When 16 high-school aged youth signed up for The Cultch Summer Camp, they were promised the opportunity to collaborate with real-world mentors currently working in the arts. Over the course of the next two weeks, our summer campers will learn all the necessary skills to put a production together from the group up. Our company-in-residence this year is The Only Animal, whose work exemplifies a modern and innovative approach to theatre. Their plays have involved animation and interactive video and have been staged in warehouses, on the beach, and in snow and ice.
The Only Animal's "NiX, Theatre of Snow and Ice"
The Only Animal co-artistic director Kendra Fanconi was involved in last year’s summer camp. The company is returning because, according to Fanconi’s Only Animal partner Eric Rhys Miller, “We love to work with young and emerging artists.” Both Miller and Fanconi are veterans of summer theatre camps and are excited to work with such a diverse group of Vancouver youth. The experience is a bit like preparation for one of The Only Animal’s new projects-entitled Out on a Limb – which “brings youth and elders together to question assumptions about each other,” says Miller. “We’re interested in what it’s like to grow up and grow older, and in a collaboration between these two communities of young people and older people.” The resulting conversations will be recorded and used for a multimedia installation that will be projected onto trees in a park. Says Miller, “Trees, growth, community, old and young: we’re putting them all together in a new way that will hopefully spark some insights and strengthen connections.”
For The Cultch Summer Camp, The Only Animal will be bringing a varied set of talent to help lead the participants. Among this talented bunch is Vanessa Richards, a Caribbean-Canadian artist with a background in music, art making, and community engaged projects. Keith Murray is a multimedia and performance artist who has also worked in theatre. David Roche is a storyteller and teacher who leads workshops and performs all over North America. “It’s a fantastic team,” says Miller. “The participants can expect to learn a huge amount about various approaches to creating performance – including storytelling, multimedia, writing, musical theatre and devising – and will apply those lessons directly to creating their own live and multimedia performance in The Cultch on August 26th!”
The concluding evening of The Cultch’s summer camp, Friday August 26th presenting the production created in collaboration with the summer camp participants and The Only Animal, is open to the public, starts at 8pm, and admission is by donation. We hope to see you there!
Image from the final performance of The Cultch's 2010 Summer Camp