Magnetic North in the Great North

This was my first time participating as a stage manger, delegate, and performer in the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, which was held in Whitehorse this year.   For those that are unfamiliar with the festival, it is designed for theatre companies who are programming new works to meet, socialize, see some shows, and discuss current relevant themes in Canadian theatre.  At least that is how I saw it.  

My company co-creator Geneviève Doyon and I had many hats on during the festival, and as a result we were completely burnt out the entire time.  In retrospect, I think it would be wise to just attend the festival and really take in all in, instead of running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.  

My first gig was stage managing a show called Map of the Land, Map of the Stars which is a new work being developed by Gwaandak Theatre.  It was the first time I worked with Gwaandak, and they were extremely lovely.  The show was formed using traditional First Nations story weaving, and the gathering of northern stories.  It was also my first time working with director Yvette Nolan from Saskatoon, and she was just a dream to collaborate with!   The show plans on touring the Yukon in 2017, and I can't wait to see how it takes shape.  

The second gig we had was the opportunity to perform in a show called Theatre in the Bush, which is held in the middle of the woods in the Yukon and is run by my good friend Brian Fidler of Ramshackle Theatre.   My company Open Pit Theatre developed a new short ten minute piece that Gen directed, and I performed with two other local actors.  I hadn't performed in anything in a loooooooooonng time so I definitely felt out of my element.  It was a piece set in a dream and we enclosed our audience in a cocoon of fabric and sound.  Hopefully we can develop the piece further in the future.  

And finally, Gen and I participated in the pitch session aspect of Mag North where companies can outline shows that they have coming up and pitch to the industry producers who will be programming for their next seasons.  It went well and our company got a lot of good feedback from this.  We are newbies at the whole pitching environment and so we walked away with some valuable tips for the future.  

All in all it felt like a treat to have Mag North in the Yukon, but I also felt that we weren't quite ready to be in that game.  We don't have shows that are touring Canada.... yet.....but we will in the next two years.  So it was good to see how it all works, and then hopefully when we are ready, we will jump back in!