"Downstream is an innovative way to convey research knowledge and get people to consider how they might use that knowledge," said Graham Strickert, a research associate with GIWS and project manager. "The play uses a style called forum theatre that invites audience members to make decisions as the story progresses. For example, should authorities breach a levee and flood land to save a community downstream? Who bears the effects of decisions made upstream?"
The production is a satirical look at how water management plans are created using statements, feedback and observations gathered from workshop participants. Following the performance, audience members will be invited to give feedback about research results and also the drama production as a communications format.
"We originally presented results to stakeholders the traditional way - in person through a PowerPoint presentation - and I left feeling that there was a better way to do this," said Strickert. "Using forum theatre engages people and leads to better dialogue and discussion. It's an experiment, but one that may strengthen future research programs."
The play is written by award-winning Cree playwright Kenneth T. Williams and performed by U of S drama. Funding for the initiative came from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Connections (SSHRC) Grant program which supports events and outreach activities that mobilize research knowledge.
Downstream performance schedule
Tickets are free and can be reserved by visiting www.usask.ca/water
February 18, 7:30 pm Fort Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
February 19, 7 pm Medicine Hat Library, Medicine Hat, Alberta
February 21, 1 pm Convocation Hall, U of S Campus, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
February 24, 1 pm Charlebois Community School, Cumberland House, Saskatchewan
For more information, contact:
University of Saskatchewan