AMT: That's Milton Tootoosis. He's the headman-councillor with the Poundmaker Cree Nation near Cut Knife, Saskatchewan in Treaty 6 territory. We reached him today in Saskatoon. Well on May 2, 1885 Chief Poundmaker defeated Canadian government soldiers on a hill above the Cut Knife Reserve in Saskatchewan. Our next guest says that what he did next changed the course of Canadian history. Blaine Favel has been fighting for decades to have Chief Poundmaker pardoned. Mr. Favel is the former Chief of the Poundmaker Cree Nation. He's also the former Grand Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. He's also a former chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan, and a panelist on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools. Blaine Favel is now an entrepreneur in the fields of energy and technology. And he joins me from Calgary. Good morning.

BLAINE FAVEL: Good morning Anna Maria.

AMT: First of all I want to delve a little deeper into the history of Chief Powermaker. But first how do you react to this statement we got last night from the government saying they're in a position to move forward on exoneration?

BLAINE FAVEL: Very, very - I had a lot emotions because - I actually worked with Milton's father who you just interviewed. He was one of my band councillors and he was a former chief. He was sort of my elder chief. I learnt a lot from Milton's dad. So I think of all the old people that worked on this that are no longer around to see this. It's been a long, long held goal for our people. It was a little emotional. I was really touched by the movement. The most important thing was that - I thought about this guy, this guy that was a chief and he was human being, and as Milton described was as a good man in our oral tradition. He took care of his people and he ended up just having a tragic life. He ended up being sick. He ended up dying at a young age. He ended up making treaties with the government that the government didn't honour. What he went to Fort Battleford to have them honour the treaty payments because people were starving - the government wouldn't even come out of the fort to negotiate with him for two days His tribe - our tribe - camped outside the fort for two days and the settlers were too scared to come to talk with us.

AMT: Well, that incident...

BLAINE FAVEL: So that's kind of the history...

AMT: Right. Okay, so Blaine let me stop you.

BLAINE FAVEL: Yeah.

AMT: Let me stop you because we don't have a lot of time and I do want a little bit of that history, so let me just stop you. That incident at Fort Battledford actually sets off what you have long said is a misunderstanding of Chief Poundmaker. So he goes to try to get to negotiate what he was promised because his people are starving. No one lets them in. And what happens?

BLAINE FAVEL: After two days the story is that he lost control of some of the warriors and they went to some of the camps and some of the stores in Battleford because people were starving - like they literally documented cases of starvation. The government wasn't making treaty payments because they were busy building the national railroad. So they returned to Poundmaker. Colonel Otter arrives with the Canadian Forces and is told to hold Fort Battleford directly and not to do anything else. He takes it upon himself to make a dawn attack on our tribe. And this is very - this is a rich part of Canadian history. 330 Canadian army attacked our tribe at dawn and we had about 50 or 60 warriors. We battled all day and then we won and they retreated. And at that point the community - the history of Canada could have gone in a different direction because they let them retreat. They let the soldiers retreat because we didn't go looking for a fight. We were attacked. And then they could have wiped all these soldiers out on the way back to Battleford. Like General Custer was wiped out and we didn't do that. We never wanted war. Poundmaker was a peacemaker. He made peace with the [unintelligible]. He was instrumental in that. And was a known statesman. So that's where Canadian history goes sideways because they lump us in with the Metis. They say that this is part of the Northwest Rebellion. That was fake news I guess back in 1885.

AMT: Right.

BLAINE FAVEL: There was war propaganda.

AMT: Okay. I've got a question in there. Hold on [chuckles]. Okay so they let them go. They let them leave. And you've actually done the math. Those soldiers who left go on to have descendants and you make the point their descendants wouldn't exist if they didn't do that.

BLAINE FAVEL: I think it would be like - we did some rough compound math, right? If each soldier had a couple of kids and they lived [unintelligible] each generation. And so we thought it's over 100,000 people. But so many more people died - would have died in the planes because that would have triggered war throughout the prairies. Chief Crowfoot of the Blackfoot Confederacy was Poundmaker's adopted son. And so Alberta would have gone to war as well. So Poundmaker was a peacemaker. His decision not to seek war - he went to court; he turned himself in and said, 'all of these things that were said about me about treason were untrue. I came here seeking justice. And if I didn't want to be caught, you wouldn't have caught me'.

AMT: Why did they accuse him of treason?

BLAINE FAVEL: Well I think they needed to really demonstrate that, you know, the Canadians they stomped - they wanted to stomp on somebody. They had to make example of somebody. And they picked this guy that 10 years earlier - not even 10 years, four years earlier - when the [unintelligible] the Queen's cousin toured the Canadian parries with the Royal party, Chief Poundmaker was their guide. He was well-esteemed that Royal Family as a special collection. He is the only chief in the Royal Museum in London from Canada that they profile. So he's a global figure and I think this move by Canada - it's just the best news I've heard in a long time. And it's really exciting for our community. And we look forward to engaging in this settlement because we have some outstanding issues with the government that we need to resolve that are connected to 1885. For instance they stole all of our horses. They came and took all of our horses. They took all of our guns. They ground our community in starvation. We weren't allowed to have a chief until 1919. Can you believe that? We were under the War Act. So we were a rebel tribe. We grew up learning that, you know, we're rebels and he was a traitor and Canadian history was just tilted on its upside down because that was the version that Canadians wanted to here. They didn't want to hear the part where they starved people and they didn't honour their treaties right from the day they signed them. And all of this oppression happened and then it led right into the residential school. So I think that Canadians, if they knew the legacy of Chief Poundmaker, that he was a statesman, a peacemaker. He inspired the Royal Family during their visit. He must have been a hell of a human being and he deserved better. He deserves a better story.

AMT: So we could learn a lot from his real story? All of us. All of us

BLAINE FAVEL: Canadians are proud of being peacemakers. Canadians are - all of the values he exhibited: brotherhood, welcoming new immigrants to the West - these are what Canada thinks it stands for now. Believes it stands for. And he was exhibiting these values. He was sharing his home. You know his people were starving and so that's the true history of Canada. So this movement by the government to seek an exoneration and a pardon and hopefully an apology goes a long, long way. [Unintelligible].

AMT: You've been negotiating for this. You've been fighting for this for decades.

BLAINE FAVEL: It's a long time, right? I was chief when I was 26 - I a young chief. I'm quite a bit older now [chuckles]. But it's just really moving. My dad was a chief. Milton's dad was a chief. Like, we've been working on this for a very long time. So it's really, really good.

AMT: This would mean a great deal to you?

BLAINE FAVEL: Well there'll be a big celebration. People will be happy. The next generation - the most important thing really why we did this, we gave a really concerted effort is because we're losing that generation that knows the original story. We're losing many of our stories, our oral tradition. And we wanted to set history right for our children, for the grandchildren, and for all of Canadians. Just to say like, by accepting Canadian history for what it really is. That these are human beings. These were messy times. And mistakes were made. But by acknowledging that and saying, you know putting the good people in the right place in history is just I think one of the most honourable things that we can do. And so I'm very grateful.

AMT: I am going to read the statement: "The Government of Canada is now in a position to move forward with Poundmaker Cree Nation to develop a joint statement of exoneration for Chief Poundmaker. The process should commence shortly. We look forward to working with Chief Antoine and the Poundmaker Cree Nation toward this goal." I guess our next question should be to the officials in Ottawa on the actual timing of this?

BLAINE FAVEL: Yeah, we've got some other issues there. They're trying to - they've got some issues that they're trying to settle with the First Nation resulting from all of the property they took from us after rebellion - the non-paying of treaty payments. So they're trying to get a financial settlement. I think we should probably talk about that. We have a national historic site in our reserve that the government does not put any money into. They don't advertise this part of Canadian history because it's not something that they're very proud of that they lost the battle. And that we literally in Canadian history have like the Wild West - an Indian war. You know but our people won and we're really proud of that. We were outgunned and outnumbered and we outfought them, we out-hustled them.

AMT: And then you let them walk away.

BLAINE FAVEL: We let them walk away.

AMT: Okay, well Blaine...

BLAINE FAVEL: So there's a lot of great values Canadians can take away from this, and knowledge.

AMT: Thank you for telling us about all of this. Thank you.

BLAINE FAVEL: It's my honour and thank you so much for drawing Canadians attention to this. You're part of the solution. What they say, the TRC Commission said that all Canadians, it's a call to action for all Canadians to better educate themselves, and you've done your part today. So, thank you to you and CBC, and everybody that's helped bring this story to light and helped move the government a little bit forward.

AMT: Okay, Blaine. Bye bye. Thank you.

BLAINE FAVEL: Cheers, bye bye.

AMT: That is businessman Blaine Favel. He is Former Chief of the Poundmaker Cree Nation, former Grand Chief for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, former chancellor at the University of Saskatchewan and a panelist on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in residential schools. He spoke to us from Calgary. Stay with us. The news is next. Then we are back. This is The Current.

Back To Top »

'We need to let social media run amok,' says scholar Chris Kutarna

Guest: Chris Kurtana

AMT: Hello I'm Anna Maria Tremonti and you're listening to The Current.

[Music: Theme]

AMT: Still to come.

SOUNDCLIP

OPRAH WINFREY: So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight...

[Sound: Applause and cheering]

AMT: Oprah Winfrey from her rousing speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday night. Part of what she and so many other women that night were calling for is an entertainment industry that tells more stories of women by women. In half an hour I'll speak with the artistic director of a Canadian theatre company that's been doing that for nearly 40 years. But first adapting to disruptive change.

[Music: Adaptation theme]

SOUNDCLIP

VOICE 1: In President Trump's first year in office he tweeted about about fake news and fake media 174 times.

VOICE 2: Tonight Moscow says the hacking allegations against Russia are groundless. Vladimir Putin…

VOICE 3: They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.

VOICE 4: New developments in the Russia investigation. Facebook is admitting Russia agents bought thousands of ads during the election.

VOICE 5: High profile men like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Al Franken and others were accused of sexual misconduct.

AMT: Just some of the forces that shaped the world over the past year or so. And who knows what is in store for 2018. It is a tumultuous time for Western democracies. Month by month new political and social norms are being toppled and disrupted. And in the wake of disruption comes the need to adapt to a new reality. Chris Kutarna is a fellow at the Oxford Martin School. He's also the co-author of Age of Discovery: Navigating the Storms of Our Second Renaissance. You may remember we spoke last season about disruptions in the world. Today he is back as part of our project Adaptation to look at the best way for us to adapt to the changes we're experiencing in the political, social, and digital worlds. Chris Kutarna is working on a book about just that to be released later this year. And he's with us from Regina. Hello.

CHRIS KUTARNA: Hello Anna Maria. How are you?

AMT: I'm well. And I'm interested to know what you're thinking with all of this. I feel Chris that we have to start with U.S. President Donald Trump as a major disruptor of the status quo. Whether you like him or not he's forcing the world to adapt and the issues that are raised through his Twitter feeds through his use of social media are emblematic of what I want to ask you about. Since Donald Trump became president a year ago we've heard a lot about fake news and foreign interference in elections, not solely in the U.S. What do you make of the way the world has reacted to those two threats and controversies?

CHRIS KUTARNA: Well you know I guess maybe to step back for a minute. I feel like, I feel like 2016 was the year of shock, right? Of Brexit and Trump selection. And in 2017 the whole year just seemed to pass by with gawk. We spent the whole year glued to our TV screens and our Twitter feeds just watching this all unfold. And I'm hoping that 2018 is the year where we finally say, 'all right. Okay, we need to take a step back and now we need to decide we're going to navigate through all of this when it comes to fake news. When it comes to foreign interference'. I think there's been a lot of immediate knee jerk reactions and hand wringing and consternation. It's not always knee jerk reactions that are the best one. Especially when it comes to aspects of societies that are deeply impactful, like our media space. And I think a good way to start 2018 for all of us will be to dust off Marshall McLuhan. The great Canadian public intellectual, who you know in the 20th century was writing a lot about media and how changes in the media space affect our society. And one of the things that he wrote about in the 1960s was that when we get to the hand wringing stage, the revolution has already happened and it's about adapting to it. And I think that's what this year needs to be about.

AMT: So in fact the revolution has happened. And we now need to adapt.

CHRIS KUTARNA: That's right. And if we take something like a foreign interference in our elections in our public discourse for example. One this is a threat. This is a risk. And we're looking hard at how do we protect ourselves from the idea that say, an organized campaign in Russia or in China might be affecting our public discourse. But I think at the same time it's an important opportunity to take a hard look at some really, really deep questions. Questions that if we do the homework on them this year I think are going to lead to some really powerful and positive changes. Just one sort of top of my mind. If you look at the content of the messages that Russia was promoting on Facebook. These weren't policy messages. These weren't political messages. These were hate messages. Misogyny. Islamophobia. Racism. Homophobia. These are the messages that their algorithms had told them were going to activate the American voter. Maybe influence American voting behaviour. You know at some level we need to thank the Russian taxpayer for presenting such a blunt lens to our societies about the gap between our public political discourse and some of our privately felt feelings.

AMT: In other words you're telling me that essentially their algorithms picked up on what people were actually sharing versus what people might have been saying publicly and then try to use them.

CHRIS KUTARNA: And those are the issues that we need to confront, right? And so one of the things that I keep coming back to in these conversations is to say, you know maybe we need to let social media run amok because whatever breaks, needed fixing. I think when it comes to foreign interference, the other thing we need to be cautious about is as we haul Facebook and Twitter before Congress and before the houses of Parliament here in Canada and the U.K., And say you need to control this. I think we need to be sober about asking ourselves, 'can we really censor out foreign interference in our public discourse?' And I think that's the broader issue because you know we live in a free society and we think of that as meaning that it is open and unrestrained. But in 2018 it also means that this society is vulnerable. It's in a way fortunate that this vulnerability is so visible, is so easy for us to see on social media because it is explicit and recorded. But we have many other dimensions of vulnerability to foreign interference in our public discourse that are not nearly as easy to see. Whether it is foreign investment. Whether it is foreign populations who are coordinated to participate in our domestic discourse. And I am a China scholar and I can tell you that the government in Beijing has an active and sophisticated campaign around the world's democracies to alter public discourse here at home about Tibet, about Taiwan, about human rights, about Chinese investment in our countries. And that's broader reality that actually I think our social media experience in 2017 helps us to become more aware of. And The solution isn't going to be I think regulation so much as an increased awareness on our part and probably also on the part of policy makers and with the cooperation of these large social media companies to give us the data.

AMT: Okay, well there is so much to unpack in what you were just saying.

CHRIS KUTARNA: Yes, sorry - I [Laughs]

AMT: That's okay.

CHRIS KUTARNA: It's a big year.

AMT: Yeah. I want to go back to - it's very provocative to say let social media run amok. You're that we can learn from what's actually happening. That it's not the social media that's the problem. That it's something else is causing something.

CHRIS KUTARNA: You know sometimes at the beginning of a year it's worth starting with some big ideas. You know and here's one big idea. The way that society is ordered in 2018 is probably not the way it's going to be ordered 500 years from now. Society is going to continue to go through some pretty big transformations. We're seeing that already in kind of our physical technologies. We're talking about Artificial Intelligence, cryptocurrencies, and genetic modification, and quantum mechanics, and teleportation. Our social technologies, our education systems, our political systems, and our legal systems are evolving much more slowly. And that's maybe the major stress that's behind a lot of the news headlines that we're confronting in the world today. I think social media is going to be an important catalyst for helping our social technologies, our institutions, our values to evolve more rapidly. And I think a recent example of that that we're still in the midst of is the #MeToo movement. I mean its remarkable how behaviours that had become embedded and legitimized are suddenly made visible and amplified. And social attitudes towards gender relations across North America, across a lot of Western Europe, in just a couple of months have shifted in ways that we thought might have taken decades. That transformation is happening in the most open and vulnerable social media societies. It's not happening in Russia. It's not happening in China. It's not happening in large parts of the Middle East. And so yes I think it is provocative to say, 'let social media run amok. But I think we also need to be deeply provocative about asking ourselves especially in a year like 2017 where we focused so much on the downside risks. Let's not forget that this divisive new medium is also a powerful instrument of inclusion.

AMT: Let's look at some of the other shifts that may be follow that thread. The #MeToo movement. A rise in far right extremism. A redrawing of the EU with Brexit. Black Lives Matter. There are many societal discussions idle no more that have been spurred by discussion that began on social media and you say we should let it run amok. Some people are opposed. Some people are not. But there is a historical precedent here. And right now we're dealing with social media. There was a time when we were dealing with a printing press. Connect the dots for me.

CHRIS KUTARNA: Yeah. And I think that it's actually as I think about the historical precedent of when humanity transformed from oral culture to a print world. That leads me to be biased towards saying we really just need to let this all unfold rather than try to control it and slow it down. You know I have to I guess acknowledge an intellectual debt again to Marshall McLuhan who really you know wrote the book on understanding what happened when the printing press came into Western civilization. And the story is really quite simple. I mean we lived in oral world. In an oral culture. And in an oral culture who says a thing and how big an audience is present to that saying, that's what determines what's true. And so it was the priests and the princes who had the power to determine what was true, what was real. And then we transformed into this print world. And in a print culture what gets printed is conferred a special authority. And so we saw examples in society of how words could take on the traditional authorities of the church and of the princes and the kings and the queens. Words like Martin Luther. And you know as we think about the attempts of European society to adapt and to control the advent of print. They're really sort of I guess three cases. The Ottoman Empire banned the printing press entirely and missed out entirely on the scientific revolution. You had Catholic countries who didn't ban the printing press outright but wanted to tightly control the messages that were printed, the books that were printed. So you know works like Galileo for example get banned. And we saw that scientific publishing moved to Protestant countries where the authority over what was printed was weaker. And then really across society by the 1600s, as church and state tried to assert more and more control over the printing press, a new political artistic value emerged which is of course the freedom of the press. Which only existed once the press became suppressed. And the idea of a freedom of the press really took hold and helped to augment an awareness in European society that there is this big gap between the claim of singular truth from the church and state and the reality that we see of all these different alternatives. And it was that continental wide debate that led to the spread of ideas like market economics, democracy, and ultimately the secular, skeptical rational society that we've built today.

AMT: In other words they've pulled us into the modern era.

CHRIS KUTARNA: Exactly. And so there was a time 500 ago when society felt that it was finished. And in hindsight it was medieval. And now we live in modernity. And how do we know that we're not there today again?

AMT: Well let me ask you though. If there is an historical precedent for us - for regular folk to let it run amok, then that same historical precedent would suggest those in control don't want it to.

CHRIS KUTARNA: [Laughs]

AMT: Because that's the status quo that will be forced into upheaval is it not?

CHRIS KUTARNA: So I think that we're seeing a lot of this in the political hearings that happened I guess it was a couple of months ago now in the U.S. And in the U.K., where the executives from GAFA which is Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple are hauled before legislators. And the argument is made, 'these platforms are disrupting our political order. Do something about it. Or we will'. I think that there is a fear that this new social media space is going to sort of upturn the existing order. Actually, I have a couple of different views on that. I think that we don't yet realise the power that social media has given to the population. And so I think that for the moment sort of established us already isn't really very threatened at all. I only have to look at President Donald Trump and the stranglehold that he has on our attention. Again this is something Marshall McLuhan talked about. He said when we enter into this computer age we're going to regress to an oral culture. We're going to regress to this world in which who says a thing and how big an audience is to the saying of it is what determines what's true. And when that happens you know rather than resist it, we need to adapt our way of interfacing with the world back to an oral culture. In a print culture we develop - we became predisposed to believing what we read and what we heard. In an oral culture we need to recover the capacity to ask ourselves who do I want to listen to and who do I want to ignore. And it's clear if you just see the stranglehold that Trump has on the world's attention that we haven't figured that out yet. We live in this paradox where we think, and this is very print culture way of looking at the world, because Donald Trump is powerful we need to listen to him.

AMT: So you're saying we haven't evolved quite to where this is going?

CHRIS KUTARNA: Because the reality - in an oral culture it's the exact reverse. Because we need to listen to him, he became powerful. And so we still I think have a ways to go to recognise our power to ignore. The power of ignoring. The oxygen that we have given to the ideas, to the issues that we are now wrestling with because we don't know how to ignore things, which is something that in oral culture everyone knows how to do. And in the print world we can't manage it. That's why we feel this constant overwhelm of information because we do not know how to exercise our judgement to ignore the things that that really don't add value to our lives.

AMT: And so in that equation who gets to decide what truth is now?

CHRIS KUTARNA: Here's the difference between sort of our first experience of oral culture and ours today, which is 500 years ago before print we lived in a [unintelligible] and a magical world. And today we live in a scientific world. So the opportunity - I guess who should decide what is truth today is really the results of experimentation right. So we need to be running bold experiments and a lot of different ways and see what works. Science understands that. That's how science has always operated. Business today is really starting to understand that. I mean it's much more popular in business today to say, 'oh yeah you know we've got three or four different projects and there are little investments and we see what works and double down on that'. That is far more current in business today than to have the big five or 10-year strategic plan. I think in a lot of how we operate society and policy making today we still have more catching up to do. And that if I may sort of the transitions into a thought I have about you know what is the roll of these social media behemoths in our society today? The Facebook and the Twitter. As we recognize that there are these real consequences and not all of them good. Whether it is foreign interference in our political discourse or it is the whipping up of misogyny or racism or Islamophobia in our societies.

AMT: I'll just jump in because our ability to agree on basic facts these days in an era of fake news, in an era all of this stuff of social media running amok becomes more difficult. Our ability to critically assess. Does it not?

CHRIS KUTARNA: I mean I think that we are struggling with that. And so part of that struggle I think is a good thing. And I confess that you've got to have a bit of a long-term view with me on this. Maybe it comes from my historical lens. If can take us back 500 years when Copernicus published his theory that said, 'look guys the Earth is not the centre of the universe. Actually it's the Sun'. That book didn't have impact. It didn't have grab just because it was this one thing that landed. Copernicus's book which was published in the 1540s almost a century after the printing press first came to Europe was preceded by decades of Almanacs of prognostications of flyers. A lot of it was fake news. A lot of it was fear and it was superstition about the state of the world about what was happening in the heavens. But all of that sort of new ideas and information helped to break this deeply held social view that truth came from the ancients. Truth came from the Bible. And so his book landed in a social milieu that was ready to explore the possibility that there were alternative sources of truth. So you know I think that there are a lot of deeply held ideas. Behaviours truths in our society today that probably need to be shaken a bit. Need to be disrupted to use the word from last season. Now I don't know what all of these are. I mean they continue to surprise us. Like the #MeToo movement. We say, 'oh yeah I mean why have we been putting up with this for so long'. Clearly we need to shift society in a new way. Maybe it will be in terms of like our tax systems, in terms of our education systems.

AMT: Perhaps our government systems?

CHRIS KUTARNA: Perhaps. I mean again what is wonderful but thinking about social media is how deep its impact on society goes. I mean the whole project of representative democracy is kind of founded upon this idea that an informed citizenry can make responsible choices or at least will not make irresponsible choices about who should have power and that project rests upon some pretty deep values in Western civilization about rationality and reason and civility. We already think that maybe those assumptions are too strong. But standing in 2018 we realized that whole project itself rested upon assumptions that at the time democracy was born we just took for granted. For example that the public discourse that is going to be making these choices is primarily going to take place on the land and among the people who are affected by it. That the audience to what is rational is going to be bigger than the audience to what is irrational.

AMT: And some of that has now shifted as well. Chris Kutarna, I want you to stay with me. We have to pause for a break. But I want to - when we come back talk a bit more about how then with this change under way we adapt. So stay with me. I am speaking with Chris Kutarna, s fellow at the Oxford Martin School and co-author of Age of Discovery: Navigating the Storms of Our Second Renaissance. This is The Current on CBC Radio One. Stay with us.

[Music: Bridge]

AMT: Hello I'm Anna Maria Tremonti and you are listening to The Current. For the past half hour we've been pulling back at the camera, taking a wider view of the social and political change the world has been witnessing. My guests for this conversation is Chris Kutarna. He's an author and he is a fellow at the Oxford Martin School. You may remember him from last season here on The Current when he joined us to speak about forces disrupting our world. He is back with us to look at how societies need to adapt to all those disruptions as part of our new project Adaptation. Now if you missed the first part of our conversation today or our conversation last season both will be available on our website cbc.ca/thecurrent. Chris Kutarna is with us from our Regina studio to continue our conversation. Hello again.

CHRIS KUTARNA: Hi.

AMT: Now before the break we were talking about the shift in what's going on and how we might be best to let things run amok because they can point out what actually needs changing and some of the change will be good. I want to talk specifically more about politics. Is left versus right still a good way to think about politics?

CHRIS KUTARNA: You know as we look back at 2016 and 2017 don't we all get the sense that so many the big actors that shape the world - they didn't really fit on that spectrum. Well Donald Trump I guess you know by identifying as a Republican we think of him as right wing. But you know a lot of the policies that he campaigned on: tearing up NAFTA, protectionism, and anti-immigration. I mean these were about trying to protect workers I suppose. I mean it's kind of hard to understand but some of his policies were classically leftist. The whole Brexit debate divided people within sort of the left wing and right wing party. And I think what we're actually seeing is that the most divisive debates today are happening within the political parties as they try to decide what's the right way forward. Is it an open world? Where we are open to immigration, to trade, to globalization. Or is it to be more closed? To recognize how vulnerable that openness makes us. And I think as we go forward this debate between open and closed is really going to be where most of the public angst and the political combat is going to happen.

AMT: It's interesting as you point out you are a China scholar. We see real change and adaptation in China where you have a communist government pushing real economic change without the assumed political change from the West that the assumption is you can't have that economic change without political change.

CHRIS KUTARNA: This is I think a big shift in how we look at China today versus in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square. In the mid-90s there was a book published by Francis Fukuyama called The End of History. And the argument that he was making there is that given that China has re-entered the global market economy, given Tiananmen Square, given the fall of the Berlin Wall, it's pretty clear that sort of liberal democracy has won. And we looked at China that way and thought that because it is an authoritarian government, it's not going to be able to innovate, to have the kind of creative engine to become as prosperous as the democratic world. So ultimately it's going to figure that out. Its population is going to push for democratization. Fast forward to today and that sounds hopelessly naive. President Xi Jinping is probably the most powerful leader of that country since Mao. And the economy is doing tremendously well in exactly those industries that are the most innovative. So we have learned...

AMT: But China isn't letting any of that run amok, is it?

CHRIS KUTARNA: So that's exactly it. The other thing in the 90s is we thought that the internet was just going to be this instrument of empowering individuals. And what China has demonstrated to its own population and to the rest of the authoritarian world is that, 'hey this is a terrific technology for strengthening the state'. What social media does is it takes private discourse and it makes it explicit and visible and recordable. We don't have to hypothesize. We can identify private discourse and suppress it before it becomes public discourse.

AMT: So you use that example and then we talk about letting things run amok here in the western world. So that - because as you point out if it's broken we need to identify what needs fixing. But how could this entire shift Western liberal democracy or what we believe it to be? How could it change our governments? How do we guard against exploitation of people not toward openness but toward a different kind of closed?

CHRIS KUTARNA: I think what comes of this moment is a need to get honest and to double down on the practice of democracy. In the past democracy was actually the conservative way to organize a society in the sense that the whole idea is you know maybe - like Plato said we can have some wise philosopher king. Anna Maria Tremonti, put her in charge of the country and that will be the way to maximize the public welfare because every decision she makes is going to be the best decision that could be made. But what if we get that person wrong. That's the downside risks we want to avoid. And so we set up democracy. Authoritarian countries like China they take more aggressive approach and say, 'no we think we can pick the winner'. But I really feel like today in this age of empowered citizenry we're flipping that whole way of looking at what the political system that is going to lead us to prosperity. Now I think democracy has become the high-risk, high-reward strategy. If we double down on the idea that our participation in society is how we flourish, then we will flourish.

AMT: And we will adapt essentially.

CHRIS KUTARNA: And we will adapt. But if you think about what are the trends that we face as a country like Canada. Humanity has just gone through the biggest, fastest, and probably final population doubling that we'll ever experience on planet Earth. Probably never going to reach 14 billion. From here on in the developed world we are an ageing society. So how do we grow? We need to improve inclusion in our society. Populations whether it's ethnic minorities, Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, women, different genders, economically disadvantaged people that are excluded because our population is ageing. We need to focus on realizing and removing the marginalizations within our societies. We've only been with social media for a decade. We have already got powerful evidence of how by relating it run amok we are just tearing down divisions. I guess that is the - and I try to be an optimist, right? [Laughs].

AMT: That's the optimistic side, yeah.

CHRIS KUTARNA: That's the optimistic side that I'm working toward. But it is a risk.

AMT: But perhaps it's a greater risk not to take the risk. I want to ask you how does the shift from that print culture and that precedent that you talked about earlier to a digital culture change the way we assess the value of new ideas?

CHRIS KUTARNA: What has happened is that in a print did publishers had a certain authority by selecting and curating what was to borrow a byline from the New York Times fit for print. And it wasn't just print, right? I mean with the advent of television. With the advent of radio there has always been the curator. And you’re right that now that we live in a digital world everyone has this power to reach from one to many. You've put your finger on one of the most stressful aspects of living at the birth of this digital age is how do we select what are the good ideas? I'm going to borrow Marshall McLuhan one last time because...

AMT: I was just going to ask you to go back to him. So go ahead.

CHRIS KUTARNA: [Laughs] So you’re so prescient on this because he said the natural state in an oral culture is terror. Why? Because it feels like anything can affect anything at any time. I think as a society we're going to have to recover the capacity to judge who we pay attention to.

AMT: Well let me pick up on that then because you talk about in a digital culture where everyone has authority, no one has authority, and everyone has responsibility. Part of the adaptation has to be that we develop new ways of critical-thinking. We can't go to the gatekeepers...

CHRIS KUTARNA: Right. But it's not just us on our own.

AMT: Collectively on our own [laughs].

CHRIS KUTARNA: [Laughs] Sometimes it feels that way. Other actors in society has a role to play too. So you know we look at the Facebooks and the Twitters of the world and there is this big debate going on right now. Do we sort of leave them they say fair or do you regulate them as publishers? You know while I talk about letting social media run amok I don't necessarily mean we need to let these companies run amok. I think that debate though is probably the wrong question. I don't think that these entities belong in the same category of regulation as the CBC for example. I think there are more like utilities sort of central national infrastructure like an energy utility or a telephone utility. What's their public responsibility? It's not to police the content. The telephone companies don't police who is making the criminal phone calls, but they do have a public obligation to report usage and usage patterns. Tell us how much money was spent by outside countries. That kind of reporting...

AMT: That's well worth considering. It sounds as if that might be the way to go. But before I let you go, let me ask you, there is always resistance to massive change. What does it take to pivot from pushing back against it to adapting to it without feeling you're rolling over for it?

CHRIS KUTARNA: I think probably if we look individually, psychologically, I think it takes some hope in the sense that we are adaptable. If we take a broader perspective there is reason to hope. There's also a reason to fear [laughs]. The reality is that as a species humanity is tremendously adaptable. I mean we have spread across this entire globe in all manner of different configurations of societies and economies and value structures. As individuals we tend to have a harder time adapting. Adaptation tends to happen through generational change. That's why you know my new nephew - just six months old - is going to be so much more adept at this world that is just going to be ordinary for him then me who goes through this adaptation process.

AMT: Well that's a hopeful note to end on. We should leave it right there [laughs]. Chris Kutarna, thank you.

CHRIS KUTARNA: Thank you so much.

AMT: Chris Kutarna is a fellow at the Oxford Martin School. He is the co-author of Age of Discovery: Navigating the Storms of Our Second Renaissance. He joined us from our Regina studio. Let us know what you think of what he's saying there about social media and how we adapt without rolling over. You can tweet us @TheCurrentCBC. Find us on Facebook or go to our cbc.ca/thecurrent.

[Music: Max McKellar - Time Bomb C]

AMT: I'm Anna Maria Tremonti and this is The Current on CBC Radio One.

Back To Top »

'Women need to take up more space': Feminist theatre calls on industry to hire female directors

Guest: Kelly Thornton

SOUNDCLIP

ELISABETH MOSS: We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edge of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories. Margaret Atwood this is for you and all of the women who came before you and after you who were brave enough to speak out against intolerance and injustice and to fight for equality and freedom in this world. We no longer live in the blank spaces of the edge of print. We no longer live in the gaps between the stories. We are the story in print and we are writing the story ourselves. Thank you.

AMT: At the Golden Globes on Sunday night actress Elisabeth Moss quoted from Margaret Atwood. She was accepting the award for best actress in a TV drama for her role in the adaptation of Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. And it was just one of many references that night to the changing cultural landscape. The downfall of Harvey Weinstein and the rise of the #MeToo movement have been a wakeup call in Hollywood. But Elisabeth Moss raised a point that has been echoed by many in the entertainment world for years. Tell more women's stories and give women more power in the industry. Toronto's Nightwood Theatre has been putting that message out for a long time. Now in its 38th, Nightwood is one of Canada's leading feminist theatres focusing on women's stories told by women. Kelly Thornton is Nightwood's artistic director and she joins me in our Toronto studio. Hello.

KELLY THORNTON: Hi Anna Maria.

AMT: What do you think when you hear a high profile actress like Elisabeth Moss using the stage at an awards show watched by so many people to talk about the telling of women's stories?

KELLY THORNTON: You know it chokes me up even when you play the clip. It chokes me up. I think a lot of women watching that night were emboldened by the fact that finally we are coming out of the shadow of you know being the second sex and not having the power in so many different places in entertainment and theatre. To finally say that, 'yeah that our stories are actually worthy of telling'. Ironically I've done I've done studies on - I've been part of the whole equity and theatre movement - I've done studies on the fact that the ticket buyers in theatre are primarily women. I think that was mentioned at the Golden Globes too.

AMT: I think she mentioned - Elisabeth Moss.

KELLY THORNTON: Many women in the audience looking for themselves. And it's great this wave that we're on started with #MeToo to really look at the fact that women need to take up more space.

AMT: So Nightwood is described as a feminist theatre. What is that?

KELLY THORNTON: What is a feminist theatre? Uh, well I think it is the simple fact that we feel that we deserve equality in society. That we want to share the boardroom table instead of take notes for the board. And that we propel women's voices. For me there is an inherent political nature to making theatre because artists in general are agitators. We try and allow our audiences to see a different perspective of the world. And in our case at Nightwood we are sharing women's voices and women's stories and women's experiences. Our audience is very mixed. Its men and women. And to tell those stories and to take up the space and to have people live those experiences with us on stage broadens their own perspective of the world.

AMT: Everybody's talking about this now but Nightwood has been doing this for 38 years.

KELLY THORNTON: Yes we have.

AMT: Was promoting women writing, directing, and acting always the mission?

KELLY THORNTON: Ironically it's - the founders of the company Maureen White and Kim Renders and Cynthia Grant and Mary Vingoe - they were four upstart artists in 1979 who just wanted to make theatre. But they were seen branded as the women's theatre. I always joke that four men get together and make a play and its theatre [laughs]. And four women get together and it's women's theatre. But you know I don't think that was so central to the mission at the beginning. But over the first five years of their experience running Nightwood they began to broaden their mission from their own collective artistic longings to the broader community to support women's voices. The Groundswell Festival is a huge festival promoting women's voices and new plays by women.

AMT: So in the late 70s, how unusual was it to have female playwrights? Like to be staging plays in Canada with female playwrights and all of that. It would have been unusual.

KELLY THORNTON: Yeah I think it was not only just female playwrights but Canadian playwrights. I think the climate at that time was there was a lot of companies doing American and British plays. And we were a young theatre nation in that way. We hadn't really developed a lot of playwrights, let alone female playwrights. But the numbers were very minimal in terms of women's opportunities to get on to main stage.

AMT: And how has the theatre evolved over those decades?

KELLY THORNTON: Well you know when I started in 2001 at Nightwood I was asked, 'what's the point of a women's theatre company in the 21st century? Aren't we beyond that?' And you know I was a brand new artistic director and I thought I need to breathe into that question. I mean I joked and said we're enjoying equity in all industries. But I really felt I needed to actually look at that. So it was 2002 - 20 years after Rina Fraticelli was commissioned by The Status of Women and the Applebaum-Hébert report to look at the stats of women in Canadian theatre. And I was very interested in the relevancy of our mandate and how far we'd come. And sadly we had climbed. Of course we climbed. But we had not climbed to any sense of equity in the industry. We were hovering around 25 percent. Since then we gathered a group of practitioners and educators across the country and we partnered with the playwrights Guild of Canada and we started Equity in Theatre. The women's initiative to first unpack where we were 20 years later and through straw polls and eventually a statistical report that was released in 2006 we released that we were far, far behind. And that often you know some of these numbers were like the one woman show touring across the country and that was their ticking of the box of the female playwright that year. And we then partnered with PACT - the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres - and they've continued to push that mission through their diversity committee.

AMT: So you're telling me that getting plays written by women, directed by women, acted not exclusively but dominated by female characters, is still - like it was still a stretch.

KELLY THORNTON: It's about 25 to 30 percent.

AMT: Racialized women. Indigenous women.

KELLY THORNTON: Well those are despicable numbers. They are far below that. I think the whole thing comes down to leadership. I believe that while there was you know three theatres in the country at the time when I took over Nightwood. Jackie Maxwell had started it at the Shaw festival. Marti Maraden was at NAC at that time. It was a bit of a facade of equity. The numbers were still not showing and then the leadership -the artistic directors - were primarily men and white men. You know I don't fault them in many ways. I say it's a blind spot for many people. An artistic director when they're programming is very much interested in stories that speak to them. So that can be gendered. You know I think men and women walk into a bookstore they're looking for different - and they want to buy a novel - they're looking for different novels. And then you know that perpetuates a cycle that you know who better to direct Bob's play but Bill you know. So I also released a report - not a report - but a catalogue called The Canadian Women Directors Catalogue because I felt there is an equation here that if you can get more female directors directing on the main stages, that the next time a leadership change happens, then they can be considered.

AMT: Can come from those ranks.

KELLY THORNTON: Yeah.

AMT: Well let's talk about some specifics. In 2015 Nightwood presented Nirbhaya in Toronto, which was in response to the rape and murder of a young woman on a Delhi bus in 2012. It was a very big story at the time around the world. How did the play tackle such a troubling subject?

KELLY THORNTON: Uh, exquisitely. It was a shattering piece of theatre. It's a testimonial piece - Poorna Jagannathan who is Indian-based and she also acts in the States sometimes. The week that this happened South African director Yael Farber who lives in Montreal now posted something on Facebook. And Poorna had seen one of Yael's shows earlier in her career. And she knew that Yael did testimonial theatre. And so she reached out to her through Facebook and said, 'I am a survivor of sexual violence. And I feel my silence has perpetuated or perpetrated what happened on that bus, and I need to break my silence and I know many, many women and performers, people within the entertainment industry here in India that want to break their silence. Can you come to India?' And Yael packed her bags with her eight-year-old daughter year and off they went.

AMT: Well we have a clip from that play and let's listen.

SOUNDCLIP

VOICE 1: When my husband called me late one night - something crazy just happened in Delhi. I feel something rupture. The silence starts to tear and come apart. I am her. She is me. And I know my silence all these years is part of what that dark night brought.

AMT: Kelly Thornton, what was the response like to that play?

KELLY THORNTON: It was shattering for our audiences. But it was also empowering for everyone. It was a collective. I mean you know theatre is cathartic. To sit in a dark room together communally and experience the truth telling because these stories in the silence breaking have been sitting in the shadows and through fear and shame and their own deep oppression of these feelings trying to get on with their lives. And I think so many people were really emboldened to be allies if they were men and many men also talked about you know their own survival through sexual violence. But people were moved and emboldened to make a change. To start talking. I think talking - I mean you see in the #MeToo movement that talking is far more powerful than you think it's going to be when you're suffering in silence.

AMT: Well you've just released an open letter where you say art is our weapon.

KELLY THORNTON: Yeah. Yeah, I think the industry that this past week has been really distressed and upset and how could - this was our blind spot - how could we let this happen to the artists in our industry.

AMT: You're talking about the artists who came forward on Soulpepper.

KELLY THORNTON: Yeah. And you know maybe that's only the tip of the iceberg. I think the entire industry has to look at itself and say, 'is our workplace safe?' Are the young students that are coming out of theatre schools asked and open and ready to be vulnerable. There should not be lines crossed under that guys. So I think it's super important for this ongoing silence breaking to continue. Like the last thing we all want to hear is that the #MeToo came and went and everything went back to normal. I think this is a significant moment for women and we have to keep pushing.

AMT: We have to leave it there. But thank you for sharing little bit of the story of Nightwood with us, and for your work.

KELLY THORNTON: Thanks.

AMT: Kelly Thornton is the artistic director at Toronto's Nightwood Theatre. She joined us in our Toronto studio. Let us know what you think of what she had to say. You can tweet us. We are @TheCurrentCBC. Find us on Facebook or go to our website cbc.ca/thecurrent. That's our program for today. Stay with Radio One for Q. Actor and comedian Catherine O'Hara joins Tom Power to talk about her illustrious career and the new season of CBC Television's Schitt's Creek. Remember you can always take The Current with you to on the CBC Radio app free from Google Play or the App Store. I'm Anna Maria Tremonti. Thank you for listening The Current.

Back To Top »

CBC would like to acknowledge the support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.