Neanderthal Arts Festival premiers next week

A HUGE up to the brains behind Left Right Minds and Upintheair Theatre for taking the mammoth by the horns and kick-starting a brand new indie theatre festival in Vancouver. Taking its cues from Toronto’s Summerworks, Neanderthal is a juried fest that includes both local and national works, 6 in total. I’ll admit I wasn’t sure about the name when I first heard it, but their smart marketing and terrific branding won me over, and the festivals tag line revealed its brilliance:

Boom. Love it. Break a bunch you guys, here’s to a long and lucrative evolution.

Click here for the official web site

This One Goes to Eleven: Ron Reed

Meet Ron Reed, the Founding Artistic Director of Pacific Theatre, the resident theatre company of the intimate theatre space in the Chalmers Heritage Building at 12th and Hemlock. Ron founded PT in 1984, and the company has resided in its current digs since ’94. They have received an epic 75 Jessie nominations since then.

Ron is a prolific actor, playwright, director and blogger; helming Soul Food Vancouver (quite possibly Vancouver’s very first theatre blog) since 2006. He’s a Jessie nominee himself, and is Artist-in-Residence at Trinity Western University.

His most recent work, Refuge of Lies, is onstage at PT until May 1st.

1. In one word, describe your present condition.

Scrambling.

2. In as many words as you like, describe the present condition of the Vancouver theatre scene.

Lively, adventurous, supportive. It hasn’t always been like that: we have much to celebrate.

3. Please discuss the mandate and philosophy of PT.

To tell stories that explore spiritual experience. To treat each other well, even in the chaos of live theatre production. To do plays that interest us. To have fun. To offer the widest range of work possible within a given season that will serve our audience and our artists and our mandate: from the audacious Last Days Of Judas Iscariot straight to the family-friendly The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, then the aesthetically risky Passion Project and Refuge Of Lies into a musical theatre chestnut like Godspell – how’s that! Also, a huge commitment to providing an artistic home to artists who love what we’re about: nurturing emerging artists, providing opportunities for our artists to do work they care about, staying engaged with specific playwrights over years.

4. Where does Pacific Theatre fit into the theatre ecology of Vancouver?

The mandate is unique, providing huge artistic/stylistic range while keeping a clear focus that is recognizable, and which really matters a significant audience. Not that we’re the only game in town with this sort of material, any more: it’s no longer out of bounds to deal directly with spiritual, even religious, even Christian themes and characters. But it’s where we live, and people seem to value that.

5. How well are we as an industry responding to the current government’s treatment of us of late?

We’ve put up a good fight, and I’m proud of us. And grateful to those who’ve invested more time and energy in it than I. Thornton Wilder: “Every good and excellent thing stands moment by moment on the razor’s edge of danger, and must be fought for.” God bless the fighters.

*may not actually be Ron Reed, Theatreist...

6. How has your theatre blogging affected your work, and that of your company’s?

It gives me a lot of personal pleasure. Sort of like keeping a journal / scrapbook, but other people can enjoy it as well. Also, I’m a born enthusiast: I see something I like, I’m compelled to tell people about it. Somebody I know is doing something cool, I want everybody to know. For our company? Maybe it enhances ticket sales, but mostly it lets people be much more involved with what’s going on at the company. Community building: I like that.

7. What should we as an industry be doing better to extend ourselves further into the consciousness of the potential audience?

I don’t like those kinds of shoulds. We don’t have the money to be significantly present in broadcast media, so we won’t be a pervasive presence in the public mind, that’s all there is to it. Still… Do your best work, keep having fun, and build community around you by engaging your audience in any aspect of the process and the work that you possibly can.

8. Who are your great theatrical influences?

Libby Appel and Robert Benedetti, my acting teacher and mentor (respectively) at CalArts. Morris Ertman, who’s directed me in a billion plays, and from our earliest days has shaped the way I think about everything theatrical. And so many of my fellow artists: when they are bold and inspire me to keep trying stuff, when they delight me with their creation and keep my courage and motivation and spirits up. Steven Soderbergh: “I want to thank anyone who spends part of their day creating. I don’t care if it’s a book, a film, a painting, a dance, a piece of theater, a piece of music. Anybody who spends part of their day sharing their experience with us. I think the world would be unlivable without art.”

9. What would you like to see more of on Vancouver stages?

Story.

10. What are your top 3 theatre reads?

Writing In Restaurants, David Mamet (but not his others!)

Eric Bentley’s essays and criticism from the fifties

Story, Robert McKee

But mostly it’s art that inspires me, not books about the art. Theatre, film, photography, poetry, dance, all of it. “Go thou and do otherwise.”

11. What’s next?

I’m acting in Godspell, which will be a blast. The past several seasons I’ve directed PT’s Emerging Artist showcase at the end of the season: this time it seemed like it would be more fun to act in it instead. (And I didn’t want the headache of directing the damn thing! Leave that to Sarah Rodgers…) Godspell had a huge impact on me in my early years, and I’m hungry to be in the middle of it. And scared (which is good) – I’m no song and dance man! Bring it on.

This One Goes to Eleven: Carole Higgins

Carole is the Artistic and Managing Director for one of the city’s most vital companies: Carousel Theatre for Young People, which has been turning kids onto the magic of performing arts for 35 seasons. She started her career with a BFA in acting from SFU, and performed across British Columbia before taking the Carousel reins.

Carole took the time away from getting A Year With Frog and Toad ready for opening this week to answer 11 Questions for us…

1. In one word, describe your present condition.

Exhausted and exhilarated. I am rehearsing two shows- one during the day and the other at night. I come in to the office at 8:00 am every morning to do admin before heading into the rehearsal hall…. AHHHH!!!!!

2. In as many words as you like, please describe the present condition of the Vancouver theatre scene.

Exciting, challenging and invigorating. Exciting in that there is so much interesting work being done here in Vancouver, and so much variety for audiences and theatre lovers. I love the concept of Hive, and all the site-specific work being done… the new emerging theatre companies that are forming and I love that the Arts Club is staging August: Osage County (an absolutely brilliant script) next season. At the same time, it’s very challenging given the cuts to the Arts here in BC.

3. What’s your favourite thing an audience member has ever said to you about one of your shows?

Hmmmm….tough to choose just one. I think it would be an email we had from a grandparent thanking us for the tender way that we staged the story Love You Forever. For me, staging that moment was a tribute to my dear mom, who left us twelve years ago after a long battle with cancer. My mom loved that story so much.

4. What part do you see Carousel playing in the theatre ecology of Vancouver?

We are Vancouver’s mainstage theatre for young audiences company. I love that so many young people experience theatre for the first time through Carousel Theatre, and hopefully we are encouraging our young patrons to be live-long theatre goers.

5. Jessie talked about the recent government funding setbacks. How are they affecting you as Artistic Director?

It’s scary. We have so many dreams, and now more than ever we are being forced to rely on earned revenue. We have put our touring program on hiatus, but we are going ahead with all other programming.

6. What would be your ultimate dream for Carousel if we could remove all obstacles?

To stage a year-round season of Mainstage theatre for young people, and to have our own theatre venue where we could stage not only our own productions, but bring in outstanding theatre for young audiences productions from across Canada, and around the world.

7. How does a piece get chosen for inclusion in one of your seasons?

I do a lot of research on what other TYA companies in Canada and the US are staging, and I think about different stories I loved as a child, and stories that children today are reading. I also consider suggestions from educators and subscribers. I visit bookstores, especially Kidsbooks. I look for stories that young people can enjoy with their families.

8. What’s your ‘how I fell in love with theatre’ story?

At age three I saw a family friend play a fairy princess in a Christmas pantomime. I was hooked for life.

9. What is your proudest theatrical moment to date?

Our production of Seussical the Musical.

10. What are your top 3 theatre reads?

I wish I had more time to read! All the classics.

11. What’s next?

Frog and Toad opens April 17th! Then it’s on to our fundraiser the Lawyer Show and then on to our Teen Shakespeare Program this summer.

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HIVE 3 and the re-branding of theatre

A crowd of the usual suspects were having a #2amt twitter round table the other day on the general topic of labels and What the Heck is ‘Indie Theatre’ Anyway? Questions being posed were like such: what is it exactly that ‘independent’ means? Independent of what? And where’s the delineation between hobbyist, amateur, semi-professional, pro-am, etc.? Really it’s about “how do we want to peg our company to the audience, to investors, on grant applications?” And are you trying to move up to the next level, whatever that is? It’s a great conversation, and an essential one from a marketing perspective; we need to be able to tell people what it is we’re selling them when we sell it to them. (Great post by Travis here, talking specificity.) This is an issue of public perception. This is an issue of industry branding.

I piped up with this:

Now, colleagues of mine will recognize this as a personal pet chew toy. And the one that usually generates the most amount of consternation. “Theatre”, “Play”, “Sacred Space”; these sort of terms are our darlings, full as we are of pride in the history and uniqueness of our craft. I would wager that a great deal of us toil in the impossibilium of theatre in part because we love the underdog nature of the thing these days. We get it, we love it, we’re unique because of it. Which means that we believe most people – or rather, most of the people out there whose hearts and minds and money we could get at – literally don’t know what they’re missing.

But the hard, cold truth is out there. When you say something to someone like “hey, do you like theatre? You should check out this play that I’m in” to your average uninitiated 19-35 year old, this is what pops right into the forefront of their brain:

…or maybe something like this:

…or maybe even this:

Which is all fine and dandy, but for the kids today whose absence from the stalls we’re forever bemoaning, it just ain’t going to sell. So to get these creaky images out of the minds of the GP, we going to have to re-brand. I know this sounds like heresy for a lot of theatre lovers, but be patient with me for a minute. Besides, if most of the movies at the multiplex for the last 20 years were Merchant Ivory, film would have to re-brand too.

The Red Curtains and Comedy/Tragedy masks imagery of theatre remains pervasive, and that’s a detriment to our appeal. We must at least be aware that it’s the slot we get stuck in out there in the larger community. As Nick says…

Right? So how do we change the context? How many of us even want to change the context? It just might mean the letting go of some imagery and language that we hold very dear. And clearly my theatre isn’t the same as everyone else’s theatre. Yet the question persists: how should we, as an industry, label ourselves to shed the shadow of irrelevancy?

Perhaps we could institute a system of clearer labels for the type of theatre we, as individual companies, offer. If we’re all lumped together in the consciousness of the community under the umbrella term “theatre”, how can we be clearer about the specific live experience that we offer? Video stores compartmentalize the art of film by genre, iTunes sells to us by genre, I suppose we could add some system of content labeling to our marketing, ie: Drama, Comedy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Classical, Musical, Avante-Garde, Multi-Media, Devised, New York in the 60s, etc, etc…but that’s not really it, is it? Most companies do a pretty good job of conveying which of these categories they sit in through their postering and ad copy anyway, and the non-theatre goer still has no more impetus to give theatre a go than before. It’s an experience that we’re trying to convey, not a style.

Without a doubt the theatrical event here in Vancouver that is doing the best job of sexing up the concept of live experience is HIVE, up right now in its third incarnation. Check out the trailer:

How curious about the thing does that make you? And clearly they’re not shying away from the word ‘theatre’, it’s liberally sprinkled throughout the clip. What they are doing is exploding stereotypes and preconceptions, essentially saying “this ain’t your granddaddy’s theatre!”. Apart from the trusty Fringe (which hosts shows that oscillate between marvelous and off-putting), the HIVE shows have pushed independent theatre further into the untapped audience of Vancouver than anything else in our history. And the brilliance of the thing is that it’s comprised of bite-sized samplers for the real McCoy, the perfect way to entice people into testing the water; the first step in full theatrical conversion. Arts Marketing brilliance. And it’s working, it looks like it’s sold out already.

The next step in our mission to turn Vancouver into a rabid theatre town has to be about this, I think. Establishing a common consciousness about how our art form is thought of by those that aren’t…well, us, and convincing them it’s not that thing that they’re thinking it is. And then blowing their minds wide open.

Update: Travis continues the conversation here. It’s worth a read for the Jai-Alai reference alone.

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I guess we’re going to have to deal with this filmed theatre thing

It’s an inevitability, I suppose. When we’re all talking about how to save theatre, how to adapt theatre to the persistent technological climate change that all the kids are gettin’ down with, about how to reach new audiences and turn them on to that old thing we love…it comes up. Invariably.

“We could film it and put it on the internet.”

The crew over at the promising new Verb Theatre blog recently posted about a new British site called “Digital Theatre” (a term already in use in progressive theatre practices, btw), which offers access to high-quality filmed versions of plays  (that have already closed) for about 15 buck a pop, promising: “…multiple camera angles and high-definition technology to bring you closer to the drama and emotion of each production.” There it is. So the question becomes: for theatre, is closer close enough?

I jumped into the comments section pretty readily, I always have a strong emotional reaction to this topic for some reason. It makes me feel a bit fuddy-duddy actually, and perhaps it is some puritanical, romantic notion that I can’t shake. But it would probably be the only regressive opinion I hold on new theatre. I feel – have always felt – that theatre only works when you and your audience share the same physical space, I believe that’s what makes it unique and a thing of wonder, and where theatre’s unique ability to pierce right into the centre of you comes from. And I believe in film as an artistic medium too, it has a beauty and a power and a language all its own that should be respected, what do we really gain from a hybrid of the two? Is it a new art form unto itself? And if it is, where does its power lie?

A caveat: I look at this question – as I always do – from an audience-building perspective. Does this help get the uninitiated into the stalls? Is this solely an insiders endeavor? The theatre nerd in me gets giddy at the prospect of seeing theatre that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to because of geography. I had the honour and delight of watching the performance and production of a great friend I’ve never met face-to-face (because of geography) when his company tried an experiment in live-streaming theatre. I was rapt and over the moon, but I still felt in the end that it was a beggar’s banquet, and that I didn’t get the full impact of the artists and the art form. That I was watching something other than the audience members who got to be in the room. Is that the marketing pitch for it right there? I honestly don’t know.

This is the crux of the thing here, from my rant on Verb:

The big challenge, the really big challenge faced by theatre as an art form right now is that while all the other disciplines are rapidly becoming cheaper and easier to work in, live performance remains untouched by technology. Writers blog and self-publish, musicians can cut CDs on a mac, digital painting is indiscernible from oils. But venue and performer fees remain the same, there’s no download (outside of the tech booth, but that’s a component, not the art) that’s going to help us memorize lines and discover intention and project. I think we should use this one great uniqueness in the wide and wonderful world of art to our advantage and press it as a selling point, instead of offering watered-down versions of our art to the rest of the world.

But is this way off base? Seriously, am I being a fuddy-duddy? Is this the way we’re going to co-opt the internet to move us forward? Or to put it another way:  just because we can, does that mean we should? Thoughts?

This One Goes to Eleven: Jessie van Rijn

I am convinced that to nurture a future audience for theatre – all theatre – we need to get ’em while they’re young. In Vancouver, this is where Carousel Theatre comes in. General Manager Jessie came to Carousel via the Chemainus Theatre Festival on Vancouver Island with a BFA in Dramatic Arts from the U of Lethbridge, finding her niche in Administration. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the Jessie Richardson Theatre Award Society.

Jessie is an inspiration.

1. In one word, describe your present condition.

Wild. I just drank a huge coffee and my heart’s beating faster than it probably should.

2. In your own choice of word count, describe the present condition of the Vancouver theatre scene.

So many thoughts come to mind… I think many are hurting from the apparent lack of support from some funders, but most are gathering strength from the gads of encouragement being provided by audience members and others in the community. I’m concerned at the amount of artists, administrators, designers, technicians, et al that may be part of a mass exodus to higher ground (or cities/provinces/ areas) during this funding crisis. I’m excited by national and international works that are coming to town in the coming months. And I am constantly blown away by the amount of passion and drive that this community has.

3. Please describe the mandate and vision of Carousel.

The official blurb is thus:

Carousel Theatre is dedicated to inspiring, enlightening and entertaining young people and their families through accessible theatrical experiences that develop audiences and artists. Our work is playful, relevant and vibrant. We are committed to artistic excellence and the support of emerging talent in all areas of the theatre discipline; we believe that youth audiences deserve the very best. Our programming offers a wide choice of exciting theatrical experiences for young audiences and families, and aims to enrich the hearts and minds of today’s youth.

Carousel Theatre plays a unique role in the theatre ecology of our community, and is the only theatre company in BC that produces a fully professional season of mainstage programming especially for young people. Each season more than 60 000 young people and their families benefit from Carousel Theatre’s unique programming. Under the vision of Artistic Director Carole Higgins, Carousel Theatre stages a mainstage season of Literary Classics at the Waterfront Theatre, an Elementary School Touring Program that brings theatre directly to students, a Teen Shakespeare Program each summer and a year-round Theatre School for young people ages 3 to 17 years. Carousel Theatre also runs a mentorship program for fledgling theatre for young audiences companies and a new play development program.

Our mandate is:

– To create theatre especially designed to encourage youth and family audiences to enjoy the benefits of live theatre.

– To provide a means whereby actors, directors and others engaged in the creation of live theatre may develop their skills through experience and training.

– To cooperate with other persons and organizations engaged in theatrical ventures and thereby provide an outlet for their work.

– To welcome and encourage artists who mirror our culturally diverse community.

– To assist & promote the production of Canadian Theatre and Canadian Theatre Artist.

THE MERRY ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. LAWRENCE HAEGERT (Robin Hood) and JOSHUA REYNOLDS (Little John). Photo by Tim Matheson. Carousel Theatre, 2009

4. How has Carousel been (or potentially will be ) affected by the Liberal’s budget cuts to the Arts?

Confirmed:

– We have had to put our Elementary School Touring program on hiatus. We had been touring within the Lower Mainland, BC and throughout Canada. Our touring program has served just over 39,000 students, teachers, and families in the past year. We’re saddened by this, as our touring program has been gaining quite a bit of momentum as of late.

Looming possibilities that fill us with nail-biting dread:

– Less tickets available for donation to inner city schools and community groups.

– Productions with smaller casts   (It will be difficult for Carousel Theatre to produce a show the size of Robin Hood in the next few years, though we will continue to strive towards artistic excellence in our productions)

– Our accessible ticket prices may need to be increased.

– Less support for infrastructure  (Carousel Theatre only has 3 full-time staff members)

5. How can we attract more artists to the administrative side of the industry?

Current administrators in the community can snap up young, driven emerging artists who are wanting to learn more about the administrative side of theatre to gain skills for producing. These artists who have a talent for the admin side are in desperate need as the theatre community grows and maintains itself.

I think the important distinction is for an artist to know if they have artist-brain or admin-brain, or the healthy balance of both. So many artists feel hindered by ‘the desk’ and think of administrator as a bad word. (I beg of you- don’t take on admin work if you know you’ll hate it- just because you need a joe job. )

I would recommend any artist to pick up some admin skills- you’ll put those tools to use every day. Even actors- you are a business just by being you! Pick up accounting skills to help yourself at tax time, learn how to send an email (with proper punctuation and grammar), think about marketing yourself or your co-op with a website/blog/etc.

6. Who or what are your great influences?

My friends are an amazing source of inspiration every day- as hokey as that sounds. They are willing to put themselves on the line as actors/producers/designers/musicians- and do what they love, regardless of the risk – as long as they can create. It makes my heart burst, but not in a sticky gross kind of way.

I am also influenced by a great friend- Jeremy Tow. He is the first Artistic Director I have ever worked with as an administrator (while an arts admin intern at Chemainus Theatre Festival), and I will always be in awe of his work, his grace and his passion.

I would also like to mention a particular professor from university who once said about me “She’ll never be a director, but she’d be an amazing administrator.” I hated him with a passion for about 3 years before realizing he was right. I found my home within this community, and it brings me great joy to know that the cogs on this great machine of creation keep turning because of the work administrators do. We help facilitate the artists – which can be an art unto itself.

7. What type of theatre would you like to see more of on our stages?

I love small-scale musicals like Edges, The World Goes ‘Round, etc. I would love to see more new musicals done in Vancouver by smaller companies. More companies taking risks with unusual venues (site-specific, or alternative spaces). Though extremely unlikely, I would also like to request a monthly version of HIVE.

8. What do you know about theatre that you didn’t before working with Carousel?

How amazing it is to introduce children to live theatre. That children make the best critics. That having diverse revenue sources are so important (use what you got!). That you can get tired of the colour purple. That communication is everything.

9. What’s the best way to build our future audience in Vancouver?

Provide them with the best theatre experiences possible, no matter of their age, background, income. Keep theatre accessible to all. Encourage all theatre companies to have one pay-what-you-can performance. Create relationships with your audience members outside of the venue. Garner the support of local print media to continue providing coverage for productions that may be considered ‘small’, ‘indie’ or ‘not big enough’.

10. What are your top 3 theatre reads?

American Theatre, Canadian Theatre Review, The Next Stage

11. What’s next?

10 minutes: Building a contact sheet for A Year with Frog and Toad (spring musical awesomeness starring Allan Zinyk- who is my favourite Vancouver actor);

10 days: I’ll be in Alberta with my family and friends – full on food, wine and merriment;

10 years: Queen of the World!

Child’s artwork created for the first run of Seussical. It is Jessie’s favourite because it has a shark. She likes to think that Eric, the 5-year-old artist, thought “Yes, I’ll draw the hat that I’m supposed to draw… but I think it needs a man-eating shark on it to complete my vision”.

This One Goes to Eleven: Stephen Park

If you want to be a good actor you need to be continuously acting. This is the lesson I’ve learned over the past 4 years from watching Steve Park; as an actor in my ensemble, as a TV/film actor, and as an acting instructor at the Lyric Studios and the Vancouver Film School.

Steve is also one of the most frank and opinionated artists I know. I’m grateful he brought that to TOGtE…


1. In one word, describe your present condition.

Charged.

2. In your own time and number of words, describe the present condition of the Vancouver theatre scene.

I think that our theatre scene is on the brink. Of many things. Evolution, extinction, revolution, transformation. It feels to me that a great shift is possible. I believe that it is inevitable and necessary. The old models both business and artistic are no longer relevant or viable. The way in which the newer generations get their information, their stories, their entertainment is vastly different then how I did as a kid and as a young man. The internet and the digital age has changed the playing field. There are some companies who have seen this and embraced it. They are the ones that will continue. The companies that continue to experiment with and search for new ways to tell stories are going to prosper. I don’t think that the stories themselves change it is the story telling that must.

I also believe that this change is going to clean out the gene pool, so to speak. The business of theatre making has changed. Permanently. The funding sources, the marketing, the potential audience. We as an industry have to get off the Government tit.  As the population grows so does the opportunity for different funding sources. I can hear it now, “If I don’t get government funding, if I don’t get community assistance, I won’t survive.” Well, maybe you shouldn’t. If you provide something that the community wants, even – dare I say it – something that it needs, you will survive. You will flourish. I am not saying that we should do away with Government support of the Arts. The funding levels and infrastructure levels are below ridiculous. I am saying that even if they were exceptional, it is a stupid idea to be reliant on one food source. More resource sharing between companies, and we are seeing that now, more private sector investment. Make what you are selling profitable and the funding will come.

3. What is the relationship between our theatre scene and the local TV/film industry, from an actor’s point of view?

Well, before all the work dried up, not too much. But now, everyone wants to do a play.

I mean, I still hear it all the time, television and film Actor. Theatre Actor. Not often just Actor. There is this notion that you are one or the other and (almost) never the twain shall meet. A shame really. There are lots of Actors in town who do both. But I think that most are identified as one or the other. I think that the relationship should be one of symbiosis. I think that all actors should work in all possible fields. It just makes you a better Actor.

4. Once we’ve got a new audience into our theatre, what’s the surest way to get them to return?

Turn them on. Get them off. Emotionally, Spiritually, Sexually. Make them fully half the equation of the experience. I mean, what makes you go back to something again? Not Pretty clothes and sleek programs. Not shamelessly self indulgent and neutered acting. Not half-assed stories. Not, “I did a scene from this play in acting class and I fucking rocked, so now I want to do the whole play so I can really jerk my ego off.” I go back to companies and plays that shake me, shift me. Things that make me wonder if the actors are really acting. Stories that force me to confront and embrace parts of me that I hadn’t before. Stories that are True and celebrate all of the Human condition.

We have to get our audience to work for us. We have to get them to tell other people, “You have to see this show.” We have to get them to bring other people through the doors. We do that by embracing just how smart our audience is. How much they are dying to go into the unknown with us. They want to jump and not pull the cord. If the product is good enough, it makes you as an audience member feel like you just shared something special and unique. Something “Cool and Sexy and New”. You do that and the audience will then become your marketing arm.

5. How are we as a community rising to meet the government’s recent treatment of us?

We are not. We are standing around in silent grey squares jerking off and looking like a bunch of flaky artists.

This will change exactly nothing. The powers that be will do nothing until their jobs are in jeopardy or there is a real profit to be made from doing something other then what they are currently doing.

Politicians are affected by lobby groups, yes? The B.C. film commission isn’t demanding that our tax incentives match what the rest of the country is doing because they are in the Liberals back pockets. U.B.C.P. would rather argue amongst themselves then stand up to the provincial government on behalf of their membership.  ACTRA is seemingly in the business of preventing small and independent theatre to exist, for our own protection they tell us. It is almost enough to make want to throw in the towel. We need to form a strong lobby group. We need to find Patrons, wealthy, connected patrons, who are passionate about Arts and Culture.

This Fight isn’t limited to our provincial government either. The biggest spotlight in our country’s history is about to be shone on Vancouver. If our community had some balls we would leverage that fact and deny our services to The Olympics until the government gave us what we want. I went to this year’s Wrecking Ball. It was an embarrassment, if you ask me. It is supposed to be an event that ignites our political will as a community. It was milquetoast at its worst. We had to have an Artist from Toronto come and give us shit for not standing up for ourselves. This is Crap. Get mad, get smart and get vocal. Challenge businesses that you patron to write their MLA. We need to march, we need to protest we need to define exactly what we want. We need to make the general public understand what has been done to them by the government’s slashing of funding. Nobody will give a good goddamn about something they don’t feel affects them directly. They sure as shit won’t give a fuck about silent grey squares. I don’t. Why should they?

6. Finish this sentence: “Dear Premier Campbell…”

You’re doin’ a heck of a job, Brownie!

7. What’s been your greatest revelation about theatre since being involved with your own company?

How important the audience is to the whole event. It is a communion on every level and it takes putting yourself completely at the service of the audience. Check your Ego at the door. When that is accomplished the transformative power of the live theatrical experience is unlike anything else. It can have the power of a great rock concert and the intimacy of making love all at once.

8. Define the term “Good Acting”.

The fearless and creative expression of the reveal of your true humanity.

9. What is your career highlight to date?

The 21st Floor, Ashes, Gift of Screws and The Englishman’s Boy.

10. What are your top 3 theatre reads?

4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane
Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad
And whatever the next thing is that Bill Marchant is writing.

11. What’s next?

Putting my money where my mouth is.