The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres will present its inaugural Green Award to an East Vancouver–based nonprofit society.
Kendra Panconi and Eric Rhys Miller launched The Only Animal Theatre Company in 2005 “to thrill the blood, stir the soul and revitalize the planet”. It won the Green Award for the Artist Brigade, a leaderless national movement transforming perspectives through cultural projects.
The Only Animal launched the Artist Brigade in 2021 through a two-day paid educational program called Greenhouse.
After 100 artists attended this event at UBC Botanical Gardens, they could go on four field trips to witness the climate crisis. Then, they could pitch artistic projects based on what they had seen.
In the video below, Panconi explains that Greenhouse was designed to seed a “revolution of artists”.
The Only Animal filmed this video about Greenhouse.
“This climate moment needs the imagination, vision and heart that art brings,” The Only Animal states on its website. “Through art, it is our intention to inspire and to mobilize a society paralyzed by climate anxiety and grief.”
One participant, Wen Wen Lu, created an animated video, 來跟我在林里做夢 Come dream with me in the forest. She states online that she was looking for connections to the land in her mother tongue. It includes traditional Chinese calligraphy by Celia Leung and sound design by Robyn Jacob.
The Artist Brigade was the catalyst for this video by Wen Wen Lu.
Another Artist Brigade project dealt with how to process climate grief. Maria Angélica Guerrero, Alyssa Martens, Kelly McInnis, Jackson Tegu, and Adriene Wong conceived it, with dramaturg by Kimberly Sky Richards. Mily Mumford shot the video.
Video: Instructions for grieving this change.
The Only Animal will present with runners-up
At noon Pacific Standard Time on Thursday (February 23), PACT will host a public presentation over Zoom for the winner and the two runners-up to discuss their projects.
The individual artist runner-up, Dennis Gupa, also has a B.C. connection. Now an assistant theatre professor at the University of Manitoba, he’s being recognized for Gossip with Whales: Exploring Ocean Science Through Applied Theatre.
The University of Victoria Faculty of Fine Arts ad Ocean Networks Canada presented this celebration of the ocean. Gupa, a UVic PhD graduate, oversaw this “feast of music and celebration” with various collaborators. This juxtaposition of art and science coincided with the launch of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030.
“Dennis Gupa beautifully uses the collaboration of ocean science and the arts and draws upon the Filipino tanaga and mangyan lyrical art forms to produce four original and beautiful choral compositions: Corals Crawl, To the Pacific, Gossip with Whales and Bamboo Stilts,” the National Pilipino and Canadian Cultural Centre said in a news release.
Video: Learn more about Gossip with Whales.
Last year, Pancouver reported on how Gupa has influenced the Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Society with his ideas on how to decolonize the arts.
Meanwhile, the company runner-up for the Green Award is Toronto-based Soulpepper Theatre for The Green Sessions. It was a series of free online gatherings of climate leaders, activists, and educators.
Video: Ojibwe arts journalist Jesse Wente discussed culture in The Green Sessions.