Pleasure Dome’s Executive Director Interviewed for Akimbo’s 25th Anniversary

Akimbo is celebrating its 25th anniversary by interviewing arts organizations in the community under a column called “Reflections.” Because Pleasure Dome was Akimbo’s very first client, we marked their first conversation in the series. Pleasure Dome’s Executive Director Lauren Fournier spoke to Terence Dick about our organization’s history and vision for the future.



Akimbo is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a monthly series that draws on our rich archive of clients, critics, and contributors to reflect on the accomplishments of the past and look toward future possibilities. Our first installment features our very first client: Toronto’s Pleasure Dome.

PD’s Executive Director Lauren Fournier answered our questions.

Here is an excerpt:

Terence Dick: What has changed for you over that time and what is your current programming philosophy?

Lauren Fournier: Pleasure Dome has from its inception been committed to supporting artists who make work in what can be classified as underrepresented cinemas. But this question of what constitutes “underrepresented cinemas” has shifted over the years and continues to shift as artists respond to varied nexuses of power. While this question may have once been primarily one of form, it shifted to being one of identity, and now we have landed somewhere in between.

When I stepped into the role of Executive Director in 2022, what excited me was the opportunity to revisit our organization’s commitment to experimentation and re-evaluate it in light of the present. Whose work has historically been supported in “experimental” spaces, and whose work has been excluded or ignored or suppressed? This led to our open call for 2023 being newly framed through the provocation “Reimagining the Experimental,” which gave rise to submissions from artists working locally, elsewhere in Ontario and Canada, and internationally. The call sought to open up the very definitions of “subversive,” “radical,” “political,” and “experimental” from fresh vantage points.

Values at the heart of our current programming philosophy include connection and listening, anti-censorship and respect, community care and fairness, accessibility and support. Something unique about our organization is that one of our values (which is in our name) is pleasure. Pleasure includes a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. While it is important to engage with difficult issues, we also believe it is important to make space for pleasure. Oftentimes, our programming brings comedic relief alongside challenging content, as having a sense of humour and place for release is important for the health of an arts community. Many of the works in last year’s screenings were funny and playful, especially in our Fall program Touching Nature Touching You.”

You can read the full interview here.