In 4 different locations across Canada, writers type out observations of the world unfolding around them. In that same moment, a town choir receives these observations via a large screen and sings them out to the public. Drawing on patterns of relaying information that mirror Twitter or Facebook, Town Choir treats everyday considerations as the news. Intimate and minute details are transmitted through the ether, and then filtered through the live body in an epic choral declaration.
Town Choir is performed by the Vancouver Youth Choir, conducted by Robbie Blake, and features writing by notable Canadian singer/songwriters Kim Barlow (Canning, Nova Scotia), Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (Montréal), Christine Fellows (Winnipeg) and Raghu Lokanathan (Prince George). Directed by Theatre Replacement Artistic Directors Maiko Yamamoto & James Long, Multimedia Design by Remy Siu and Technical Direction by Carey Dodge.
Town Choir is the Vancouver iteration of Theatre Replacement’s Town Criers project, a continuing series of site-oriented performances that are built through partnerships with an artist or company and a festival or venue in any given location. Town Criers was first presented at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts (Burnaby) in 2016, and has toured to the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Whitehorse (June 2016) and Everybody’s Spectacular and A! Festivals in Iceland (Reykjavik and Akureyri). Presented with support from Westbank, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Vancouver Public Library, Canada Council for the Arts, City of Vancouver, BC Arts Council and the Province of British Columbia. Robbie Blake’s participation in the development and presentation of Town Choir is supported by Tonnta (Ireland).
January 22: Woodward’s Atrium
January 29: Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre
February 5: Vancouver Public Library Central Branch Atrium
TIME: 12 noon
60 mins, no intermission
Presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.
Just entering their fourth season, The Vancouver Youth Choir is quickly establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with on the Canadian choral scene. Known for their heartfelt and authentic performances, last summer the choir was awarded second place in the youth choir category of the National Competition for Amateur Choirs. For the past three years, they have been the featured guest performer at the Cantando Festival in Whistler and Sun Peaks, performing for over 2000 high school students. 2016-17 marks VYC’s second season as an associate choir with the Vancouver Chamber Choir.
Tonnta is an Irish new music company dedicated to the creation of performance blurring the lines between music and theatre, dance, live art. Directed by composer and vocalist Robbie Blake, the company creates honest, moving and evocative live work. Tonnta is Ireland’s only dedicated new music vocal ensemble and champions the work of Irish composers, with over 25 world premieres given in 2016. Tonnta [‘tʌn’ta] – making new waves in music.
Town Criers was initially created as part of a residency at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. Further development is supported by the Magnetic North Theatre Festival and the Yukon Arts Centre, Everybody’s Spectacular and A! Festivals (Iceland), Tiger Dublin Fringe (Ireland) and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (Vancouver).
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Photos by Emily Cooper