Atlantic Ballet Theatre Awarded $886,017 for Project to End Violence Against Women

The Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada

Yesterday on behalf of the Honourable Robert Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, Mr. Robert Goguen, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, announced Government of Canada support for a project that addresses violence against women and girls by engaging community members. The Honourable Carolyn Steward Olsen, Senator (New Brunswick), joined Mr. Goguen in making the announcement.

“Our government is committed to ending violence against women and girls of all ages across Canada, and we are pleased to support this project, which uses community engagement to address this important issue,” said Minister Ambrose. “In innovative and creative ways, this project generates public awareness through outreach and education, creating lasting change.”

“The Government of Canada is committed to increasing awareness of the huge impact that violence has on families and to making sure that victims of violence have access to services they need,” said Mr. Goguen. “We are making a real difference for women and girls and improving the quality of life in our communities.”

The Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada is receiving $886,017 in Government of Canada funding for its project Celebrate Courage: Reducing Violence against Girls and Women Through Innovation and Community Collaboration. Status of Women Canada is contributing $606,027 through the Women’s Program and Justice Canada is providing $279,990 through the Victims Fund to support the Celebrate Courage project.

This groundbreaking 29-month project pairs community engagement activities that include significant youth involvement with performances of the Ghosts of Violence ballet in 40 communities across Canada, including Moncton.

“As a relatively common form of violence, particularly affecting women and girls, domestic violence has enormous social and economic costs, touching every sector of Canadian society,” said Senator Stewart Olsen. “All the more reason to applaud and support the Atlantic Ballet focusing on this critical issue.”

“The Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada brings together artists and the community to take an active role in ending violence against women,” said Ms. Susan Chalmers-Gauvin, Chief Executive Officer of the Ballet. “It is truly amazing to see how this collaboration is building not only awareness, but also a heartfelt commitment to ending gender-based violence.”

In 2007, the New Brunswick Silent Witness Project asked Atlantic Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director, Igor Dobrovolskiy, to create a ballet that would address the issue of violence against women.

“These Women from our community are honoured by creating life size red silhouettes. Each silhouette bears the name of the woman— describes how she died —and who she was as a woman, friend, Mother,” Chalmers-Gauvin said. “In New Brunswick we had 23 silhouettes and as of May of this year we have 24. A new silhouette was created for Melanie Davis who was murdered by her husband – Melanie was only 28 years old.

“The memories and the stories of these women from our New Brunswick communities were the inspiration for the creation of our ballet Ghosts of Violence —which opened at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on February 15, 2011.
None of us were prepared for the outpouring of interest and support that happened after that day. We received calls from across Canada —from women’s, justice and social service groups— asking us to come to their community. That national response gave birth to our project, Celebrate Courage.”

Status of Women Canada is committed to supporting projects that yield concrete results for women and girls in Canada while strengthening families, communities and the country. Through Status of Women Canada, the government’s support for community-based projects has nearly doubled since 2006-2007, from $10.8 million to close to $19 million, its highest level ever.

Through the Department of Justice, the Government of Canada has allocated more than $90 million over the past six years for initiatives that benefit victims of crime. Funds are available to provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations for programs and services that give victims of crime a more effective voice in the criminal justice system.