Snacks, drinks and fresh theatre

Theatre Projects Manitoba Salons offer a taste of new projects

The TPM Salon moved to The Good Will so that the audience could enjoy food and drinks as well.

Photo by Keeley Braunstein-Black

The 2016-17 season of Theatre Projects Manitoba (TPM) launched with its first Salon at The Good Will Social Club. 

TPM is a group dedicated to showcasing homegrown talent, and their Salon is a monthly multi-discipline showcase where talent at different stages of professional development can work together.

Ardith Boxall, artistic director at TPM, opens the evening by telling the audience they can expect to see work that is currently being written or “on the brink of being produced.” 

The Salons are exciting for newcomers, who gain new skills in a welcoming environment.

“As a student at the University of Winnipeg, I got involved with the Salons,” Kristian Jordan, one of the three founding members of Make/Shift, TPM’s current company in residence, says. 

“It’s just a great way for young actors to make their way and sort of wade into the theatre community at large. Very young and very inexperienced, I was invited to read for all sorts of incredible new plays.”

Make/Shift will continue to read works by other artists throughout the Salons and will use the evenings as an opportunity to test out new material and even divise pieces from interactive writing exercises. 

TPM also works with four student representatives from the University of Winnipeg. 

“Really, what that means is I do a lot of student outreach,” Liam Naughton, student representative, says. “I promote to the University of Winnipeg specifically, certain events, student nights that TPM provides, and I sort of just get the word out that they’re doing cool stuff.”

This year, the student reps have been working with One Trunk Theatre to create a piece of theatre based on independently led surveys.

“The four of us have gotten together and we came up with questions about ourselves, and then we went out and tried to find people who shared the same answers to those questions,” Naughton says. 

“We had to find about 10 people each, and this is a result of that work in a documentary theatre style.”

The workshop style model of the events is a successful one. The Salons were becoming so popular in past years that a larger venue was necessary, Rea Kavanagh, TPM general manager, says. 

“We’ve moved around a fair bit,” Kavanagh says. “We’re keen to bring together performance and the community, so being in a bar is kind of great. To be able to have a beer and a little bite to eat is something that our patrons really enjoy.”

Moving the event to The Good Will ended up inspiring new ideas for acts and new learning experiences for emerging creatives. This year, the Salon will feature sets by DJ Anna-Laure Koop, a recent graduate of Mama Cutsworth’s DJ Acad-emy for All Women. 

“So, this is hopefully a good opportunity for her to sharpen her chops too and have an audience,” Kavanagh says.

For students or artists at any level who are interested, getting involved with TPM Salons is not a difficult task.

“We just say call us,” Kavanagh says. “We’re always looking for opportunities to have a dialogue with students and people who are emerging into the profession.”

Published in Volume 71, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 29, 2016)

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