“Theatre for Relationality” is developing a new approach to audience development that inspires positive social change through collaboration with community partners.

“Theatre for Relationality” is a partnership with Green Light Arts (GLA), a not-for-profit theatre company in Waterloo Region. GLA programs a series of audience engagement events called FUEL, whose core mission is to collaborate with community partners to inspire positive social change. In this project, we are extending the FUEL series by developing and evaluating four new audience engagement events for GLA’s May 2019 production of Guarded Girls, a play by Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman about the cycles of harm experienced by women in the Canadian prison system. For this production, FUEL activities will be inspired by a feminist, relational understanding of justice, which seeks “equality of relationship” (Llewellyn 2011; Llewellyn and Llewellyn 2015). In terms of qlab’s methods, the activities we design will be experiential prototypes that lead to a concept model for a relational approach to audience development. This is a knowledge co-creation project, in which all researchers contribute to, co-facilitate and/or collaboratively author all our research activities, events, presentations, and publications.


  • April 2019: Roberts-Smith, Jennifer, Milena Radzikowska, and Stan Ruecker. “Design for Restorative Justice.” Panel: The qcollaborative: a critical feminist design research approach to exploring performance and technology in public practice. Mediating Performance Experiences: Cultures and Technologies in Conversation. University of Ottawa, April 25 – 27, 2019. Panel.
  • May 2019: FUEL Events for Guarded Girls: visit GLA’s FUEL and THNQ FUEL https://www.greenlight-arts.com/thnq-fuel  pages for more information.

Research Team:

  • Jennifer Roberts-Smith (qlab Waterloo, Project Director)
  • Matt White (Artistic Director, GLA, Project Co-Director)
  • Carin Lowerison (GLA Managing Director, Project Manager)
  • Kate Crozier (Stride Program Coordinator, Community Justice Initiatives Waterloo Region)
  • Jessica Hutchison (Waterloo Regional Advocate, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies)
  • Julie Thompson (Community Engagement, Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council)
  • Lisa Aikman (PhD candidate, University of Toronto)
  • Signy Lynch (PhD student, York University)
  • Hannah Watts (PhD student, University of Waterloo)
  • May Nemat Allah (Undergraduate student, University of Waterloo)

Green Light Arts
Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council
Community Justice Initiatives Waterloo Region

Department of Communication Arts, University of Waterloo
Games Institute, University of Waterloo
SSHRC Partnership Engage Program

Contact: Jennifer Roberts-Smith


  • Llewellyn, J. 2011. Restorative Justice: Thinking Relationally about Justice. In Being Relational: Reflections on Relational Theory and Health Law Policy. Ed. J. Downie and J. Llewellyn. Vancouver: UBC Press.
  • Llewellyn, J. and LLewellyn, K. 2015. A Restorative Approach to Learning: Relational Theory as Feminist Pedagogy in Universities. In Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education: Critical Theory and Practice. Ed. Tracy Penny Light, Jane Nicholas, Renée Bondy. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press. 11-31.

Related Work

This project has been inspired and influenced by the Digital Oral Histories for Reconciliation project. Jennifer Roberts-Smith leads DOHR’s Virtual Reality Development Cluster, and participates in the project’s steering committee with Kristina Llewellyn (PI) and Jennifer Llewellyn, whose work on relationality (see our reference list) has strongly influenced our theoretical framework.