Special Pres: PACT's Digital Dramaturgy / by Michael Kruse

This time a special presentation that I happen to catch at the last minute about digital dramaturgy. The teleconference was recorded on April 25, 2018 as a presentation of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatre. The panel discussion is an result of an idea by the artistic practice committee of PACT and centres around the role and dramaturgy of projections in theatre. Designer Beth Kates and artistic director and playwright Gil Garratt from the Blyth Festival speak with Theatre Projects Manitoba artistic director Ardith Boxal and director, writer, and arts educator Health Davies about how to successfully integrate projection into a live theatre production.



Jeremy “Boomer” Stacey - professional development manager PACT

Jeremy “Boomer” Stacey, has been working on PACT PD since joining the office in 2010 – just in time to work on the Conference in Cow Head, NL. Aside from work in event production and professional development, Boomer also has a wide range of experience in international performing arts for young audiences. In addition to PACT he works as International Performing Arts for Youth’s (IPAY) founding Executive Director, works on the board of ASSITEJ Canada (Treasurer) and sits on the Pickering Rouge Canoe Club (Commodore). Prior work includes the Artistic Directorship of the renowned Milk International Children’s Festival of the Arts at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Boomer holds a BFA, visual arts, specializing in photography. He lives just outside Toronto with his wife, boy, girl, dog & cats and the occasional raccoon but has started the slow move to the cabin in the woods in Northern Ontario.

Beth Kates - designer

Beth Kates is an award winning Theatrical Lighting, Set, Costume and Projection Designer, Production Manager, and project consultant.  She is the co-Creative Director/Designer of Playground Studios a design firm she started with partner Ben Chaisson that is dedicated to creating new spaces, re-inventing the use of traditional and non-traditional theatre spaces, as well as producing original work and offering a full spectrum of design and project management services. 

Her work in rock and roll, dance, theatre, opera, and photography has taken her across Canada, the US, UK, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.  Career highlights include Lighting Design: Spurt of Blood and Miinigoowezewin (Banff Arts Festival), Anaconda (Tangent Montreal), the Dora Award winning Music For Contortionist (Shaw Festival and Tarragon Theatre), and numerous works by choreographer Learie McNicols.  Set Design for the award winning production of Assassins directed by Adam Brazier; Production Design for: the world premiere of Judith Thompsons’s Such Creatures directed by Brian Quirt, LuminaTO/Tapestry New Opera Works’ epic oratorio Dark Star Requiem directed by Tom Diamond, and Julie Tepperman’s Yichud (Seclusion).   Yichud was an extensive design that required re-imagining the use of the traditional theatre space to allow the whole building to be converted into a realistic Orthodox Jewish Synagogue.

Beth’s work as a Projection Designer began in 1995, and over the years she has become a self taught Video Editor, Videographer, Photographer, Graphic Designer, and Animator in order to facilitate the creation of various projects. As the Resident Production Designer for WYRD Productions, she has created designs for Slightly Bent, MacHomer, Into The Ring, Bigger Than Jesus, and HARDSELL.  Bigger Than Jesus earned Beth the 2005 Dora Award for Outstanding Lighting Design. In 2009 she, along with husband Ben Chaisson, was nominated for the prestigious Siminovitch Prize in Theatre. Beth and Ben were also recently cited as one of Toronto’s Top Ten Theatre Artists by NOW Magazine.

Gil Garratt - artistic director, The Blyth Festival

Gil Garratt is a director, playwright, dramaturge, Dora Award-winning actor, and theatre administrator who has worked across Canada and internationally. With a career that has been dedicated primarily to the development of new Canadian plays, Gil has been with the Blyth Festival since 1999.

Gil’s varied and eclectic career as a creator has seen him collaborate with such radical play creation companies as DNA theatre and The Cabaret Company, to such mainstream institutions as The Stratford Festival and The Grand Theatre. As a performer Gil has literally worked all over the country, including: Theatre NorthWest in Prince George, BC, Centaur Theatre in Montreal, Canadian Stage’s St. Lawrence Centre in Toronto, Shakespeare in High Park, Neptune Theatre in Halifax, the Festival Players of Prince Edward County, Buddies in Bad Times in Toronto, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, to name a few. Gil is also member of the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada, several of Gil’s plays have received multiple productions, toured internationally, and been translated into French.

Gil graduated from the National Theatre School’s Playwriting Program in 1998, holds an Honours BA from the University of Waterloo, and an MA from the University of Guelph.

Ardith Boxall - artistic director - Theatre Projects Manitoba

Artistic Director Ardith Boxall is an actor and director. In 2005, after a year as associate artist, Ardith was appointed the Artistic Director of Theatre Projects Manitoba, a company dedicated to new plays and the development of local artists. Prior to this, she worked primarily as a freelance actor for stage, film and television, a drama instructor, and was an emerging director. A graduate of the University of Winnipeg with an honours degree in Theatre and Drama, Ardith continued her studies at the National Voice Intensive at Simon Fraser University, and mentored in directing under several of Manitoba’s finest theatre practitioners.

Since the company’s founding by Harry Rintoul and members of the community in 1990, Ardith has maintained strong ties with Theatre Projects. Several acting, assistant directing and directing credits at TPM over the years have reinforced the need to preserve the Company as a professional theatre for artists in our region. Selected TPM credits include Ce Weekend la, Live With It, I Do…Do You? The Monster Trilogy, Age of Arousal and three instalments of In the Chamber (2006, 2007 and 2009).

Heather Davies - director, writer, educator

Heather Davies was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and grew up in Toronto, Ontario. She's trained as a dancer, singer, actor and musician and has worked professionally since her teens. Heather moved to the UK to continue her actor training; she lived and worked in theatre there for 18 years. In 2001 she began focusing on directing full-time when she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company as a resident director, working there for nearly three years. She returned to Canada in 2007 to attend the MFA- Theatre program at York University, graduating in April 2009. From September 2009 to February 2011 she was the Artistic Associate at The Grand Theatre in London Ontario. She continues to enjoy directing, writing, teaching and adapting in the UK and across Canada. Highlights of 2017 included becoming the first Artistic Director of The Ryga Festival, (inspired by renowned Canadian writer, George Ryga) in Summerland, BC and directing Colours in the Storm at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario. In 2018, as well as returning to Summerland, Heather's stage adaptation, Judith: memories of a Lady Pig Farmer, (original novel, Judith, by Alberta writer Ardith Van Herk), will premiere at the Blyth Festival. Other projects in development include Silverfish (an original play about economic migration) and the stage adaptation of Night Desk, (novel by George Ryga). She is represented by Ian Arnold at Catalysttcm.com Email: ian@catalysttcm.com