Close this search box.

Caleb Johnston

Labour Migration

With Geraldine Pratt and the Philippine Women Centre of BC, I co-created Nanay, a testimonial theatre play developed from research with Filipina migrant domestic workers in Canada, as it was recreated and restaged in different places around the globe. This project examines how Canadian migration policy is embedded across and within histories of colonialism in the Philippines and settler colonialism in Canada.

Throughout this project, we’ve used testimonial theatre to generate a more intimate and vulnerable transnational debate on the politics of labour migration and the ethics of care.

Our translations between scholarship and performance became more uneasy as the play travelled internationally, raising pressing questions of how decolonial collaborations might take shape in practice.

The project has been the subject of academic publication (see writings) including a 2019 book Migration in Performance: Crossing the Colonial Present, which examines the strengths and limits of existing framings of Filipina migration and offers rich ideas of how care – the care of children, the elderly and each other – might be rethought in radically new ways within less violently unequal relations that span different colonial histories.

Nanay has enjoyed a lively life (which continues) with performances and readings at:

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Vancouver
Hebbel am Ufer Theatre, Berlin
Royal Geographical Society, Edinburgh
Philippine Educational Theater Association, Quezon City, Manila
Bagong Barrio, Metro Manila
Pivot Festival, Whitehorse
Canadian Prairie Theatre Exchange
Canadian Association of Geographers