The fall 2017 series on the Art of Performance looked at music, fine art, dance and writing. This winter we explore the stage, from playwriting to performance to backstage management, all with a local connection. Three of the lectures focus on the world-class Stratford Festival, the others range from small ensembles to the Drayton Entertainment multi-stage organization.
Tuesday Jan 9 - All the World's a Stage: The Role of Live Theatre in Modern Society -
In a world where we are increasingly isolated, relying on technology to connect us, live human interaction is becoming a rare occurrence. As a result we yearn for opportunities to make conversation, to discover a sense of community and to share lived experience. Theatre affords us such an opportunity.
We gather together as a group in one space where actors tell us stories about ourselves, about what it means to be human. They talk to each other and to us and we listen and respond as they guide us to uncover certain truth perhaps forgotten or misplaced. We may be provoked or we may laugh or cry but whatever our reaction, we react together in the moment of “what if”. Therein lies the magic.
Pat Quigley - Education Consultant, Stratford Festival, Director of Education and Archives 2004-2010, Manager of Education 1986-2004.
Tuesday Jan 16 - A Life Behind the Curtain - As the third generation of her family to work at the Stratford Festival, Nora Polley’s thirty seven years’ experience as a Stage Manager give her a unique perspective on how theatre works and how it sometimes doesn’t.
Nora Polley - Stage Manager for Stratford and other theatres from 1972-2010; currently Stratford Festival Assistant Archivist. She stage managed scores of plays at Stratford and elsewhere directed by Richard Monette, Antoni Cimolino, and others. Whenever You’re Ready by Shawn DeSouza-Coelho, a book about her life in the theatre, will be published in May of 2018.
Tuesday Jan 23 - Ensemble Theatre-Making - Lost & Found Theatre was founded in 2004 by six theatre professionals who came together to establish a project-based theatre production collective in Waterloo Region. Their focus is about more than what’s on stage; forging community connections, mentoring emerging artists, and fostering new work. They produces actor-driven, thought-provoking theatre, using primarily regional, professional talent, and stimulating artists and audiences to explore together the challenging and redemptive aspects of human relationships.
Kathleen Sheehy - Artistic Director, Lost and Found Theatre, and others from the ensemble. Kathleen is a founding member of Lost and Found Theatre and has appeared in 17 productions. She trained with the Arden Company in Philadelphia.
Tuesday Jan 30 - The Drayton Entertainment Story: The Business of Running an Art - Drayton Entertainment has grown from a fledgling theatre festival to being one of Canada’s most successful charitable arts organizations. The company stages plays in seven theatres across southwestern Ontario.With no government funding for operations, it maintains an enviable reputation for annual surpluses, consistently sold-out performances, creative marketing initiatives, and exceptional private-sector and community support.
Alex Mustakas - Founding Artistic Director, CEO, Drayton Entertainment. Alex has directed over 100 shows over the past 27 years, and is being recognized later this year by the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal for his exceptional contribution to Canadian theatre.
*Monday*Feb 5 - Creating the Spark: Using Theatre to Bring Change - Can theatre be used to help make positive change in Kitchener-Waterloo? And if so, does anyone want to see it? Quoting Aristotle and Family Guy, Matt White, discusses how Green Light Arts uses theatre to break down barriers and engage audiences in meaningful exchange.
Matt White - Artistic Producer, Green Light Arts. Matt is an arts professional with over fourteen years of experience working as a director, actor, dramaturg, educator and theatre producer. In 2015, he joined the University of Waterloo Drama and Speech Communication faculty as a sessional instructor.
Tuesday Feb 13 - Local Stories, National Theatre - Blyth Festival is entering its 44th season of producing original Canadian plays in rural southwestern Ontario. In a town of only 1000 people, the Blyth Festival has managed to build a national reputation as an incubator of original voices for the stage, and has produced more than 135 world premieres. Gil Garratt explores the singular creative process with a focus on the generation of the 2017 premieres of The Pigeon King and Ipperwash.
Gil Garratt – Artistic Director, Blyth Festival . Gil is a director, playwright, dramaturge, Dora Award-winning actor, and theatre administrator who has worked across Canada and internationally. With a career that has been dedicated primarily to the development of new Canadian plays, Gil has been with the Blyth Festival since 1999.
Tuesday Feb 20 - Edna’s Archive: Site-responsive Performance in a Troubled Home of History - An exploration of the role of theatre in response to the questions posed by the performance, staging and examination of Edna’s Archive. This stage work was based on the diaries and photos found near a dumpster in Toronto, of a Kitchener-born dancer. Examining the creation process yields insights into how site-responsive theatre challenges our views of history and its place in our city’s landscape.
Andy Houston, Associate Professor, Theatre and Performance, University of Waterloo. Andy has taught and created performances across Canada and in Europe. In 2002, he started Knowhere Productions Inc., a company devoted to the exploration of site-specific and site-responsive performance. In the last fifteen years, he has directed and dramaturged several large-scale site-specific, intermedia productions. As a scholar, he has published a Canadian Theatre Review issue on site-specific performance.
Tuesday Feb 27 - Peek inside the Stratford Festival’s 2018 Season: Exploring Free Will
A behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming season of the largest classical repertory company in North America. From Martha Henry as Prospero in The Tempest to Robert Lepage’s Coriolanus, to a timely production of To Kill a Mockingbird, directed by Nigel Shawn Williams, each of the 12 productions examines how questions of freedom present themselves in families, communities, politics and art.
Lois Adamson -works as an arts educator and theatre administrator. Currently, she is the Director of Education, Stratford Festival. She regularly presents and writes on key issues in arts and works with theatre companies, not-for-profit organizations and independent artists across the country as a consultant, writer and educator.
Site photos credit (excluding speakers): Nancy Forde Photography http://www.instagram.com/nancyfordephoto.