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The genesis for my interest in collective performance, shadows and light, and the transformative power of vernacular storytelling, is rooted in my own search for belonging as a bi-racial kid growing up in Minnesota. I found belonging in the act of collectively devised storytelling and this anchor has carried me through two fine arts degrees, a few professional turns as a theatre creator, ten years of primary research across the globe, and now a doctoral degree in research creation. 

While someone outside my experience, looking objectively at the items on my cv, might wonder if I'm a little lost, I can tell you that the seemingly disparate corners of my work are all directly linked back to this singular question: how can collective performance, attention to heritage, and storymaking, rehumanize us in a capitalist and colonized society? After digging into these questions more deeply through the Interdisciplinary PhD at Concordia University, I was honored to be named valedictorian for my PhD dissertation on traditional forms of performance and their precarity in a swiftly globalizing cultural landscape (2019 Fine Arts). 

In the past few years, my interdisciplinary artistic work has included filmmaking, animation, shadow collaboration for the stage, fine arts exhibition, teaching, and two book chapters. In 2020, I joined the incredible team at MABELLEarts to bring community arts to the newcomer settlement sector and I am most proud to be a co-founder of Toronto's experimental puppetry cabaret, Concrete Cabaret, which is in its third year of curation and presentation. Concrete Cabaret was recently awarded a TAC grant to bring an experimental puppet and performing object festival to Toronto. Watch out for it in 2021!

If any of this sounds of interest to you, I'd love to hear from you!

Headshot Rollins_Annie Small.jpg
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