Theater

Town Choir

Theatre Replacement

We heard everyday private moments, sung out into public space

In four cities across Canada, four singer-songwriters type out observations of the world unfolding around them. Simultaneously, a town choir, located in a public site in downtown Vancouver, 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, Theatre Replacement’s 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.

Story

Town Choir is the musical iteration of Theatre Replacement’s Town Criers project, a continuing series of site-oriented performances created with local collaborators in each location it travels to. The narrative of the piece takes shape through the relationship between the writers and crier/choir, and the public site. In each case, the artists are looking to take the everyday, often mundane experiences of one person, writing from home or a place that is very familiar, and then subjecting those observations to an epic transformation as they are sent to an awaiting crier or choir who then publically proclaims them to both an intentional and incidental audience.

The writers write about the time of day and what they had for breakfast. They write about their children or their pet, what books they love and where they would still like to travel to. They write about their deepest fears and desires. They sometimes speak directly to the crier or the choir — or the audience. Sometimes they send messages home. They predict what will happen one day to the very site where the audience is gathered. In the time it takes to send a text message, these private thoughts are flipped, becoming universal.

To date, the piece was performed in parks, along the shores of rivers, by the ocean, on a tiny island in a fjord, in libraries, community centres, universities and shopping malls. The artists have collaborated with writers, musicians, elders, visual artists, children, choirs, mothers and daughters, mothers and sons, grandmothers, grandfathers and best friends.

At its best, the exercise reflects a community back to itself, while at the same time sending the message out into the atmosphere, to travel through a lingering echo or hum of sound.

Traces

Town Choir and Culture

Discover the script of a performance of Town Choir here.

Discover examples of sentences composed and sent by the four writers on the theme of fears here.

ID card

Theatre Replacement

Theatre Replacement

Theatre Replacement is an ongoing collaboration between James Long and Maiko Yamamoto. Whether working together or apart, they use extended processes to create performances from intentionally simple beginnings. Their work is about a genuine attempt to coexist. Conversations, interviews and arguments collide with Yamamoto and Long's aesthetics resulting in theatrical experiences that are authentic, immediate and hopeful.

The company continues to build and tour its work, and has been presented at internationally recognized festivals and venues, including Festival TransAmériques (Montreal), Magnetic North Theatre Festival (Ottawa, Vancouver, Kitchener-Waterloo), Free Fall Festival and Canadian Stage (Toronto), High Performance Rodeo and Enbridge playRites Festival (Calgary), On the Boards (Seattle, Washington), Fusebox Festival (Austin Texas), Noorderzon Festival (Groningen, Netherlands), PAZZ Performing Arts Festival (Oldenburg, Germany), Everybody’s Spectacular and A! Festival (Reykjavik and Akureyri, Iceland), Dublin Theatre Festival and Dublin Fringe Festival (Ireland), Aarhus Festival (Denmark), INTERsection (Terni, Italy), Foreign Affairs (Berlin, Germany), Soho Rep. (New York) and Woolly Mammoth (Washington, DC).

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Co-production and co-diffusion

Presented with the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, with support from Westbank, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Vancouver Public Library, Tonnta Music, Canada Council for the Arts, City of Vancouver, BC Arts Council and the Province of British Columbia.

Credits for the piece

Theatre Replacement’s Town Choir was performed at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver in January/February, 2017. The show was performed every Sunday of the Festival in a new location: at the Woodward’s Atrium, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, and the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch Atrium.

Creation Maiko Yamamoto and James Long
Writers Kim Barlow in Canning (Nova Scotia), Christine Fellows in Winnipeg (Manitoba), Raghu Lokanathan in Prince George (British Colombia) and Radwan Ghazi Moumneh in Montréal (Québec)
Performance The Vancouver Youth Choir, conducted by Robbie Blake
Vancouver Youth Choir Artistic Director Carrie Tennant
Composer Robbie Blake
Multimedia Designer/Operator Remy Siu
Technical Director Carey Dodge
Managing Producer Corbin Murdoch

Video

Videography Ian Barbour
Edited by Corbin Murdoch
Shot on location in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Photos

Event Emily Cooper
Portrait Tim Matheson

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