Stage Door News

Toronto: Sook-Yin Lee’s “UNSAFE: An Investigation into the Censorship of Art and the Art of Censorship in Canada” runs March 12-31

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Sook-Yin Lee is a trailblazer; a fearless actor, filmmaker, musician, artist, activist, and journalist. In Unsafe: An Investigation into the Censorship of Art and the Art of Censorship in Canada, Lee has created a hybrid documentary-performance that unravels the anxieties and taboos that make some art acceptable and some art not, on stage March 12-31 at the Berkeley Street Theatre.

Throughout her prolific career, this former Much Music VJ, radio host of CBC’s Definitely Not the Opera, and Canadian Screen Award winning actress, has experienced various forms of censorship. Combining Lee’s broadcasting and journalism skills with live storytelling, Unsafe explores censorship and creativity in historical contexts and where it exists today in the silencing, exclusion, and social media call-outculture. Developed in residence at Canadian Stage, Unsafe is a provocative and timely theatrical experiment that asks: when is censorship generative; when is it destructive; when is it necessary; and where does it exist today

All around us we are being censored -- politically and socially. Unsafe delves into the tension between our desire for freedom of expression and our need to control, the personal costs and consequences of opening up difficult conversations, and the constant societal pressures to suppress, withhold, restrict and sanitize expression.

“We are grateful to have Sook-Yin Lee bring this important work into our season,” says Brendan Healy, Canadian Stage Artistic Director. “I applaud Sook-Yin and the artists involved in Unsafe for diving so fearlessly in these waters. We live in a time of greater interpersonal awareness and expanded social consciousness. Our society is renegotiating the terms of what it deems to be ‘acceptable’, both in speech and in action. Unsafe is a potent investigation of how this is affecting the creative voice of our artists.”

Adding to this documentary/meta-theatrical production are projected interviews with artists who have been silenced, limited and censored: 2018 Polaris Music Award winning classical trained opera tenor Jeremy Dutcher; Governor General Award-winning poet, playwright and professor George Elliott Clarke; stand-up comedian Chris Robinson; Anglican priest and social justice activist Maggie Helwig; Globe and Mail columnist Kate Taylor; Canadian-Arab artist Laila Binbrek and others.

“Making theatre is unsafe. Theatre makers are at risk the moment they embark on a creative endeavor. In making Unsafe, I've learned that fear rises from deep inside your body. It's at the root of every secret desire, every shame, every guilt, all you hate and what you think you will be killed for. It's what drives your need to control, and it's the foundation of censorship.” -- Sook-Yin Lee

A world premiere event by a Canadian cultural icon.



Written + Created by

Directed by Sarah Garton StanleyPerformed by Sook-Yin Lee + Christo Graham

March 12-31, 2019

For tickets:

Unsafe is on stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre March 12-31. Performances run Tuesdays at 8 PM,Wednesdays at 1 and 8 PM, Thursdays at 8 PM, Fridays at 7 PM, Saturdays 2 and 8 PM, and Sundays at 2PM.