No one could have expected what 2020 would bring. The Theatre Centre team certainly had our moments of confusion, shock, and grief; but somehow also joy and a lot of laughter.
Looking back, we are feeling proud and grateful for all the things we’ve accomplished together. The staff, the board, Residency artists, their collaborators—none of us would be here without you and the entire Theatre Centre community. Your likes, comments, shares, attendance at Zoom events, and generous donations have sustained us. Thank you!
Here are a few highlights from what you helped us do this year:
JANUARY: We received a record number of applications for Residency—over 150 incredible submissions. Aislinn, Liza and Ian did a lot of reading.
FEBRUARY: We hosted the 5th edition of Progress Festival, and brought Scottee & Friends over from the UK to perform CLASS and Working Class Dinner Party. We also hosted Jaha Koo’s team from South Korea and their talking rice-cooker show, Cuckoo. Monday Nights and Prophecy Fog brought together Vancouver audiences at the PuSh and PushOFF Festival respectively, and Secret Life of a Mother travelled all the way across town to Crow’s Theatre.
MARCH: Before the world paused, Daughter was blowing audience minds across the pond at Battersea Arts Centre and our very own Aislinn Rose wrote a piece for The Stage. On March 19 we celebrated 6 years in the building—but by then we were all working from home.
APRIL: We missed one another, we missed all of you. We launched Alone Together to share in the moments that we were savouring, the ones that were “blowing our hearts open.”
MAY: Sea Sick would have been touring the world after receiving its London premiere—but like so many projects, plans changed. We had a lot of Zoom meetings and phone calls where we asked—what do we do now? And how can we help? The future was looking inventable. Secret Life of a Mother was recorded for the CBC’s PlayMe podcast. Aislinn celebrated her first anniversary as The Theatre Centre’s Artistic Director!
JUNE: Alanna and the Sea Sick team created Field Notes for the Future as part of FoLDA—with this beautiful accompanying digital booklet illustrated by Lorenz Peter. Also part of FOLDA, we hosted Juno-nominated singer Iskwē in our first livestream broadcast of the pandemic. Three Theatre Centre productions received 7 Dora Award nominations (and 1 win!). Congrats to Prophecy Fog, No Foreigners, and Here are the Fragments! The Theatre Centre team compiled anti-racist resources and shared them with our community. Like this and this.
JULY: TC Creative Producers in Training, Sascha Cole and Rachel Penny held 35 (!!) artist community consultations via Zoom. We welcomed Liza Paul as The Theatre Centre’s new Associate Artistic Director and damn, we were excited.
AUGUST: Cheyenne Scott and Theresa Cutknife joined the team as Creative Producers in-training and Seika Boye joined us as Reckless Generosity Dramaturg (talk about a job title!). The building was taped up by artist Mark Reinhart as part of Summerworks 2020 - Health and Safety Notes. Our building still says INVENT THE FUTURE—we don’t wanna take it down!
SEPTEMBER: We announced the 20/21 programming with 12 NEW RESIDENCY PROJECTS and TWO NEW RESIDENCY STREAMS! We called it “invent the future.” We’re now working with a total of 16 remarkable projects (a total of 20 artists!). Yolanda Bonnell’s bug filmed in the Franco Boni Theatre.
OCTOBER: Residency artist daniel jelani ellis worked alone in the Franco Boni Theatre, and took over our instagram while he was at it. Explorations stream artists Nikki Shaffeeullah and Neema Bickersteth’s project Black Paris was in the building for a workshop. We shared this beautiful video of our incredible volunteer Randy, and the pollinator garden he built on our green roof—shot by Tamara Jones.
NOVEMBER: Finishing stream artist Victoria Mata brought a small team into the Franco Boni Theatre for a distanced workshop and 3 experimental livestream broadcasts for her project Cacao | A Venezuelan Lament. We launched the Digital Cafe, our new monthly newsletter. The most recent edition includes an in-depth interview between Tamara Jones and Residency artist, Jennifer Tarver. We wrote a love note to our community and Chris Rouleau painted it on the cafe window.
DECEMBER: We presented Njo Kong Kie with the Patrick Conner Award—an award that recognizes someone who, like Patrick, works to change the world through their practice. We hosted the FIRST EVER Digital Residency showings—4 nights of sharing ideas, questions and process with community and artists over Zoom. The response was so incredible that we had to upgrade our Zoom account just to fit y’all in (335 of us!!). Thanks for coming – your positive energy and insightful comments about the work sure lifted everyone’s spirits in this, the darkest month.
The outpouring of support we’ve felt from all of you has been invaluable through this year. Thank you to all our monthly donors and everyone who has already made a contribution. If you haven’t yet made a gift, you can still help us invent the future by making a donation today.
If you like the work we do but can’t contribute at this time, we understand. We hope you’re able to take care of yourself and stay safe this holiday season. You can still support The Theatre Centre by following us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and staying connected as we continue to share more of the creative process in 2021.