PuSh 2010 Curatorial Statement: Nevemore
December 03, 2009
by Heather Redfern, Executive Director of The Cultch
Making the decision to program a particular show can be a complex process. Weighing the artistic merit, financial viability, suitability of the venue, interest the audience might have, and how the production will fit with the other shows in the season are all a part of programming. However, there are other factors that are more elusive: the relationship and history a particular company or artist has to The Cultch and our audiences, the role a company plays in the broader context of professional theatre, dance or music in Canada, and the role we as a presenter play in positioning those companies for future touring both nationally and internationally.
So how did I come to program Nevermore? I have a long history with Catalyst Theatre. I was the Artistic Producer for the company for eight years and oversaw the beginning of its touring activities. I know the work intimately and I know the care and precision that has gone into creating it. I know it will be of the highest artistic interest and quality, and that it will engage an audience on a visual, aural and intellectual level. The Cultch has been Catalyst Theatre’s Vancouver home as much as it has been for Ronnie Burkett, The Holy Body Tattoo, Kidd Pivot, and many others. By bringing back an artist or company every couple of years we build a local audience base. This then allows me to bring in new projects by these artists knowing there will be a public who is interested in seeing it.
Over the past seven years The Cultch has presented three productions by the company— The House of Pootsie Plunket, Carmen Angel and Frankenstein—so bringing in Nevermore was a no-brainer. But there was an issue; one that anyone who tried and failed to get into our sold-out run of Frankenstein can attest to. As Catalyst Theatre has become increasingly more successful, their work has grown in size and complexity. Nevermore was simply not going to “fit” on The Cultch stage. The show was more expensive and the audience demand had outgrown the seating capacity at The Cultch. We needed partners to be able to bring this fabulous show to Vancouver.
I saw Nevermore as an opportunity to continue our foray into other venues – something we did last year when our venue was closed, which serendipitously connected Cultch audiences to a larger artistic community. I approached VANOC with the project, and then Norman Armour at PuSh approached The Arts Club. And a 4-way partnership was born. Some people will think Nevermore is an Arts Club show, others a PuSh or Cultural Olympiad presentation, and some people will think it is a Cultch show; but none of that matters. The most important thing is that you have the opportunity to experience the remarkable journey that Nevermore will take you on. Without each partner bringing their piece of the puzzle to the table, Nevermore would not be showing in Vancouver. See you there!