The Bridge Project

Category: community 106

Solo Chicken Productions’ cross-river adventure takes place September 8 in Fredericton. 

Earlier this summer, Fredericton theatre company Solo Chicken Productions announced plans to transform the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge into a fully animated art exhibition. This Friday, The Bridge Project will bring together several artists from across the region – from theatre, dance and music to poetry and visual arts – to create a special one-evening presentation/celebration of the Saint John River and its long and storied history.

“We began the process informally in November 2016 when I talked individually with artists and community groups to see if this would be something they would be on board with,” said Solo Chicken’s Lisa Anne Ross. “The response was really positive so I got the giant ball rolling and starting collecting participants.  In June 2017 we put out a formal call to artists which brought in some incredible submissions, some from artists I had yet to cross paths with.  Additionally, Natalie Sappier who is part of the core artistic team of the project really worked hard to connect us with aboriginal artists in the community and so we are really proud to be featuring the work of many emerging and established aboriginal artists such as Angela Beek, Carly Sappier, Mariah Sockabasin and Tara Francis.”

The Bridge Project will feature a total of 57 emerging and professional artists and community projects exploring the region’s relationship with the Saint John River through theatre, dance, music, art, poetry and film.  

With the help of Sappier, Fredericton playwright Ryan Griffith and several volunteers, Ross and a pair of summer students have spent a large portion of the summer guiding this mammoth project through several stages of development.

“Because we are working with 57 different artists, the scope of the project is enormous, not just in terms of the nuts and bolts but in terms of vision and so my one hope is that as our audience passes across the bridge they are not only inspired and excited by individual works but experience a sense of the project as a whole.”

“I have been blessed with two of the best summer students a company could ask for,” said Ross. “Danielle Chiasson, who is a graduate of STU and is currently attending CAL ARTS in California, is our project Stage Manager and she had been whipping us all into a state of organizational bliss.  She is the consummate workhorse and gets the job done with a smile.  

“Alex Rioux is also a STU graduate and he has been our Media Coordinator and facilitating numerous projects.  He has also been working overtime to pull projects together and has been teaching me the ways of the social media.  Both are former students of mine and it has been such a pleasure to see them excelling in a professional capacity.

“Additionally we have been amassing a huge team of volunteers and Assistant Stage Managers who are going to become a well-oiled machine that will bring this project to life.”

“Perhaps by working together on this bridge and exploring who we are and where we came from we can begin to build a vision of where we can go from here.”

The original call of artists resulted in an enormous amount of interest, which then presented organizers with the challenging task of linking each element together in hopes of creating a cohesive and unifying vision for the event.

“Because we are working with 57 different artists, the scope of the project is enormous, not just in terms of the nuts and bolts but in terms of vision and so my one hope is that as our audience passes across the bridge they are not only inspired and excited by individual works but experience a sense of the project as a whole.  Ryan Griffith was instrumental in helping us to develop this as he is a stickler for building a clear theme to a work.”  

Using the questions: Who are we?  Where did we come from?  Where can we go from here?, as well as incorporating the bridge as the work’s central figure, The BRIDGE aims to offer answers to each of these questions as audiences engage with each artist’s work as they make their way across the river.

“The bridge represents so much to us in terms of being a space that we cross together, that unites us but that also has a history that includes the rise of industrialization and colonization,” said Ross. “Perhaps by working together on this bridge and exploring who we are and where we came from we can begin to build a vision of where we can go from here.”

The Bridge Project will take place September 8 between 5 – 8 p.m., with a rain date set for the following day if the skies are uncooperative.

“After working for almost a year on this project I am just excited to stand at the end of the bridge at 5 p.m. on Friday September 8th and welcome our first audience members and stroll with them to experience the hard work, artistic vision and passion of so many artists and people,” she said.

The Bridge Project | Friday, September 8 ( rain date September 8) | 5 – 8 p.m. | Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge – downtown Fredericton | View Event

The event is presented free of charge but donation are welcome. Dogs must be on a leash. Cycists and skateboarders are welcome but must dismount.

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