We’re back! And a little rusty. But we’re here to warm the cockles of your isolated hearts with a chat about what it means for performing arts companies to lose their big-box, holiday cash cows this year.
In the form of open letters on social media, actor Natércia Napoleão has been asking Edmonton’s theatre companies directly what their BIPOC representation looks like not only onstage, but off as well. In this chat we cover how social media can be used to call in — not necessarily call out — and how Edmonton theatre companies are responding to public questions about representation in their casts, staff, boards, and otherwise.
We’re starting with something different this week. Off the top you’ll hear the voice of NASRA, an artist, poet, and producer in Edmonton, which was recorded live back in February. Listen up.
The guests on this episode are the founders of Glass Bookshop: Jason Purcell and Matthew Stepanic. In this chat we cover what they wanted to achieve in opening a bookstore, what it means to hold space when physical space is not a feasible option, and what you should be reading and doing to support Black artists now.
The events of the past days must be followed with continued action. Anti-Black racism is a terrible reality, and it is not spoken about enough, especially in white communities. Now is the time to listen, to educate yourself, and to take action.
Here’s the reading list discussed on the show (buy them here): A God Dance in Human Cloth by NASRA This is How We Disappear by Titilope Sonuga An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading by Dionne Brand In the Wake: On Blackness and Being by Christina Sharpe Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo Indigenous Rights by Chelsea Vowel Fifteen Dogs and Days By Moonlight by Andre Alexis
This year’s Nextfest—its 25th anniversary—goes entirely online. We caught up with Festival Director Ellen Chorley to talk about her career path and the wonders of the beautiful, multidisciplinary beast that is Edmonton’s festival for emerging artists. We also cover how she and Fawnda met a decade ago on the dancefloor at one of the legendary Nextfest nite clubs.
It’s been a while, but we actually caught a local show to review! Vena Amoris Productions offered an online choose-you-own-route experience with Tracks. Fawnda and Colleen take the trip together—virtually, of course.
Vern Thiessen published an open letter to the nation’s professional theatre associations last week, encouraging them to seriously consider what they could be doing during the Great Pause, including reassessing their collective agreements and lobbying for changes to the Status of the Artist legislation. We cover his letter, the meaning of these agreements for working artists in Canada, and what post-pandemic theatre could look like for the foreseeable future (likely, it’s “G” houses). The Governor General Award-winning playwright also offers some advice on letter-writing—which we should all be doing more.
YEG Poet Laureate and PoFest Executive Director Nisha Patel chats about taking literary events online, her #CanadaPerforms stint, the realities of being an artist and festival producer in the gig economy, and emerging standards for compensating artists for online content.
While the rest of us had to get used to this new era of online connecting when the pandemic was declared, Alexis Hillyard was already an internet star in her own right with her Youtube series, Stump Kitchen. In our chat she covers favourite pandemic meals, how artists can leverage putting their work online, and bringing authenticity to digital space—plus, how a stump comes in handy in the kitchen!
What week are we in again? Seven? Seventeen? Artistic Director of Northern Light Theatre Trevor Schmidt expands on the acceptance of this Great Pause, impacts on small versus large theatre companies, sucker-punch play structure, and staring down a summer without the Fringe.