Interview by Ryan Quinn
R: I’m here with Michael Wheeler and Aislinn Rose ofPraxis Theatre who are co-curating the HATCH program at the Harbourfront Center in 2014. Can you tell me a bit about the HATCH program?
A: The HATCH program is through the Harbourfront Center. We took part in it in 2010, and it was a really transformative period for Praxis theatre because it was really our first foray into integrating our online activities with our artmaking activities. That’s why we’re looking at projects for this year’s submissions that are going to be working on some of the same things: incorporating social media into either the communication about the project, integration into the actual creation of the project, or use of social media in the performance of the work. So, essentially what the program is, is an opportunity for a company, or a collective, or an artist to work on a particular aspect of a project that requires a space to experiment in. You get a week’s residency in the Harbourfront’s studio theatre. You really do have the use of that space for the whole week to work on something you couldn’t do in a rehearsal room, or someone’s back yard, or your own apartment. So, for our project, we worked on a piece called Section 98.
M: That was very concise. The only thing I would add to that as to core elements of the residency is that your one week of residency at the Harbourfront studio theatre has to end with some sort of public presentation. However, I think we’re adamant that it’s not about presenting a final work. Hopefully, people are experimenting throughout the week, then that presentation is more a revelation of what that week’s experiment was rather than “here’s our play”. A couple other things that come along with the residency are, firstly, a lot of support from the Harbourfront center that you wouldn’t necessarily get if you were producing your own show, you get marketing support, mentorship, publicity. So, a lot of things that if you were producing yourself, you’d have to come up with the cash for.
Click here to read the rest of the interview on inthegreenroom.ca
by Aislinn Rose
2011 #TentTalk hosted by Gideon Arthurs.
Today I will be hosting a Tent Talk for the Toronto Fringe Festival called “Please don’t start a theatre company“, inspired by issues and ideas raised in the article of the same name by Rebecca Novick.
The panel is also informed by my work, examining new creation models with Arts Action Research in their program Theatres Leading Change, currently being administered by Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts.
We’re going to examine this issue from as many perspectives as possible, using Novick’s article as the jumping off point. We’ll look at the challenges faced by artists entering a sector that has experienced substantial growth over the years, while increases to funding in that sector have stalled. Does it make sense for new artists to try to squeeze themselves into old models? Is there a better way for our small companies to focus more of their energies on the work of creation? Novick asks: “what can we build instead?”.
Essentially the goal is to arm artists with as much information as possible and let them make their own informed decisions.
So join us at the Fringe Tent (behind Honest Ed’s) at 5pm. The entire series of Tent Talks is being discussed on twitter via the hashtag #TentTalk, so if you can’t make it but want to ask a question, send it that way and we’ll try to answer as best as we can.
- Check out the original “Please don’t start a theater company” in advance.
- You may also be interested in Jane Marsland’s recent publication on Shared Platforms for the Metcalf Foundation. Jane is one of the foundation’s Innovation Fellows, as well as a consultant for Arts Action Research, participating in Theatres Leading Change.
Beatriz Pizano is the founder and artistic director of Aluna Theatre: a company that creates, develops, produces and presents artistically innovative and culturally diverse performance work, with a focus on Latin Canadian and women artists. Beatriz has established herself as a writer/director with a distinctive voice that combines her roots with her experiences as a Canadian immigrant. She has worked extensively as a performer, writer, dramaturge and director. Her trilogy about women and war that she wrote and directed (For Sale, Madre and La Comunión) received a total of 4 Dora awards and 13 nominations, including 3 for Outstanding New Play. Recently, reviewer Paula Citron wrote: “Colombian-born Beatriz Pizano is one of Canada’s important Latin-Canadian writer/directors”. Beatriz has also received a number of awards such as the prestigious John Hirsch Prize for Direction from the Canada Council for the arts, and a Chalmers’s Fellowship from the Ontario Arts Council. In 2012 her first short play for young audiences, The Suitcase, was included as a curriculum insert for the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.
Julie Tepperman is an actor, playwright, educator and co-artistic director of Convergence Theatre (with Aaron Willis), creators of the hit plays AutoShow, The Gladstone Variations and YICHUD (Seclusion). They just closed the Canadian premiere production of Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play. Recent acting: Mary 2 in Passion Play (Convergence, Outside the March, Sheep No Wool), Mr. Marmalade (OTM); Out The Window (The Theatre Centre); YICHUD (Seclusion) (Convergence/TPM); two seasons at The Stratford Festival. Playwriting: YICHUD (Seclusion) (published by Playwrights Canada Press); I Grow Old (as part of The Gladstone Variations – Dora nomination); ROSY (as part of AutoShow); a re-imagining of Strindberg’s The Father (Winnipeg Jewish Theatre). Julie is part of the core producing team of Toronto’s Wrecking Ball and is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School.
Alex Johnson is a one-time actor and two-time director turned producer and arts administrator. She is co-founder and Project Director of The Playwright Project, and currently working as Operations Manager for The Downstage, a brand new performance space (with a bar!) on The Danforth. She has worked as Programs and Outreach Assistant at the Koffler Centre of the Arts, and in literary programming for Luminato. She is co-founder of Written on Water Theatre and recipient of the Women’s Auxiliary Performance Award from the University of Windsor.
Daiva Zalnieriunas has worked as an actor, creator, stage manager, teacher and producer. She studied acting at the University of Windsor. Upon graduating, she formed a theatre collective with some classmates called Written On Water theatre (WOW). She is the co-founder of the Playwright Project (formerly known as the Tennessee Project). Favourite roles include: Olivia in Twelfth Night; or What you Will, Angie/Detective/Four in EDGE (WOW), Madge Owens in Picnic, Ellie Dunn in Heartbreak House, Brooke Ashton in Noises Off (University Players). Film/Television: Eva Pearce (Murdoch Mysteries), Elanor (Paradise Falls), Tuesday (Tuesday/TIFF Short Selection), Saffron (Compulsion), and Delilah (National Geographic’s Faces of the Bible). Currently, she is working on an upcoming interactive theatre production with WOW, and will be enrolled in the SITI Company’s conservatory this fall in New York.