Q&A with Peter Chu:
Cultch Artist-in-Residence

Right now Peter Chu can be found completing an artistic residency at The Cultch for his new solo work. We caught up with him to find out a bit more about his project and how he feels about completing an artistic residency with us here at The Cultch!

For those of us who don’t know, can you tell us what a residency is?

A residency can be approached in many different ways. Artists can use a residency to explore movement ideas, themes, or simply to better understand subject matter they would like to explore. I have chosen to use this 12-day residency at The Cultch as a technical residency – a place to dive into exploration of the lighting, sound, and multimedia elements that will be incorporated into this work. Stepping into this space last Wednesday, the first few days were spent with projection and lighting designer Eric Chad, and production manager Lois Dawson to introduce them to the movement vocabulary and themes involved in this piece. Next it was on to the technical side of this residency – getting into the nitty gritty details as to where and how we want to incorporate all the technical elements. I am extremely grateful to Heather Redfern and The Cultch to have been given this amazing opportunity to explore, discover, and research themes technically without the expectation of a final products – something that’s often expected of artists during a residency.

Photo by Lisa Wu

What does a Cultch residency mean to you as a choreographer?

One of the first shows that I saw at The Cultch was Crystal Pite’s Uncollected Work. Many years later, I was fortunate enough to actually perform here with Kidd Pivot. I have always adored this theatre and the range of dynamic shows they present in their seasons. The Historic Theatre has big personality and a beautiful energy, and I feel so honoured to have been given the opportunity to dig deeper into the themes of this new work in such a significant space.

What are your thoughts on the importance of organizations helping out the artistic community though programs such as this?

Support from community organizations is absolutely crucial in allowing for the growth and development of creativity, regardless of the art form. This kind of backing is what allows artists to thrive and flourish, and produce significant lasting works. Without this assistance, there would be countless ‘hidden gems’ – beautiful works of art that would remain as the seed of an idea, never making it through to creation.

Can you talk a bit about your creative process when creating new works?

It’s hard for me to speak on my creative process – like all things in life it’s constantly in flux, changing and mutating depending on the work and the circumstance. I hold my creative process for this specific project very near and dear to my heart: I have been trying to better understand my process while I develop this movement vocabulary for the past several years.

Photo by Lisa Wu

Where do you look for inspiration when creating choreography?

For this specific show, the word ‘ community’ continued to present itself at the forefront of my mind. I was on the road constantly for roughly five years, living out of two storage units until I made the choice to move back to Las Vegas last July. I fell in love all over again with that city and the rich range of art and entertainment it has to offer. Inspired by the opulent history of Las Vegas lounge act artists and sounds from the 1960 s, I chose to use my new home and community as the focus and starting point for this new work. This is why The Cultch is the perfect theatre to develop this performance – it has the same intimate, charming personality as many of the Las Vegas venues that have been my inspiration.

Can you tell us a bit about the work you are currently rehearsing and what your hopes are for it in the future?

I can tell you as much as I can – as this is still a work in progress, things are constantly evolving and changing. This work revolves around themes of obsession, perfection, control, and doubt. It runs with the dangers of glorifying false appearances, and pulls back the curtain to expose the truths behind the “put on” smile. The character I have developed listens to what doubt has to say, almost befriending it in a way to truly understand why doubt has such a driving force in his life. On top of all of this, we’re blending cutting edge multimedia with these deep-rooted concepts and ideas. It is incredibly exciting stuff!

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