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WEST SIDE STORY PRESENTED BY MEDICINE HAT
MUSICAL THEATRE. GAIL WHITTEN AND MIKE WASKALIK.
STORY ON PAGE 8
PHOTOGRAPH BY EMMA BENNETT, COURTESY OF MEDICINE HAT NEWS
What’s New at Theatre Alberta 3.
Tales from the Stacks 3.
Calling the Next Sharon Pollock 5.
Meet the Board 5.
Calgary’s PCC Conference 7.
Medicine Hat Community Theatre 8.
RADA’s Performance Breath 11.
Wendy Lill on Dramatizing 12.
in a Time of Change
Dry Martini 14.
News from Alberta’s Drama 15.
The Buzz 15.
Theatre Alberta is the
Provincial Arts Service Organization (PASO) for theatre
in Alberta, dedicated to the growth and development
of the Alberta theatre community and all its constituencies.
Theatre Alberta News is a publication of Theatre Alberta
issued four times a year. Contribution of notices, news and
articles about theatre are welcome, as well as high quality
(350 dpi or higher) photographs. Theatre Alberta News also
accepts signed letters to the editor but reserves the right to
refuse any material it considers inappropriate. The opinions
and views expressed are those of the writers and do not
necessarily reﬂect those of Theatre Alberta.
Ofﬁce and library hours
I love it when things change.
Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Ofﬁce and Library closed April 6–9 (Easter),
Fresh beginnings, new opportunities, a blank slate and endless possibilities that inspire. and May 19–21 (Victoria Day).
Out with the old and in with the new. Embrace the unknown! Submission deadlines and publication dates
April 27 for June 1, 2007
At the same time I hate it when things change. Embrace the unknown?? Yuck. Better the July 20 for August 24, 2007
October 19 for November 23, 2007
devil I know than the devil I don’t. Moving out of my comfort zone, extra demands and January 25 for February 29, 2008
challenges that are added to my already busy schedule. Sometimes it means letting go of Advertising rates
Full Page (9.5” high x 7” wide) $200.00
things that have been good and not knowing exactly what will take their place. But as we all Half Page (4.625” high x 7” wide) $120.00
know, nothing stays the same—including the provincial government. Quarter Page (2.25” high x 7” wide) $80.00
Please supply high-resolution ﬁles
Alberta now has a new Premier, Ed Stelmach. The word “culture” has returned as the title of (at least 350 dpi at actual size) in greyscale or black
and white. Prices include GST. Ads are booked on a
one of the 18 Ministries formed by Premier Stelmach—Alberta Tourism, Parks, Recreation ﬁrst-come, ﬁrst-serve basis and space is limited. Book ad
space at least one month prior to the submission deadline.
and Culture—and this newly formed ministry has a new Minister, Hector Goudreau. While
it’s deﬁnitely encouraging to see the word “culture” reinstated in a Ministry portfolio title, Theatre Alberta Board of Directors
If you have questions or concerns regarding Theatre Alberta,
and while Minister Goudreau has already let the arts community know that we should you are welcome to contact Theatre Alberta Board members.
expect an increase to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts budget, we shouldn’t expect a Ofﬁcers
doubling of it. Is this to be our fresh beginning, our endless possibility? Tanya Ryga ~ Red Deer email@example.com
Karen Towsley ~ Calgary firstname.lastname@example.org
It is truly important that we help Premier Stelmach and Minister Goudreau further develop TREASURER
Wendy Punter ~ Cochrane email@example.com
their knowledge of the provincial arts scene. Their increased understanding of the full spectrum
S E C R E TA R Y
of artistic work going on in this province is essential to keeping the arts healthy and vibrant. David Owen ~ Edmonton firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope every arts group in Alberta, rural and urban, grass roots to professional, performing, Directors
Jane Heather ~ Edmonton email@example.com
literary, and visual arts, is inundating both of these gentlemen with letters as well as Andrea Martinuk ~ Edmonton firstname.lastname@example.org
Harold Truckle ~ Red Deer email@example.com
invitations to attend their events. Because only through getting to know the arts community, Steve McHugh ~ Wetaskiwin firstname.lastname@example.org
by participating in it as artists or audience, do you begin to understand, appreciate, and value Gail Hanrahan ~ Lethbridge email@example.com
Mary-Ellen Perley ~ Edmonton firstname.lastname@example.org
it. Write to them about the kind of artistic work you are involved in and how it aﬀects your Russell Thomas ~ Fort McMurray email@example.com
world and the world around you in terms of quality of life and ﬁscal impact. Johanne Deleeuw ~ Calgary firstname.lastname@example.org
The winds of change have also blown through Theatre Alberta. It’s oﬃcial—Sam Varteniuk Marie Gynane-Willis email@example.com
is now the ‘former’ Theatre Alberta Programmer. We miss his outstanding programming O F F I C E A D M I N I S T R AT O R
Janice Hoover firstname.lastname@example.org
work, dry sense of humour, great tech skills, and last but not least, his handyman abilities. P R O G R A M C O O R D I N AT O R
Keri Ekberg email@example.com
One of Sam’s signiﬁcant contributions was his work on our website—he took it forward
light years. He is now working at the Citadel on the Student’s Club and we wish him well. Jill Connell firstname.lastname@example.org
A D M I N I S T R AT O R
Julie Sinclair email@example.com
I am delighted to welcome Jill Connell as our new Programmer. She is a playwright with
a strong and diverse theatre background, who recently completed a Masters degree at the Solveig Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org
Brenda Sutherland email@example.com
University of New Brunswick. Jill is the new editor of the newsletter and will soon be
F I N A N C I A L A D M I N I S T R AT O R
launching our e-newsletter. Zenovia Adams
Change of address information and undeliverable copies to:
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate World Theatre Day on March 27th Started by UNESCO Theatre Alberta Society
3rd Floor Percy Page Centre
in 1962, World Theatre Day is an opportunity for theatre people to celebrate the power of 11759 Groat Road, Edmonton AB T5M 3K6
theatre on a local level while knowing that we are part of a bigger global celebration. Tell Phone: (780) 422-8162 Fax: (780) 422-2663
Toll Free: 1-888-422-8160 firstname.lastname@example.org
your audience, tell your actors, tell the general public, post a sign, insert the UNESCO www.theatrealberta.com
message (easily found on the internet) into your program.
2. spring 2007
WHAT ’S NEW AT THEATRE ALBERTA
EMERGE 2007 DRAMAWORKS & ARTSTREK Registration begins soon!
Calgary: Monday, April 16 at Dramaworks is a summer theatre workshop program for adults that
One Yellow Rabbit’s Big Secret Theatre takes place at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton; it has been running
Edmonton: Monday, April 23 at the in the province since 1959. This year the program runs during the
Citadel Theatre ﬁrst two weekends in July—each weekend includes both beginner
Emerge is Theatre Alberta’s annual general and advanced workshops for performers, directors, designers, tech-
audition event for graduates of post-secondary nicians, playwrights, and more! Check with your local community
acting programs across the province. Participa- theatre or employer about subsidizing your trip to Dramaworks
tion is by invitation only. this summer.
Workshop Weekends: July 5-8 & 12-15
Professionals—Please mark your calendars.
If you have not received an ofﬁcial invitation,
contact Keri for information at Artstrek is Alberta’s residential summer theatre program for teens
email@example.com. that takes place at Red Deer College. Over the course of the week
students will explore acting, voice, movement, sound/music, design,
and directing. This year’s curriculum will focus on Lee MacDougall’s
CALL FOR ARTSTREK SUPERS! stage adaptation of Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell—a
classic Canadian story about growing up on the prairies.
Calling all Artstrek alumni with leader- Exploration I (ages 13-15): July 8-14
ship skills and enthusiasm, and who Exploration II (ages 16-18): July 15-22
just can’t let a good thing go!
These programs ﬁll up quickly—register early to avoid disappoint-
Artstrek Supervisors are selected from ment! See our combined Dramaworks/Artstrek brochure
applicants who have previously for details (if you didn’t receive a brochure, contact Theatre Alberta and we’ll send one your way).
attended Artstrek, have been away from
For more information call 1-888-422-8160 or visit www.theatrealberta.com.
the program for at least one year, and
who are 19 to 25 years of age. To apply, SAFE STAGES
send a theatre/employment resume, Safe Stages, Theatre Alberta’s new occupational health and safety resource
cover letter, and headshot/photo to for theatre companies and workers/volunteers, is at the printers! Copies of
firstname.lastname@example.org or Safe Stages will be distributed throughout the province in the spring. Visit
Theatre Alberta www.theatrealberta.com for information about the ofﬁcial launch of the
3rd Floor Percy Page Centre resource or to request a copy.
11759 Groat Road
ANNOUNCING TA eNEWS, Theatre Alberta’s New Electronic Newsletter
Edmonton AB T5M 3K6.
Theatre Alberta has decided to gather its courage and join the movement of proliferating enewslet-
Application deadline is April 13th. ters. With standing columns such as Shows Opening This Week, Auditions, Jobs, News, and Advocacy
For more information contact us at Updates, TA eNews will provide subscribers with timely, province-wide theatre news on a bi-weekly
email@example.com basis. But fear not, this new-fangled electronic newsletter has no designs on replacing its long-lived
or 1-888-422-8160. print predecessor (which you are currently reading). TA eNews has come into being as an effort
toward building a more informed and cohesive theatre community across Alberta. Watch for our
première issue in an inbox near you, or visit www.theatrealberta.com to subscribe.
TALES FROM THE STACKS
FEATURED PLAY FEATURED REFERENCE RESOURCE DONATIONS
Half Life by John Mighton (2005) Dramatists Sourcebook Thank you to Celia Penman and the Windmill
Two nursing home residents, both in their 80s, 23rd Edition (2004) Theatre Players for their generous donation of
meet and fall in love, rekindling what might have More than 950 opportunities for playwrights, the CD and script for the musical Nine.
been a wartime romance. Had they previously translators, composers, lyricists, and libret-
SUGGEST A PLAY TITLE IN APRIL
met somewhere else under different circum- tists, including script-submission procedures
stances? Why is their love so troubling for their for 380 professional theatres, 137 prizes, and Theatre Alberta’s library will be asking our
children? Indeed, the light at dusk is sometimes scores of publishers, fellowships, residen- members to suggest new scripts for library
warmer and more enveloping than that of the cies, developmental programs, agents, service acquisition sometime in April. Keep an eye on
midday sun. Characters navigate between being organizations, state arts agencies, and reference your email for further details.
and appearance, between cowardice and disso- publications. The Dramatists Sourcebook is
luteness. The play is a poetic and moving medita- thoroughly indexed and contains an invaluable
tion on identity, aging, and the nature of memory. calendar of submission deadlines. Includes the
What shines through when memory fades away? “Simple Working Guide for Playwrights” by
Winner of the 2005 Governor General’s Literary Tony Kushner.
Award in Drama.
theatre alberta news 3.
Publications Mail Agreement Number 40051164
Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:
Theatre Alberta 11759 Groat Road, 3rd Floor, Edmonton AB T5M 3K6
BY ALBERTA PLAYWRIGHTS’ NETWORK.
TA ASSOCIATE ORGANIZATION
calling the next Sharon Pollock...
S haron Pollock began to write plays in
1971, while pregnant with her sixth child.
even has the largest cash prize in Canada,
providing the Grand Prize winner with $3500
Lord knows how she found the time, but she and the Discovery prize winner with $1500.
did. Her ﬁrst play, A Compulsory Option, won Are you a student who has written a
the Alberta Playwriting Competition. Now play? Do you know of a young talent that
I’m not suggesting that you have six kids, needs to be uncovered? How about a young
but I do suggest that you enter the Alberta person who simply needs to be encouraged
Playwriting Competition. to keep telling stories? Send this young
Who knows, you might be the next
playwright our way!
Brad Fraser and win the competition ﬁve times.
APN introduced the Alberta Student
Or you might be like Stephen Massicotte
Playwriting Contest in the centennial year
and ﬁnd the contest uncovers your very own
to ﬁnd the next generation of voices. There
Mary’s Wedding. Or you might end up like
are cash prizes for the ﬁrst, second, and third
Vern Thiessen and discover a year from now
that your very own Apple has been running for place winners.
twelve months non-stop in Poland.
The Alberta Playwriting Contest deadline is March 31st
These are but a few of the distinguished
annually; the Alberta Student Playwriting Contest dead-
alumni from the Alberta Playwriting line is May 31st annually. For further information and
Competition—the longest-running provincial entry forms, visit www.albertaplaywrights.com or call
playwriting prize in Canada. The APC the Alberta Playwrights’ Network at 1-800-268-8564.
MEET THE BOARD Russell Thomas, Board of Directors
Russell Thomas is the Manager of Recruitment & Communications at Keyano College in Fort McMurray. A ﬁerce
advocate for the arts, Russell spent six years as publicist and marketing coordinator for Keyano Theatre and as an
arts columnist for the Fort McMurray Today. He has been the volunteer President of the Fort McMurray interPLAY
Festival for the past decade and was Director of Culture for the 2003 Alberta Seniors Games. Russell’s favourite
acting roles in recent years include Crazy Ole Maurice in Beauty and the Beast, Roat in Wait Until Dark, and Biff
in Death of a Salesman, all with Keyano Theatre. Originally from Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Russell lives in Fort
McMurray with his wife Heather and sons Dylan (7) and Ben (3).
What is your involvement in Theatre Alberta? McMurray for the past ten years. It excites development of the community, through its
I was elected to the Board in 2006 as a Director me to create opportunities for artists to be programming, the theatre artists it brings to
at Large representing northern Alberta. seen and appreciated. Our community (Fort town, and the opportunities it provides students
McMurray) has received negative press across and community members to perform in a ﬁrst-
What do you consider to be the biggest North America for being bereft of culture class venue.
challenge for theatres and theatre artists (Chatelaine, Washington Post, et al.). When If you could hang out with any theatrical
in Alberta? we create opportunities for musicians, actors, personality—living or dead— for one night,
It is the same old struggle of trying to get a visual artists, and dancers to emerge from the who would it be? What would you do?
conservative government to invest in the arts. shadows, we are often overwhelmed with talent
I’ll pretend to be a politician and answer
To be the most economically vibrant province and creativity. the question I wanted you to ask. I’ve been
in the country yet having the lowest per capita fortunate to work with and learn from some
What role do you feel theatre plays in your
funding for the arts is disgusting. Thank God tremendous Alberta theatre artists: Tom
the provincial government was able to ﬁnd Peacock, Paul Gélineau, Jonathon Christenson,
$200 million for horse racing, otherwise it Keyano Theatre has been Fort McMurray’s Roger Schultz, Douglas Abel, Robert Shannon,
would be really embarrassing to be an Albertan! community theatre for over 25 years. It enjoys and James MacDonald, just to name a few. I am
a tremendous subscription base of 2,000 in awe of their creative ability. To enjoy a cold
What inspires you in your own work? people and a reputation for producing quality beer and rousing conversation with any of them
I’ve been involved with an arts festival in Fort shows. It plays a tremendous role in the artistic would be an honour.
theatre alberta news 5.
BRINGING BACK THE OLD, RINGING IN THE NEW
Here’s where we roll out the welcome NEW MEMBERS RENEWING MEMBERS
mat to all our new and renewed Individuals James McGowan Individuals Lindsey Kurpjuweit Maria Smythe H. A. Kostash School
Emily Allison Ryan McKinley Ken Agrell-Smith Dale Lee Kwong Eugene Stickland Hatterland Children’s
members for the period from Oct 1, Tanessa Andres Stephanie Medford Kristine Barnes Brendan Lavery Glenda Stirling Theatre
2006 through Dec 31, 2006. Don’t Danielle Arseneau Catherine Medynski Patrice Barnes Megan Lawrence George Stone Innisfail Town Theatre
Tiffany Ayalik Simon Mizera Colleen Bishop Ellen Leavitt Allan Stoski John Maland High
see your name here? That’s probably Dean Bareham Jaclyn Nestman Jacquelyn Bland- Barbara Mah Vicki Stroich School
David Boda Charles Netto Lawrence Shannon Maliteare Brenda Sutherland Kaleidoscope Theatre
because you joined the organization Melissa Boisvert Astrid O’Farrell Anita Bonstrom Stefanie Maltais- Vern Thiessen of Drumheller
in one of the other nine months, or Peter Boychuk Erin Odell Reneltta Bourque Bayda Theo Thirsk Society
Carla Brundage Alan Parish Sean Bowie George Mann Mike Thompson King’s Players
you bought a two-year membership Ken Chapman Dan Perry Cara Brown Greg Martin Michelle Thorne L’Unithéâtre
Steven Charlton Katarina Purich Nan Bruntjen Clem Martini Sam Varteniuk Leave It To Jane
and aren’t due for renewal until next Jill Connell Eric Rose Marty Chan Conni Massing Ivan Villafuerte Theatre
year. Just keep your eyes peeled and Megan Craig Michael Rose Diane Conrad Jenny McKillop Chrissy Walli Leduc Drama Society
Wendy Doerkson Amanda Rudanec Bill Daugherty Terry Middleton Glenda Warkentin Louis St Laurent
you’ll surely see your name in an Edmond Duggan Samantha Rumball Mark Doskoch Adam Mitchell Candace Widdiﬁeld School
Terry Ecklund Lise Ruthardt Lynn Eaton Christy Morin Rebecca Wohlgemuth Medicine Hat Firehall
upcoming issue! Anna Fodchuk Barbara Schmid Dolores Ewen Gary Murray Theatre
Brad Goddard Lise Schultz Kelly Frewin Sandra Nicholls New Brigden Drama
Jesse Gordon Robert Smale Travis Friesen Wolfgang Groups Club
A warm and sincere thank-you Christina Gover Kaitlin Splane Stacy Fysh Noethlichs Alberta High School Northern Crossing
Mary Graham Anne Swist Isabella Garvey Lorenzo Pagnotta Drama Festival Music/Drama Society
to the following for their generous Association
Josh Hanson John Teghtmeyer Paul Gélineau Carmen Paterson Prime Stock Theatre
contributions to Theatre Alberta: Melissa Heagy Erika Walter Marie Gervais Rachel Peacock Archbishop Jordan Company
Rosio Hechavarria Michelle Warkentin Charles Goulet Chantal Perron High School Pumpjack Players/
Alex Hawkins, Wendy Lill, Amanda Franco Imbrogno Phay Wills Logan Greschner Vanessa Porteous Banff Centre Whitecourt Drama
Rudanec, Erika Walter, Rocky Moun- Sammantha Isaman Jessica Wood Becky Halliday L Marilyn Potts Churchmice Players Society
Belinda Jackson Sarah Wood Crystal Hanson Nancy Rakovszky Concordia College Red Willow Players
tain College Theatre Arts Department, Natasha Joachim Jeff Woodward Alex Hawkins Dana Rayment Eastglen High School Rocky Mountain
Kelsey Johnson Joan Hawkins Alanna Rinkel Empress Theatre College
and King’s University College. Dennis Kaufmon Groups Derek Headrick John Rusich Society The Rogue Players
Carmell King Calmar Drama Club Jane Heather Cari Russell Epcor Centre for the Slave Lake Musical
Kelsey Krogman Crystal Park School Sheila Humphrey Dawn Sadoway Performing Arts Theatre Association
Arun Lakra Lord Beaverbrook High John Hutchison Jeannie Sarrazin Foremost Theatrical Stage Left Productions
Bob Legare Two Hills Performing Julie Ishida Matt Schaffer Society Storybook Theatre
Louise Leroux Arts Society Ron Jenkins Scott Schreiner Free Will Players Society
Wendy Lill Marisa Jordan Meredith Scott Friends of the Two Hills High School
Ryan Mattila April Killins Julie Serger Majestic Theatre University of Calgary
Shirley Konrad Margaret Shone Fut in the Hat Theatre Vegreville Composite
Aaron Krogman Julie Sinclair Guild School
6. spring 2007
BY MARTIN MORROW.
CALGARY’S PCC CONFERENCE
Some members call it a “nomadic produced by One Yellow Rabbit with the indie rock band, The Rheostatics. At the
bazaar.” Others have dubbed it a “powwow.” University of Calgary, Alberta College of Art same time, the Rodeo also hosted The Shelter:
But however they choose to describe it, and Design, and Calgary Arts Development Uqquaq, a work by Quebec’s Genevieve Pepin
Performance Creation Canada is, in the Authority (among others), had a strong and Nunavut’s Laurentio Q. Arnatsiaq, which
words of co-founder Michael Green from educational and community component, with melded dance, video, and art installation.
One Yellow Rabbit, “an idea whose time has panels discussing civic and artistic communities More artistic collaborations of that
come for certain.” and a meeting of performance educators. sort are starting to happen courtesy of PCC,
Launched in 2004 at the Rabbit’s Capturing PCC’s freewheeling spirit, U of C says Green. “A lot of interesting work is being
High Performance Rodeo festival in Calgary, drama professor Gerry Thurston, one of the created because people from across the country
the biannual PCC is the ﬁrst cross-Canada network’s co-founders, delivered his keynote meet for the ﬁrst time here and get inspired by
gathering dedicated to that growing address in the form of a visual collage. each other.” And, he adds, while the gatherings
phenomenon, the creator-performer, and The organizers also spiced up the
THE SHELTER: UQQUAQ WITH
focusing speciﬁcally on interdisciplinary work. traditional conference format by integrating
GENEVIÈVE PEPIN AND LAURENTIO Q. ARNATSIAQ.
Since its kick-oﬀ, PCC has held conferences performances into some panels, with
in St. John’s, Vancouver, Regina, Toronto, entertaining and revealing results. One, called
and Whitehorse, and this winter returned to Indigenous Perspectives, became a kind of talk
Alberta and the Rodeo for its seventh and most show, in which host Marrie Mumford, former
ambitious event to date. artistic director of The Banﬀ Centre’s Aboriginal
Partly inspired by the Informal European Arts Program, coaxed songs and stories from
Theatre Meeting (IETM), which Green has performers Lori Blondeau of Saskatoon and
attended as curator of the Rodeo, PCC is a Margo Kane of Vancouver, while Calgary visual/
loose network of artists, producers, presenters, performance artist Terrance Houle showed us
educators, and others involved in “performance how to make bannock and “Indian tacos.” In
creation”—deﬁned simply by Green as “art another, Q&A, Darren O’Donnell and Naomi
Campbell of Mammalian Diving Reﬂex trained
PHOTOGRAPH BY OLIVIER SAMSON ARCAND
performed by the artists who created it.”
That art could be the social-issue work the spotlight on members of the audience, who
of Vancouver’s Headlines Theatre and the were invited onstage as interview subjects and
“social acupuncture” experiments of Toronto’s obligingly ﬁelded questions ranging from the
Mammalian Diving Reﬂex, or the aerial intimate to the silly in a demonstration of the
acrobatics of Edmonton’s Fireﬂy Theatre and kind of interactive theatre the company calls
the hip-hop tunes of Calgary’s Dragon Fli social acupuncture.
Empire—to name just a few of the eclectic There was also an opportunity to grill the
participants in the seventh PCC conference, arts funding agencies, in a noon-hour session
which drew close to 90 delegates and registrants with representatives of Canadian Heritage,
from Calgary, Edmonton, and across Canada. the Canada Council, Alberta Foundation
During the course of four days (January 4-7), for the Arts, and Calgary Arts Development
they attended and/or participated in panels, Authority. Green says a lack of understanding
performances, demonstrations, and information of interdisciplinary performance at one of those aren’t intended as a showcase, “it’s actually been
sessions, while spending their oﬀ-hours agencies was among the reasons he started the case where many of my producing peers
schmoozing in the infectious party atmosphere PCC. “I wanted it to be a mechanism whereby have been picking up shows from these events.”
of the Rodeo. everyone gets to know each other and the The next PCC powwow takes place in
Inclusiveness is key with PCC, hence discussion [of ] performance creation could then Ottawa and Gatineau this summer. Green says
be lifted to a higher level,” he says. the organizers plan to further emphasize the
its broad and varied membership. “Our motto
Clearly, the funders understand it now. informality of the network and may scrap the
is, ‘You’re a member if you say you are,’” says
They all provided grants to help cover the panels altogether. “Maybe they’ll replace them
Green. “Once you’ve attended one PCC, you’re
conference’s $60,000 budget. with something like Plato’s Symposium, where we’ll
on the mailing list and invited to participate in
Of course, the Rodeo itself is big on all just sit around on a couch, get drunk and talk.”
the steering committee if you like. The whole
interdisciplinary projects. This PCC gathering To learn more about PCC, go to
idea is to be as open and transparent as possible.
coincided with the festival’s world premiere www.performancecreationcanada.ca.
And that will hopefully lead to a generous
sharing of ideas and opportunities.” of Five Hole: Tales of Hockey Erotica, a theatre-
Martin Morrow is an arts journalist, theatre critic,
The content of each conference is literary-music collaboration between One and the author of Wild Theatre: The History of One
determined by the hosts and this one, co- Yellow Rabbit, author Dave Bidini and his Yellow Rabbit.
theatre alberta news 7.
BY JILL CONNELL.
a theatre community about
1 2 3
Known as The Gas City, Medicine Hat has been in the unique situation of having a Hatter starts, they don’t stop until they’ve
city-owned gas and electrical utilities since the early 1900s. This has resulted in a become a world-renowned puppeteer (Ronnie
Burkett was one of the original people involved
thriving economy and a long history of subsidized community theatre and cultural
when Firehall Theatre began in 1976).
facilities. And with support for the arts comes a ﬂourishing of the arts… Yet despite all this opportunity, the
F amously described by Rudyard Kipling as
having “all hell for a basement,” Medicine Hat’s
go on!” Apparently an abundance of theatre
opportunities in a relatively small community
founders of Fut in the Hat Theatre felt
something was missing. Canadian drama had
waxed and waned in Medicine Hat, but around
vast reserves of natural gas certainly haven’t can lead to some creative casting and daring the year 2000 there was very little straight
hurt its economy. But cash alone can’t produce leaps of performance. drama going on in town. Having just retired
a play or execute a convincing kick-line. So I Lilas Litousky remembers seeing over from teaching drama, Karen Cunningham was
set out in search of people. The kind of people 100 children at past auditions for Hatterland in withdrawal. So she called up a couple of her
we’ve met before: a devoted, hard-working, Children’s Theatre. When she was unsuccessful old students, Julie Tracey and Jim Rissling, to
theatre-loving kind of people. in getting a part, she doggedly went to see if they would be interested in staging Norm
Tom Rooke lived in a variety of rehearsals with her older sister (who did get Foster’s Oﬃce Hours.
diﬀerent places from Toronto to Winnipeg, a part), and gradually memorized the play. “Medicine Hat loves its musicals—they
but never got deeply involved in theatre until Come show time one of the actors fell ill, and will pack the place if you’re singing, and they
arriving in Medicine Hat in 1990. Rooke is the six year-old Lilas was the obvious choice for a love comedies,” says Cunningham. “If you’re
Director of Medicine Hat Musical Theatre’s last-minute substitution. not doing those kinds of things, you’ll need a
upcoming May production of Stephen Twenty-ﬁve years later, Lilas is President smaller venue.”
Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the of Hatterland, has ﬁve company directing
Fut in the Hat chooses their shows out of a
Way to the Forum—his third directing credit credits, and teaches a music program for
desire to do them, and thankfully, there’s a desire
with MHMT. toddlers through MH College. “Acting with
on the audience’s part to see them. Fut in the Hat
From costumers to hair designers, Hatterland helped propel me to my career path
can usually count on an 80% sell-out level, and
direction to admin, backstage to onstage, over 25 years later—all my theatre skills have
seats really ﬁll up when they get more risqué:
everyone is a volunteer. Yet Rooke says he’s become life skills,” says Litousky. “Hatterland
“We sold out Vagina Monologues last August,
never fearful of choosing a particular show, as truly inspired me and still does!”
there will always be new people coming out: “In and another one a couple summers ago—Norm
It’s true you have to watch your step
Medicine Hat, one thing that always blows me in Medicine Hat, lest theatre suck you in Foster’s Self Help,” says Cunningham. “There’s
away is the amount of talent that’s here.” unawares. “Often people might not have even this thing about a guy who died with an erection
Yet despite some excellent turnouts, thought of working in the theatre, but then so it sold out, go ﬁgure.”
several companies recounted the dilemma someone says ‘You should do this, it’s a lot of Seven years later Fut in the Hat has 14
of performers being divided between shows. fun,’ and pretty soon you’ve got the bug,” shows under its belt, having just ﬁnished a run
Rooke recalls being recruited into the male says Rooke. of Daniel MacIvor’s Marion Bridge in early
dance chorus of MHMT’s 2005 production of For Derrick Ironside it started with February.
Chicago: “I’m over 60 years old and I do not building sets. Then it was working backstage, In Medicine Hat, theatre springs up
dance. So we had this old white-haired guy then stage management, then he “somehow everywhere you go…literally. Companies
shuﬄing around on stage, but the audience wound up” up as Vice-President of Medicine seem to have claimed every performance space
didn’t seem to mind. The show must Hat Firehall Theatre. And sometimes once possible, including the old city Fire Hall, Royal
8. spring 2007
1 MONSTER IN THE CLOSET BY HATTERLAND CHILDREN’S THEATRE
PHOTO COURTESY OF MEDICINE HAT NEWS
2 LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS BY MEDICINE HAT MUSICAL THEATRE AND MEDICINE HAT COMMUNITY THEATRE COMPANIES
FIREHALL THEATRE PHOTO COURTESY OF MEDICINE HAT NEWS
3 MISERY BY FIREHALL THEATRE PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ESPLANADE Medicine Hat Musical Theatre (MHMT) was established in 1960
4 CHICAGO BY MEDICINE HAT MUSICAL THEATRE and has been producing annual musical theatre productions ever
PHOTO COURTESY OF MEDICINE HAT NEWS
since. Hatterland Children’s Theatre started up in 1965 and has
involved children aged 6-17 in over 100 plays and musicals. Medicine
Hat Firehall Theatre Society joined the scene in 1976, starting out as
Lunch Box Theatre and progressing to everything from full-length plays,
interactive dinner theatre, pantomimes, and musicals. Fut in the Hat
Theatre Guild sprung up in 2000, tackling two shows a year of primarily
bold Canadian dramas.
In a city with just over 56,000 residents, Medicine Hat also boasts count-
less other opportunities to get involved in theatre, including Prism Players
Theatre Association, GasLight Theatre Guild, Theatrics, three theatre-
involved high schools, an annual ADFA One-Act Play Festival, and theatre
training through Medicine Hat College.
Canadian Legion, Golf and Country Club, of head-butting before it came to be. We’re a and they did an amazing job.”
church basements, and public library. hockey town and people here love their sports.” But theatre moves quickly in Medicine
Two venues stand out as being core Luckily, Esplanade Artistic Director Paul Hat, and the Esplanade will soon lose its
theatre spaces over the years: the Medicine Heywood managed to program a delightfully cachet as the town’s newest theatre facility. A
Hat Cultural Centre with its intimate 106-seat varied première season: from a double-bill joint venture between MHMT and Firehall
Black Box Theatre, and the 500-seat Medicine of Canadian comedians Cory Mack and Theatre, a brand-spanking new 10,000 foot
Hat College Theatre. Mike MacDonald to the Shanghai Circus to facility is due to open later this year, providing
However, these spaces aren’t always ideal: Canadian rock and roll legend Randy Bachman, rehearsal space, workshop space, storage space,
major productions at the MH College Theatre diﬀerent interest groups were gradually lured oﬃce space, and party space for community
don’t have access to a ﬂy gallery or backstage through the Esplanade doors. theatre groups.
space, and would often require building a “At ﬁrst people were very apprehensive Firehall and MHMT have cooperated
larger stage. Some companies have spent days about the building—there was the stereotype
on storage and equipment use for many years:
reshaping the lecture-style theatre into a venue that it would be just ballet and symphonies,”
“It’s a progression that’s a long time coming,”
that meets their needs. says Heywood. “Now they’re responding in
says Ironside. In the spirit of cooperation,
On October 22, 2005 all this changed, as droves, coming out to all diﬀerent sorts of
Firehall and MHMT jointly produced Little
the Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre opened productions.”
Shop of Horrors last fall at the Esplanade, the
its doors and introduced two new theatre With 62,000 theatre-goers in a single year
proceeds of which will go towards equipping
spaces: a 700-seat Main Stage, and a 150-seat and over 55 sold out performances, Heywood’s
their new workshop.
Studio Theatre, giving Medicine Hat theatre main concern is ﬁnding enough qualiﬁed
Meanwhile, Fut in the Hat has no
groups access to a 50-foot proscenium stage, full technicians to staﬀ these blockbuster events.
plans to abandon their intimate Black Box
ﬂy tower, orchestra pit, ﬂoor traps, state-of-the- This infusion of touring groups certainly
Theatre for the Esplanade. Fut in the Hat
art sound and lighting booth, and box oﬃce. hasn’t detracted from community productions:
instead applied for and received a $27,000
The Medicine Hat theatre community “Since the introduction of the Esplanade, our
Community Facility Enhancement Program
was by and large strongly supportive of the theatre lifestyle has exploded. Our cultural centre
idea to build the Esplanade—there was no is booked more than ever now,” says Litousky. grant to refurbish the Black Box Theatre—an
equivalent performance space in town that In fact, community theatre groups amount that was matched by both the City
could accommodate larger touring groups often draw the most considerable Esplanade and the College, adding another $60,000 to
and highly technical shows. This world-class crowds: MHMT’s production of Chicago (Nov. the pot. The ﬁnal improvements (including
theatre meant big-name performers were now 2005) sold out eight performances, while their new seating, lighting, and a paint job) were
touring Medicine Hat, creating a veritable (yet production of Little Shop of Horrors (Oct. 2006) completed this past summer.
metaphorical) cultural explosion. with Firehall Theatre sold out ﬁve. From the young to the seasonably
Despite the possibilities this facility A cast of 43 Hatterland performers matured, Medicine Hat’s theatre community
presents, not everyone was delighted at the managed to ﬁll over half the Esplanade seats represents many things: a network of friends,
prospect of spending 27 million city dollars in three consecutive performances of Mother a stepping-stone to professional opportunities,
(in addition to $42 million in federal and Goose, Inc. (Dec. 2005). “The kids had a blast,” thrilling ways of creating and expressing stories…
provincial grants) on a space for the arts. says Litousky, who directed the show. “Because “We’re all amateurs here,” says Rooke,
Litousky remembers the Esplanade being a it’s a bigger theatre, some people were a little “and we do it for what amateur means—for the
big issue in the community: “There was a lot hesitant that kids could ﬁll such a big stage, love of the sport, the game, the theatre.”
theatre alberta news 9.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: APRIL 2007
IN THEATRE DESIGN
IN TECHNICAL THEATRE PRODUCTION OR STAGE MANAGEMENT
Practical training, small class sizes. expert instruction,
Exciting careers in theatre, music, dance, opera, film and television.
10. spring 2007
BY JANE M AC FARLANE.
an essential exploration of
body, voice, and word RADA’s performance breath conference
A s careers in the theatre carry on, from
PHOTOGRAPH BY STEPHANIE JOHNSON
time to time one is compelled to take stock.
Is there anything new out there in terms
of approaches to actor training, speciﬁcally
in terms of voice and speech? Where then,
to further explore this concept and share
in technique? This past fall, my colleague
David Ley mentioned a conference at
RADA Enterprises (the outreach arm of the
famed Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in
London) on Performance Breath. The added
advantage of speakers like Cicely Berry,
Kristin Linklater, Patsy Rodenburg, and the
teaching faculty at RADA made this the ideal
opportunity at the appropriate juncture.
Although Ms. Berry was ill and unable
JANE DOING SOME PHYSICAL, ENGAGED BREATH WORK WITH STUDENTS AT MOUNT ROYAL COLLEGE.
to attend, Ms. Linklater’s work made up for FROM L TO R: JANE MACFARLANE LEANING ON NADINE CIRANKEWITCH, MALLORY GALLANT LEANING
her absence. My own training is based on ON MITCHELL VERIGIN.
Linklater’s seminal work Freeing the Natural
Voice, which she has recently revised and received from this session was conﬁrmation that the tradition of conservatory training in
expanded upon. Her work felt familiar, that it is what it is and I understand it fully. this country is as vital, contemporary, and
essential, and contemporary. As a start to The respiratory surgeon who spoke about thorough as some of the esteemed programs
the conference, it was a basic refresher and the lungs—how they function and disorders, around the world. I discovered that what I
conﬁrmation of the work that brought me to especially caused by smoking—was engaging bring to my classroom is absolutely on par
this place. and had the best arguments against smoking with the work at RADA and the Central
Following the opening remarks from I have heard. The reactions the body has to School of Speech & Drama and that my
the principal of RADA, Nicholas Barter, there toxins and its instinct to save itself from the colleagues both at Mount Royal College and
were two keynote addresses in the Vanbrugh inhaled smoke causes it to essentially shut across the province attend to their discipline
Theatre, where RADA students have their down the mechanism needed to produce with a rigour that matches the theatre capitals
public performances. The ﬁrst was Catherine sound. This is a very simpliﬁed distillation of of world.
Fitzmaurice who is a voice coach and trainer of his argument and, thankfully more and more, Towards the end of the conference in a
her own method of Reﬂexive and Structured he is preaching to the converted.
Discursive Workshop with Kristin Linklater
Breathing. I have taken workshops with her Another speech was given by American
and two RADA instructors, Ms. Linklater
in the past and, while in theory (as presented voice teacher Rocco Dal Vera, whose research
asked if there was a sense of legacy amongst
in her keynote address) I ﬁnd it to be a solid on breathing and emotion was very engaging
the voice teachers in room. I certainly felt a
philosophy, in practice I question its application and provoking. Dal Vera demonstrated that
connection to her work and a belief that—as
to the actor’s process. After the conference, I am by breaking down the physical responses
still left with the same questions. a practice that leads to connection with text
our bodies have to emotion and how those
I did come across something new in and the expression of ideas—it is valid and
responses inﬂuence breathing patterns, we
the second keynote on the Accent Method, can provoke subconscious reactions in our essential to actor training. In the ﬁnal panel
by Dinah Harris and Sara Harris. The Accent audiences. This is a very simple explanation of with Kristin Linklater, Patsy Rodenburg, and
Method is mainly applied by speech language a scientiﬁc approach to looking at emotional David Carey (the Head of Voice at RADA),
therapists and singing teachers, and uses the states as being represented by respiration the sense of familiarity and connection to
same diaphragmatic/abdominal breathing patterns, postural attitude, facial expression, their own experiences as trainers solidiﬁed
to engage sound freely as is used for actor speech rate, voice quality, etc. In other words, my own convictions regarding what lies
training. As it uses a more scientiﬁc approach body language. ahead. Sometimes, one just needs to trust
to vocal practice and physiology/pathology, it My initial desire to attend the what one knows!
is a path I want to research further in order to conference was to gain new knowledge, to
enhance the ideas of embodied breath/sound. have that “ah hah!” moment where I would Jane MacFarlane teaches voice and speech in the Depart-
ment of Theatre at Mount Royal College. She attended the
The actual science of breathing had its ﬁnd a new path to go down as both a teacher Performance Breath Conference at the Royal Academy of
highs and lows at the meeting: the anatomy and as an artist/practitioner. This was not Dramatic Arts in London, England from January 4-5.
and physiology is ﬁnite, therefore all I at all what I found. I did discover, however, www.rada.org
theatre alberta news 11.
technology and the human condition
dramatizing in a time of change
Theatre Alberta was honoured and delighted to host Wendy Lill as the keynote speaker
at PlayWorks Ink 2006 in Calgary. The following is an abridged version of her keynote
address, delivered on November 3, 2006.
N othing baﬄes me more than the
description of DNA and the double helix.
research and reproductive technology are only
the most high-proﬁle issues. We now have
The research is astonishingly expensive, yet
biotechnology is the fastest growing sector in
John Mighton would probably just say I had the technology to develop artiﬁcial wombs to the country. What gets funded and researched
bad teachers. Whatever. DNA hadn’t been separate women from reproduction, to implant is determined to a great extent by what will
discovered yet when I was in high school. chips onto retinas to give us more than 20/20 have the greatest payoﬀ in the end, and who
And at some point you’ve got to get over vision, and to create nanodialysis units so small can aﬀord the beneﬁts of that particular drug
the shortcomings in your education and just they can be implanted in the body. or enhancement.
get on with it, because as David Suzuki and This is the environment in which
Peter Knudtsson point out in their book we are now living and it is wonderful and One ﬁnal point of Baylis’ stuck with me.
Genethics—90% of all scientists who have ever miraculous. Scientists and biotech boosters like to
lived are still alive, publishing and discovering But it raises important ethical questions. dismiss concerns raised about their work as
today. None of this stuﬀ is going to slow down What does it mean to be human in light of simply science ﬁction or crazy talk.
anytime soon! all of these enhancements and replacements?
But according to Baylis there is really
How do we write plays that will be Would these things make me an exquisite
relevant? The idea of “having done your piece of humanity or a freak? What does nothing we could imagine that is wilder
research” is in itself somewhat of a folly. By it mean for persons with disabilities to than what is happening or being contem-
the time you’ve written a line of dialogue, participate in a world where the quest for plated even as we sit here.
something has probably changed. How do we excellence and perfection has become almost a
shed light on the world we’re living in when the religion? Where do they ﬁt in as “The Norm” I went to a conference of scientists at
ground under our feet is constantly changing? keeps moving farther out of reach? the University of Arizona in Phoenix where
In 1997, I became the Member of To sort out all these troubling issues that the topic being discussed was cross-species
Parliament for my community of Dartmouth, had started to work their way into my brain, research. I was introduced as a playwright and
Nova Scotia. During my years as an MP, I was I went to see a bioethicist. I found Francoise parliamentarian from Canada—couldn’t have
the NDP critic for the Arts and for persons Baylis (Canada Research Chair in Bioethics been a much rarer bird than that.
with disabilities. and Philosophy at Dalhousie University) in a I soon found out the debate is no
longer about whether or not to do cross-
In 2004, Parliament passed an Act tiny oﬃce in an old brick building on campus.
species research, but whether there should be
overseeing Human Reproductive Tech- A tiny oﬃce full of big ideas.
any limits. The debate seems to focus on the
nologies. The Act was put in place to safeguard Baylis had been on the ethical oversight
brain and the gonads as the only problematic
those who use assisted human reproduction body that guided the federal government in
areas—everything else is open season.
and those who are born of these technologies. the creation of their Human Reproductive
At this conference I met Stuart
In this country we now prohibit creating a Technology Act. Here are some of the
Newman—a soft-spoken man in his early-
human clone, genetically altering the germline, observations Francoise made on the passing
sixties and deﬁnitely the skunk at the garden
maintaining an embryo outside of the woman’s show: This latest technological revolution we party with this group. Newman is a biologist
body beyond 14 days, creating human embryos are involved in—the genetic revolution—is from New York whose highly publicized
solely for research purposes, and creating directed towards the human body. We are now eﬀorts to gain a patent on a half-human,
animal-human hybrids for reproductive able to extract pieces of human DNA and half-animal creation—a chimera—has caused
purposes. The act had been ten years in the reproduce it, alter it, and transfer it to another a great stir.
making because the issues are so controversial. human or to an animal. The technologies Newman had no intention of actually
Despite the view that Question Period involving human reproduction are already creating such a creature, but instead wanted
is like the school yard at the local Junior High, bringing about a profound cultural change. to raise the issue of human-animal chimeras
I do believe that the House of Commons is There is a concept that still gets trotted and other types of biologically manipulated
the biggest stage in the country and a forum out, that science is value neutral and therefore humans. He believes that we need binding
for its most important ideas. cannot be wrong or right. However, Francoise restrictions in place to stop us from crossing
The clash of religious, scientiﬁc, and Baylis made the point that there is a lot of troubling lines of species integrity. How
political beliefs on issues such as stem cell “world view” built into stem cell research. will we as the human community handle
12. spring 2007
CHIMERA BY WENDY LILL, DIRECTED BY MARY VINGOE.
JOHN DOLAN, JOAN GREGSON, PHILIPPA DOMVILLE,
GEOFFREY POUNSETT, DAVID JANSEN, DAVID FOX.
BY WENDY LILL.
PHILIPPA DOMVILLE, DAVID JANSEN.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY BY JOHN CURRID
the arrival of fabricated humans and near- cut right through to the imagination and positions. It’s about media circuses, political
humans, organisms that previously existed engage it. spin doctors, stem cell research, survival of
only in the realm of speculative ﬁction? Theatre is a place where you can think the ﬁttest, gardening, runaway technologies,
With commercial interests continually about life—Life with a capital L. It’s a dark and people full of regrets. I hope it all holds
touting the beneﬁts of such breakthroughs, place and it’s a safe place; it’s a time to let your together but I guess we’ll see soon enough.
the production of quasi-humans for research imagination move, exercise, take risks, take I have just spent two weeks in Toronto
or therapy isn’t far behind. Stewart Newman’s ﬂight; it’s an arena to catch the spirit of the workshopping Chimera—two weeks with six
case has since been thrown out of court, but time, to help shape it. actors and a director thrashing out the shape
not before causing a stir, and not before ﬁring In January 2007, my new play Chimera of the world. As the playwright, I love the
a shot across the bow of the biotech and legal will be premiering at the Tarragon Theatre in idea that you just set the table, put the frame
community in the U.S. Toronto. It is the product of my discussions around the discussion and then watch the
So what does this all have to do with with scientists and ethicists and seven years in ideas start to ﬂy from diﬀerent perspectives.
theatre? political life. I have always found that life is far less scary
Theatre has always been about exploring The story is about a journalist who fuels when you have company on the journey.
the universals, the eternal verities of the a debate about cross-species research to ﬁnd
Whether it’s global warming,
human condition: birth, death, love, frailty, a cure for a disability and ends up having to
hate, family, loyalty, good and evil. confront his own dark past with his disabled biotechnology, child abuse, or love,
What a piece of work is man, how brother. The issue of cross-species research, theatre provides company and courage.
noble in reason… What would Shakespeare the creation of novel beings—this spectre It has a role to play in making sense
write if he were alive today? Or Bertolt particularly chills me, likely because I have of things. It sparks the imagination
Brecht? We have a huge challenge ahead of witnessed the poor treatment of many so-
and sets the discourse.
us to dramatize the world we’re living in. Part called marginal people in our midst already.
of the challenge in theatre is to try to combat Chimera looks at the idea of protecting So let’s start now. As the bioethicist says,
the ennui, the indiﬀerence, the information the vulnerable and how everyone purports to let’s start the crazy talk, and see if we can make
exhaustion, the sense of powerlessness, and be doing just that from diametrically opposed some great plays out of it.
puppets ���������� Through hands-on workshops,
change �������� lectures, a puppet parade and a
the � �� panel discussion, world renowned
world ? �����������
�� experts show how YOU can use
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Presented by May 25-27, 2007
Rozsa Centre, University of Calgary
theatre alberta news 13.
BY CLEM MARTINI.
shedding a little light
I f on occasion—say after reading a
particularly gloomy newspaper headline, or
Resident Playwright spends half his/her time
writing and half his/her time engaged in
the membrane that divides the two.
Residencies at universities are of
after receiving the depressingly familiar results dramaturgical work with local playwrights, enormous beneﬁt to everyone precisely because
of a provincial election—the world seems a students, and professional theatres. This they expose the particular strengths that
grim and tawdry place, it may be useful to position is a very welcome addition to the the academic and professional communities
consider the few shafts of light that penetrate cultural landscape. It beneﬁts not only the possess, and the places where their talents
the deep darkness, call attention to them, and theatre community in Edmonton, but the converge. One of the elements that a residency
celebrate. cultural communities of Alberta and Canada at a university is best positioned to provide a
Case in point. For many years I’ve as well. playwright is that rarest commodity—time.
railed that playwrights are unfairly excluded I say that this residency holds beneﬁts Time to reﬂect and explore characters and
from many of the writer-in-residence posts for Albertans and Canadians, but I am aware narrative and structure without an imposing
established at post-secondary institutions that there are some misguided few who deadline. Residencies generate valuable insights
across the country. For the bizarrest and most cannot see how what happens in an academic into the creative process for students hungry
obscure of reasons, poets, novelists, journalists, institution can have application or impact for fresh opinions and ideas from outside the
creative non-ﬁctionalists, chapbook generators, upon the broader theatre community. This institution, but equally the playwright-in-
and scribblers from every diverse and obscure narrow point of view sees theatre as it is taught residence is often available to deliver critique
kind of literary genre other than playwriting in post-secondary institutions and theatre as and advice to writers who have not registered in
have found themselves invited to apply for it is practiced in professional theatres as two classes and are struggling on their own without
these positions. Playwriting, like Cinderella in entirely distinct species separated by a wide the beneﬁt of mentorship.
her plain cinder-besmirched frock, has found chasm. On the one side are wizened, world The Lee Residency isn’t brand new
herself excluded from the ball. This reﬂects the weary theatre professionals smoking cigarettes by any means (it has already engaged one
curiously wrong-headed notion held in at least and staring cynically across the divide. On the Playwright-In-Residence, the celebrated
some academic circles, that playwriting isn’t other side are the bookish theatre academics in playwright and novelist Don Hannah), but
a genuine form of creative writing, but rather the caps and gowns, barely giving the divide one can see that the innovative structure that
something more like a collectively agreed a second glance, immersed as they are in their this residency has chosen to employ represents
upon notion that actors and directors accept, studies. a template that other universities might well
augment, and then burnish. It’s a false paradigm, of course. The two consider scrutinizing. It is especially well
Well, at least one academic institution arenas are simply the yin and yang of the same endowed, providing a healthier stipend than
is presently doing its bit to remedy this process. One only has to count the immense many other residencies currently do. It also
unfortunate situation. I refer to the Lee number of young people that pass through oﬀers a commission to the playwright to
Playwright-in-Residence position, housed the halls of post-secondary institutions generate a new work, and then further oﬀers a
at the University of Alberta. This residency and then move on to form professional stage for the production of that commission.
is made possible by a generous endowment theatre companies, or design or act or direct Considered together, this package represents a
created by the Cliﬀord E. Lee Foundation. for theatre companies in this province to very clever, thoughtful, artful arrangement.
It occurs on an annual basis and the selected understand just how permeable and delicate is In a wealthy province that often feels
curiously reserved about its support of the ﬁne
arts, the level of commitment and enthusiasm
evidenced by this institutional gesture is most
IN MEMORIAM welcome. One can only hope that this kind of
spirit is catching.
James Mavor Moore 1919 – 2006
Mavor Moore will be remembered for his life-long dedication to the arts in Canada, An award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and novelist,
as a playwright, actor, director, producer, composer, administrator, and educator. He Clem Martini is a three time winner of the Alberta Writer’s
Guild Drama Prize (Nobody of Consequence, Illegal
died in Victoria on December 8, 2006 at the age of 87.
Entry, and A Three Martini Lunch), a Governor Gen-
Mavor Moore was a proliﬁc writer, having authored over 100 plays, documentaries, eral Drama Nominee for his anthology A Three Martini
and musicals for stage, radio, and television. He also founded a wide variety of Canadian Lunch, and is the current president of the Playwrights
Guild of Canada. His trilogy of novels, The Crow Chroni-
institutions, including the Canadian Theatre Centre and the Guild of Canadian
cles, has been distributed world wide, and translated into
Playwrights, the Charlottetown Festival, and Toronto’s St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Dutch, German, Swedish, and Japanese. An Associate
Mavor Moore was named to the Order of Canada in 1973 and in 1999 was awarded a Professor of Drama at the University of Calgary, Clem lives
Governor General’s Award for lifetime achievement in the performing arts. in Calgary with his wife and two daughters.
14. spring 2007
ALBERTA’S DRAMA THE BUZZ
FESTIVALS news and notes from around the province
ALBERTA HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA FESTIVAL EDMONTON ANNOUNCED CULTURAL CAPITAL Swim Alone, The Soldier Dreams, You Are Here,
ASSOCIATION and In on It, as well as the last ofﬁcial da da
The City of Edmonton has been awarded the
Excitement is high as high school teachers and 2007 Cultural Capitals of Canada award in the kamera original production, A Beautiful View.
students across Alberta are busy rehearsing over 125,000 population category—a testa-
AATE CONFERENCE COMES TO CANADA
their one act plays for presentation at AHSDFA ment not only to the hard work of the applica-
tion team (led by the Edmonton Arts Council), The American Alliance for Theatre and Educa-
zone festivals throughout the province.
but also to the creativity and determination of tion’s 2007 conference is entitled Sea to Sky:
The 2007 provincial festival takes place May Edmonton’s artists and arts organizations. Swimming Upstream—Spawning New Horizons.
10-12 at the Red Deer College Arts Centre— Headed to Canada for the ﬁrst time, the confer-
Cultural Capitals of Canada is a federal award
a long-time supporter and venue for AHSDFA. ence takes place July 31-August 5 in Vancouver.
program designed to promote arts and culture
It is a festival unique to Alberta, where high in Canadian municipalities. This means not only For more information or to register, visit
school students are recognized and celebrated recognition and prestige, but also a consider- www.aate.com.
for their excellence and achievement in the able amount of cash: the Feds will contribute a
performing arts. maximum of $2 million to the City of Edmon- TEACHING AWARDS FOR TWO EDMONTON
ton, while the City itself plans to kick in another MEMBERS
We welcome members of the general public to
$1 million. On December 5, 2006, Prime Minister Harper
attend the event and watch the amazing young announced the 2006 Prime Minister’s Awards
These funds will go toward new programs
talent in our province. for Teaching Excellence. Among the recognized
associated with Edmonton’s year of Building
For more information visit Connections, including Edmonton Explorations were two Edmonton arts educators (not to
Grants, Edmonton Community Arts Projects, mention Theatre Alberta members!).
www.provincialfestival.com or contact
AHSDFA President Trina Penner at and Edmonton Arts Awareness and Marketing. Mary-Ellen Perley-Waugh received a Certiﬁ-
firstname.lastname@example.org or (403) 347-1171. For such a big excitement there are still very few cate of Excellence for her work with grade
details… For the latest Cultural Capital news, 10-12 students at McNally High School, where
keep an eye on www.edmontonarts.ab.ca. she teaches English language arts, world
ALBERTA DRAMA FESTIVAL ASSOCIATION literature, and creative writing. This prestigious
THEATRE 100 national award carries a cash prize of $5000,
The ADFA 2007 One Act Play Festival is up and
to be issued to Mary-Ellen’s school.
running, as performers take the stage in nine A centennial project undertaken by
the Alberta Playwrights’ Network, Linette Smith received the regional Certiﬁcate
regional festivals across the province.
Theatre 100: Celebrating 100 Theatre of Achievement for her work with grade 10-12
The 2007 Provincial One Act Festival takes students at Eastglen High School in drama,
Practitioners Over 100 Years has
place in High River on May 11-12. This event is ﬁnally hit the stands. This compre- performing arts, and dance, earning her school
a non-competitive celebration of drama and an hensive book celebrates the contri- a cash prize of $1000.
opportunity for members of community theatre butions of 100 Albertans who have
groups to meet, exchange ideas, and grow made signiﬁcant theatre achieve- CADA SUCCESS!
creatively. ments over the past century. A The Calgary Arts Development Authority
dazzling record of our province’s theatre history, (CADA) was successful in its proposal to reform
Both participants and the public are invited to the city’s arts granting system to the tune of
this book will be an invaluable tool in preserving
take part in this dynamic festival. Alberta’s legacy for future generations. a $502,500 increase (approximately 20%),
For more information visit www.adfa.ca or recently approved by City Council. This was
Theatre 100 can be purchased by contacting APN
contact ADFA President Steve McHugh at a much-needed infusion, with municipal arts
funding in Calgary lower than in any other
email@example.com or (780) 634-1898. or by visiting McNally-Robinson Booksellers in
major Canadian city. The funds will begin to
Calgary or the University of Alberta Bookstore
address the critical shortfalls CADA identiﬁed in
their 2006 studies, and will provide an impor-
tant funding increase for Calgary’s artists and
GG FOR MACIVOR
Despite some stiff competition from
Morwyn Brebner, Lisa Codrington, LLOYDMINSTER: ART WITHOUT BORDERS
Jason Sherman, and Drew Hayden Taylor,
Every two years the Lieutenant Governor of
the 2006 Governor General’s Literary
Alberta Arts Awards (three prizes of $30,000) are
Award in Drama went to Daniel MacIvor
awarded to individual Albertans who have made
for his collection of ﬁve plays entitled I
outstanding achievements in and contributions
Still Love You.
to the arts. Although the 2007 nomination dead-
Published by Playwrights Canada Press, line has already passed, it’s not too late to attend
I Still Love You marks the twentieth an- the Gala event in Lloydminster and take part in
niversary of MacIvor’s Toronto theatre company their two-day “Art Without Borders” festival.
(in partnership with producer Sherrie Johnson) The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards
da da kamera. The collection includes four of will be presented on May 26, 2007 in Lloydmin-
MacIvor’s previously published plays: Never ster: www.albertaartsawards.shawbiz.ca.
theatre alberta news 15.
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