Q&A with reVolver curator, Elysse Cheadle
Upintheair Theatre is back at The Cultch for the fifth annual rEvolver Theatre Festival. rEvolver runs from May 24th – June 4th, and presents new work by Vancouver and Canada’s most exciting up and coming performers and theatre creators.
We are so pleased that the fabulous Elysse Cheadle, our very own Head Front of House Manager & Volunteer Coordinator, was able to give us a little behind the scene insight into the exciting fifth chapter of this great Vancouver theatre festival.
Elysse, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a theatre-maker, performer, and writer living in Vancouver. I am interested in theatre that is curious and playful, that forces you to consider your own spectatorship, and that carefully uses shape, space, movement, texture, and sound as much as it does text and story.
I also happen to work at The Cultch as the Head Front of House Manager and Volunteer Coordinator and was lucky enough to be this year’s guest curator at The rEvolver Theatre Festival.
How did you come to be guest curator for the rEvolver Festival?
I have been involved in The rEvolver Theatre Festival in the past as a performer in both the Reading Series (The Peaceful Sea – Theatre Elsewhere) and Main Stage Series (The Peaceful Sea – Theatre Elsewhere), and have had my work presented in the festival (Mr.Snortoose and the Machine-Children’s Machine). On all occasions, my festival experience with rEvovler was unique; Dave and Dan really put a lot of effort into selecting artists with interesting perspectives, and then providing the opportunity for them to build connections and community with one another. Being given the encouragement to support and connect with the other artists in the festival has led to long lasting, meaningful artistic relationships. The value of these relationships is as useful to a young artist as the opportunity of having work presented. I think Dave and Dan are very smart that way, and I wanted an opportunity to work with them. Therefore, last Spring when they announced that they were looking for somebody to help curate and produce the festival, I jumped at the opportunity and applied.
What was the experience of programming shows like?
Difficult! I did not anticipate the challenge of trying to examine each selection so holistically; a show can be wonderful, but simply not fit within the larger scope of the festival. For example, we had a lot of applications for one-person shows. Many of them seemed powerful and we really wanted to give them a chance to be presented, but for the sake of diverse programming we could not select all one-person shows. We had several different festivals mapped out with various combinations of pieces. Each of these potential festivals had their strengths and weaknesses. In the end, you have to trust your gut with which to choose – and then, of course, you cross your fingers that the artists accept your offer when you send it to them!
Are there any shows or events you are particularly excited about in this year’s festival? Why?
Oh boy – I think we have a great line-up this year! If I had to pick a few, I would say I am really excited to see The Princess Show (gender bending! bass guitar! lip sync!), NeOn (I missed it at the Fringe this year and continually was told how wonderful it is!), and Soliloquy in English (the concept is so perfectly simple!).
Also, I absolutely love seeing work that is still in process. I think some of the most impactful artistic experiences I have had have happened when being invited in to observe something that is not “done” yet. Artists seem to give themselves more permission to take risks and to try out totally new territory in the earlier stages of creation. Pieces can still feel raw and challenging when they are just finding their shape. Therefore, I am really looking forward to going to Resounding Scream Theatre’s Sunday afternoon event Plunge where we will be invited to watch and discuss three separate pieces that are still in the process of being constructed.
What’s next for you?
I am currently working on expanding a new piece called Fuchsia Futures which is a surrealist domestic drama about a family in the wake of a great loss. It is loosely based on the life of infamous population geneticist George F Price, who is known for boiling down altruistic behavior into a neat little probabilistic equation, before losing his mind in an effort to disprove his own findings. In ‘Fuchsia Futures,’ we follow the family after George’s suicide. There is a lot of humor, and existentialism, and music played on the banjo.
Also, I am going to be performing in a festival in Taiwan in July in a piece called Between Two Rocks by Robert Leveroos.
Check out the great line-up of shows happening this year!
Here are four ways you can enjoy this years reVolver Theatre Festival:
- With the 6-show flex pass, the passholder can see up to six individual shows, take five friends to one show, or any combination in between!
- If you can’t see 6 shows, you can still save by purchasing a 3-show pass instead!
- Individual tickets are available both through The Cultch’s Box Office and at the door.
- Don’t miss the free performances of Habitats and Plunge