Dr. Honor M. Ford-Smith
Collaborator - York University
Honor Ford-Smith is a scholar, theatre worker and poet. She was educated in Jamaica at St Andrew High School and after studying theatre began teaching at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston. She became co-founder and artistic director of Sistren (Sisters), a theatre collective of mainly working-class Jamaican women that works in community theatre and popular education. Currently Sistren continues to carry out community performance and education in Kingston, Jamaica. Ford-Smith was also a member of the Groundwork Theatre Company, created in 1980 as the repertory arm of the Jamaica School of Drama; it became an autonomous company in 1987.
She researched, edited and contributed to Sistren's book Lionheart Gal: Life Stories of Jamaican Women, published in 1986 and re-issued, with a new afterword by Ford-Smith, in 2005. It is available here. A collection of poems, My Mother's Last Dance, appeared in 1996. Among her many theatre projects have been the collectively created Fallen Angel and the Devil Concubine , a dramatic adaptation of My Mother's Last Dance, and Just Jazz, an adaptation of Jean Rhys's Let Them Call It Jazz. Her most recent publication is 3 Jamaican plays: a postcolonial anthology (1977-1987) published by Paul Issa publicatons, Kingston, Jamaica in 2010.
Ford-Smith moved to Toronto, Canada in 1991, receiving her doctorate in education from the University of Toronto in 2004. Her PhD dissertation “Performing nation: the pedagogy and politics of postcolonial Jamaican performance” for OISE- University of Toronto is a discussion of the ways in which performance operates as an embodied language for decolonization and the construction of the postcolonial nation. She continues to write, to work in performance and to teach at York University in Toronto where she is an Associate Professor in the Community Arts Practice program under the Faculty of Environmental Studies.