Solo Chicken Productions enter a new season with a full slate of workshops and a new creative ensemble, the coop corp.
Last year, Fredericton-based physical theatre company Solo Chicken Productions presented its first major production, A Record of Us, inspired by the work of New Brunswick author David Adams Richards. With the performance presented in the backstage of the Fredericton Playhouse as part of the 2016 NotaBle Acts Summer Theatre Festival, the company made their mark on the city and earned their reputation as a forward thinking physical theatre company. They do good work.
Under the continued direction of co-artistic directors Lisa Anne Ross and Lesandra Dodson, Solo Chicken Productions now enter a new season with a full slate of workshops and a new creative ensemble, the coop corps.
“We wanted to assist and develop a network or pool of artists that we could work with on some upcoming performance based projects,” said Dodson, commenting on the company’s vision for the year ahead. “For a small arts organization like us, we realized that it was almost impossible to fund and sustain creation projects with a large group of artists, but we still really wanted to create a little community of like minded physical theatre artists who were hungry to learn more about the art form, and give them a platform to train and experiment together.”
Using last year’s ensemble, the coop, as a template for furthering actions and conversations surrounding physical theatre with both the artists and the community, Dodson sees the importance in continuing the idea of group training that has come to define the company’s current programming.
“We found that the energy in a group training situation is kinda awesome, so we thought it was important to keep the artistic development aspect alive without necessarily working towards a specific creation or performance,” she said. “All this to say, the coop corps will be training together every week, and there will be a few workshops open to the community through the Groundwork series. The coop corps this season is a group of eight emerging artists, most of whom are still in university, and they partake in the training gratis.”
But the addition of the coop corps doesn’t necessarily mean the company will not be working towards staging another major production in the future.
“Last year was our inaugural year and the coop season was full, with three residencies, a couple shows, and a number of workshops which led us right into the summer months. Right now, the coop is in a fallow period, writing grants, and applying for funding to partake in a couple of different creation and residency projects. Based on funding results, and what’s required casting wise for each initiative, we’ll pull from our coop corps pool and hire some of them for different projects that may arise throughout the season.”
Outside of the company’s weekly rehearsals, 2017 will also see the introduction of a new series of workshops open to all interested theatre and dance artists.
“Last season, the coop company members spent time training together before every rehearsal, especially since some of the members weren’t experienced in physical theatre or dance,” said Dodson. “It was a big part of our focus. Last season, we offered a few open theatrical training workshops to the public as well, but didn’t have a fancy name. And now….Groundwork…we found a name!”
Groundwork is a series of three workshops that will take place over the winter months. Guest instructors will join Dodson and Ross in offering this public series planned for the Charlotte Street Arts Centre during January, February and March.
Movement for the Actor | Instructor: Darryl Tracy | January 23, 2017 | 7-10 p.m.
Viewpoints | Instructor: Thomas Morgan Jones | February 13, 2017 | 7-10 p.m.
Fundamentals of Physicalizing Text | Instructors: Lisa Anne Ross & Lesandra Dodson | March 27, 2017 | 7-10 p.m.
Learn more about the coop corps and the Groundwork series at solochickenproductions.com