Episode 13: It’s Like War and Peace

I can’t now remember when I first met Pat Foran, but was introduced to him as the Producer of Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, one of the province’s preeminent theatre companies (AF’s Artistic Director, Robert Chafe, has also been on the show!). But “producer” is just one of his many skills and, in fact, Pat was in Corner Brook a few weeks ago, working on a new show inspired by letters written to Franz Kafka. Pat describes the show as ‘physical theatre’ and it was truly fascinating to talk about the germination of the project and how it is being developed. There’s also a very talented team working on the piece, and Pat talks about that as well.

We also talked about Artistic Fraud (on fire again this season) and got around to a general discussion not just about the arts in Newfoundland and Labrador, but the need for arts management in Newfoundland and Labrador.

You can read Pat’s bio at Artistic Fraud’s website,  where you’ll see a list of all the things he’s involved with, but here’s also a link to Double Sure Theatre Co-op’s Facebook page.

Episode 12: Design De Novo

Maria Kilfoil is the manager of the new Grenfell Makerspace, and is just setting up the space in the Arts and Science Building, here on campus. A physicist and long-time maker, Maria is bringing really energy and excitement to this initiative and has lots of plans to extend out into the community here and across the region.

Getting these tools into the hands of artists, craftspeople, inventors, creators, students – it’s pretty exciting and bound to be disruptive in the best possible way. This also connects back, I think, with a discussion around design and design thinking, and links kind of nicely with the chat I had with Renate Pohl, last time. It was great to talk to Maria about some of this – in fact, don’t think we really got through half of what we could talk about, so look out for part 2 of this conversation, maybe when the makerspace is fully operational!

The Grenfell Makerspace is under the umbrella of the Navigate Small Business Centre, a joint program between Grenfell and College of the North Atlantic, and you can find more on that here.

Episode 11: A Place For Me

Been waiting a while to talk to Renate Pohl, and glad it was finally able to happen.

Renate is an assistant professor and resident designer with the BFA (Theatre) program. If we go way back, I first met Renate while she was still a student at Grenfell and, if memory serves, during my first teaching term appointment with the program. And though Renate did the acting program, she later became a theatre designer, mainly lights, and we’ve worked together a number of times.

The interesting part of this story though (certainly one interesting part of this story) is how Renate came to be interested in the space program. Her work with the International Space University is fascinating and we cover a lot of ground in our conversation. I’ve been thinking a lot about design (not just theatre design, but design more generally speaking) but Renate is miles (light year?) ahead in her thinking and working in designing for the unforgiving conditions of space. Her commitment to this is awe-inspiring.

You can find Renate’s website here, and is @geekyglass on Twitter.

You can find out more about ISU (the International Space University) right here.

Episode Ten: Human-Sized Socks

Well, life really got in the way this time. Won’t go into the details, but between work, traveling for work, and some unexpected family stuff it’s taken too long to get this show up. So, a bit of a struggle to get it posted, but here’s episode 10!!

I sat down with Melissa Tremblett and Diana Chisolm, just after the Visual Arts Association of Newfoundland and Labrador’s annual awards show. Melissa is a visual artist, originally from Sheshatshiu, Labrador, but grew up on the island and we talk about what that has meant in terms of heritage and art, and Melissa’s interest in traditional arts and crafts makes, I think, for some compelling listening!

Melissa also spoke this week at the Grenfell Art Gallery, for the opening reception of a retrospective celebrating the Northwest River Artist-in-Residency program. If you’re seeing this post in early July, and you can, I really recommend seeing that show.

Melissa’s website is undergoing some maintenance, but it can be found here. We also mention the EVA Awards, Melissa was nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year, and you can read VANL’s bio of Melissa here.

As mentioned in the show, Diana Chisholm wears a lot of hats, and is involved in multiple projects and with multiple organizations.

VANL’s bio of Diana is here. Diana talks about her interest in post-industrial landscapes, and transient workforces, so I though it appropriate to also link to a recent show at St. Thomas More Art Gallery in Saskatoon, and that’s right here

And while she keeps exceptionally busy as an artist, which includes multiple residencies and exhibitions, Diana has also recently assumed the role of executive director of the Writers at Woody Point Festival. This is a flagship festival on the west coast, and one of the highlights of the summer season. Here’s a link!

Episode 9: What it all means

Meagan Musseau (BFA (VA) class of ’14) is an interdisciplinary artist of Mi’kMaq and French ancestry, originally from Curling, Newfoundland (Elamstukwek, Ktaqmkuk territory of Mi’kma’ki). After graduation, Meagan spent some time on the west, west coast, and has recently returned home. We talk about that, about what her time away meant, as well as the return home, the evolution of her practice, and what it’s like to be an indigenous artist on the west coast of Newfoundland.

Meagan’s bio and CV are on her website, and I really encourage you to check that out.

And here are links to a few of the other organizations that we talked about:

The First Peoples’ Cultural Council

Emerging Atlantic Artist Residency

Indigenous Arts Program, Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity

Indigenous youth/emerging Artist Program (Open Space, Victoria, BC)

VANL-CARFAC (Visual Artists’ Association of Newfoundland and Labrador/Canadian Artists Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens)

Episode Eight: 8 is for Innovate

Ian Sutherland is dean of the School of Music at Memorial University and was on the west coast for a couple of reasons, including to attend Grenfell’s convocation ceremonies and I’m glad he found time to record this episode of the show.

Ian and I started as Memorial deans at around the same time and it’s certainly been great for me to be able to share that experience with Ian and for our two Schools to continue to find ways to collaborate and work together. The fact is, Memorial’s two ‘arts’ Schools are separated by nearly 700km of geography and that can make things, well, difficult. Ian has been a tremendous collaborator and kindred spirit.

One of the exciting projects I’ve been happy to work on is an “Arts Innovation Strategy” for Memorial, a strategy that looks to foreground notions (and practices) of creativity to the innovation agenda (something the provincial government has also begun to explore) as well as encourage us to work in more meaningful ways with our communities.

Memorial’s School of Music is world-renowned and you can find more about all that they do and offer here.

We also mention that the province, through the Department of Culture, Tourism, Industry and Innovation, is devising a new cultural plan for the province. I encourage you to take part in that process, either by attending the public sessions being hosted around the province, or write into the department with your ideas. More on that here.

Episode Seven: Together in Eternity

Adam Brake is the Associate Director of Theatre Newfoundland Labrador, and runs the Sara…h McDonald Youth Theatre. Adam is directing Romeo and Juliet with his group of students (and some other invited guests) and we talked about theatre for young audiences, Shakespeare, and performance more generally speaking.

Adam is a very bright, and very passionate, person and theatre artist and it was a blast to talk to him (as always). Adam also instructs in the theatre program at Grenfell, so it was interesting to talk to him about his approach to Shakespeare, and text, performance techniques, directing and how to engage students (and others) in the creative process.

The Sara…h McDonald Youth Theatre program is a cornerstone of theatre training on the west coast, that provides an incredible opportunity for young people to get involved in the theatre and it’s great to see them thriving.

TNL is also gearing up for their summer season in Cow Head, and you can find more about that, and the Youth Theatre at their website.

This is also a rare opportunity to plug an event before it happens, and here’s a link to the Romeo and Juliet Facebook Event Page.

And, why not, here’s a link to Grenfell’s BFA Theatre Program!