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Living Below the Line

Living Below the Line (LBL), a 4-month project during March–June 2022, was for individuals living in poverty to co-create and present a new stage play with music and professional theatre makers. Fourteen individuals, along with Watercourse Theatre, co-created a stereotype-busting performance on the struggle, resilience, and hope associated with living below the poverty line, which highlighted systemic and relational issues associated with chronic poverty. Personal narratives were shared and concious-raising around the complex issues informing poverty were centered in this initiative.

Watercourse Theatre explores innovative ways to creatively and theatrically share the stories of individuals and groups in our society whose voices are often not heard. The project was funded through the Catherine Donnelly Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, and Pat the Dog. Dr. Carol Stalker and Dr. Ginette Lafreniere from the FSW were the researchers who spearheaded the evaluation of the project. 

The play was offered five times throughout the Kitchener-Waterloo community in June 2022, with nearly a thousand collective attendees. The Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University was honoured to host its inaugural show on June 17, 2022, and was highly valued by attending social work faculty and students for its authentic and visceral portrayal, as well as the focus on the intersections social workers must pay attention to in their role perpetuating systems-level barriers.

The play has been featured in local news, such as CTV News Kitchener, CBC News, and The Waterloo Record.

Contact Us:

Ginette Lafrenière, MCCHR Director

T: 519.884.0710 x5237
Office Location: FSW 310