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If We Were Birds  I  Sault Ste. Marie  I  In Your Eyes Projects 

"Impeccably co-directed by Joseph Lauzon and Loretta Durat, and highlighted by stunning design effects and sculptures by acclaimed artist and former director of the Art Gallery of Algoma, Michael Burtch, the production is a remarkable artistic achievement that shines a light on human suffering in a sensitive, poetic treatment." Robin Waples


"This show is a hauntingly stunning, meaningful achievement that stands among the best productions from this community’s theatre groups." Robin Waples


In Your Eyes Projects in Partnership with Algoma University


If We Were Birds

In Your Eyes Projects, If We Were Birds, Theatre in Sault Ste. Marie

The Cast

Philomela: Anna Gartshore

Procne: Tova Arbus 

King Tereus: Dan Nystedt

King Pandion: Bob Cooper 

Pious One: Maria Kahtava

Young One: Ava Nori

Bleeding One: Heather Janser

Pregnant One: Krissy Strickland

Dwindling Dignity: Carol McLean

Scintilla: Emma Dingle

Production Location:

Algoma University, Shingwauk Auditorium 

(click picture for map)

Algoma University

The Author  I  Erin Shields

Feminist playwright and actor, who trained at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama in London, England, and graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours BA in English Literature. She is currently based in Montreal.

She was co-Artistic Director (with Andrea Donaldson) of Groundwater Productions through which she created, developed and produced much of her early work including If We Were Birds (SummerWorks 2008). In 2010, If We Were Birds was produced at Tarragon Theatre (dir. Alan Dilworth).

Erin Shield’s other works include: The Epic of Gilgamesh (Groundwater/SummerWorks), the Dora Mavor Moore Award-nominated The Unfortunate Misadventures of Masha Galinski (Groundwater/Canadian Tour), Dance of the Red Skirts (Theatre Columbus).

In 2011, Shields acted with Maev Beaty as two artists' models in their co-written play Montparnasse (Groundwater in association with Theatre Passe Muraille). Remounted in 2012, it won the Alberta Theatre Projects Enbridge Emerging playRites Award.

For full profile by Anne Nothof, Athabasca University go here.

The Story  I  If We Were Birds

When King Pandion marries his daughter Procne off to war hero King Tereus, she must leave her beloved sister Philomela behind. After years of isolation in a foreign land, Procne begs Tereus to collect her sister for a visit. When confronted with Philomela’s beauty, Tereus’ desire triumphs over reason, igniting a chain of horrific events. A harrowing exploration of violence and revenge, this adaptation features a chorus of ravaged women, each a survivor of a 20th century conflict: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Nanking, and Berlin.


If We Were Birds is a shocking, uncompromising examination of the horrors of war, giving voice to a woman long ago forced into silence, and placing a spotlight on millions of female victims who have been silenced through violence. A deeply affecting and thought-provoking re-imagining of Ovid's masterpiece "Tereus, Procne, and Philomela," Erin Shields's award-winning play is an unflinching commentary on contemporary war and its aftermath delivered through the lens of Greek tragedy. 

"Anyone doubting the relevance and primal pull of myth needs to see If We Were Birds. Scratch that. Anyone interested in powerful theatre should see it."

Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine 

"The writing is both poetic and muscular, the images are vivid, breathtaking, and heart-squeezing… pulsing with life and emotions." 

Lynn Slotkin, Here and Now, CBC Radio

The Production Team

Directors: Joseph Lauzon & Loretta Durat

Producer & Scenic Design: Michael Burtch

Producer: Sofia Silberberg

Sound Design: Michael Burtch & Frank Deresti

Costume Design: Lisa Kozak-Dinel

Technical Director: Rob Rock

Choreography: Anna Gartshore

Marketing: Thomas Brandstetter

Makeup: Emma Dingle

Pottery: Gord Burke

Consultant: Shirley Horn

Stage Manager: Carol Rowland-Vas

Video Promotions & Carpentry: Dan Nystedt

Stage Extension Carpenter: Neil McLean

Properties: Monica Vaes

Erin Shields
If We Were Birds
In Your Eyes Projects logo
Algoma University logo


Feb. 21 & 22. 8 pm

Feb. 23. 2 pm (matinee) 

Feb. 27, 28 & 29. 8 pm

The Shingwauk Auditorium @ Algoma University

This play contains strong language and mature themes and is not suitable for children. 

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