news, updates, and conversations from Volcano Theatre

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Ross Manson on The Whole Shebang

Who: Ross Manson, Volcano's Artistic Director
What: The Whole Shebang
When: November 23-25, 2012

Q & A with Ross

What’s so great about The Whole Shebang (TWS)?

TWS is emblematic of one of the things I most value about Toronto. We have an arts community here that is generous and adventurous. Artists from all kinds of backgrounds are willing to come together in one place, and just see what happens. We're lucky to have this instinct. And we're lucky to have Andrea showing us to ourselves.


What is your history with Andrea Nann (Artistic Director, Dreamwalker Dance Company)?

I love Andrea! I've worked with her across Canada and Europe over the course of a decade on The Four Horsemen Project - one of our most successful shows. In fact, her presence in that project helped make it all possible. She is a delight to be with, a talent to reckon with, and has the most particularly mathematical mind of anyone I know. She can hold very complex patterns in her mind and understand how they intersect. When you're dancing on offbeats while singing something in a different rhythm, that's useful. Especially when you can understand not only your pattern, but the other dancers', too. She's an astonishing person. And a good arm wrestler.


Do you have a favourite project presented in past TWS programs?

TWS introduced me to the poetry of Souvankham Thammavongsa in 2007 when she read some new poems to a packed house at Harbourfront - a house that held its collective breath, understanding that this was something special, something rare. That was a revelation. Souvankham is perhaps my favourite Canadian poet now. Or one at the top of my list. She was introduced at that particular Whole Shebang by another favourite: Michael Ondaatje. Andrea does this event well, and finds amazing people to populate it.


Dancemakers (Distillery District, 9 Trinity St., Studios 313 & 314)
November 23 & 24 @ 8PM (pre-show activities begin @ 7:30PM)
November 24 & 25 @ 2PM (pre-show activities begin @ 1:30PM)
Tickets from $15 - $25  - Book Tickets Here!

Also check out The Whole Shebang blog - including interviews and musings from artists involved in this year's program!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Meet a Volcano Artist: Kate Alton

Who: Kate Alton
When: November 23-25, 2012

Kate Alton is a featured choreographer presenting two outstanding duets in The Whole Shebang: Book tickets here (from $15-$25!)


Q & A: what do you need to work?


What I want: 
I want an open space, a dancer or two, an eye that I trust to look at what I've done, a solid work period followed by a break to reflect, then another big push once I know what direction I am heading. I also like deadlines, but not tight ones.

What I need:
I need to feel strong and ready physically. I need to get into a headspace that opens up a channel in my mind for the accumulated ideas to flow out. I need to feel safe too, though I wish that this were not true and I hope that it is changing.


Kate's choreography is featured in the Whole Shebang presented by Dreamwalker Dance Company, in association with Volcano. Running November 23 to 25th, the Whole Shebang will host a large cast of dancers, actors, puppeteers and singers - get more information on the show and performers here!


Volcano and Ms. Alton:

Kate has been an intrinsic part of many Volcano productions over the years including Appetite (2009), The Four Horsemen Project (2007), Despair and Other Conundrums (2006), and Mortality (2002). She is currently co-creator and choreographer of a Volcano production in development Until We Say Yes that brings opera singers, dancers and actors together to tell stories about Canadian hybrid identities in the 21st century. Kate is also an accomplished dancer and serves as Artistic Director of Crooked Figure Dances – a company recently re-vamped to focus on Kate’s work as a performer, choreographer and creator.


Check out Kate, and some of her choreography in rehearsal, in this video for Until We Say Yes:

Meet a Volcano Artist: Andrea Nann

Who: Andrea Nann
What: The Whole Shebang 2012 - one:two:one
When: November 23-25

Andrea Nann on stage: Book tickets to The Whole Shebang here (from $15-$25!)

A long-time friend of Volcano, Andrea is the Artistic Director at Deamwalker Dance Company as well as an accomplished dancer, educator and choreographer. 


Q & A: what do you need to work?



Here are a few personal necessities:

I need to start out feeling a healthy dose of uncertainty, doubt, vulnerability, humbleness (I prefer to avoid fear if at all possible). At the same time I need to rub my hands together and to feel positive in body/mind/spirit.

If there are others 'in the room' I need their willingness.

I need hair elastics and hair clips, comfortable underwear, a diverse selection of instrumental music, a couple of songs, a notebook and an active imagination.

I need to know that there are lots of different snack options in my bag - BEST if they have a crunchy or chewy texture - even if I never get around to eating them.

I love salt.

I need to know that I am currently 'inside my craft' whether this means that I am keeping up a daily practice or am otherwise immersed in activities that connect me to the question, "what moves me?".  I need to be able to work barefoot and to have the freedom to move in and out and on the floor.

I need to know that my family is safe and well.

I need to be both inside and outside the experience, simultaneously observing myself and others as both a doer and a witness.  I need to remain communicative.

When I'm really in the thick of things I need quietude.  I need to enter a shadow and experience solitude.  I love the hours between 1am-3am when others are asleep and I can find true stillness in the dark. 


In association with Volcano Theatre, Dreamwalker presents the 6th edition of The Whole Shebang from November 23-25, 2012. A presentation of performances by a plethora of amazing artists, this event brings together the Toronto arts community - dancers, visual artists, opera singers, puppeteers, actors - for a unique and eclectic three nights. 

Check out The Whole Shebang blog that includes stories and ideas about twins from participating artists:


Volcano and Ms. Nann:

Andrea was on-stage as part of the ensemble in Volcano's The Four Horsemen Project (2007). This production, combining poetry, projected animation and dance was based primarily on the work of a group of poets formed in the early 1970s in Toronto - Rafael Baretto-Rivera, Paul Dutton, Steve McCaffery and bpNichol. Collectively, the Four Horsemen were one of the first sound-poetry ensembles anywhere in the world. They worked in an experimental mode that included both concrete (visual) poetry, and sound poetry, and in so doing, quickly gained an international reputation for wild invention and informed irreverence.

Volcano also worked as an associate producer on The Whole Shebang when Andrea launched the series.

Check out Andrea in this video of The Four Horseman production: