Solo Chicken Shuffle the Roost

Category: stage 201

Fredericton-based physical theatre company Solo Chicken Productions announce departures, appointments and future plans.

Matt Carter
Jean-Michel Cliche joins the team at Solo Chicken Productions.

Like many arts organizations grappling with the unexpected challenges brought on by COVID-19, Fredericton’s Solo Chicken Productions have been trying to answer a lot of questions lately. How does an art form so closely associated with live performance – theatre, dance, music – adapt to the new normal and move forward in new creative ways? More specifically, what is theatre without an audience?

“We are working to find creative ways to continue mentoring and creating with our artists, connecting and fostering our community projects and performing for our audiences,” said the company in yesterday’s announcement. “Our mantra is ‘don’t freak out and if you do that’s ok!’ We are trying to create options for each project that allows us to be in person when possible and to stream online when necessary.”

While the company’s Spirit Project has been put on hold until the fall, SCP currently have a number of projects on the go including Own This Space, a project that offers LGBTQ2+ youth from Fredericton area high schools opportunities to foster their creativity and self-expression and to explore gender identity in a safe environment free of expectations and judgement. Guided by local theatre artists Alex Rioux and Esther Soucoup, this group has remained active through online meetings and have recently completed a new script through this process. There is also a new company project in development described as a “tragedy, comedy, romp” and new creative partnership with Atlantic Ballet Theatre.

These three projects, along with others in development, have continued to keep SCP’s schedule a busy and creative one.

Along with this update on work-in-progress, SCP have also announced the departure of co-founder and co-artistic director Lesandra Dodson, recently appointed Director of Programming at the Fredericton Playhouse.

Stepping in to fill Dodson’s shoes will be Jean-Michel Cliche, a founding member of SCP’s the coop and an active member of the city’s theatre community.  Over the past few years Cliche has worked with NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival, Bard in the Barracks, Theatre New Brunswick and UNB’s drama program. He also runs the improv company Hot Garbage Comedy and is currently New Brunswick’s only trained fight director.

“I am thrilled and honoured to be stepping into the role of Co-Artistic Director of the coop, as the company has played a big role in my development as an emerging artist,” said Cliche. “As someone who grew up on superhero and fantasy stories, I’ve always been drawn to the idea of ‘The Team’ – an eclectic group of talented people, each with their own complementary and contrasting special skills. I think that’s exactly what the coop does so well. Lisa [Anne Ross] and Lesandra have a knack for recruiting passionate and talented artists, throwing them in a studio, and saying ‘okay, do your thing.’ And then they do! When you know everyone has their own strengths, creation becomes very fluid. You know when to flex your skills and when to sit back and observe. Everyone is the leader and everyone is the follower.”

More news on all upcoming SCP projects is expected in the weeks and months to come.

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