Solo Chicken Productions Announce Groundworks Series

Category: stage 111

Solo Chicken Productions’ Groundworks Series will offer an open weekend of online theatre training October 16-18. 

Matt Carter

Dreaming big has always been at the heart of Fredericton’s Solo Chicken Productions (SCP). As one of just a few theatre companies in the province dedicated to creating works of physical theatre – a discipline focused largely on movement over dialogue – SCP has found its success by offering an alternative to traditional forms of theatre. This guiding vision has led to the company’s latest announcement – a multi-day training initiative that brings together celebrated instructors from across Canada and the United States for three days of online learning fun.  Some of the planned workshops have titles like You Must Create: A Guided Class, Introduction to Found Weapons and The Presence of Absence. You’re interested aren’t you? 

At a time when performing arts groups of all shapes and sizes are looking to find new ways to connect with audiences and remain relevant in the act of creation and presentation, SCP’s Lisa Anne Ross and Jean-Michel Cliche decided to put together a weekend of online activities, open to everyone, as a way to meet the growing need for theatre training in the region and related engagement brought on, in part, by the current health crisis that has left many companies questioning their age-old programming models. 

“When Jean-Michel first approached me with the idea of an online training weekend we began by thinking about workshops with myself and the usual suspects,” said Ross, who founded the company in 2004. “At some point we realized that time zones and borders and flights were no longer an issue, so why not shoot for the moon.  We compiled a list of all our favourite heavy hitters and this is where we landed.  We started sending out invites, held our breath, and were amazed when the yeses started rolling in.  Jean-Michel and I have a connection to all the artists. Either we took a workshop with them, trained with them or created with them.  We are so incredibly honoured that each of these artists is willing to share their craft with us.”

“With this weekend, we hope to offer our artists world class training and provide opportunities for those artists to be introduced to our amazing pool of talent.”

The Groundworks Series will see workshops from a huge range of notable instructors and artists including Ellen Lauren, founding member and co-artistic director of New York City’s SITI Company and faculty member at The Juilliard School of Drama and director and teacher Stephen Buescher who has taught at Brown University and the Yale School of Drama and is currently the Head of Movement at the University of California. 

Ross believes these events, set to take place online October 16-18, will, like the company itself, provide audiences and artists with something a little different. 

“I guess what makes us a little different is that our work in the company is quite multi-disciplinary and we approach the craft of performance from a diverse array of perspectives and forms,” she said. “We brought that diversity of perspective into the Groundworks weekend, aiming to build a series of workshops that allowed artists to explore their craft from multiple angles.

“Our first goal is to introduce New Brunswick artists to this roster of acclaimed international artists,” she said. “New Brunswick is a wonderful place to live, but as artists, even before COVID, we can become isolated by the distance it takes to travel to major centres. Our work is often overlooked, and training is challenging.  With this weekend we hope to offer our artists world class training and provide opportunities for those artists to be introduced to our amazing pool of talent. A diversity of perspectives, even in the digital space, will be so invigorating.”

Solo Chicken Productions presents Groundworks | October 16-18 | View Event 

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