Submissions and Auditions
or, how do you let know us know want to be involved?
Curatorial Statement for Nakai
As Artistic Director of Nakai Theatre, I take our multiple roles in our communities to heart. The company does not exist for my artistic expression or even the benefit of theatre artists in the Yukon, but rather for the benefit of a thriving territory and a strong social and creative life.
Of course, as Artistic Director and curator of Pivot, I do bring values and approaches to my work and they contribute to how I select and work with collaborators and performances. I think it’s best to be up front and honest about that.
Here are some of them. Of course, there are lots of ways to do all these things. And I’m happy to talk more about any of them.
A Good Night Out
Being glad you got a babysitter is more than a reasonable desire. This doesn't mean every show is going to be right for everyone, but it does mean we care and attend to the experience of the audience. We match the marketing to the show and provide the appropriate context for each performance.
Theatre that acknowledges that we are all in the same room. This is performance’s magic – what is specific to our approach to storytelling that screens or paper cannot do. We, both the artists and the audience, are sharing a space, and celebrating that is powerful. In these times when isolation and atomization of experience is so encouraged, theatre can offer an alternative.
Artists who will spend real time making connections with local artists and audiences. Value is created in the time and exchange between guests and people who live here. I want to work with artists who are excited and experts at this kind of exchange. Engaged artists build local response to their work as well as creating more capacity in the community and in themselves.
Responding in the present, learning from the past, looking into the future. Our work resonates with the concerns, hopes and lives of folks in the early 21st Century. Being interested in sharing space at the same time does not mean rejecting or downplaying technology or change.
I believe we are best when we acknowledge and embrace our differences and find ways of relating and collaborating – honouring our specificity. I am drawn to work that has the courage to own its position and the specificities of its collaborations with generosity and curiosity.
Specificity also includes considering what is appropriate for the season and the context. In programming we must be aware of the needs and realities of our climate and social patterns. There are great shows that aren't great for January in Whitehorse. We will select different work for 18 hours of darkness than we will for 18 hours of light.
Similarly, different shows will work differently in different locations – a show might be right for an international festival but totally wrong for Haines Junction. I don't judge that one is better than the other, but do acknowledge that they're different contexts that need different treatment. It may also be that shows will work in different ways, or at different levels, for different audiences.
We work with respect and expect the same of our collaborators. No one is so talented or important that this does not apply to them. This does not rule out silliness, critique or satire.
A good night out doesn’t mean checking our ethics or our minds at the door. Racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia aren’t funny. If we can’t find other ways of being funny, we shouldn’t be on stage.
Good ideas are entertaining. Don't doubt the intelligence of the audience, and don't assume their knowledge.
Theatre practices have more to offer than just performances. I look for opportunities to connect beyond the arts and make a difference in people’s lives outside the theatre.
I'll be honest, as a director – and as a performer – auditions are kind of terrible for everyone.
But also, it's really important for me to see who's performing in the territory, because I want to work with and develop local artists.
If you're in an upcoming production or performing in any context around town or the territory, let me know and I'll do my best to attend.
If you want to have a conversation to talk interests and abilities, let me know and we can have a tea.
For writers and creators:
While we have limited resources, we are eager to support and develop Yukon theatre makers and projects.
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I'm open to working conversations with anyone working on theatre or other performance projects.
Given the my specific background as a dramaturge, the earlier in the in the idea phase, the more helpful I can be.
Get in touch and we will find some time.
Some values I work with:
Generosity, humour, the belief that singing together helps, a mischievous glint in the eye, commitment to social justice and systems change, interest in big ideas, art's capacity to make the familiar strange and the strange familiar, the importance of a good night out that doesn’t require checking your brain or ethics at the door.
To check out some of the things I’ve done in the past you can go to the Small Wooden Shoe website.
Things we’re working on over the next few years:
Collaboration – Theatre created with the people performing/building it.
Plays with music
Large scale outdoor puppets, parades, and spectacles.
Developing peer networks for performance makers
Developing work part-time over longer periods to allow collaboration with folks with jobs and/or kids
Readings and development of new work
On-going performance training
Connecting live performance to digital distribution
Theatre practices as a way to help others in life, business, etc...
Types of folk we're hoping to meet:
Dancers (all styles)
Other kinds of creators including:
Podcast or radio makers