“Before Lost&Found, there was Theatre&Company. The ampersand, which signifies association, is a fitting symbol of this longstanding tradition of ensemble theatre work.”
This is a line from my column this week, which describes a new initiative led by Lost&Found Thetare education director Alan K Sapp.
It’s called “The Genesius Project,” after the legendary Genesius of Rome, patron saint of actors, comedians and entertainers.
The ampersand is a fitting symbol here too, in that it is a proposal for collaboration and association.
This is also what the idea of a rhizome network is all about: building, or discovering, the connections that constitute the local and regional arts community, and strengthening them to establish a platform for concerted action and a legitimate voice for the arts in our region.
The Genesius proposal is directed to the theatre arts practitioners of all types, individuals and organizations; established and emerging professionals, but also amateur performers; undergraduate theatre arts students as well as recent graduates.
At the core of the project is a conception of the full spectrum of types of theatre work as a kind of eco-system.
The geography is not just Waterloo Region, but Waterloo-Wellington – the four cities, plus all the towns, villages and rural areas of the central Grand River watershed.
The call is not to associate for the sake of associating, but to action in the form of a set of workshops, a staged reading and a large scale stage production over two years.
The aim is to strengthen the whole by engaging energies from all the various parts.
From a Rhyzome Diary perspective, this is a very encouraging development.
On the day the column was published, the Tri-City Stopgap “pop up” exhibit opened at 151 Weber Street, an empty industrial and office space in Waterloo.
The ampersand applies to this project here as well: As Robert Reid reports in The Record, this initiave led by led by three Waterloo Region artists (Michael Ambedian, Nadine Badran and Sheila McMath has attracted broad involvement from the regional visual arts community, including some of our most accomplished professionals (Impromptu exhibition attracts Who’s Who of Waterloo Region artists).
When I wrote about Stopgap in my column three weeks earlier, which was less than two weeks before the deadline for proposals, 15 artists had committed to showing their work. Close to 70 ended up participating.
Again, very encouraging. This is an indication that something like a rhyizome system already exists. It doesn’t have to be built, but discovered and utilized. And the best way to do that is by a call to some kind of action.