Skip to content

'Far From the Heart' celebrates 10th anniversary with school tour

Far From the Heart is an award-winning interactive educational program addressing teenage dating violence and abuse



GREY-BRUCE - As part of It's Never Okay, Ontario's groundbreaking action plan to end sexual violence and harassment, Far From the Heart has embarked on a 44-show tour across the province that runs until Nov. 11, 2016.  

The long-running and successful teen dating violence prevention program from Sheatre, a professional community arts company located near Owen Sound, is one of 11 inaugural recipients of Ontario's 2.25 million Creative Engagement Fund.  

Administered by the Ontario Arts Council, this three-year support allows Far From the Heart to be presented this fall to 7,500 students in grades 7-12 in 20 communities, including Grey-Bruce-Huron, Kawartha, Simcoe, York and Niagara regions.  For a complete tour schedule and cast and crew bios:

Oct. 31:  Twin Lakes Secondary School

Oct. 31:  Innisdale Secondary School

"It’s inspiring to see how professional artists from a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds have come together with experts in sexual violence and harassment prevention to initiate projects of high artistic quality.  They will build on the work already being done in Ontario communities to raise awareness and change attitudes on this issue.  These collaborations, which deal with prevention, education and healing and include individual and collective experiences, will have universal resonance," said Rita Davies, Chair, Ontario Arts Council (OAC).

According to a 2013 Statistics Canada report, the rate of violent crime against young women aged 15 to 24 was 42 per cent higher than the rate for women aged 25 to 34, and nearly double the rate for women aged 35 to 44.  
The study also found that females aged 15 to 24 were the most vulnerable to certain types of dating violence, namely sexual violations.

Far From the Heart uses a live forum theatre production and an interactive film to engage and educate teens about the different forms of pressure and violence in dating relationships, exploring the issues that lie beneath this behaviour.  
Also available in French as Loin du Coeur, the program is supported by a comprehensive educational package that includes interactive discussions, an educational guide, teacher training and in-class activities to help deliver the core curriculum in the areas of sexual health and violence prevention.

"When we first presented Far From the Heart in 2006, oh, what a noise the kids made!  The moment they roared, there was this shift.  It changed the world. 17,500 people later, we still hear that roar.  We see people have moments of realization right as they watch it," said Joan Chandler, Artistic Director, Sheatre. 
"We hear how this piece has played a positive part in people's lives -- here in Owen Sound where it was made, across Ontario, Saskatchewan, in other parts of Canada and around the world via the Internet. To me, this is theatre. It's gratifying, it's humbling, it's hard, and I'm so honoured to still be doing this ten years later, as a part of this provincial initiative."

Important dates to note

October:  Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the U.S.
Oct. 11 - Nov. 11:  Far From the Heart Fall 2016 Tour
November:  Ontario Woman Abuse Prevention Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Canada
Nov. 25:  International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women