Hearts Above Us

Category: stage 249

Solo Chicken Productions, L’Arche Fredericton and the Charlotte Street Arts Centre bring The Spirit Project’s latest collaboration to the stage.

Members of The Spirit Project. facebook.com/solochickenproductions
Matt Carter 

Three local arts-based organizations are joining forces this spring to share a new production/performance with audiences in Fredericton. Solo Chicken Productions, L’Arche Fredericton and the Charlotte Street Arts Centre are inviting the entire community join The Spirit Project for one of three upcoming performances. 

What is The Spirit Project? The Spirit Project is a company of artists with and without intellectual and physical disabilities, led by members of the Fredericton-based physical theatre company Solo Chicken Productions. Their latest production, Hearts Above Us, is a multi-disciplinary explosion of art, theatre, music, and film. Described as an ode to the company and the realization that ‘we are better together,’ the show will receive three public performances across two separate stages beginning Thursday May 25. 

“Our creative process is like a Victorian hedge maze. We begin with a little nugget of gold from one of our artists and then it grows and winds and twists until it becomes something totally new,” said Lisa Anne Ross, the show’s director.

Like the show itself, the name finds its root in the process behind its creation.

“If my memory serves me correctly, Hearts Above Us emerged in the Fall when we were using the prompt, ‘what moves the heart’ as a way to meditate and create,” said Ross. “We did a heart based meditation where we focused on how our hearts felt, smelled, moved and so on.  Golden, ooey gooey maroon, mirror ball, fluttery, soft as a butterfly and beyond.  Part of the meditation involved our heart flying into the sky. Then when we made a physical paper mache version of these hearts and when we held them in our hands during the meditation, suddenly, literally, our hearts were above us… and thus the title.”

The focus of The Spirit Project is to build community through inclusive collaboration. Launched in 2019, the program offers mixed ability arts-based workshops that create space for community members with and without intellectual disabilities to share their voices and foster their creative spirit. Not quite a variety show, and not exactly a typical theatre performance either, Hearts Above Us celebrates the beauty of diversity and individuality in its own unique collective way.   

“Like many a Solo Chicken show, Hearts Above Us is more of a theatrical experience than a traditional narrative production,” said Ross. “In Hearts Above Us, we decided our goal was to share our essence with audiences. To introduce them to who we are when we come together to create. To share the magic that happens and to give people a window into that world.  So it is a collage of us that uses movement, sound, song, poetry and film to communicate that essence. I encourage audiences to just sit back and let it all wash over you like a warm wave.”

Created and performed by members of The Spirit Project
Directed by Lisa Anne Ross
Assistant Director Kaylee MacNeil
Music by Kylie Fox
Set Design by Andrea Evans
Costume Design by Becca Wiegers 
Videography by Strike Pictures

Upcoming Performances: Hearts Above Us

Thursday May 25 | Charlotte Street Arts Centre | 1 p.m. | Tickets 
Saturday June 3 | Black Box Theatre | 1 p.m. | Tickets 
Wednesday June 7 | Black Box Theatre | 1 p.m. | Tickets 

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