Volume 189, Winter 2022, pp. 8-12

A personal reflection on how Shira Leuchter’s desire to preserve existent family memories led her to create the live art performance All the Things I’ve Lost, which she performed with her mother, Joyce. All the Things I’ve Lost was commissioned by the Gardiner Museum in Toronto and premiered in August 2016. Through performing the piece, Shira discovered that casting her mother to help her recreate lost childhood objects prompted audience members to share their stories of loss with her during impromptu sessions after each performance.

Acknowledging the apparent need for sharing and companioning stories of loss, Shira created the live art performance Lost Together. Lost Together premiered as part of the SummerWorks Festival Lab in 2018. While Shira and co-performer Michaela Washburn recreate and reimagine lost things for audience participants during this intimate performance, Shira recognizes that they can never be successful in resolving loss for their audience participants. Instead, they can hold the weight of the loss with their audience and offer community and connection. Shira contends that collaborating with audiences and leading with tenderness is a radical act of performing care in a culture that prizes individualism.