Mark Lawes and 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. Comprised of a unique combination of people, skills, disciplines, and backgrounds, the artistic company includes actors, dancers, musicians and visual artists. Together they create new works in English and French and the multiple languages of artistic practice and origin to create a performances that represents a composite of our place and time.
Mark Lawes, together with Theatre Junction’s Company of Artists, has created two experimental short works and three full-length works that form a part of a trilogy on death, desire and the Canadian West. The Harbourfront Centre in Toronto presented the second chapter of the trilogy, On the Side of the Road, as a part of World Stage and the Theatre Centre’s Freefall festival in 2011. The third chapter, Lucy Lost Her Heart, premiered in Calgary in March 2011 and was presented at Usine C in Montréal in March 2012, as part of their season of international contemporary performance.
Mark’s work develops a collective engagement through performance creating new languages and forms. In this kind of creation process, dance, music, theatre, visual and media art are crossing each other 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 (EP’s, Short Films, Design Projects, Concerts, 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 and Theatre Junction are increasingly assuming the proportions of “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 – author, director, performer
Mark works as an actor, director, artistic director, and creator of experimental performance with an international multidisciplinary, multilingual company of artists. His writing for the stage 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 into motion through a process of improvisation. Short works include Archeology and The Atlantis Project, and full-length works make up a trilogy consisting of Little Red River (2008,) On the Side of the Road (2009), and Lucy Lost Her Heart (2011), that toured to World Stage in Toronto in 2010 and to Usine C in Montreal in 2012. Mark has collaborated with choreographers and directors in opera, theatre and dance. In 2003 he lived in Paris where he worked on projects at l’opéra de Paris, at the théâtre de l’Athenée, at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, at la scène nationale d’Orléans, and at the Steirischerbst in Graz. In 2012, Mark was selected as laureate of the City of Paris and Institut Français art-in-residence program at Les Récollets to begin his creation, Sometime between now and when the sun goes Supernova (2013).
Mark 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 centres for creation and dissemination of multidisciplinary live performance art in Canada.
RAPHAËLE THIRIET – Writer, dramaturge, performer
Raphaele studied theatre in France at the Conservatoire National de Région de Toulouse, learning the Grotowski Technique under Henry Bornstein. After graduating in 1997 she went to the 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 In pulverem reverteris company, a research laboratory. She worked on new creations; Time is out of joint part 1, 2, 3, Richard III, and Traumzeit touring in France and Germany. She has also worked with choreographers Heddy Maalem and Emilio Calgagno (Ballet Preljocaj). She acted with several other companies in France including Ma voisine s’appelle Cassandre on contemporary authors Novarina, Edouard Glissant, and Schimmelpfennig. Recent work includes the new creation Les instituteurs immoreaux with the company Les travailleurs de la nuit, inspired by the writings of Donatien Alphonse Sade. She performed in Martin Crimps The Country, directed by Chris Abraham, from Crows Theatre Company (Toronto). Raphaele has also been working collaboratively for five years with Theatre Junction and its artistic director, Mark Lawes. She has worked as co-writer, performer and dramaturge for Little Red River, On the Side of the Road, Lucy Lost Her Heart and Sometime between now and when the sun goes Supernova.
LUC BOUCHARD-BOISSONNEAULT – Performer
Originally from Québec, Luc received training in Martial Arts at an early age, which has been an influence throughout his career so far. Through Karate he learned about the philosophy of the other, of listening to the self and of balance in the game of forces. Later in his life, Luc became interested in the social dance phenomenon and discovered Swing, which he practiced for several years. Intrigued by the body and physicality, at 25 years old, Luc decided to pursue a degree in contemporary dance at the University of Québec in Montréal, which propelled him quickly into the professional dance world. As an interpreter, Luc has worked with Dave St-Pièrre in the creation of Un Peu de Tendresse Bordel de Merde, which have toured internationally including performances in the prestigious Festival d’Avingon. Luc is also a part of Dave St-Pièrre’s new creation in 2012 Foudres. In parallel, Luc has worked with the Québec choreographer, Virginie Brunelle in Les Cuisses à L’ecart du Coeur in 2006, Complexe des Genres in 2011 and Plomb in 2013. He has also worked for Marie Béland in Maribé, Live in Montréal in 2008. Luc’s artistic path has led him towards dance-theatre and his young career has already brought him to the Montreal stage as well as the stage of many international festivals. This is the second year Luc is working with Mark Lawes and Theatre Junction’s Company of Artists.
MELINA STINSON – Performer
Melina began dancing when she was 17 years old, in Calgary. She completed a BA in dance at the University of Calgary, and moved to Montréal to deepen her studies in contemporary dance where she received a diploma from l’école de danse contemporaine de Montréal in 2009. Since then, Melina has remained based in Montréal where her career has quickly blossomed into the professional world. She has worked with many Montréal companies such as Carré des Lombes, Bouge de là, Lost and Found, Human Playground, Pulse and Puppet, Woo Me Myth, as well as with internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Taryn Javier, Manon Oligny and Mélanie Demers. Melina’s work has led her to perform across Canada, in France and in Mexico so far.
Melina dances because she believes that the human body, as a tool for expression, understanding and common sense is an imperative part of our increasingly digitized world. She loves feeling like an explorer of the unexplainable and always hopes to incite curiosity in her audience, colleagues, students and also in herself. Melina believes that physical sensation precedes emotion and story. This first step is therefore primal, basic and what truly connects us to each other. Sensation is at the core of empathy. This intrinsic sensorial exchange among performers and with the audience in live performance is what draws Melina to the theatre. She continues to investigate a range of physical movements, from ugly to beautiful, in order to create as many different sensations as possible. Melina has enjoyed experimenting in new theatrical territory with Theatre Junction during Sometime between now and when the sun goes Supernova and TJ Lab #1: A work-in-progress presentation.
ARRAN FISHER – Live Music and Composition
Arran 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, his music doesn’t adhere to a set genre or instrumentation. Past performance highlights include works conceived and performed with his former band The Summerlad: 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, Arran has toured internationally with bands Woodpigeon and The Summerlad and has appeared on over a dozen releases as a main performer with those two bands. His current musical outlets are country-punk trio Lucky Sonne and his personal folk-rock project, Ship Shape. In his work for film, he created 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, and as a producer, his work has received Polaris Prize and Western Canadian Music Award nominations. This is the first year that Arran has taken part in Theatre Junction’s Company of Artists.
NORTH COUNTRY CINEMA: Film and Media
North Country Cinema is a director-driven media arts collective created in 2005 creating 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 participating as part of Theatre Junction’s Company of Artists this year.
Cameron is a filmmaker based in Calgary, Alberta. Since completing the film/video program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Cameron has directed and produced two films that have won awards and recognition at festivals across Canada, the United States, and Europe. His most recent film, Liebe (Love), is currently enjoying a wide and successful festival run. Cameron is a programmer for the Calgary Underground Film Festival, and was selected by Avenue Magazine as one of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2012. Cameron is currently producing the first North Country Cinema feature-length film The Valley Below with writer/director Kyle Thomas.
Kyle is a filmmaker and musician from Calgary, AB and an alum of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University in Montreal. Kyle’s 2011 film Not Far From The Abattoir has screened at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, while also receiving awards for “Best Alberta Short” at both the Calgary and Edmonton International Film Festivals in 2011. Kyle is currently in production on his feature-length film The Valley Below, a multi-narrative drama set in the badlands of central Alberta.