“The Shoe Project”: The Power of Stories

The Cause

12 women. 12 pairs of shoes. 12 stories.

"The Shoe Project" is a growing family of immigrant women, Canadian authors, and theatre artists passionate about writing expressively, and creating public performances where the brave and moving stories of newcomers and refugees are presented to the public.

SkirtsAfire is Edmonton’s theatre and multidisciplinary arts organization featuring women. Our 10 day festival runs each March at various venues in the city. Programming reflects the true diversity of the thriving arts community in Alberta and Canada, and is adaptive in its approach in order to remain accountable to the needs of artists and audiences.

We are honoured to present “The Shoe Project” in our 2024 festival for a second year in a row, in partnership with Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre. This is a National initiative with various iterations in different cities across Canada. This brilliant project brings together immigrant women who have powerful stories to share about their journey finding refuge and building a home here in Edmonton. Each story is told through the lens of a pair of shoes. The project brings experienced Canadian women artists into partnership with newcomers, working with them on writing, performance/presentation, and voice and speech. These engaging, but often harrowing stories provide audiences with insight into the lives of our immigrant neighbours.

Who Will it Benefit?

After producing this project in our 2023 festival, we have experienced the impact of "The Shoe Project" firsthand. This project benefits the immigrant and refugee community in Edmonton by providing them a platform to share their voice and story as they work to adjust in a new country. In addition, this project is known for creating a community for women with shared experiences, as newcomers to Canada, many of the women participating in "The Shoe Project" develop close friendships with the other participants.

Established writers and theatre professionals share their skills, networks, and experience with the participants, giving them tools and expertise to be able to present confidently and professionally in public speaking and performance. These skills lend themselves so well into many other day to day experiences and challenges as they integrate into a new country and community. The theatre professionals also grow in their own work by delving into these profound stories from incredibly resilient women.

The Edmonton community benefits from meeting these women through an intimate sharing of their stories, growing in understanding and with the potential to welcome some into their own networks, workplaces or other community connections where their skills are valued and put to use.