The biggest stage in the territory returns with a full schedule of performances. We’ve highlighted some of this season’s standouts with the help of Yukon Arts Centre’s artistic director Eric Epstein and gallery director Mary Bradshaw.
Theatrical performances at the YAC make up a giant portion of the season. From docu-theatre about a Canadian’s real-life struggle with civil liberty, to a play set in Dublin among angels and demons and written in verse, the season features a diverse range of themes and emotion.
One thing theatre patrons tend to agree on is that a glass of wine lends well to enjoying a performance. This detail isn’t lost on the hosts.
The God That Comes is the story is of Bacchus (a.k.a. Dionysus), the god of wine. It’s by Juno-winning Hawksley Workman and is a very musical performance.
“He’s terrific,” says Epstein. “I think people who’ve seen him know – and hopefully others realize – what a charismatic performer and wonderful musician he is. It’s the 3rd time he’s been up in the territory.”
The show is on Nov. 26 and 27, and will be preceded by a wine tasting to honour the gods.
In what is a very different type of tribute to mind-altering substances, the YAC is also presenting the one-man show Medicine.
“Late February we’re doing a piece by legendary fringe performer TJ Dawe,” says Epstein. “It’s an interesting spiritual journey into this heavy duty psychedelic medicine and I think it’ll be quite interesting for a lot of people.”
It’s an account of Dawe’s experience taking the plant medicine ayahuasca at a retreat lead by Dr. Gabor Mate, centered around healing stress and addiction.
It will be presented at The Old Fire Hall Feb. 27 to March 1.
Early in the season, the YAC will feature some local performers. There will be CD releases from Dave Haddock and Old Cabin, as well as a send-off show performed by Kim Barlow who is moving to Nova Scotia after two decades in the territory.
Hot on their heels is one of their biggest shows of the year, featuring local talent as well as acts from across Canada. It’s organized by two artist-run record companies: Yukon’s Headless Owl Records and Ontario’s You’ve Changed Records. It will feature acts such as Wax Mannequin, The Burning Hell, Shotgun Jimmie, andKyle Cashen.
“They’re recording an album together and then also doing a live show – 10 musical acts,” says Epstein.
The show is called The Cost of Doing Business and will be on for one night only: Oct. 11.
The YAC is also showing six live operas throughout the year by way of The Met: Live in HD. The shows will be broadcast live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
The first of these will be Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin on Oct. 5. It’s a romantic tragedy set in the late 19th century, directed by Irish actress and theatre director Fiona Mary Shaw, conducted by Valery Gergiev, a Russian conductor and opera company director, and starring Russian operatic soprano Anna Netrebko and Mariusz Kwiecien of Kraków, Poland.
While there will be crossover shows featuring dance performances in both theatre and music, there are also a few which showcase dancers as the main attraction.
One of which is Danse Lhasa Danse.It’s a tribute to the performer Lhasa de Sela who died on New Year’s Day, 2010.
It’s a production out of Quebec, featuring four singers, five musicians, and eight dancers.
“There’s also video so you actually hear and see Lhasa de Sela,” says Epstein. “It’s a beautiful tribute to an artist who was really beloved – and well beyond the francophone community. It’s a huge show with some really top-notch singers, dancers, and musicians, including her partner, who was her musical director.”
It’s in town for only one night, Jan. 20.
The last dance show of the season will be a performance showcasing many forms of dance. It’s called Inheritor Album, and is performed by The 605 Collective dance group.
“This is the hottest dance group in Canada,” says Epstein. “What they’re doing is really on the edge. They’re taking aspects of all kinds of dance and creating very much their own thing. This is a great piece about kind of the legacy that’s passed on from generation to generation.It’s going to be wonderful.”
It’s also on for just one night, Feb. 13.
The YAC Public Art Gallery features eight different artists this season. The gallery is open Tuesdays to Saturdays and entry is by donation.
From Sept. 12 to Nov. 16 work from three artists will be shown together.
One of whom is Ken Anderson, who Bradshaw describes as a “Tlingit master carver” and “One of the most talented within the territory.”
“He’s using wood but also some more untraditional material like Plexiglas,” Bradshaw says. “He’s playing with unusual colours, as well.”
Alongside the carvings will be work from James Nizam, a Vancouver-based photographer with an interest in abandoned houses.
“The real estate is so hot in Vancouver there aren’t many abandoned houses,” says Bradshaw. “A lot of times it’ll be a house built in the 40’s and now is about to be torn down for condos or the like. He’s been able to gain access to a lot of these houses and go in and photograph before they disappear. In his most recent series, he literally cut a strip out of the entire house and played with the light pouring in. It’s almost like an architectural play on light.”
The third artist is Yam Lau, a Chinese-Canadian out of Toronto who combines video and 3D animation to present uninhabited spaces.
All three artists will be in attendance for the opening, and will give talks that evening.
The YAC is also partnering with the Yukon Film Society to present 14 films as part of Available Light Cinema. Check www.YukonFilmSociety.com/ALC for more information.