Irresistible Neighbourhoods: Preparing and recording Ottawa 2044

'Machines and Moss' : Nick Di Gaetano, Ahmed Muslimani, Jackie McCormick, Sanita Fejzic, Ric Knowles, Joy Mwandemange, Mary Ellis, Kate Smith.
'Aquatic Lessons' : Ahmed Muslimani, Nick Di Gaetano, Kristina Watt, Ric Knowles, Lily Polowin, Katherine Brett, Jackie McCormick, Manon St-Jules, Judi Pearl.
'The Cartographers' : John Koensgen, Nick Di Gaetano, Jackie McCormick, Maryse Fernandes, Ric Knowles, Tara J. Paterson, Seth Thomson, Kel MacDonald, Emily Pearlman.

You are invited to cast your mind 20 years into the future of the place where you live. What would make your neighbourhood… irresistible? In 2023, we asked emerging local playwrights to walk through their neighbourhoods and offer possible futures in the form of a radio play. Welcome to Irresistible Neighbourhoods: Ottawa 2044

Last month, we introduced Sanita Fejzic, Lily Polowin, Seth Thomson and Kel MacDonald, the playwrights from Ottawa-Gatineau who were selected to create short radio plays that speak to what their neighbourhoods may become. Since September 2023, these artists have been working closely with Climate Dramaturg Vicki Stroich and Dramaturg Ric Knowles to bend their narratives towards more imaginative ideas of climate justice.

The months of hard work and preparation took a giant leap forward in mid-May, as the pieces were workshopped with local actors and directors. This important step served to tighten and prepare the scripts for the recording sessions.

Then on May 16-17, the creative teams were thrilled to be working in the NAC Hexagon Studio with the NAC’s Digital Experience and Design team. Each script was lovingly recorded under the careful guidance of the directors in collaboration with Sound Designer Nick Di Gaetano, playing a pivotal role. Following the recording sessions, it‘s up to Nick to do the final editing, adding the music and sound effects that will truly bring these stories to life.

As we prepare to launch these new works, we are delighted to share the titles of the three radio plays, along with the artists who helped create them.

Machines and Moss

by Sanita Fejzic, directed by Kate Smith, featuring Mary Ellis, Sanita FejzicAhmed Muslimani and Joy Mwandemange

As young cyborg Richy uproots trees and asphalts over plants in post-earthquake Ottawa, Vanier’s Pleasants, or plant peasants, stand in his way. Can these two ways of being co-exist, and at what cost?

Aquatic Lessons

by Lily Polowin, directed by Kristina Watt, featuring Katherine Brett, Ahmed Muslimani and Manon St-Jules.

In flood-prone Val Tétreau, a small Gatineau neighbourhood, the lives of newcomer Saad, greenhouse coordinator Kate and her young son Benji intertwine as they navigate community building through big changes, offering hope amidst environmental challenges.

Proposed Development: 39 Storey Mixed Use Development with Multi-Level Retail and Dwelling Units OR The Cartographers

by Kel MacDonald and Seth Thomson, directed by Emily Pearlman, featuring Maryse Fernandes, John Koensgen and Tara J. Paterson.

In Centretown of 2044, in the midst of a power outage, strangers Sacha and Oli traverse the cacophonous ecosystem of a 39-storey tower all the way from basement nightclub to rooftop, encountering a diverse cast of scavengers and adventurers along the way.

For all episodes, Nick Di Gaetano is Sound Designer, Ric Knowles is Dramaturg, Vicki Stroich is Climate Dramaturg and Jackie McCormick is Coordinator.

We invite you to join us for this audio journey in which the first step in bringing about regenerative futures is having the courage to imagine them. Ottawa 2044 will be available on the NAC website, and wherever you get your podcasts, on June 27, 2024.

Even more Irresistible Neighbourhoods 

Irresistible Neighbourhoods is a multi-year project from English Theatre, of which Ottawa 2044 is only Volume One! Volume Two, Walking on Water, will be part of the SPHERE Festival in September, 2024. And stay tuned for exciting ideas currently in development for Volume Three, when the series will expand to include other disciplines and other regions. Details coming soon! 

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