Trans-Script: New theatre for 2016

Trans Script Art - Mask

It’s been a long while since we’ve posted here, but we haven’t gone away.  Faith&Arts is still very much alive and dreaming up new ways to connect with our spirituality imaginatively.  In fact, we’re about to premiere our fourth piece of original theatre and we’re excited!

Trans-Script asks an essential question: “Is love enough?”

What do you think?  Are there times when love is not enough?

Trans-Script is based on real experiences and real people. We gathered stories at a series of workshops in the fall, our theatre professionals Eleanor and Rosemary took some time to sift and write, and our cast of talented volunteer actors have been rehearsing hard to bring Eleanor and Rosemary’s script to life.  And now we’re just weeks away from our first performance.

Stay tuned to learn all the details, and check out our Trans-Script page for more info.

Cracks Festival

JPEG Cracks web banner

The first Cracks Festival is just a few days away.  Helping to plan and organize it has been a 14 month journey of creativity, inspiration, and nail-biting stress.  But that’s all over now; now the fun begins.

Its hard to believe that a casual conversation in a church hallway last year has turned into this one-of-a-kind event.  It is going to be an amazing weekend.  If you haven’t got your tickets, HURRY UP!

Check out the concerts and the workshops and the worship, then buy your tickets here.

Don’t miss it!  It really  is going to be great.

Writing the Sacred: A Psalm Writing Workshop

When: Saturday, October 25, 2014
Where: St. Paul’s-Eastern United Church
473 Cumberland, Ottawa
Workshop: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  
Cost: Suggested Registration: $25 | Students: $10
For information or to register phone: 613-237-1821 

Ray McGinnis -  Writing the Sacred

Workshop leader Ray McGinnis brings a splendid range of writing exercises to spark your imagination. At this workshop, come play with words, come nurture your spirit as you learn ways to write your own new psalms. Explore how Psalm writing can deepen personal and spiritual growth.
Ray brings to this workshop simple step-by-step exercises to help you write a new psalm with ease. Come and explore the thin spaces where reflective writing and spirituality meet. This workshop is designed for both those who enjoy writing and those who have never put pen to paper. This is a workshop open to older children, youth and adults. Signed copies of Writing the Sacred will be available for sale during the workshop for those who wish to purchase a copy priced at $25.

Bio: Ray McGinnis is author of Writing the Sacred. He is a graduate of the Center for Christian Studies and is a former national staff person for Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the United Church of Canada. He leads poetry workshops, prayer writing workshops, Psalm-writing workshops and journal writing workshops. A popular presenter, Ray has taught over 13,000 participants at writing workshops across North America.  His website is www.writetotheheart.com. He lives in Vancouver.

 

A great article about godVERBATIM

godVERBATIM art

Cast member Jessica Rousseau did a terrific interview about godVERBATIM in Ottawa Xtra.  Powerfully honest and very moving, as well as a great plug for the show.  Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite, and a link to the whole article.

“Our goal with this performance is really to present the idea that despite having different beliefs, or maybe no beliefs, you can still connect with another person on the basis that we’re all spiritually searching,” she says. “We definitely are being very tactful with the material because we want to present the positive side, the good that can come of this rather than the critical aspects of it, which has been done so many times.”

“Rousseau says having a safe, creative space to express being queer and being Christian has been cathartic. She was also able to share the experience with her fiancé and fellow cast member, Laura Lake, who is trans.” 

“What I like about [godVerbatim] is definitely how free and open Faith and Arts Ottawa has allowed us to be, in keeping with the Fringe mandate that anything goes,” she says. “Some of these experiences are very radical or harsh or strange, and we have a place to tell them here, which is really cool.” 

godVERBATIM is playing at St. Paul’s Eastern United Church on June 20, 21, 22, and 26, 27 & 28.

More information at godVERBATIM.ca.

Tickets at the Ottawa Fringe Festival box office.

Cracks Festival: Spirituality, Art & Social Justice

JPEG Cracks Poster

Cracks Festival – November 7 & 8, 2014

“Everything has a crack in it. That’s where the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

Cracks is for spiritually-inclined people who want to connect through informative workshops, inspiring art-making, out of this world music and exhibits that awaken you spiritually. Whether you want to roll up your sleeves to make art, take in a panel conversation about social justice, meet an author, put on your sacred dance shoes, or while away time in the chapel listening to local musicians – there is something for everyone.

Come for the Jully Black and LeE HARVey OsMOND concerts or take in the full day of workshops and the concerts – it’s up to you. To leave room for the Spirit to move, we have designed Cracks so that you can attend whatever workshops you like as your day unfolds.

a bit of background…

The Cracks festival emerged after David Sherwin, Trisha Elliott and James Murray experienced the Greenbelt festival in the UK. Struck by the energy of the event, the three decided to try a similar urban festival at home in Ottawa, Canada. A creative convergence of spirit, art and social justice began to emerge as the “Cracks Festival,” where, as Leonard Cohen says, “the light gets in.”

Cracks has benefited from a lot of volunteer support. Faith And Arts Ottawa, a nonprofit ministry that explores the intersection of art and spirituality is a driving force behind this project (it helps that David Sherwin is the Executive Director). The Christian Development committee of The Ottawa Presbytery (United Church Of Canada) came on board early on to offer seed money and volunteer support. Kim Vidal and Carla Van Delen jumped in to help. As a sponsor, Dominion Chalmers United Church generously donated the use of their space. George Hermanson secured LeE HARVey OsMOND and Jully Black for our first festival and here we are, hoping that you will join us for a great weekend event.

More details at www.cracksfestival.org

Buy tickets at http://cracksfestival.org/2014/04/15/box-office/

 

godVERBATIM: 2014 Fringe Festival Production

godVERBATIM art

godVERBATIM

Here at Faith&Arts Ottawa we’re always looking for ways to deepen and develop our exploration of spirituality through the creative arts.  So we’re delighted to be sponsoring an original theatrical production for the 2104 Ottawa Fringe Theatre festival: godVERBATIM.

godVERBATIM is our second piece of original verbatim theatre, expanding on the success of last year’s The god Monologues.

Expect humour, awkward moments, and deep thoughts as our team of twenty-first-century social media users and intellectuals get tackled by questions humankind has been trying to answer for thousands of years.

Our cast of both young and old, straight and queer, long-time actors and neophytes, men and women will share our unanswered questions and strange divine experiences. Catholic, agnostic, and ‘spiritual but not religious’ are some of the philosophies the cast will carry to the stage. We created this performance over the last four months, and it will present our voices, stories, and thoughts. It will feature the work that sparked and inspired us – stories gathered by Carleton University’s Rev. Dr. Tom Sherwood. Tom interviewed over 600 young adults and asked their opinions on faith, spirituality, and religion.

Our co-directors Eleanor Crowder and Anna Lewis, professional actors, playwrights and directors, helped Faith and Arts Ottawa establish this performance format last year, and guided us again this year in the creation of our script and selection of theatre techniques.

This creative space isn’t just for us. We want to share the soapbox and incorporate your experiences with faith and spirituality via digital and social media and other new technologies.

Ladies and gentlemen, please turn on your phones.

Find more about the show and cast at www.godverbatim.ca

Buy tickets at http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/god-verbatim/

Grain of Salt

Come and see “Grain of Salt.”  You won’t be sorry!

Faith&Arts Ottawa is proud to present “Grain of Salt,” a terrific new play that explores the ways in which people have been both hurt and healed by the church.  We have partnered with 9th Hour Theatre Company to mount this production, and we are delighted with the result.

9thH_GrainofSalt-18x24

Who doesn’t love a great piece of theatre?  Theatre moves us to laughter, to tears, to joy, to anger … and to think about difficult and challenging things.  Live theatre is one of the very best art forms to explore complex human issues because it engages all our senses and communicates on many levels. Through theatre we can open up thoughtful discussions about profound questions without stereotyping and without the 140 character limitations of so many other forms of communication.

“Grain of Salt’ is verbatim theatre, using the real words of many people who were interviewed by the playwright, Megan Piercey Monafu, to explore the intersection of hope and hurt, anger and reconciliation. The fact that every word spoken by the actors comes from the lived experience of real people makes “Grain of Salt” especially powerful and effective in exploring the most pressing spiritual issues of our day.

Here are the details, with links for show times and to purchase tickets.  Hope to see you at the theatre!

Grain of Salt

(An Original Work and World Premiere)

Created by Megan Piercey Monafu

(January 22-31, 2014)

Grain of Salt is a reverently irreverent, high-energy piece of verbatim theatre exploring the struggling Christian culture and the human need for spiritual connection.

Actors embody the real voices of people’s experiences with Christianity as they work to understand the quirks, mistakes, love, atrocities and community of the Church.

A culmination of the “We’re Sorry” Theatre Project, Grain of Salt is built on interviews conducted with people inside and outside the Church with questions like “What are your best and worst memories of the Church?” “Do you think the Church is relevant to Canadian society?” “Do you think the Church has done anything wrong?”

and “Do you think corporate apology is useful?” Answers ranged from “the Church is the root of all evil” to “the Church is the root of all good”, and the jury is still out on which answer is more controversial. Come judge for yourself.

January 22 – Mercury Lounge, Byward Market

January 23 – Pressed, Gladstone Avenue

January 24-26 – Avalon Studio, Glebe

January 28-31 – Lunenburg Pub & Bar, Downtown

SHOW TIMES & LOCATIONS | PURCHASE TICKETS

 

The SpiritArt Mission

IMG_7635_IMG_7637

The SpiritArt Program has a clear mission and goals. 

 Our mission is

  • To provide a safe and welcoming art space.
  • To offer programming that nurtures spirituality and inspires hope, creativity, growth and healing though artistic expression.
  • To build and nurture a sense of community and connection through programming.
  • To provide a structure which will sustain connections made and to provide ongoing opportunities for support for people in their spiritual journeys.

There are many great schools and studios in Ottawa offering instruction in the arts ranging from dance to drama, from painting to poetry.  If your goal is to improve your technique and learn from an expert, then you’ll easily find what you’re looking for.

But if, on the other hand, your goal is to grow personally and spiritually through your art, to connect to the Source of life and to heal your wounds by using your imagination and creativity, then your options are fewer.

Our Mission at SpiritArt is to offer precisely this kind of artistic exploration; art-making that leads to spiritual growth and a sense of  community, the kind of imaginative exploration that focuses on the process rather than the product.

We believe that the creative arts provide one of the best possible paths to growth, healing and healthy community.  Why? Because when we engage our imagination in creating something new, something that doesn’t yet exist, we are – by definition! – open to learning and growing.  And because, when we are learning and growing we are more likely to find the strength and resources we need to face our hurts and pains and overcome them.  AND because, when we’re using our imagination, we are – almost by definition – HAVING FUN!

And fun is something too many of us have too little of.

That’s why SpiritArt has a clear mission and goals that set it apart from most of the other arts-based organizations in the city.

 

Worship Can Be Fun!

A hall full of young people.  A band playing. People talking, texting, laughing.  Tables strewn with paper, magazines, playdoh, markers, pens and pencils, pipe cleaners of all colours.  This is Rideau Park U.C. on Saturday, October 26th when young people and their friends gathered from across Ottawa for The Point, the United Church’s seasonal youth worship service. 

DSC_0013

After singing, praying, and listening to St. Paul enumerate the fruit of the spirit in his letter to the Church in Galatia, the crowd split up and enthusiastically dove into all kinds of art-making.

At one table, a group coloured, cut and pasted, and sketched to create a huge banner.  At another, busy hands worked with play-doh and pipe-cleaners to make colourful and inventive sculptures.  At yet another table, a group of lyricists and musicians put their ideas to music.

Meanwhile, in a quiet room upstairs a dedicated gang  of four wrote in silence, setting down their poetic response to the scripture.

And, in a noisy room downstairs, a larger gang laughed and improvised their way to a skit  illustrating how some of these spiritual fruit might be found in a high school today.

After 40 minutes of preparation, the crowd came back together and finished their worship by sharing what they had created.  Sculptures, drawings, poems and reflections, a banner, new music, drama; they were all there, all a part of responding to the words of the Bible.

Everyone was engaged, and everyone had fun.  There was lots of laughter, and lots of off-topic teasing, but there was also lots of serious intellectual and imaginative engagement.  (At one point, a member of the drama group exclaimed, “Listen, this is Paul, we’re dealing with neo-Platonism here, we need to get over it and move on.”)

DSC_0070

It didn’t look, sound or feel much like ‘church,’ and that didn’t matter at all. What mattered is that, for a couple of hours on a cool autumn evening, a group of young people engaged their minds and imaginations in a creative conversation with the great story of the Christian faith.  Judging by the chatter as they left, they didn’t find it boring at all!

DSC_0101