Registration now open for Spirit Talks! Faith and Arts Ottawa’s New Program

Registration is now open for Spirit Talks!

To register, fill our our registration form. Registration deadline is December 31st, 2017.
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Trans-Script goes to school

Over the past month and a half we’ve had some wonderful performances in churches and on the Carleton Campus.  We’ve performed before people of all ages and backgrounds and we’ve had some fabulous after-performance conversations.  But next week we’re breaking new ground; we are going back to high school!  Faith and Arts Ottawa has been invited to present Trans-Script at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School on Wednesday, May 18th at 7:00 p.m.

We were invited by the School Council and the performance is being supported by the school’s diversity and cultural clubs.  What a wonderful opportunity to open up a new conversation about things that matter with young people who are beginning to sort out who they are who they want to be.  The students, staff and community at Sir Wilfrid Laurier have made us feel very welcome and we are looking forward to sharing the evening with them.

Where: Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School, 1515 Tenth Line Road, Orleans.

When: Wednesday, May 18th, at 7:00 p.m. 

 

Trans-Script Reflections

 

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We’ve performed Trans-Script three times now, enough to gage how audiences will react to it as a piece of theatre and as an exploration of the question, “Is love enough?”

We anticipated a mixed response. The play deals with the challenges faced by friends, lovers, parents, and adult children as they navigate the stormy waters of sexuality, gender, and identity.  It plays with fire, because it openly challenges many of the comfortable assumptions our society makes about loving relationships: romantic and familial.  It plays with fire because it is drawn from the real lives of real people, so it doesn’t offer easy answers or neat conclusions.  It doesn’t offer advice.  It  does offer honest, often painful, intimacy.

So we expected some audience members would be offended, some would be angered, some would be surprised, some would be challenged, and some – we hoped – would be encouraged.

We have seen all of these responses.  But … surprisingly … not in the ways we expected.  Audiences have been offended and angered, but not by the script and the stories it tells.  Instead, they’ve been offended and angered by the injustice that creates the pain experienced by the characters, knowing that the stories are real and the pain is real. They’ve been challenged, not only to examine their own comfortable assumptions, but also to imagine ways they could act to counter that injustice.  And they’ve been encouraged, because Trans-Script tells stories that matter!

We have been so very encouraged by the way audiences in churches and on campus have opened their hearts and accepted Trans-Script as one, partial and imperfect, contribution to an essential conversation.

Go here for information about upcoming performances.

 

Cracks Festival

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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.

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.

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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 god Monologues”

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The cast has been hard at work since the beginning of February and “The god Monologues” is taking shape. It is going to be engaging, honest, thought-provoking, and fun!

So… what are your questions about religion and spirituality? Is there a God? What is religion? Does prayer work? Does faith affect values? Does spirituality influence actions? Is there only one true religion?

If you resonate with any of these questions, then you’ll want to come see “The god Monologues.”

Here’s what you’ll experience: A cast of young adult actors exploring profound issues of faith, spirituality, belief and values using their own words, and the words of their peers. This is documentary theatre, drawn from real life, exploring real life issues.

Under the able direction of Eleanor Crowder and Anna Lewis, the cast of committed amateur actors have been stretching themselves for six weeks now, as they have explored the breadth of contemporary spirituality among young adults. With two weeks to go, the pressure is on and we’ve doubled the number of rehearsals each week. The result is going to be terrific theatre, and a meaningful exploration of some of life’s most profound and persistent questions.

Sunday, March 24th,

7:00 p.m.

Rideau Park United Church

Free Admission

The audience will have the opportunity to make a free will offering toward the work of Faith and Arts Ottawa.

I hope to see you there.

The God Monologues Project

“The unexamined life is not worth living…”

Socrates, quoted in Plato’s Apology.

What is the God Monologues Project?  A 10 week “documentary theatre” project that explores the spirituality of young adults in their own words, culminating in a performance on March 24th. The script will be created by the cast itself.

(In “Documentary theatre” a cast of actors creates an original work of theatrical art by developing a script from the words of real people.   See the Background section below for an explanation of where we will find the words we need to start the creative process.)

Who can participate?  Young adults who are interested in either live theatre or spirituality, or both.  No previous acting experience is necessary, just a willingness to commit to participating each week from early February to late March.  We’re looking for people with a sense of adventure and fun, who are willing to take risks and explore some profound questions.

Where?  At St. Giles Presbyterian Church, corner of Bank Street and First Avenue in the Glebe.

And when?  Wednesday evenings, starting on February 6th.  Rehearsals will start at 6:00 p.m. with a cast dinner (another great reason to sign up!) at 6 p.m. and will finish by 9:00 p.m.   The program will culminate with a performance on Sunday, March 24th.

Why would I want to do this?  This is an unique opportunity to explore some profound life questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I believe?
  3. What are my values?
  4. How do my beliefs and values influence the way I live my life?

And it’s gonna be a lot of fun.  It is called a ‘play’ after all.

Paradoxically, one of the best ways to learn about yourself is to pretend to be someone else; to explore in depth another person’s thoughts, feeling, opinions, and motivations.  And that’s what theatre is.  The essence of acting is to play a ‘character,’ another person who may be very unlike yourself, to explore what they believe and how they behave, what their ‘voice’ sounds like.  In doing so, you will have the opportunity to explore what you think, what you believe, and how you want to live your life.

How much?  Free. Your only cost is the time you commit to it.  Which will be a significant investment.  If you join, you will be expected to attend all the rehearsals and the performance.  Live theatre is a team sport.

OK, I’m interested, how do I get more information?   Leave a comment on this post, or drop me a line at david.sherwin@faithandartsottawa.org.

Background: The Rev. Dr. Tom Sherwood, formerly the Ecumenical Chaplain at Carleton University and still a professor there, has spent the past three years investigating the spiritual lives of young adults who have rejected the religious institutions of their parents and grandparents.  He has gathered about 400 first person statements from young men and women of differing religious, ethnic, economic and geographical backgrounds.  Taken together they paint a fascinating picture of the diverse and creative spiritual lives of young adult Canadians today.

Part of the mandate of Dr. Sherwood’s research is to share his findings as widely as possible, to give a ‘voice’ to his subjects.  As part of that mandate he has partnered with Faith and Arts Ottawa to create a live theatre production based on the words of some of his study participants.