Apr 232014

Solidarity Halifax is a proud sponsor of the 2014 MayworksHalifax Festival. See the festival’s press release below (features quotes from Solidarity Halifax members Sébastien Labelle and Kyle Buott) and make sure to check out the full calendar of events at mayworkshalifax.ca

Artists and labour activists join forces in another edition of the expanding MayworksHalifax Festival. Now in its fifth iteration the multi-disciplinary arts festival boasts a line-up of events featuring works of theatre, cinema, writing, printmaking and photography.

“Continuing to build onto the success of past years, our fifth festival will feature its most ambitious and diverse program of events yet,” says Sébastien Labelle, who is Vice-President for Culture & Mayworks at the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council.

The MayworksHalifax Festival is a project of the regional Labour Council, representing over 25,000 workers across the city. Through the festival, the Labour Council and sponsoring unions share their values and mission to the general public.

“All too often, unions are misrepresented in the media, creating confusion about their purpose. The festival allows us to demystify unions and celebrate through art what we’re really about: social justice, democracy, equity and collective empowerment – not only in the workplace, but throughout our communities”, says Labelle.

Kyle Buott, President of the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council ads “Mayworks is about bringing workers and artist together to use art to explore economic, social and environmental justice. The labour movement is the largest democratic movement in the country, uniting 3.5 million members, this is one way to help tell people’s stories.”

MayworksHalifax contributes to building a culture and society that celebrates and recognizes the history and struggle of the working people of Nova Scotia. The annual festival spans a period of time before and after May 1st of every year, the International Worker’s Day, and serves as an extended celebration of the day’s significance to all workers and those seeking justice.

The festival also offers artists and workers the opportunity to recognize their common struggle for fair wages, healthy working conditions and a vibrant, relevant culture that reflects their lives. Artists featured in the festival are invited to produce works of art that reflect the interests of workers, equity-seeking groups and people in poverty. Works of this nature often have difficulty finding venues and support, so the festival provides a vehicle for artists to address political issues that matter to them or communities they are part of.

The 2014 festival opens with a ceremony marking a tremendous growth of activism toward the recognition of treaties betweenIndigenous peoples and colonial governments. This will be followed by works that engages audiences and patrons around issues of workplace safety, transphobia, African Nova Scotian struggles against racism, the experiences of sex workers, andstate repression among other topics.

“This will surely be our biggest year yet”, exclaims Buott. “There is something for everyone at MayworksHalifax.”

The 2014 festival will take place from April 23rd to May 2nd, is open to the general public, and will spread over multiple venues across Halifax.

See program of events below. Details available at mayworkshalifax.ca


Opening Ceremony – Art & Indigenous Resistance
April 23, 6:
00PM – 8:30PM
Dalhousie Arts Centre – 6101 University Ave
Free admission

In recognition of the Peace and Friendship Treaties that bind us together in the Atlantic region, the 2014 festival opens with traditional Mi’kmaw ceremonies offered by elder Billy Lewis and the All Nations Drummers. The Ceremony will take place inside the Dalhousie Art Gallery, currently hosting “Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop & Aboriginal Culture”. The ceremonies will be followed by a screening of “Seeking Netukulimk,” a short documentary film by Martha Stiegman and Kerry Prosper. The evening will then culminate with a panel discussion featuring Ursula A. JohnsonSherry Pictou and Kerry Prosper.


A Society of Law
Us vs Them Theatre Cooperative
April 24 – 27, 8:00PM
The Bus Stop Theatre – 2203 Gottingen St
$10 admission

A new play by Pasha Ebrahimi and 2014 Mayor’s Award for Emerging Artist recipient Evan Wade Brown. A Society of Law will introduce audiences to two desperate, disparate men who are forced to negotiate their highest ideals and darkest hypocrisies. The story is set against the backdrop of Canadian class and gender politics, contemporary protests, the Haymarket Massacre and the Iranian Revolution.


A Show of Force
Art + Activism @ NSCAD
April 25 – May 13
Plan B Merchants Coop – 2180 Gottingen St
Free admission

A concurrent exhibition of print portfolios relating to labour and social justice in Halifax, NS, and abroad. The exhibition includes a local exchange portfolio created during a social justice/art making public workshop at NSCAD University alongside curated selections from the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative archives.


The Politics of Creativity
A booklaunch by Max Haiven and Fernwood Publishing
April 26, 6:00PM – 7:00PM

The Bus Stop Theatre – 2203 Gottingen St
Free admission

Max Haiven invites us to consider the politics of creativity and the limits imposed on it within the constraints of our economic system. In this stirring call to arms, Haiven argues that capitalism has colonized how we all imagine and express what is valuable. The event serves as a booklaunch for Haiven’s book “Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power: Capitalism, Creativity and the Commons.”


Aftermath: The Conequences of a Workplace Injury
Documentary Photography By Trevor Beckerson
Presented with The Office of the Worker Counsellor

April 28
Location TBA

In commemoration of the National Day of Mourning, when workers mourn and protest people harmed or killed on the job, The Office of the Worker Counsellor present a photographic documentary exhibition in which the work of photographer Trevor Beckerson opens the shutter on the people of the tragedies of workplace injury.


Cafe DaPoPo
DaPoPo Theatre
April 28, 7:30PM – 10:00PM

Bearly’s House of Blues and Ribs – 1269 Barrington St
$5 admission

Once again, DaPoPo Theatre returns with its unique blend of ordered chaos with what is now a Mayworks staple hit – the Cafe DaPoPo! Order to your taste, and experience songs, monologues, scenes and other pieces of performance art right at your table at this popular theatrical event.


Reel Justice
Co-curated with the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative
April 29, 7:30PM – 9:00PM

AFCOOP – 5663 Cornwallis St. Suite #101
Admission by Donation to The Burnley “Rocky” Jones Education Fund

Our movie screens are colonized by Hollywood and its big business interests. “Reel Justice” responds with a collection of short films you won’t see at the multiplex. Films include “Encounter at Kwacha House” to pay tribute to the late Rocky Jones, “Making It” (Sobaz Benjamin), “Waters of the Diaspora: The Passage” (Sylvia D. Hamilton), “Reeny” (Fateh Ahmed), “Scarlines” (Stephanie Young), Don’t Dictate! NEGOTIATE! (Liz McDougall), and more!

Talk Sexxxy: the not so sexy journal of a phone sex operator
April 30 – May 2, 8:00PM
The Bus Stop Theatre – 2203 Gottingen St

$10 admission

Written by 2012 Mayor’s Award for Emerging Artist recipient Lee-Anne Poole and performed by 2013 Mayor’s Award for Emerging Artist Stephanie MacDonald. Talk Sexxxy looks at the perverse and private fantasy lives of the phone sex industry. Listening in on these private and anonymous calls for a company that proclaims, “No Taboos, Hardcore Phone Sex!” through the ears of a new phone sex operator and a regular caller.

Visit mayworkshalifax.ca for ticket and details.

MayworksHalifax is a project of the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council, representing over 25,000 workers in all sectors of the economy within the Halifax Regional Municipality.



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