If you are like me, on Friday you missed the opportunity to hear Ben Cameron of TED fame give an inspiring talk on the importance of artistic innovation. Luckily CADA taped the event; you can watch (but I recommend that you listen) to the entire talk at this website, or by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.
Cameron’s talk is challenging in the truest sense of the word. He wants us to take action, and gives a number of concrete ways other organizations are making positive change to help art become an important part of the everyday lives of those in our community. I was pleased to see that Verb actually implemented many of these strategies long ago, but it occurs to me that we may not have been terribly diligent about spreading word about these policies.
So, without further adue, here are:
Five Things You Might (Not) Know About Verb Theatre:
- OPEN DOOR POLICY - If you want to observe Verb’s process, we’ll do whatever we can to bring you into our rehearsal room. The sensitive nature of our work sometimes prevents us from completely unscrewing the hinge from the door, but if you are interested in being in our rehearsal room, we want to encourage you contact us. You may have an educational agenda (artists can learn a lot from watching each other work), or you may simply be a community member interested in getting involved. Either way, we’re happy to have you!
- VERB SAP - What’s a “Verb show,” and how do we pick them? I’ve been asked in the past if Verb is all about doing theatre for the disenfranchised. It’s a tricky question to answer, because we tend to be interested in marginalized voices, but I think what’s connotated in the above question is if Verb only works with community groups in a sort of therapeutic role, providing forums for their self expression and voice. It’s a practice commonly called APPLIED THEATRE. It’s fair to wonder, given some of the communities we’ve worked with: at-risk youth, homeless Calgarians, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Calgarians, troubled teens, queer artists, and women’s groups. So, here’s the answer: Applied Theatre is an important part of the way we express our mandate here at Verb, but it is only one way. Our mandate, which pivots on a focus to engage our community, can also be realized by programming work that is accessible or finding links to our city or province. When I started Verb, my goal was to create theatre that could be accessible to new theatre goers, but also challenge even the most seasoned theatre goers. I wanted to create work that speaks for itself; Ie. you won’t be required to read the director’s note in the program to understand any Verb show.
The original mandate of Verb was two words: verb sap. It’s Latin for “enough said.” So how do I pick the shows I want to produce with Verb? I ask myself this one question: “If I bring both my artistic mentor and my cattle-ranching dad to this show, will they both find something to chew on?” If the answer is yes, it’s probably a Verb show.
- TICKET SALES - Can’t afford theatre? You can still see one of our shows. Whenever possible (some limitations apply when we are performing in festivals, conferences, etc.), we set aside a number of tickets for those who want to see a Verb show, but are prevented by financial limitations. I believe that nobody should be kept out of the theatre by the cost of a ticket. Email for more details, or stay tuned to the website.
- KIDS, KIDS, KIDS - Col and I place a lot of importance on creating theatre for youths. Though we were unable to program a Theatre for Young Audiences performance in our last season due to venue limitations, we have plans to include one in every season to come.
- NO, WITH A B - It’s Verb Theatre, not Verve Theatre. Apparently Verb is a difficult word to understand over the phone.