Dedicated to honest and resonant live performance, and spotlighting diverse and underrepresented voices and stories, the SHIFT Festival has become an annual theatre tradition in Vancouver. This year, the 12th Annual SHIFT Festival returns to its roots, featuring three short, sharp, original works, created and performed by Tai Amy Grauman, Kelsey Kanatan Wavey, and Claire Love Wilson with Sara Vickruck. The past, present and future are explored in turn by these vigorous voices, and, on July 11, 12, and 13 in downtown Vancouver, audiences can see all three for one price.
Event: SHIFT Festival 12
Dates: July 11, 12 and 13, 2019 Times: Various. See below.
Shows: 8pm nightly
Festival Reading: Saturday, July 13 @ 2pm / Festival Workshop: Friday, July 12 @ 4pm
Venue: ANNEX, 823 Seymour Street, Vancouver
Admission: $19 Evening Shows / $15 Festival Reading / $19 Workshop
In Marie’s Letters, Tai Amy Grauman embodies five generations of Métis women addressing their unborn daughters about hopes, dreams, fears and essentially, survival, in Treaty 6 Territory. Grauman – Métis, Cree and Haudenosaunee from Ardrossan, Alberta – was this year’s Jessie Richardson award for most promising newcomer and the Vancouver Mayor’s Emerging Theatre Artist of 2015 (nominated by Margo Kane). Gavan Cheema directs.
Created and performed by Kelsey Kanatan Wavey, ōpimātis is the story of the complicated friendship between the last woman on Earth and the last drop of water. Combining poetry, projection and movement, ōpimātis is a reflection on the growing water crisis and what we must sacrifice in order for all our relations to find peace. A Cree actor and writer from Treaty 1 Territory – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Wavey is a recent graduate of Studio 58.
Developed by local multidisciplinary creator Claire Love Wilson and queer theatre-maker and musician Sara Vickruck for SHIFT Festival 12, Sound Off investigates how the transformation of sounds, live and looped, can be constructed and deconstructed into song. Featuring games and improvisation, this show evolves nightly with our audience and may send you out into the mid-summer night singing. Wilson will also present a 90-minute festival workshop on Friday July 12 (4pm), inviting registrants to engage in the song walking practice that she has taught internationally.
Along with the nightly Festival program and the Festival workshop, SHIFT presents a special staged reading of Beth Coleman’s Evolutionary Tango on Saturday July 13 (2pm). Directed by Kathryn Shaw, it features veteran Vancouver actors as well as Jessie Liang, last seen in Kim’s Convenience. Tackling mortality and sexuality while challenging the way we care for our elders, this innovative, futuristic script explores the special relationship between a 108-year-old woman (Donna Carroll White) and her android caregiver (SHIFT Alumni Allan Morgan). Kim Seary rounds out the cast. Award-winning playwright Lucia Frangione collaborates as dramaturge.
SHIFT Theatre is a flexible collective of artists committed to community engagement and challenging story-telling that encourages compassion and dialogue. Through its Workshop Series and the SHIFTLab Program, which links playwrights with professional mentors, SHIFT is dedicated to creative development and learning opportunities for artists and audiences alike. SHIFT seeks to champion and empower emerging and professional artists, especially women and underrepresented voices, on and offstage. Whether collaborating with the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre to offer free theatre access to the underemployed (2017 Festival) or inviting Knitted Knockers to set up a prosthesis booth during the run of Titillations by Yvette Dudley-Neuman (2018 Festival), SHIFT works to extend the potential impact of the theatre we help to create. We assess projects through a wellness lens (our Healthy Artistry Initiative) as well as by artistic merit; we don’t believe that suffering is necessarily a hallmark of quality performance-creation.
SHIFT identified three objectives for this year’s festival. They include:
- fierce truth telling: honest, resonant, original, live performances
- spotlighting underrepresented voices
- supporting our healthy artistry initiative with funding for every artist involved, viable timelines, respectful collaboration, constructive assessment
Artistic teams selected for full production at the Festival receive:
- an equitable monetary investment in their work
- rehearsal space if needed
- three evening performances
- tech support
- online + print publicity, including program
- archival footage + photography
SHIFT incurs venue costs and human resources, while offering support wherever needed.
Tai Amy Grauman, Creator/Performer (Marie’s Letters)
Tai Amy Grauman is Metis, Cree and Haudenosaunee writer and actor from Ardrossan, Alberta. This past year, Tai has been developing her play You Used To Call Me Marie…, which has had readings and development through Native Earth’s Weesageechak Festival, PTC’s Wrightspace, Savage Society’s Skookum series, the Talking Stick Festival and Boca Del Lupo’s 3.7 initiative. Acting credits include Thanks For Giving (Arts Club), THOWXIYA (Axis Theatre), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Carousel Theatre), and Weaving Reconciliation (Vancouver Moving Theatre). Tai also wrote and directed her play Her Name Was Mary… at the 2017 Vancouver Fringe Festival. She recently received this year’s Jessie Richardson award for most promising newcomer. In 2015, she was named Vancouver Mayor’s Emerging Theatre Artist of the Year. Currently, Tai is Savage Society’s Artist-in-Residence and Assistant Director of Taming of the Shrew at Bard on the Beach.
Gavan Cheema, Director (Marie’s Letters)
Gavan Cheema holds a double major from the UBC in Theatre Studies and History. She is currently the Artist-in-Residence at Theatre Conspiracy, where she has served as assistant director on Foreign Radical and Victim Impact. Previously, she was the coordinator of Boca del Lupo’s 3.7% Initiative, created to help women who self-identify as ethnically and culturally diverse, of Indigenous or mixed-racial heritage, to find greater success in their performing arts practice. Gavan’s previous directing credits include a staged reading of da’ kink in my hair (Stone Throw Productions), Mrs. Singh and Me (Arts Club), and The [Organization] (Unladylike Productions).
Claire Love Wilson, Creator/Performer (Sound Off)
A multidisciplinary actor and creator based in Vancouver BC, Claire’s artistic practice blends singing, songwriting, theatre-creation, and performance art. Recent credits include original performances for The Only Animal, Battery Opera, Urban Ink, The Vancouver Fringe Festival, Vital Spark Theatre, The Virago Play Series, Sour Dog Theatre and several indie short films. Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Claire developed an embodied musical creation practice called song-walking, where she creates loop-driven musical compositions from sounds and gestures sourced from particular places. Claire is the recipient of the Vancouver Fringe Festival’s Artistic Risk award. Her debut album Afterbirth is available at clairelovewilson.com.
Sara Vickruck, Creator/Performer (Sound Off)
Sara is an award-winning queer theatre artist and musician. Theatre credits include This Here (Babelle Theatre), Fun Home (Arts Club), NeOn (rEvolver Festival), Kill Your Lovers (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Rhubarb Festival), and Circle Game (Firehall Arts Centre). With Anais West, Vickruck co-created, performed and composed the slam poetry musical Poly Queer Love Ballad, winner of the Fringe New Play Prize 2018, Pick Of The Fringe, Critics Choice Award, and Volunteer Choice Award. Sara also self-produced her album Prologue, available on iTunes, Spotify and saravickruck.ca.
Kelsey Kanatan Wavey, Creator/Performer (iskonikowisiw)
Kelsey is a Cree actor and writer from Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, MB. A recent graduate of Studio 58, Kelsey is passionate about decolonizing her art and world, and hopes her play iskonikowisiw reflects that. She appeared recently in Hot House and Cabaret (Studio 58), and Council of Spider, Ant and Fly (Savage Society).
Beth Coleman, Playwright (Evolutionary Tango)
Beth graduated with a BA in Theatre and English from UBC, earned an MA in Language Education and taught high school Drama before becoming a college instructor. After teaching at the university level in Japan and in the United Arab Emirates, and while in semi-retirement from teaching, Beth now dedicates her time to writing plays and short stories. Her work has been produced by the CBC. A Baby Boomer by popular definition, Beth is particularly interested in intergenerational issues as well as the development of women’s voices. Her international experience inspires her focus on diverse cultural perspectives and social justice.
Lucia Frangione, Dramaturge (Evolutionary Tango)
Lucia Frangione has written 25 plays and performed on many of the major stages across Canada. The playwright/actor is also a drama editor for Talon Books and does freelance dramaturgy. Lucia trained at Studio 58 and Rosebud School of the Arts and is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada and Canadian Actor’s Equity. She is a recipient of the Gordon Armstrong Award, the Sydney Risk Playwriting Award and the Stage West CAEA Emerging Artist award.
Donna Carroll White, Performer (Evolutionary Tango)
Donna is a veteran of 45 professional years in radio, television, film and theatre. Hers is the familiar voice reading Margaret Lawrence’s “Christmas Memories” on the C.B.C radio program As It Happens every December. She has performed in every Canadian province, shot commercials in the U.S., and filmed in Canada and the U.K. Donna has two Jessie Richardson Awards for her work in Vancouver theatre. She has had the honour of working with playwright Christopher Fry in London, England in the world premiere of his play A Yard of Sun and with renowned director Pierre Le Fevre of Strasbourg on a cross-Canada tour. Donna acknowledges with gratitude some of her invaluable mentors: Franklin Johnston, Dr. John Brockington and Norman Ayrton. Donna calls Surrey B.C. home where she rescues and re-homes stray cats and dogs.
Jessie Liang, Performer (Evolutionary Tango)
Jessie Liang is delighted to be making her SHIFT Festival debut this year as part of the reading for Evolutionary Tango. Select theatre credits include: Kim’s Convenience (Pacific Theatre), The Dance Teacher (Tomo Suru), Mortified, The Skin of Our Teeth, and Wilderness (Studio 58). Jessie was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil and just recently graduated from Studio 58.