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eNews | Behind the Scenes | Upcoming | Phoenix Phacts | Perks | Kudos

eNews: Phoenix BackstagePASS

Each fall we welcome our students back into the world of the Phoenix and the day to day process of going to classes, writing assignments and memorizing lines. But every October we also welcome the return of some of our theatre graduates to grace the Phoenix stage once again as we put a spotlight on our alumni. In this issue, read up on alumnus Sebastien Archibald's endeavours with ITSAZOO Productions or — if you're one of our alumni — consider putting yourself in the spotlight next season!

Behind the Scenes: These alumni are not just clowning around!

Vancouver's ITSAZOO Productions is making name for itself with edgy political fare.

Robin Hood set in Vancouver's downtown eastside; the enchanted Forest run like Disney World by a large company; a fun loving clown trying in vain to climb the corporate ladder; or the media exploitation of a gruesome crime… But whether his plays are fraught with humour and metaphors, or tackling his edgy, political subject matter head-on, ITSAZOO writer-in-residence Sebastien Archibald isn't clowning around.

Archibald writes plays that often reflect national news stories, sometimes presenting hypothetical situations of ethical conundrums that have since, in our ever-changing media landscape, actually happened. Heightening their connection to contemporary life, ITSAZOO Productions often performs his plays "outside the cage," in nontraditional locations like outdoor parks or city parking garages.

Of last summer's production of Robin Hood —which was performed in Queen Elizabeth Park and was held over for an extended run —the Vancouver Sun commented

"Sebastien Archibald's script is a mix of the clever and the twee. In keeping with the spirit of political theatre, his characters are all caricatures and the messages are bombastic..."

However, Archibalds' play Death of a Clown is performed inside a theatre when it runs at the Phoenix Theatre at the University of Victoria from October 14 -23, 2010. The play presents a critique of our corporate-obsessed world through the eyes of Roy, a floppy, fun-loving clown. Roy's world is a rigid and oppressive metropolis where everyone is preoccupied with success and climbing the corporate ladder. Roy tries to suppress his nature to fit in, but it's not until he meets a sassy radical clown named Anna that his life is thrown upside down.

"At its core, Death of a Clown is about the freedom to act with reckless abandon for all the right reasons. It's about finding humanity in a dehumanized world," says Archibald. "It serves as both a comment on the artifice of corporate culture and the artifice of theatre itself, with the clown offering a way to transcend both."

Originally written and performed at UVic in 2004 as a SATCo production (Student Alternative Theatre Company), the play was presented at the Victoria Fringe in 2006 and then chosen as a finalist in the Theatre BC
National Playwriting Competition. It is being presented this October as the Phoenix Theatre's Spotlight on Alumni. During their time together at the Department of Theatre, Archibald and ITSAZOO Co-Artistic Directors Chelsea Haberlin and Colby Wilson hatched their provocative new theatre company. In 2007, ITSAZOO moved their company to Vancouver and in 2008 was named Vancouver's Favourite New Company by The Westender magazine and awarded "M" Awards for "Best New Play" and "Favourite Actor" by Victoria's Monday Magazine.

Death of a Clown features several UVic alumni, including performances by Sebastien Archibald, Cameron Anderson, Chris Wilson and Colby Wilson; costume design by Meredith Grantier; set and props design by Kyle
Sutherland, lighting design by Eugene Mendelev and sound design by Chris Adams. Vancouver artistic contributions include performances by Leslee Brownlee and David Benedict Brown, projection and video design
by Michael Antonakos and stage manager Lois Dawson.

"ITSAZOO Productions clearly has the talent and skill to create fine professional work."— Times Colonist

"Archibald may well become one of our best playwrights if he continues to develop the abundant talent he displays with this work. Death of a Clown is a worthy contribution in its artistic content, production value and social
— Vancouver.org

Theatre Alumni: Want to be considered for next year's Spotlight on Alunmi? Read this!

Upcoming Events: October > November

October 12 & 13, 2010:
$6 Public Preview Performances of Death of A Clown
Tickets are available to the public after 5pm on day of performance, by phone or in person.

Thursday, October 14 @ 7:30pm
Corporatizing the University: Risks and Opportunities
FREE - Public Issues Community Forum
Harry Hickman Building, Rm. 105
Should universities be involved in initiatives that have commercial value? Is academic freedom and instructional quality adversely affected in universities that have moved closer to the marketplace, or is increased commercialization an important strategy for survival in difficult economic times? A fascinating discussion with distinguished panel.

Death of A Clown

October 14– 23, 2010:
Death of A Clown

By Sebastien Archibald | Produced by ITSAZOO Productions

Evening Performances @ 8pm. Matinee October 23 @ 2pm

Meet Roy! He's a floppy, fun-loving clown who was born into a rigid and oppressive world. He has to suppress his clowning nature to claw his way up the corporate ladder. But when he meets Anna, a sassy rebelious clown, Roy's life is thrown into chaos! (Advisory: Mature subject matter and strong language.)

Friday, October 15 @ 7pm:
Death of a Clown Preshow Lecture:
Join us for a free lecture on the first Friday of each production. Playwright Sebastien Archibald and director Chelsea Haberlin join Dr. Jennifer Wise in conversation to discuss the play and their company.

Presented bylogo

November 11– 27, 2010: Yerma
By Federico García Lorca
Directed by Warwick Dobson

Monday, November 29, 2010
Deadline for
Submissions for 2011/12 "Spotlight on Alumni"
Hey Theatre Alumni! Bring your successful theatre project to your old alma mater. The Department of Theatre invites our alumni to submit a proposal for the department's October 2011 "Spotlight on Alumni" show in the Phoenix Theatre's 2011/12 season. Click here for details. Deadline for submissions is November 29, 2010.

February 24 – March 5, 2011: Twelfth Night
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Linda Hardy

March 17 – 26, 2011: Inside
WORLD PREMIERE!! By Daniel MacIvor
Guest Director David Ferry

Phoenix Phacts:
News on Alumni, Faculty, Staff and Students

The fall theatre season has begun and our students, staff and alumni are busy in the theatre world. Here's a sampling of their activities and accolades.

The University of Victoria and the Department of Theatre are proud of theatre design professor Mary Kerr who, has been honoured with a fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), and announced this September. The RSC is the country's senior national body of distinguished Canadian scholars and a fellowship in this society is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon an academic. Kerr is the first and only set and costume designer to be inducted into the society. She has worked in every type and scope of production medium and in collaboration with playwrights, directors, producers, choreographers and performers. This spring she designed Sweeny Todd at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. Her next project is co-writing a show entitled Bella: The Color of Love about writer Bella Chagall, the wife of Marc Chagall and the subject of many of his paintings to be presented as a joint venture with Gershman Y, the Philadelphia Theatre Company and the Philadelphia Museum Art. Recently for the Phoenix Theatre she has designed the set and costumes for Wind in the Willows and Romeo and Juliet. Kerr's costume designs can be seen this November in our production of Yerma, by Federico García Lorca. Congratulations Mary!

Second year creative writing and theatre student Asia Wolfe has been chosen as one of five finalists in the Times Colonist's So You Think You Can Write challenge. Click to read her submission. Go Asia!

After their "Encore!" Season, Blue Bridge Theatre is holding their own encore and bringing back alumnus Zachary Stevenson (BFA '03) for a special fundraising evening repeat of Hank Williams: The show he never gave on Sunday October 17.


Theatre Inconnu presents the critically acclaimed "rock musical" Love Kills by Kyle Jarrow until October 30. Directed by department instructor Clayton Jevne (BFA '85, MFA '88 and PhD '03) it also features alumni Marina Legacé (BFA '10) and Cam Culham (MFA '03).

Ingrid Hansen (BFA '09) of SNAFU Dance Theatre is pairing up with William Head on Stage for CHALK which takes place inside the William Head Minimum Security Prison from October 22 - November 20.

Alumnus Amitai Marmortstein (BFA '07) is staring in the Belfry Theatre's production of The Trespassers which closes October 17. Up next in their season is The Life Inside which includes instructor Clayton Jevne (BFA '85, MFA '88 and PhD '03) and professor Jan Wood. The Life Inside is a unique piece of music theatre created specifically for the Belfry and the largest production in their history. It opens November 16 and runs through to December 19, 2010.

Professor Allan Stichbury has been busy! He designed the sets for Theatre Calgary's September production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Opening in October is Last Dog of War, where he designed the set and lighting for the play directed by Daniel MacIvor for the Alberta Theatre Project. Currently he is already working on the set designs for two operas for the 2011/12 seasons as well as the designs for several Phoenix plays this year. Whew!

Theatre Alumni!
Send us your news, show updates or reviews and we'll include them in the next BackstagePASS! Check out past Phoenix Phacts on our website.

Email Perks & Interesting Links:

Win two tickets to Death of a Clown!
Answer the skill testing question and email us the answer and you could win two tickets to see Death of a Clown. What year was Death of a Clown first performed as a SATCo at the Department of Theatre? Send your answer before Tuesday, October 12 at 9am to be entered into a draw to win.

Still time to subscribe and save up to 50%!
Subscribe to the 2010/11 Phoenix season and save up to 50%. Attend three plays for $33 or four for $44. Yup, that's a deal! Click here to see our season on our website, download the subscription order form (PDF) or call the Phoenix Box Office at 250-721-8000.

Sponsor Kudos:

The Phoenix Theatre would like to thank our individual donors and community sponsors for their support of our programs and talented students! Thank you!

Community Partner: Cadboro Bay Village Cadboro Bay Village Merchants
Including: Cadboro Bay Book Company, For Good Measure, People's Compounding Pharmacy, Pepper's Foods and Smugglers Cove

Contact Adrienne Holierhoek for information about how your company can support emerging theatre artists at UVic.

Phoenix eNews is a regular email magazine for those interested in the Phoenix Theatre, the not-for-profit productions at the University of Victoria's Department of Theatre. Do you know someone who would love to know more about us? Please feel free to forward this message to a friend!