The Pivot Festival runs Jan. 24 to Feb. 3 with local and national acts
Since Nakai Theatre launched the Pivot Festival in 2008, there have been some big names and unforgettable performances that have graced stages and pop-up theatre settings in Whitehorse.
The festival has boasted bringing unconventional and award-winning shows from across Canada and the world to Yukon audiences. Award-winning and inspirational pieces – such as Cliff Cardinal’s Huff, the Parisian hit L’Immediat, and the hilarious A Brimful of Asha – have all been part of the festival alongside homegrown playwrights in the process of building new pieces.
Held at the end of January each year – and packed with on-stage and off-stage events – Pivot brings people together to experience art and community in the dark. Its 10th year is no different. With 10 days jam-packed with three shows, speed-friending pop-ups, a pub crawl and more, audiences will have no trouble breaking free of the winter blues.
By Arts Club Theatre Company
Feb 1-3, 8 p.m., at the Yukon Arts Centre
Presented in partnership with the Yukon Arts Centre
Indie-rock musical Onegin is an award-winning show put on by an award-winning cast. Taking place in the Russian winter, it tells a story of love, boredom and what we will do to escape them both.
Co-writer and musical director Veda Hille is no stranger to the Yukon having spent time here in the late ’90s.
“I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in the Yukon from about 1995 to 2005,” Hille said. “It was a very formative time in my life as an artist. I miss you guys! I’m happy that Onegin is going up, of course. It’s a big work, and I think the North will love it. And hopefully I can come up again sometime soon.”
With her experience of the North, Hille is certain that Yukon audiences will connect with and enjoy Onegin.
“Yukoners are hardy people with big feelings, in my experience,” Hille said. “Onegin is a wild, romantic ride, and it’s also irreverent and funny. Tailor-made for Northern sensibilities.”
Written by Ivan Coyote and scored by songwriter Sarah MacDougall
Jan 26 and 27, 7 p.m., Old Fire Hall
Inspired by the CKRW The Rush call-in show, Trader Time, the two artists blend story and song to create a new piece that will be unveiled at Pivot. The series of interconnected stories paint a haunting and sometimes hilarious story of Whitehorse through the perspective of a trans person returning to their birthplace and its history after many years.
3penny Radio Revue
Jan 26 and 27, 9 p.m., Old Fire Hall
Each year Pivot includes a local piece. This year’s local performance features Nakai Theatre’s own artistic director, Jacob Zimmer, alongside Scott Maynard, Roy Nielson, Brenda Barnes, Katie Avery, Moira Sauer and Annie Avery. The piece is adapted from The Threepenny Opera (circa 1928) and boasts beautiful songs about terrible people.
“This is my first full show as a creator and director up here,” Zimmer said, “and I’m excited to share the mix of humour, music, and biting satire that I love – and that the 3penny Radio Revue embodies.”
Keeping up the Pivot tradition of being more than a theatre festival, there will be off-stage events throughout the 10 days that aim to bring people together in unique ways. Audiences will be able to enjoy everything from a pub crawl that blends live storytelling and songs with a group wander to downtown bars, to speed-friending events where they will bond over uncommon questions and a ticking clock.
The Pivot Theatre Festival begins Thursday, Jan. 24 and ends Sunday, Feb. 3. Check the Nakai Theatre website at NakaiTheatre.com for show details and ticket prices, and to buy tickets. You can also check out the events on Facebook.