In collaboration with choreographer and artist Allison Cummings, I spent several months in Toronto in 2012 making The Queen West Project, which premiered Theatre Passe Muraille’s Theatre Beyond Walls season, funded by a special 50th anniversary grant from the Metcalfe Foundation. The Queen West Project was a site specific immersive dance piece for six audience members at a time, questioning the relationship between homelessness and mental health in Queen West. Queen West is one of Canada’s most rapidly gentrifying neighbourhoods, and a neighbourhood that is built around Canada’s oldest mental health facility, CAMH. The piece was written in consultation with former street youth living at Eva’s Phoenix, and a past resident of CAMH.
The Queen West Project had each of the six audience members wearing headphones, and using a map, on their own distinct route through the Queen West neighbourhood, leading to the grounds of CAMH, where they then followed a dancer through the grounds of CAMH. The piece ended in the community garden at the rear of the CAMH grounds, where all six audience members gathered with the six dancers.
“In three decades of theatre, this ranks, despite its brevity, as one of the most intimate and moving pieces of theatre this reviewer has ever experienced.” ***** (John Coulbourn, Special to the Sun)
The Queen West Project was directed by Deborah Pearson and Allison Cummings. Concept and Script by Deborah Pearson in consultation with Eva’s Phoenix. Choreography by Allison Cummings. Dancers: Lucy Rupert, Viv Moore, Jolyane Langlois, Kevin A. Ormsby, Andrew Hartley and Bill Coleman. Stage Manager: Gillian Lewis. Sound Designer and Composer: Thomas Ryder Payne.
Commissioned by Theatre Passe Muraille for the Theatre Beyond Walls season.
Listen to a clip of The Queen West Project here.
The Queen West Project was on between September 12th – 23rd, 2012, along Queen Street West, with a meeting point at MOCCA.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/121949084″>Queen West 2 Minute Excerpts</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user35230306″>Deborah Pearson</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>