The company’s popular digital pivot of “Human Library” returns, focussing on shifting ideas of otherness through meaningful one-on-one discussion
Vancouver, BC — Zee Zee Theatre presents the return of Virtual Humanity, streaming online on November 27, 28 and December 4, 5, 2021. Following an eye-opening digital pivot for the theatre’s mainstay program, Human Library, where participants can ‘check out’ a human for a candid conversation about their life experiences, culture and beliefs—this year’s offering will focus on the Two Spirit & Indigiqueer experience. Co-curated by Alysha Collie, Raven John, Dallas Yellowﬂy, Deborah Williams, and produced by Jordy Matheson, folks are invited to break down their ideas of difference in a 20 minute discussion with a “Virtual Human.”
“Inclusiveness is a key element to content now, and hearing from mixed voices and mixed identities is a beautiful shift. We’re seeing way more Indigenous perspectives, worldviews, and ways of knowing. But, Indigiqueer folks prior have been given a lot less space.” says Virtual Humanity Co-curator Dallas Yellowﬂy. Co-curator Alysha Collie adds “I haven’t seen another project like this where Two Spirit and Indigiqueer folks are adequately compensated for their time and emotional labour to tell their stories on this scale. These stories are so important, and have for so long been excluded.”
According to Producer Jordy Matheson, “as a result of COVID-19, a lot of us were forced to look outside of our daily lives. There was so much important learning that took place. Now ﬁnding ourselves months later being able to reunite with our close circles in person, many may be tempted to retreat to their small worlds again. But, we must continue to look outside of ourselves to continue learning. Virtual Humanity creates this safe space for open conversation that can be difﬁcult to come by in a polarized, online world.”
For the second edition of Virtual Humanity, participants are welcomed into an environment to authentically listen in an intimate discussion with a “Virtual Human,” whose worldview may differ from their own. Through these explorations of story, division is tackled head on in a safe, and accessible online space in order to ﬁnd common ground, and narrow the ideological gaps that divide us.
Leading up to the event, the curation team is working closely with the participating Two Spirit and Indigiqueer “Virtual Humans.” Alysha Collie expands on the importance of story, sharing that “workshopping your truly lived experiences to understand what makes you unique can help create more understanding of who you are.” In hopes to cultivate an environment with a multiplicity of perspectives, Collie reminds audiences of the importance of Afro-Indigenous voices, many of which will be included in this year’s online edition. “Anti-blackness is a huge issue in the Indigenous community. When we’re given public opportunities to display indigeneity, Afro-Indigenous peoples are often an afterthought. Part of me as someone who wants to do a bit better by my ancestors is to really
uplift the voices that our community has not been doing. I want them to feel welcomed in this project.” she adds.
Human Library began in 2000 in Copenhagen by a collective called ‘Stop the Violence’ and since then, the hugely popular “open source” project has popped up in more than 70 countries. The original Human Library project was ignited by a brutal hate crime perpetrated against a friend—and this act of healing for four people became a global movement.
In the past nine years of Zee Zee’s edition of Human Library, public response has been tremendous, creating lasting memories and relationships, ultimately changing conceptions of “the other,” and challenging prejudice through meaningful conversation.
In Virtual Humanity audience members will select a title from the collection of 20+ ‘Virtual Humans’—something that intrigues or confounds them. They will then proceed into a one-one-one digital conversation over Zoom with their Virtual Human, a person who will share their true personal story that is reﬂected in their title, over the course of 20 minutes. True to Zee Zee’s core philosophy, Virtual Humanity aims to foster empathy, reminding us that everyone has a story worth sharing, if we simply take the time to sit down and listen to them.
Reservations are $5 with a subsequent request to ‘Pay What It’s Worth’ after the show. Tickets on sale November 12th at zeezeetheatre.ca.
LISTING INFORMATION Zee Zee Theatre presents Virtual Humanity
Dates: November 27, 28, December 4, 5, 2021. 1-4PM.
Price: $5 Reservation, with post show request to Pay What It’s Worth
Ticket Link: zeezeetheatre.ca
About Zee Zee Theatre (zeezeetheatre.ca)
Founded in 2008 by Cameron Mackenzie, for nearly fourteen years, Zee Zee Theatre has shared individual stories that provoke and inspire us, and that foster common understanding and empathy across our diverse human experiences. Zee Zee Theatre is devoted to telling diverse stories and amplifying the voices of those on the margins with a focus on LGBTQ2SI+ communities. We explore intimate moments through which the inﬁnite complexity of human character can be revealed.