Kim Collier is an award-winning director and founding member of Vancouver's Electric Company Theatre, which is pushing the technological envelope once again with its new production, The Full Light of Day.
With 14 cameras rigged to different parts of the set, the play blurs the lines between film and theatre. The cameras capture close-ups of the actors on stage and project them onto walls and curtains to make the audience feel closer to the story, as if they were watching a movie.
Eye-popping new... Read more
Scott Joplin's groundbreaking 1911 opera is finally getting the reinvention it deserves
By: Lise Hosein
In 1911, ragtime composer Scott Joplin wrote the opera Treemonisha. It was one of two operas he wrote during his lifetime, and it was important in a way that, over 100 years later, we still recognize — as the National Arts Centre puts it, "Treemonisha is one of the few surviving live performance pieces about the immediate post-slavery era written by a Black person who actually lived through it."
Three decades after British director Peter Brook's version of the The Mahabharatatook the Western theatre world by storm, Toronto's Why Not Theatre is teaming up with the Shaw Festival to create a major new stage adaptation of the ancient Sanskrit epic poem featuring a cast from the South Asian diaspora, The Globe and Mail has learned.
Fuelled by a $375,000 New Chapter grant from the Canada Council, Why Not's production will be the biggest ever mounted by the accomplished independent theatre company –... Read more
Ten years ago she was told it could never be done — it was too big, too unconventional, too diverse, too much about women — now, artist Nicole Brooks is reveling in the success of her creation, Obeah Opera.
By: Nicole Brooks
Revolutionary creator Nicole Brooks shares her inspiration for Obeah Opera, the importance of purely vocal storytelling, and how she believes art can go beyond "edutainment" and give voice to the voiceless.
Tell us about the journey of you went on to get the original concept of Obeah Opera to what will... Read more
By: Stephen Hunt
Title: The Invisible – Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare Written by: Book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Christenson Venue: At the Vertigo Theatre in Calgary
The title of Catalyst Theatre’s muscular new musical – Invisible! Agents! Warfare! – sounds vaguely Marvelesque, and really what’s not to like about that?
The Invisible – Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare, which had its world premiere Thursday night in Calgary, stirs up echoes of a few of the better recent superhero screen stories, as it tells – in its own... Read more
By Lori Montgomery
After seeing the Old Trouts’ latest show, Ghost Opera, part of me wondered — what on earth took them so long to create an opera? Their previous shows (among them The Ice King and The Unlikely Birth of Istvan) are operatic in theme and scale, and in retrospect were crying out for a barrel-chested tenor. In typical Trouts fashion, this show throws the form into a cocktail mixer and shakes it up until it’s barely recognizable, but make no mistake — this is serious opera.
SOIFS, l'impressionnant cycle romanesque de Marie-Claire Blais, est une oeuvre monumentale qu'on imagine mal résonner au théâtre. Cette écriture abondante, haletante, déferle sur notre ineffable condition humaine, comme la mer en allée. Il y a quelque chose de proustien dans ce souffle inépuisable, unique, et purement littéraire.
Et pourtant, ce beau fouillis de mots, sans chapitres ni paragraphes, avec pratiquement pas de ponctuation fait l'objet d'un spectacle-fleuve, SOIFS Matériaux, créé au... Read more
Over the years UBU has often created plays based on works not written for the stage. How does this novel by Marie-Claire Blais fit into that approach?
Denis Marleau – What was appealing about Soifs was its vigorous writing, its larger-than-life scope, its embrace of a kaleidoscopic vision of the world and its human depth. Given the work of the actors and all that theatre can set in motion, we wanted to be attuned to the author’s unique phrasing. Marie-Claire Blais’ writing shifts from one character to another along... Read more
By Eric Volmers
Judd Palmer and his cohorts at The Old Trout Puppet Workshop always ask a preliminary question before setting out to design and produce a new show.
Why is this a puppet show?
Given that the Calgary company is one of the country’s most prominent puppet theatres, the answer could be painfully obvious. But Palmer says the Old Trouts have never looked for easy answers.
“The answer that we don’t find acceptable is: ‘Well, because we’re a puppet company, that’s what we do,’ ” says Palmer. “We always want it to be... Read more
By Louis B. Hobson
Imagine a musical about Britain’s MI6 spy agency in which Miss Moneypenny gets top billing and James Bond is a character talked about rather than seen.
That’s essentially what Jonathan Christenson has done in his musical The Invisible: Age of Ungentlemanly Warfare, which has its official world premiere at Vertigo Theatre May 11 to June 9.
Christenson and his Edmonton company Catalyst Theatre collaborated with Vertigo Theatre in 2011 on Nevermore, an homage to Edgar Allan Poe, which became an international... Read more
Critique en français
By: Christian Saint-Pierre
Reprenant pour notre plus grand plaisir le fil de sa démarche solo, Marie Brassard dévoile en ce moment à l’Usine C le premier segment d’un nouveau cycle : Introduction à la violence. Avec cet objet singulier, d’un onirisme débordant, à même de susciter l’enchantement aussi bien que l’angoisse, le réconfort aussi certainement que le vertige, la directrice de la compagnie Infrarouge nous accorde un privilège, celui d’entrer dans une oeuvre en cours d’élaboration ; un territoire... Read more
Article en français
Par: Marie Labrecque
Six années ont passé depuis son précédent solo, Trieste. Après diverses « aventures passionnantes », telle la mise en scène de La vie utile à Espace Go, Marie Brassard revient à ce qui forme le coeur de sa démarche artistique : la création indépendante. « Pour moi, c’est comme un événement, le retour à mon travail personnel. » Pour nous aussi.
L’auteure de Jimmy, créature de rêve offre à l’Usine C le premier volet d’un vaste projet qui va être élaboré au cours de l’année à... Read more
By: Vanessa Porteous
To reach Calgary’s Old Trout Puppet Workshop, you knock on the door of an unprepossessing Quonset hut, squeeze through the lean-to they use for an office, then finally set foot inside the studio, where an otherworldly vibe possesses you. Puppets gaze down from every corner, ghosts from the past. Despite the chainsaws and Styrofoam, somehow the ambiance is marvelous in the most old-fashioned sense. An aged sheen burnishes the rows of sorrowing faces and supplicating hands laid out on tables all around. ... Read more
There’s dance music and there’s dance music.
Arcade Fire has flirted with funkier sounds on its last couple albums, but band members Sarah Neufeld and Ottawa’s Jeremy Gara up the ante with Who We Are In the Dark, their new collaboration with Canadian contemporary dance icon Peggy Baker, opening Friday at the National Arts Centre.
“I met Sarah in the fall of 2015,” said Baker. “I had been invited to make a solo for the inaugural performance of the Fall For Dance North, in Toronto. I had retired as a soloist five years... Read more
By Peter Robb
“When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin
For the legendary Canadian dance artist Peggy Baker, the idea of creating a work called who we are in the dark was full of meaning, both metaphysical and deeply personal.
The idea sprang out of a 2015 project called Fractured Black that she created with the Arcade Fire violinist Sarah Neufeld.
Baker had been approached by a Toronto dance festival and asked if she wanted to dance a solo. Baker had not danced professionally since 2010. Even... Read more
Review in French
Avec Betroffenheit (2015), la chorégraphe Crystal Pite et le dramaturge Jonathon Young jetaient les bases d’un solide procédé faisant s’interpénétrer brillamment danse et théâtre. Transformant le texte dramatique en une véritable matière chorégraphique, les deux créateurs usent des mêmes ficelles pour Revisor, pièce où neuf danseurs se glissent dans la peau et les costumes des personnages du Revizor de Nicolas Gogol.
L’intrigue tourne autour du « Réviseur », personnage... Read more
Review in French only
Par Guylaine Massoutre
On ne s’attendait pas à voir associer les noms d’Arcade Fire et de Peggy Baker, sur la scène du théâtre Maisonneuve, dans une chorégraphie de la très précise, très douée, aussi technique que sensible. C’est pourtant la seconde fois que Baker, avec la complicité de ses interprètes, crée étroitement avec la compositrice Sara Neufeld, violoniste du groupe Arcade Fire, qui lui a inspiré le titre de cette pièce, Who We are in the Dark.
La pièce est intensément dramatique. Y sont... Read more
With 2015’s Betroffenheit, choreographer Crystal Pite and actor Jonathon Young turned personal tragedy into breathtaking art. Ask anyone lucky enough to snag a ticket; they’ll likely say the Dora and Olivier Award-winning production is still seared into their minds.
The question before Revisor, Pite’s and Young’s new collaboration, opened this week was if the same electricity could be captured without a back story as impactful as the death of Young’s daughter in a fire. Pite and Young have proven that Betroffenheit wasn’t... Read more
“It was easy and hard at the same time,” says Marichka Marczyk about the reboot of Counting Sheep: Staging A Revolution, a music theatre hybrid that plunges its audience into the 2014 ‘Revolution of Dignity’ in Kyiv, Ukraine. Co-creator Mark Marczyk, Marichka’s partner in life and work, agrees. “It was stress and happiness,” he says, “twenty-four hours a day.”
Since its premiere at the SummerWorks Festival in Toronto in 2015, Counting Sheep has garnered raves worldwide. This 2019 version is a full transformation, with new... Read more
At its world premiere in Vancouver last night, Kidd Pivot’s Revisor had enough electricity to blow out the substation down the street at Cathedral Square.
It helped that Crystal Pite—basically the hottest choreographer on the planet right now—had, along with her cocreator Jonathon Young, drawn out a hugely supportive hometown crowd. Adding to the excitement was a small army of European, Asian, and South American presenters, in town for the first Vancouver International Dance Showcase.
Betroffenheit is a German word that refers to the state of shock that follows an unspeakable trauma. It is also the name of one of the most stunning, lauded pieces of theatre to come out of Canada in recent memory. Co-created by Vancouver-based choreographer Crystal Pite and Toronto-based playwright Jonathon Young (who also starred in it), Betroffenheit got four stars and a rave (“rare and staggering”) from Martha Schabas at The Globe and Mail. International reviewers lauded it. In Britain, it won a prestigious Olivier Award... Read more
Betroffenheit ranks as one of Vancouver’s biggest stage success stories - touring the globe for two years, eliciting rave reviews, and earning a coveted 2017 Olivier Award in London.
Now, in one of the most anticipated new shows of 2019, choreographer Crystal Pite and actor-writer Jonathon Young are back with Revisor. Tellingly, its world premiere here sold out months ago.
Whereas Betroffenheit mined personal tragedy - a devastating loss in Young’s own family - Revisor takes a less autobiographical direction and plays with... Read more
We are delighted to share with you the National Creation Fund’s Annual Report. In our first year of operation, the Fund invested a total of almost $3 million in 19 bold and ambitious projects in Music, Theatre, Dance and Interdisciplinary Performing Arts – among the most exciting works being produced in Canada today.
These 19 projects were chosen from the 127 submitted in the Fund’s first year. As you can read in our report, the Fund’s reach is truly national, with projects received from every region of the country.
Immersive gig-theatre show Counting Sheep was a smash hit when it debuted in Edinburgh in 2017, winning both a Fringe First and the Amnesty International award. It stunned audiences with its boisterous and vivid depiction of the Ukrainian protests in 2014, which led to countless deaths as the nation felt the effects of (still ongoing) Russian expansionism.
The piece now comes to London to headline the VAULT Festival, with the added twist that a new directorial team of Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin from Belarus Free... Read more
The Full Light of Day will rank as one of the most epic-scale plays staged in Vancouver in 2019. Featuring 14 live-streaming cameras and projections, the new Electric Company Theatre production features an all-star cast led by Gabrielle Rose, an array of technologies, and a series of short, virtual-reality films that screen in the lobby.
In 2016, Electric Company director Kim Collier scored a $280,000 New Chapter grant—a one-time project fund from the Canada Council to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation—to stage... Read more
The themes that composer Scott Joplin was exploring in his masterwork “Treemonisha” — feminism and black aspiration — struck Leah-Simone Bowen as so ahead of their time that the opportunity to give them a new context for 21st-century audiences struck her as impossible to pass up.
“That it’s essentially a conversation within an African community,” the playwright said. “That it’s about a black woman leading — and that she’s chosen to lead? It’s really subversive.”
And that these ideas were planted in a musical piece 108 years... Read more
Electric Company Theatre’s new production The Full Light of Day will be on stage at the Vancouver Playhouse from January 7 to 12. Read the latest about this innovative film/theatre hybrid, and the collection of short films shot in 360° Virtual Reality by Governor-General's award winner Kevin Kerr that will complement the stage production.
If you can’t attend the Vancouver premiere, The Full Light of Day will also be on stage at the Bluma Appel Theatre in Toronto in June, presented by Canadian Stage and Luminato. ... Read more
Back home in Vancouver last June, Crystal Pite received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from Simon Fraser University. At the ceremony, the dean of the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, Aoife MacNamara, introduced Pite as “an internationally renowned Canadian choreographer, whose works are sought by some of the world’s best dance companies, including the Paris Opera Ballet and the Royal Ballet.” MacNamara noted the work Pite choreographed in 2014 for SFU dance students, Singularity, performed at the... Read more
What happens when an existing show suddenly gets $200,000 in funding for expansion and fine-tuning?
If it’s The Hockey Sweater: A Musical, very good things occur, according to the show’s co-writers Emil Sher and Jonathan Munro.
The musical is an adaptation of Roch Carrier’s beloved short story about young Roch, whose universe is knocked sideways when he mistakenly receives a Maple Leafs sweater from Eaton’s instead of a Habs No. 9 jersey, like Maurice Richard’s.
The show is a Segal Centre production. It premiered in... Read more
NAC's Creation Fund: $2.9 million invested in 19 projects
Nineteen performing arts projects have been funded to the tune of more than $2.9 million by the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund in its first year of operation.
The fund was established by the NAC as a way to help promising performing arts projects get to a bigger stage be that a national or international one. In a media release, the NAC says the fund invests up to $3 million a year in 15 to 20 Canadian works in theatre, dance, music and inter-disciplinary arts to enhance research and development, workshopping... Read more
In its first year, the National Creation Fund, which helps Canadian artists and arts organizations create ambitious new work, has invested $2,962,000 in 19 projects being developed across the country by some of Canada’s top creators.
‘It’s been incredible to see the results from the National Creation Fund come to life over the past year,” said Heather Moore, the Fund’s Artistic Producer. “We are seeing the kind of excellence and innovation that can happen when Canadian artists and arts organizations have the time and... Read more
The Electric Company Theatre (ECT) is known for blending cutting edge technology and stagecraft to create something that goes beyond the stage or the movie screen, but their upcoming production The Full Light of Day aims to take the genre even further. https://t.co/0JUgPdqnjP
A performance about money, capitalism, and family; A hybrid of theatre and film; A technological feat. All of these elements come together as Electric Company Theatre’s newest production, The Full Light of Day, emerges from the shadows this winter for a production residency at Banff Centre before its premiere at the Vancouver Playhouse in January 2019 followed by a run at Toronto’s Luminato Festival in June.
Le reste vous le connaissez par le cinéma: Guerre absurde
Article in French
Après Olivier Choinière, qui y créait Manifeste de la Jeune-Fille en janvier 2017, un spectacle qui sera d’ailleurs présenté au théâtre Outremont le 5 octobre avant de partir en tournée dans plusieurs villes du Québec, c’est au tour de Christian Lapointe d’accéder enfin à l’Espace Go. Pour ce faire, le metteur en scène a choisi une relecture des Phéniciennes d’Euripide par Martin Crimp, Le reste vous le connaissez par le cinéma, une tragédie loufoque pour 14 interprètes.
Le reste vous le connaissez par le cinéma : Rires, rage, délire et sang attendent le spectateur
Article in French
Oubliez les textes en alexandrin, lourds et pompeux. Le reste vous le connaissez par le cinéma a beau tirer sa source d’une histoire écrite il y a plus de 2 500 ans, cette réécriture de Martin Crimp est résolument moderne.
Et la traduction qu’en a fait Christian Lapointe est délicieusement québécoise.
Auteure de la première série Web qui hybride danse et film de science-fiction, Isabelle Van Grimde est devenue une référence en matière d’intégration des technologies numériques dans le milieu de la danse au Québec. Après le lancement du premier volet d’Eve 2050 sur le Web, la chorégraphe invite le spectateur dans son univers utopique grâce à une installation et performance immersive à découvrir à L’Agora de la danse.
Peggy Baker has been working on who we are in the dark, her most ambitious work to date, for nearly two years now. At the end of August, she again brought together her team of dancers and musicians Sarah Neufeld and Jeremy Gara from Arcade Fire for a week of workshops at the National Ballet School in Toronto.
Having dedicated time together, far in advance of next February’s premiere, is incredibly valuable for all of the artists involved. For example, while Sarah and Jeremy have worked with dancers before, this is the first... Read more
Following the successful launch of the web series earlier this year, Isabelle van Grimde’s epic triptych Eve 2050 continues with the premiere of part two, an installation and performance that invites each visitor to become one of the many faces of Eve 2050. Using infrared cameras and interactive panels, audience members will seetheir image recorded, transformed and broadcast live to all those present.
Presented in Montreal by Agora de la danse from September 19 to 22, the installation can be viewed on its own, and there are... Read more
ESPACE GO in Montreal was packed on September 12 for the premiere of Le reste vous le connaissez par le cinéma, a compelling new production by writer and director Christian Lapointe. With an elaborate set inspired by the conventions of a traditional classroom, and a chorus of young women who become trailblazers, Christian puts a decidedly Quebec contemporary spin on Martin Crimp’s version of the classic tale by Euripides.
To bring this large-scale production to the stage, Christian worked with the cast of 14 actors in the... Read more
June 14, 2018
National Arts Centre Announces First Projects to Receive National Creation Fund Investments
The National Arts Centre today announced the first nine projects that will be receiving investments totaling $1.4 million from the National Creation Fund, a new initiative that supports the development of bold and ambitious Canadian work in music, theatre, dance and inter-disciplinary performing arts. Read more.
December 1, 2016
National Arts Centre Announces $25M National Creation Fund
The National Arts Centre today announced the National Creation Fund, a $25 million fund that will support ambitious new Canadian work in theatre, dance and music by artists and arts organizations across Canada. The National Creation Fund will invest in research and development, workshopping and residencies of significant new works. It will also invest in new work that has had a first run, but that needs to go “back into the lab” before it can be remounted and showcased successfully. Read more
September 28, 2016
NAC Unveils $25 Million Fundraising Campaign & $5 Million Gift by Gail Asper
The National Arts Centre (NAC) today launched a transformative $25 million fundraising campaign to support the creation of new works of Music, Theatre and Dance in collaboration with artists and arts organizations across the country. The campaign is the first-ever in the history of the 47 year-old institution.
The goal of the NAC’s “Creation Campaign” is to provide a source of venture capital to give artists and arts organizations the time and resources that great work requires, and to help them achieve the kind of... Read more