Mark Lawes and Theatre Junction’s Company of Artists

Theatre Junction’s company of artists is a performance ensemble which, since its inception in 2006, has presented itself as markedly international, multilingual, and multidisciplinary. Led by artistic director Mark Lawes, the company is comprised of actors, dancers, musicians, and visual artists with unique skills and backgrounds. Together, they collaborate in English and French and the languages of their different artistic practices to create works that represent a composite of our place and time.

Theatre Junction’s company of artists have created two experimental short works, Archaeology (2006) and Atlantis Project (2006), as well as three full-length pieces which form a trilogy on death, desire, and the Canadian west, Little Red River (2008), On the Side of the Road (2009), and Lucy Lost Her Heart (2011). The Harbourfront Centre in Toronto presented On the Side of the Road as a part of World Stage/Theatre Centre’s Freefall Festival in 2011. Lucy Lost Her Heart premiered in Calgary in March 2011 and at Usine C in Montréal in March 2012 as part of their season of international contemporary theatre.

In 2012, Theatre Junction company of artists created the full-length piece Sometime between Now and When the Sun Goes Supernova which premiered at Theatre Junction GRAND in March 2012 and again as part of their 2013-2014 season. The piece was also performed at Théâtre Aux Ecuries in Montreal in May 2014. Theatre Junction’s latest work Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere will be presented at Theatre Junction GRAND in February 2015 and will tour to le Théâtre Aux Écuries in May of 2016.

Mark Lawes’ work develops collective engagement through performance, creating new languages and forms. In this kind of creation process, dance, music, theatre, visual, and media art intersect one another to manifest a live writing for the stage. Although Lawes is best known for his work in the theatre, as an artist he has always alternated working with an ensemble and working in the solitude of his travels where he concentrates on his research and writing. In addition, the group of performers he has assembled over the last few years is unique in its versatility. The concentration of creation and performance with multiple layers has created spin-off products that are born out of this meeting such as EP’s, short films, design projects, concerts, and parties.

Mark Lawes and Theatre Junction’s Company of Artists have become a group of “performer auteurs” in a variety of fields and at a very high level. They are increasingly assuming the proportions of a “factory” which is clearly broadening its scope, an expansion that has grown organically from within, from the heart of the organization.

Theatre has several specific qualities that make it a rare art form and fuel my desire to continue to create in this milieu. Theatre is the art of meeting. It is an opportunity to be together, to dream, to think collectively, and to imagine a future for us as individuals and our society.

Theatre also has a very specific and delicate relationship to time and therefore history. Theatre is a time shared between people on one occasion in one place. The performance is born each night and dies each night. As such, I see it is an intense celebration of life. Theatre is not an object that you can buy and take home with you. It is a collective condition. It is ephemeral and fleeting, leaving only traces behind, bits of recollections, and memories that become a part of our collective unconscious.

To create this possibility it is necessary to develop a specific language and form that reflects the universe of an artist or group of artists, and then to continually evolve that language and form. Each performance follows its own logic, its own chronology, and its own aesthetic, and it is up to each individual to find its resonance. An audience is a multiplicity of different subjects. Each person who sees a performance thinks differently, feels differently, likes and dislikes different things for different reasons. These differences are at the very core of what I imagine to be a vibrant society and is reflected in my vision for the theatre.

~ Mark Lawes

Artist Biographies

2014/2015 Ensemble

MARK LAWES – Writer, director, performer

Mark Lawes works primarily as a creator of experimental performance with an international multidisciplinary company of artists. His work is created organically out of a friction between fragments of history, visual art, contemporary dance, music, and an alphabet of material coming from dramaturgical research. All of this is put in motion through a process of improvisation. Full-length works include the trilogy Little Red River (2008,) On the Side of the Road (2009), and Lucy Lost Her Heart (2011), which toured to World Stage in Toronto and to Usine C in Montreal.

In 2012, Lawes was selected as laureate of the City of Paris/Institut Français art-in-residence program at Les Récollets to begin research for Sometime between Now and When the Sun Goes Supernova which premiered in Calgary and subsequently toured to le Théâtre Aux Écuries in Montreal in 2014.

Lawes has collaborated with musicians, filmmakers, choreographers, and directors in opera, theatre, and dance. In 2003, he lived in Paris where he worked on projects at l’Opéra national de Paris, le Théâtre de l’Athenée, le Scène nationale d’Orléans, the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, and the Steirischer Herbst theatre festival in Graz, Austria.

Lawes is the founding artistic director of Theatre Junction and was the driving force and visionary behind the redevelopment of the Grand Theatre in Calgary. Under his direction, Theatre Junction GRAND has become one of the leading centers for creation, presentation, and dissemination of international multidisciplinary live art in Canada.

Lawes and his company of artists were invited to Théâtre Aux Écuries in Montreal in September 2014 to work on their latest creation Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere which will premier at Theatre Junction GRAND in February of 2015 and tour to le Théâtre Aux Écuries in May of 2016.

RAPHAËLE THIRIET – Writer, dramaturge, performer

Raphaëlle Thiriet studied theatre in France at la Conservatoire national de région de Toulouse, learning the Grotowski technique under Henry Bornstein. Upon graduation in 1997, she attended the l’Université d’Aix en Provence, where she studied philosophical and political views on theatre. In 2001, she honed her dramaturgy and acting skills under Angela Konrad, dramaturge and artistic director of the In Pulverem Reverteris company. While there, Thiriet performed in works such as Time Is Out of Joint – Part 1, 2, & 3, Richard III, and Traumzeit, and toured throughout France and Germany. She has worked with choreographers Heddy Maalem and Emilio Calgagno (Ballet Preljocaj) and with several other companies in France including Ma voisine s’appelle Cassandre on works by contemporary writers such as Valère Novarina, Edouard Glissant, and Roland Schimmelpfennig. Recent work includes Les instituteurs immoreaux with the company Les travailleurs de la nuit, inspired by the writings of Donatien Alphonse Sade, and Martin Crimp’s The Country, directed by Chris Abraham from Crows Theatre Company (Toronto). Thiriet has been part of Theatre Junction’s company of artists for the past six years, collaborating as co-writer, performer, and dramaturge.

LUC BOUCHARD-BOISSONNEAULT Performer

Luc Bouchard-Boissonneault’s training in martial arts at an early age has been an influence throughout his career. Through karate, he learned about the philosophy of the “other,” of listening to the self, and of balance in the game of conflicting forces. Later in life, Bouchard-Boissonneault became interested in the social dance phenomenon and discovered swing, which he practiced for several years. Intrigued by the body and physicality, Bouchard-Boissonneault pursued a degree in contemporary dance at the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM), which quickly propelled him into the world of professional dance.

As an interpreter, Bouchard-Boissonneault has worked with Dave St-Pièrre in the creation of Un peu de tendresse bordel de merde, which toured internationally including performances in the prestigious Festival d’Avingon, and with Québec choreographer Virginie Brunelle in Les cuisses à l’ecart du coeur (2006), Complexe des genres (2011), and Plomb (2013). He has also worked for Marie Béland and her dance troupe, Maribé. Bouchard-Boissonneault is based in Montreal and has been part of Theatre Junction’s company of artists for the past four years.

MELINA STINSON Performer

Melina Stinson first discovered movement through urban dance in high school. As she continued her studies in dance at the University of Calgary and then in Montreal, she kept searching for the freedom of expression she found in her initial dance experiences. Now, as an independent interpreter and a creator based in Montreal, Stinson is increasingly interested in the body’s sensorial connection to common sense and empathy. Through a range of physical forms and states from ugly to beautiful, sensation is always her goal. Implicit, physical communication among performers and audience is what keeps drawing Stinson to the stage.

Stinson has performed across Canada, France, and Mexico, and has worked with companies such as Carré des lombes, Bouge de là, Lost and Found, Human Playground, Pulse and Puppet, and Woo Me Myth. She has also worked with internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Taryn Javier, Manon Oligny, and Mélanie Demers. Stinson has been part of Theatre Junction’s company of artists for the past four years.

ARRAN FISHER – Live Music and Composition

Arran Fisher is a Calgary-based performer, composer, and music producer who has worked with a multitude of local and international artists. He seeks to tap into the emotional resonance of any given situation whether it be film, theatre, live recording, musical performance, or studio production.

As a collaborative element, Fisher’s music doesn’t adhere to a set genre or instrumentation. Past performance highlights include works conceived and performed with his former band The Summerlad such as City of Noise (2005), an extended piece for 17 musicians created for the High Performance Rodeo, and The Passion of Joan of Arc (2006), a feature-length live silent film soundtrack.

As a musician, Fisher has toured internationally with bands Woodpigeon and The Summerlad and has appeared on over a dozen releases as a main performer with these two bands. His current musical outlets are country-punk trio Lucky Sonne and his personal folk-rock project, Ship Shape. His film work includes the soundtrack for indie feature One Night in Seattle and the score for a promotional film for the United Nations on behalf of the Emirate of Qatar. Recording production credits under his Acoustikitty Studio banner have appeared on dozens of albums in a variety of genres. As a producer, his work has received the Polaris Prize and Western Canadian Music Award nominations. Fisher has been a part of Theatre Junction’s company of artists for the past two years.

NORTH COUNTRY CINEMA  Film and Media

North Country Cinema is a director-driven media arts collective created in 2005 that creates short and medium length film and video content rooted in personal storytelling practices. Cameron Macgowan and Kyle Thomas are two of North Country Cinema’s filmmakers who are part of Theatre Junction’s Company of Artists this year.

CAMERON MACGOWAN  Filmmaker

Cameron Macgowan is a Calgary-based filmmaker and a graduate of the film/video program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). His first outing with North Country Cinema was producing Kyle Thomas’ award-winning film Not Far from the Abattoir (2011). Macgowan’s latest short film, as writer/director, is Black Hills (2012), a gritty and haunting western that has screened widely at festivals across North America. He recently completed his new short film Back Streets (2014), a small town drama produced with the support of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. The film is set for festival release later this year.

KYLE THOMAS  Filmmaker 

Kyle Thomas is a Calgary-based filmmaker and musician and alum of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University in Montreal. His short film Not Far from the Abattoir (2011) was awarded top prizes at the Calgary and Edmonton International Film Festivals for short format work by an Alberta-based director, and was screened in competition at SXSW 2012. Thomas’ latest short film The Post (2013) was presented at Cannes 2013 as part of Telefilm Canada’s Not Short On Talent program. A 2014 recipient of the prestigious Lieutenant Governor General of Alberta Arts Award, Thomas recently completed his first feature film, The Valley Below, a multi-narrative drama set in the badlands of central Alberta. The film was produced with the support of Telefilm Canada and the Alberta Media Fund, and had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014.