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Monday, March 30, 2009

Blogging, facebooking and twittering about the arts as a job

This is the first time we've ever posted a job opening, but Harbourfront Centre is accepting applications for a position that seems ideally suited to regular readers of this blog:
"Currently an employment opportunity exists in our Design Communications Department for a contract Social Media Specialist. Reporting to the Web Site Content Administrator, this position will be responsible for the execution of all social media strategies for Harbourfront Centre and its programmes to enable further interaction and engagement with our diverse audiences and increase brand awareness and website traffic."
Click here to read the full posting.

May the most savvy social media/arts and culture integration expert win!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

2009 World Theatre Day Message - Augusto Boal

All human societies are “spectacular*” in their daily life and produce “spectacles” at special moments. They are “spectacular” as a form of social organization and produce “spectacles” like the one you have come to see.

Even if one is unaware of it, human relationships are structured in a theatrical way. The use of space, body language, choice of words and voice modulation, the confrontation of ideas and passions, everything that we demonstrate on the stage, we live in our lives. We are theatre!

Weddings and funerals are “spectacles”, but so, also, are daily rituals so familiar that we are not conscious of this. Occasions of pomp and circumstance, but also the morning coffee, the exchanged good-mornings, timid love and storms of passion, a senate session or a diplomatic meeting - all is theatre.

One of the main functions of our art is to make people sensitive to the “spectacles” of daily life in which the actors are their own spectators, performances in which the stage and the stalls coincide. We are all artists. By doing theatre, we learn to see what is obvious but what we usually can’t see because we are only used to looking at it. What is familiar to us becomes unseen: doing theatre throws light on the stage of daily life.

Last September, we were surprised by a theatrical revelation: we, who thought that we were living in a safe world, despite wars, genocide, slaughter and torture which certainly exist, but far from us in remote and wild places. We, who were living in security with our money invested in some respectable bank or in some honest trader’s hands in the stock exchange were told that this money did not exist, that it was virtual, a fictitious invention by some economists who were not fictitious at all and neither reliable nor respectable. Everything was just bad theatre, a dark plot in which a few people won a lot and many people lost all. Some politicians from rich countries held secret meetings in which they found some magic solutions. And we, the victims of their decisions, have remained spectators in the last row of the balcony.

Twenty years ago, I staged Racine’s Phèdre in Rio de Janeiro. The stage setting was poor: cow skins on the ground, bamboos around. Before each presentation, I used to say to my actors: “The fiction we created day by day is over. When you cross those bamboos, none of you will have the right to lie. Theatre is the Hidden Truth”.

When we look beyond appearances, we see oppressors and oppressed people, in all societies, ethnic groups, genders, social classes and casts; we see an unfair and cruel world. We have to create another world because we know it is possible. But it is up to us to build this other world with our hands and by acting on the stage and in our own life.

Participate in the “spectacle” which is about to begin and once you are back home, with your friends act your own plays and look at what you were never able to see: that which is obvious. Theatre is not just an event; it is a way of life!

We are all actors: being a citizen is not living in society, it is changing it.

Augusto Boal

(Original Portuguese)
* means also having the nature of a spectacle or show (note of the translator)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

What the hell is World Theatre Day?

This map shows all the cities that have signed on for activities on World Theatre Day 2009. (We'll see you after school Siberia and Mongolia!)
  • World Theatre Day is celebrated every year on March 27.

  • It is sponsored by The International Theatre Institute, an international non-governmental organization that was founded in Prague in 1948 by UNESCO and the international theatre community. The ITI aims "to promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in theatre arts (drama, dance, music theatre) in order to consolidate peace and solidarity between peoples, to deepen mutual understanding, and increase creative co-operation between all people in the theatre arts."

  • Of course World Theatre Day, has a blog and a Facebook group.

  • Each city gets involved in different ways. Suggestions include open rehearsals, readings, discounted tickets, flash mobs, blogging, recording, or just plain attending theatre.

  • Every year a famous theatre artist writes a message about theatre that can be transmitted any way you see fit. Previous writers include lightweights like Laurence Olivier, Wole Soyinka, Vaclav Havel and some guy named Peter Brook. This year's message is written by Augusto Boal.

  • Click here to get everything you need to make your city part of World Theatre Day.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Missing You

Is Darren O'Donnell still a theatre artist? Is that question even relevant in this context? What is our government's commitment to human rights? What would I look like if I was Omar Khadr? If I answer that question for an audience (even an informal one), is that not theatre? 

These are some of the questions raised by Missing You, a set of amusement park face-in-the-hole novelties by Darren O'Donnell. The viewer is given the opportunity to offer their presence in the place of Omar Khadr's absence, occurring during curator Sophia Lin’s Toronto Free Gallery’s group show Presently Absent, sharing the space with artists Swintak and Johanna Householder.

Two full-size portraits of Toronto-born, Guantanamo prisoner Omar Khadr, rendered on two large pieces of plywood occupy the two bay windows of the gallery. The faces are removed and the viewer invited to occupy Khadr, at a time in his life before the current and insane legal limbo, in one of his two homes: Toronto and Afghanistan - an impossibility. The carnival novelty mocks our inability to act, our complicity with the Canadian state for allowing this to continue, and suggests that when we do try to act, our only option is to act like a buffoon.

March 19 - April 18
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 19, 6PM - 9PM
Live Feed Performance by Johanna Householder at 6:30pm
Toronto Free Gallery
1277 Bloor Street West

Monday, March 16, 2009

Out and about

Autumn Smith and Cathy Murphy of MackenzieRo at the opening night of  Someone is Going to Come presented by One Little Goat.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Theatre Is Territory 3.0

What the fuck is going on now?

Basically this:

After four months of transition with help from Ian Mackenzie consulting from the shadows, the kids at Praxis are finally ready to run their own blog. We’re on our own now in this e-wilderness, without the benefit of a pioneer of the Canadian theatrosphere.

Theatre Is Territory will continue in a new location, the appropriately located: You will be able to find all of Ian’s famous 10 Questions interviews here and a few of his other ongoing projects too.
Everything here will remain almost unnoticeably the same…or will it?


We have a lot of changes in the works:

• Praxis Theatre Co-Artistic Director Simon Rice will begin contributing regularly with his own series of interviews.
• Greta Papageorgiu’s wildly popular Celebrity Theatre series is set to return as well.
• No more Just The Facts. It was boring. We‘ll develop a new way to let people know what the fuck is going on
• A full re-launch that fully integrates this blog with the Praxis Theatre website.

We would like to give sincere thanks to Ian for everything he has done for the company as our Marketing Director and in particular with this blog. From his first post at 10:33am on October 11th 2006, to his last post on Monday January 26th 2009, two-and–a-half years later, this blog has become an important place for discussion and information about indie theatre in Canada and around the world.

Thanks Ian. Praxis Theatre is certainly better known and respected because of all of your savvy, imagination and hard work.


Everyone at Praxis Theatre!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Canadian indie productions get slick on YouTube

After scouring the internet for good uses of YouTube videos to promote Canadian theatrical productions, one thing became crystal clear: Indie companies have this scene locked down! No venued or commercial companies we found really had anything worth posting in this format.

Give it time. The mainstream takes time to co-opt new forms, but they invariably get around to it. It has likely not sunk in that people who watch YouTube promo clips are the NEW audience for theatre and they are still milking the OLD one.

Here are some fine examples of the use of YouTube videos to promote indie productions:

Experimental Indie
Dedicated To The Revolutions

Classical Indie

Theatre for Young Audiences Indie

What do you think? Is this the new cost effective way to promote a show, or just a fun hobby for artists with too much time on their hands? Do these clips make you want to see these shows, or are they just entertainment unto themselves?

Friday, March 06, 2009

What should we talk about now?

Any suggestions?  
(New picture every time we ask that question from now on.)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Panych gives the straight goods to Piatkowski

Highly recommended interview with Canadian theatre legend Morris Panych on One Big Umbrella today. Never one to pull punches on the internet, Panych gives a series of entertaining and refreshingly uncensored responses to the questions posed by M.K. Piatkowski. Highlights include:
Who would direct the coolest production of one of your plays?
I can tell you who would direct the uncoolest. The asshole from New York who directed Avenue Q...”
“Where would you like your work to be produced?
It’s a nice feeling to have a play make you some money, so anywhere is fine. That said, one of my favorite recent experiences was going to see Lawrence and Holloman at a little hole in the wall place in Kensington Market...”
“What scares you? What can't you write about?
…Sometimes I think I should write about being gay but I have nothing to say about that, either. ‘I’m gay’ is not a play; although some people seem to have made a career of it.”
You can read the full interview on One Big Umbrella here.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Total eclipse of the arts

The provincial government in BC has the arts community piping mad after they reduced arts funding to 1980s levels in a single pre-election budget! (Did these guys pay attention to how well that worked out for the government in the federal election?) Theatre Skam has responded with your typical, "Don't get mad, record and remix a really hilarious song about it" response. Click the link below to hear: