Gwaandak Theatre has an exciting line-up of performances and workshops in the coming weeks, and it’s all about cultural collision.
“It’s all linked to a wonderful company from Kitchener, Ontario, called MT Space coming here to share a really, really powerful and sexy and innovative piece of Canadian theatre called Body 13, which all happens on a stretch of Canadian beach,” said Patti Flather, Gwaandak’s managing artistic director.
The “MT” stands for Multicultural Theatre, and the company has a mandate to produce works that reflect the cultural diversity of Canadian communities.
Body 13 tells three love stories that take place on a stretch of Canadian beach in the context of a wedding and a funeral.
The work explores conflicts between generations, genders and cultures through movement and sexuality.
It was the Yukon Arts Centre that arranged for MT Theatre to come to the Yukon for the performances.
But Gwaandak saw an opportunity for much more.
“As soon as we heard that Yukon Arts Centre was presenting this, we said, ‘Oh, can we talk? Can we talk?’” said Flather. “We would love to work with these artists, we would love to spend more time with them, collaborate, and also give more time for people in Whitehorse to just hang out with them and have an artistic dialogue.”
And so Gwandaak Theatre will co-present the shows with the Yukon Arts Centre, and a whole lot more.
There will be three performances of Body 13, at 8 p.m. on January 29-31.
On the Thursday, January 30 event there will be a beach party in the arts centre lobby following the performance. It is free with a ticket to that evening’s performance.
Gwaandak thought that that would be a good way to jolt people from the winter blues and allow them to interact with the visiting artists, said Marjolene Gauthier, the company’s general manager.
There will be a live DJ, bhangra and belly dance lessons and tropical-themed drink specials.
People are encouraged to come decked out in beach-wear, but it’s not mandatory, said Flather.
Over the following days artists from MT Theatre will conduct community workshops in Whitehorse.
Trevor Copp will facilitate The Unexpected Body, a workshop about using your body in surprised and spontaneous ways.
“He’s an amazing dancer as well as actor. He moves beautifully,” said Flather.
The workshop will be offered in English on February 1 and in French on February 2.
And Nada Humsi will facilitate Playful Acting on February 2. It will be a sort of Theatre 101 workshop, introducing people to how to use their bodies to bring texts to live, said Gauthier.
No experience is required for the workshops. They will take place at the Centre de la francophonie at 302 Strickland.
The cost is $25 per workshop, and spots are still available. Contact Gwaandak Theatre to register.
Artists from MT Theatre as well as local artists will also be working with Patti Flather over four days to workshop her new play, Paradise.
It’s about the entangled lives of four characters who find themselves living in different sorts of prisons.
There’s an unemployed logger with a war in his head, a family doctor searching for love, a young woman searching to score and a teenager imprisoned in the war on terror.
“It’s a lot about isolation, too, and people in different spaces, and a lot of times about not connecting. Wanting to connect, not connecting,” said Flather.
“I’m really, really excited to be working with director Majdi Bou-Matar and these actors who have such a grounding in telling stories through physicality and through different ways besides just the text to tell a story.”
The four days will allow the artists to work together on some of the scenes that are the most complicated to stage, she said.
At the end, there will be a public reading of selected scenes.
That will take place at 6:30 p.m. on February 4 at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre’s artist studio.
Please RSVP to Gwaandak if you plan to attend, as seating is limited.
That play is slated for a full production next year.
Contact Jacqueline Ronson at