The company has just returned from Labrador after a whirlwind of activity. It all began on Nov. 20th when Jacinte Armstrong and I travelled to Happy Valley - Goose Bay to take part in the 37th Labrador Creative Arts Festival, Canada's longest running children's arts festival. We were there along with 11 other artists from across Canada - writers, actors, visual artists, musicians, a folklorist and even a make-up artist - to teach workshops to students from schools across Labrador, who travelled to Goose Bay to present original plays that they wrote, directed and performed. Over the week-long festival Jacinte and I taught workshops to hundreds of students from Grade one up to high school and we also travelled to Lake Melville School, in North West River, and Sheshatshui Innu School in Upper Lake Melville.
|Our young dance group.|
We set a piece of Jacinte's choreography, Chain Link Again, on the dancers and gave them extensive coaching (they should all know how to find their hip sockets now!). After a short rehearsal of our own and a quick dinner, we headed back to the theatre each night to attend the student's plays and watch 'cameo' appearances by the visiting artists.
|Our billet, Jake Leyte|
|Jacinte and I at the Sheshatshui Innu School|
|The official festival button!|
|Fiona Anderson, Festival Co-ordinator and Tim Borlase, Festival Founder|
|Rhonda staying warm in style!|
On Wednesday, Ruth, Rhonda and Marcel joined us to prepare for our show on Nov. 30th. After a quick remount rehearsal at the local gym, while Marcel transformed the Lawrence O'Brien Arts Centre stage, we got into the theatre and began getting ready for the show. This was a very special event for community of Happy Valley-Goose Bay as it was the first ever full-length professional dance performance in the community. On the program was Lisa Phinney Langley's duet, Beside Myself, Gasping, with video image by Rohan Fernando, the student dancers performing Jacinte's piece, Chain Link Again, and this season's signature work Canvas 5x5 by Tedd Robison, with guest piper Steve Gregory. The show was a great success, attended by over 120 people (apparently double the usual amount for a event like this), many of whom were students and people we had connected with through the festival. In the post show talk we enjoyed hearing from the audience, who were curious about the works and what it was like to perform. Many commented afterwards that they enjoyed the show, and that they wished there were more performances like this one.
|Student photo exhibit in the lobby of the theatre.|
|Beautiful painted clay artwork created by students on display in the lobby of the theatre.|
Being in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and taking part in the festival and the performance have been a very memorable experiences. A big thanks to Kathleen & John Hicks, Fiona Anderson, Tim Borlase and the Labrador Creative Arts Festival committee and volunteers for their incredible dedication and hard work, to the staff and volunteers of the Lawrence O'Brien Arts Centre, and a special thanks to Jake Leyte, Deb Gill, Tracy Leal & Robyn Spracklin Webber and family.
Next stop on the tour - Miramichi, New Brunswick in February!
- Susanne Chui
|Our reverse interview with Byron from CBC.|
|Jacinte, Rhonda and Marcel hitting the town.|
|The Lawrence O'Brien Arts Centre|
|Goodbye Goose Bay!|