Imagine a cold and blustery evening as you make your way among the towers of Thorncliffe Park, to the entrance of the Jenner Jeanne Marie Community Centre. Go down the stairs and though the hall, and there, on your right, is the entrance to the community activities room. Coming from beyond the door is the sound of music, bubbling conversation and laughter, and the delicious smell of home-cooked food. You’ve found the DG 7-Minute Feast, a celebration of community creativity, highlighting music, dance, art and food. In 2016 DG convened three Feasts, ably supported the TAG group and made possible by the volunteers organized by DG Community Co-ordinator Manzu Man Ara.
The 7-Minute Feast is a form developed to bring together food, stories and performances by professional artists in collaboration with community members. It is this connection, “interweaving” people who would normally never come in contact with each other in a creative, celebratory atmosphere that is the keystone of the Feasts. And pairing performance with imaginative food offerings (including contributions by community members) creates a truly festive experience.
People from the community have remarked on the way it allows them to “meet their neighbours in a party atmosphere”, “sing for their community”, experience the “tastes of different cultures” and to spend time in a context that is “really warm and inviting”. Friends who come form elsewhere in the city have remarked on the “authenticity” of the experience, and expressed “amazement” that “the atmosphere DG has created allows for an amazing cross-cultural connection”.