Written and Performed: Mx. Katie Sly

Directed and Choreographed: Justin Many Fingers

Lighting Design and Stage Manager: Nicole Olson Grant-Suttie

Spatial Dramaturg, Costume Design, and Set Design: Bianca Guimarães de Manuel

Development Facilitator: Davey Samuel Calderon

Rope Bondage Instructor: Addie Tahl


Part storytelling, part photo-essay, part movement piece, part rope bondage scene, How to Self-Suspend is an interactive performance about how trauma informs – and can be perpetuated by – the choices we make.

The narrative of this piece tracks Mx. Sly’s existence in three cities: their violent childhood in Montréal, their late twenties in the Toronto rope bondage community, and their early thirties living on the edge of Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. How to Self-Suspend is unsparing in its details, and uses Sly’s history to ask uncomfortable questions of its audiences through, at times, ethically-questionable means.

While consent violations dominate our news headlines, and, conversely, art audiences expect to receive content and trigger warnings, How to Self-Suspend examines how closely performance is allowed to reflect reality and asks the audience how much reality they’re willing to be witness to before it feels like a consent breach.