Posted on 21 Apr 2017 in

Andi Icaza-Largaespada wins 2017 CAG Prize

Congratulations to BFA grad Andi Icaza-Largaespada for winning the second CAG Prize. Icaza-Largaespada won for her work uninvited-guest (photographic installation, sourced image, performance). Here's how the project is introduced in the exhibition brochure for Lazy Susan, the BFA graduating exhibition:

What does it mean to be able to sit down and read? To sit comfortably, and to occupy space leisurely?

In the lobby of a building that hosts the headquarters of B2Gold Corporation on unceded Coast Salish Territories, sits a masked woman reading a book about borderlands. The balaclava made of sequins shines golden on some parts, while reflecting light and its surroundings on others. The woman wonders if it’s possible to individually embody (a resistance towards) a global context of expansion, resource extraction, and occupation.

Andi Icaza-Largaespada mobilizes a photographic practice—of image-reading and image-making—to suggest a continuation between symbolic and subversive acts of resistance. The project incorporates a process of surveying, learning, and material elaboration. This results in the spatial distribution of illuminating visual interventions within the Audain Gallery and Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. Through her work, Icaza-Largaespada seeks to honour the emancipating labour of the women of Mina El Limon, Rancho Grande, and Nueva Guinea in Nicaragua; instances of growing localized efforts working on alternative community-building. The photographic and performative operation is indebted to many, amongst them Gloria Anzaldúa, Andi’s mother, and Rachelle.

And here's how the CAG describe the prize: "Generously sponsored by the Peter Szeto Investment Group | BMO Nesbitt Burns, the CAG prize includes an award of $2,500, a solo presentation at CAG, career advice and a gift certificate from the CAG bookshop."

Check out Icaza-Largaespada's work in Lazy Susan: BFA Graduating Exhibition in the Audain Gallery now. But hurry: the exhibition closes April 22! Also check our her website:


Posted on 10 Apr 2017 in

Interview with Theatre Replacement’s Corbin Murdoch

Chelsea Hunter, the SCA’s Professional Development Coordinator, sat down with Corbin Murdoch, the Managing Producer of Vancouver’s Theatre Replacement and SCA MFA Graduate, to talk about his background, his current practice, and the value of internships in the arts.

Chelsea Hunter: Tell me about Theatre Replacement and what your role is for the organization.

Corbin Murdoch: Theatre Replacement is an independent theatre company that has been around for almost 14 years. It is led by two Artistic Directors, James Long and Maiko Yamamoto. The company exists to support their work and their artistic vision. We don’t have a particular aesthetic and every project is radically different from the last. It is a busy little company. We’ve tried to carve out an international reputation with our touring work but as well as to develop a strong local presence with a slate of public programming for the local community.

In terms of my role with the company, I’m the Managing Producer and I’ve been with the company for almost 2 years now. Because it’s a small company, 3 full time staff and an Associate Producer on contract, we all have a hand in everything. As far as the office management, administration and production, it’s my role to have a bird’s eye view on all that is going on. Some days I’ll be in the office staring at spreadsheets all day and other days, I’ll be running around the city trying to find pink wigs.

CH: Can you tell me a bit about your background and how you found yourself working for a theatre company?

CM: During my undergrad in Environmental Studies at York University, I became more and more interested in music and started my band, The Nautical Miles. When I returned to Vancouver after completing my undergrad, I had this experience in music and the arts as well as working in youth programming and engagement. Those two things, the arts and youth, led me to a job at The Cultch as the Youth Program Manager. I was there for 5 years and during that time programming at the Cultch, I got to meet people in the theatre community, dance community, as well as music. Working alongside the team at The Cultch, the administrators and the technicians, I became interested in the independent artist community and began to recognize it as a place that I wanted to build a career as an administrator and a producer and a programmer. I think it is a really dynamic community and a lot of people are working in really collaborative ways to create systems of support to facilitate what they do. I found it was a really self-reflexive community and proactive in terms of self-organizing. There are a lot of examples of that, such as Progress Lab and various industry associations that have sprung up around the dance community like The Dance Centre or the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists West. There are some really interesting ways people are organizing to create art in this city.

CH: What is TR’s philosophy in working with students?

CM: For the last few years, the majority of the people who have worked at Theatre Replacement have been SFU alumni so we have a really strong connection to this institution and we’re invested in continuing that relationship. It is really nice to have our company as a place that students can find opportunities to launch from. Theatre Replacement is really invested in training which is reflected in the training programs we offer, for really young kids and for mid-career artists alike. We also support young artists through early career development programs and these internship opportunities. We invest company resources in our own professional development. I think there is an ethic in our company that training never stops. It is important that we always keep growing and learning.

CH: Can you tell me a bit about the current internship opportunities you have for a student to intern with TR this summer and how this opportunity would be beneficial to their career development?

CM: This particular internship opportunity is all about our training programs. We have two formalized training programs. One is PantoLand, which is for kids ages 5-10 that is based around our East Van Panto project and the other one is the New Aesthetics Performance Intensive, which happens every other year. This program is where Jamie and Maiko choose two senior artists who they are drawn to artistically and inspired by and invite them to come to facilitate a 2 week intensive for mid-career artists. The guest artists are people who have contributed to the development of their practice in significant ways or are thought leaders. This summer there are 18 mid-career artists, ranging from their late 20s to mid 40s who will be training with these two artists. This internship opportunity is to really dive into these training programs. The students will take a lead role in administering and producing these programs, working with myself, our Associate Producer June Fukumura, and Jamie and Maiko. I think that training and education are kind of the cornerstone of any artistic practice, whether it is pushing yourself as an artist through continued training or pivoting into a teaching practice to support the work that you do. I don’t meet many artists who aren’t engaged in training and teaching on some level. I think it is an important realm for any student to explore.


CH: So, we’ve had a couple of students through, can you think of a time where you just know you’ve taught them something, like you saw a light bulb go on over their head?

CM: I find that the students we work with usually surprised by how much happens behind the scenes and how much work it is to administer a company. Theatre Replacement is in some ways a small company, we produce a lot but in terms of size, personnel-wise, we are a small company, but still the amount of the administration required is shocking to some people. I think students can use this opportunity to understand the diverse skills you need to be a fulltime artist. You’re not in the studio everyday, as much as you would want to be. You may find yourself wrestling with financial statements in order to make the bottom line balance for your funders, coding receipts and all these things. When students or interns come around to bookkeeping package day, they’re usually like “oh my goodness, this is crazy”. All of a sudden we’re interpreting financial reports and trying to figure out what it all means. So yeah, I think that is hugely valuable for students. I think there is a nice balance in our company. We just did an exit interview with our previous Associate Producers and one of the things she expressed was that she was happy with the range of experiences. Like one day she could be in rehearsal but there was also other responsibilities in terms of pre-planning and production and also reconciling everything afterwards. There is a great balance and satisfaction in seeing a project right through to completion so you’re not just passing it off to someone else.

CH: Turning it over, has there been a time when having fresh students around has put the light bulb on over your head? When they’ve pushed you or helped you look at things differently?

CM: The great benefit to me working with students is having to learn about splitting up the work, delegating, and not just passing off all the menial work but also figuring out how our small administrative team can tackle these things together. It has challenged me to create systems, which are definitely still a work in process (haha), which students can step into. The goal is to have clear systems in place so that they don’t have to start from scratch; there is a process that they can learn. There is definitely an opportunity for students to provide me with feedback on these things so we can continually improve.

CH: What does professional development in the arts look like or mean to you?

CM: I guess in the arts there are not particular designations or certifications that you’re going to need to meet like when you become an accountant or something. There isn’t certain boxes that you have to tick to be such and such a thing. There isn’t necessarily a clear path so I think that it [professional development] needs to be individual, highly individual. It is a challenge but also an exciting thing to think of yourself as a student, stepping into the arts community and figuring out where you can fit in. And I think that coming to work for a company like Theatre Replacement or any company that is involved in the community, you will start to understand all the different skill sets. It’s not like you need to learn everything, but you do need to learn a lot. You need to learn more than one thing. I think that a lot of students here at SFU are interested in interdisciplinary work and company models and interested in thinking about how they can create their own work. And that requires being creative, self-motivated and resourceful, and again it’s figuring out what composite skills you can collect to support yourself but also feel like you are contributing to the artistic community.

CH: Do you have any advice for emerging artists?

CM: There is always time to explore something and realize it’s not for you. You don’t have to pursue one narrow career path at the expense of others. Ultimately, if you are pursuing your dreams and passion with intention, it’s only going to benefit you to get a breadth of experience.

For more information about internships through the SCA, please visit our internships page or email Chelsea Hunter to set up a meeting.

Photo: At registration table for PushOFF 2017. Photo credit Jessica Wilke.

Posted on 21 Mar 2017 in

2017 The Lind Prize Shortlist

We're happy to see some SCA students represented in the shortlist for this year's The Lind Prize, an award administered by the Presentation House Gallery. Here's the official notice from the PHG:

Presentation House Gallery is proud to announce the shortlist for the second annual Philip B. Lind Emerging Artist Prize. The prize was established to support emerging artists working with photography, film, and video, and reflects Presentation House Gallery’s long history of nurturing new talent among the province’s visual artists. Each year, post-secondary visual arts instructors are invited to nominate a student enrolled in a BFA or a MFA program in British Columbia. Shortlisted students have their work exhibited as part of the The Lind Prize exhibition. The winner is awarded $5000 toward the production of a new work to be displayed at the future Polygon Gallery, an opportunity  designed to showcase artists early in their careers.

This year’s jury comprises artist Stan Douglas and curators Grant Arnold (Vancouver Art Gallery) and Helga Pakasaar (Presentation House Gallery). 

The Philip B. Lind Emerging Artist Prize is made possible through a generous donation from Rogers Communications to honour Phil Lind’s commitment to the company and the communications industry over 40 years.

The Lind Prize exhibition at Presentation House Gallery 7 – 28 April, 2017.
Opening Reception: 7 April, 7 PM
Closing Reception and Prize Announcement: 28 April, 7 PM

The exhibition includes eleven finalists, whose submissions highlight expansive approaches to working with camera images, both still and moving.

The 2017 Lind Prize shortlist: 

Durrah Alsaif (Kwantlen Polytechnic University)
David Biddle (Simon Fraser University)
Ryan Ermacora (Simon Fraser University)
Laura Gildner (University of Victoria)
Natasha Habedus (University of British Columbia)
Marisa Holmes (Emily Carr University of Art & Design)
Brian Lye (University of British Columbia)
Brittany Nickerson (Emily Carr University of Art & Design)
Terra Poirier (Emily Carr University of Art & Design)
Brandon Poole (University of Victoria)
Tori Schepel (Emily Carr University of Art & Design

Posted on 15 Mar 2017 in

Interview with Daniel Arnold and Marisa Emma Smith from Alley Theatre

SCA Professional Development Coordinator, Chelsea Hunter, sat down with Daniel Arnold and Marisa Emma Smith from Alley Theatre to find out more about the company, their interest in working with students, and their sage advice for emerging artists.

CH: Tell us about Alley Theatre and the company’s philosophy in working with students.

Alley Theatre: Alley Theatre was founded in 2008 and we produce mostly new Canadian plays.  We believe that non-traditional staging such as site-specific and created-space work not only enlivens theatrical experience but also attracts a new theatre-going audience, which is a primary goal of our company.  We choose to work with students for so many reasons. Most students are young and young people are the future! We can learn as much from them as they can from us.  We also love the forward-thinking, outside-the-box energy that youth can have, the ability to be open to experimentation and new ideas.  Being a student allows people to have the freedom to fail and we love that kind of energy.

CH: From your professional experience, how do you see these internships as being beneficial to students?

Alley Theatre: Well, the classroom can only teach so much –it can’t really replace the experience of working in the professional world.  Doing an internship with a professional company gives students a leg-up when it comes to landing paid gigs after school, which is a crucial time in one’s career.  Also during an internship, students would be learning from veteran professionals in the industry – which is invaluable for education.  Artistic Producer, Marisa Emma Smith was an intern with Neworld Theatre early in her career and years later she ended up on staff there and she is now directing her second associate production with Neworld.  So you can never underestimate the connections you make in these kinds of work experiences.

CH: Can you tell us about the internship positions you have open to SFU students and how they fit within the company?

Some Cast & Crew of Alley Theatre's "Mrs. Warren's Profession", a postmodern revisitation staged in a punk rock club in the Downtown Eastside (

Alley Theatre: For our upcoming production, we have three internships available to students. The first two (for summer and fall) are for a Community Coordinator Assistant and would be ideal for students interested in the bridges between art and community.  Community Coordination will involve connecting with various community groups and organizations about their involvement in this professional theatre production, managing schedules, and outreach to community groups and audiences.  The third internship (for fall) is for Running Crew during our production, which involves the smooth backstage running of the show – which will have about 45 people on stage and use the entire space of the Annex Theatre.  Each intern would work closely with their superior (Community Coordinator, Stage Manager, Production Manager) as well as with the company’s Artistic Producers and the project’s director.

CH:  Do you have any advice for emerging artists?

Alley Theatre: Apply for everything you can! Be open to all new experiences! Follow what your passionate about and pursue it, and don’t limit your thinking about what you can or cannot do.  Take any opportunities that are offered to you because you never know what else they’ll lead to.  Securing a career in the arts can be difficult, but extremely valuable and noble (and fun!) and the ‘real world’ rewards emerging artists who are keen, eager, and determined.  A life in the arts is a reward in and of itself.

Posted on 10 Mar 2017 in

Owen Underhill Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

The incomparable Owen Underhill has been awarded the "first-ever" Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Music Centre in BC (CMC) during their 2017 CMC Gala Fundraiser and concert. The award is well-deserved, in our opinion, and we suspect, since Owen is a very busy, prolific person, it will likely not be the last such honour he's yet to receive. Here's how the CMC paid tribute to him:

It is impossible to overstate Owen Underhill’s contribution to the musical life of Vancouver, to the province of BC, and to the cultural fabric of the nation itself. He is a prize-winning, Juno-nominated Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre; a celebrated and highly innovative Artistic Director of Turning Point Ensemble, renowned for deeply-researched and visionary programs; as a conductor he is acclaimed by the musicians he works with, having conducted well over 150 premieres by Canadian composers; and he is a highly respected professor of composition at Simon Fraser University, where he previously served as Director of the School for the Contemporary Arts and Dean Pro Tem of the Faculty of Communication, Art & Technology.

Congratulations, Owen!

Posted on 08 Mar 2017 in

Paul Paroczai’s Vorbei

Not every SCA MFA graduating project ends up as a performance (dance, music, theatre or otherwise), film or video work, or a 'real world' artwork of some kind for exhibition in a gallery space. Case in point is Vorbei, the graduating project by MFA Paul Paroczai. Somewhere between a sound-processing tool and a self-generating experimental music player, Vorbei was produced using the software Max/MSP. Here's what Paroczai has to say about it:

Hey all, here’s the link where you can get at everything having to do with my grad project:

The project itself is a piece of software built in Max/MSP that will generate a unique piece of music every time you run it (it will also allow you to record individual runs if you get the sense it might make something you’ll want to hear again). There are a couple versions available (Mac and Windows compatible) on the site, so here’s a little bit about each one.

App – best for if you just want to use the program.

Patch – if you have experience working in Max/MSP and want to see how the program was put together, this is what you’re looking for.

Recordings – if you want a sense of the kinds of sounds you can expect from the program before deciding to clutter your computer with extra junk, you can hear recordings of some of the runs I’ve done up to this point.

If you do end up choosing one of the download options, the software itself has a help button that can hopefully answer any troubleshooting issues that might arise.

Posted on 06 Mar 2017 in

SCA Dance Lab 2017

Back for the second year, the SCA Alumni Dance Lab is happening May 8 to June 16 in the dance and theatre studios at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. This year we have six alumni dance artists working on original performance works, ranging from multimedia solo dances and dance films to group choreography. This lab is process based, giving emerging dance artists space to develop work, collaborate, and be part of the SCA community of artists.

2017 Projects

Choreography Jenn Edwards
Working Title: Other Creatures
Music: James Coomber
Dancers: Jenn Edwards, Jennifer Aoki, Erin Lequereux, Sam Presley, Cody Cox, Jess Ames

Choreography Helen Wakley
Working Title: JOHN
Performers: Olivia Shaffer, Josh Martin and Helen Wakley, with actor Alex Ferguson
Composer: James Maxwell with Harpist Joy Yeh
Costume/set designer: Natalie Purschwitz
Light designer: James Proudfoot

Choreography Tin Ganboa
Title: Maria Clara- (a dance film project)

Choreography: Farouche Collective (Felicia Lau, Erika Mitsuhashi, Mahaila Patterson-O’Brien)
Title: Lilac
Dancer: Felicia Lau
Choreographer: Mahaila Patterson-O’Brien
Projection + Sound: Erika Mitsuhashi (with mentorship from Remy Siu)

Choreography: Clara Chow
Dancers:  Megan Morrison, Tin Gamboa, Rachel Helten
Choreography: Warehaus Dance Collective: Akeisha de Baat + Megan Hunter
Dancers: Nathan Todd and Akeisha de Baat

Posted on 06 Mar 2017 in

Rob/Jane/Kim: Death and Flying

The SCA's Rob Kitsos (choreography) and long–time dance-artist collaborators Jane Osborne and Kim Stevenson, working with composer Elliot Vaughan, are presenting Death and Flying at this year's Vancouver International Dance Festival (VIDF). Running March 16 to 18 at 7pm at the Roundhouse Exhibition Hall, this duet is inspired by the work of the American poet Max Heinegg and "looks at things we collect and what we choose to leave behind." All events in the VIDF are free by becoming a VIDF Society supporter for $3. Click here for full details about VIDF membership. And click here to see a short video about Death and Flying, which is emended with a brief article about the VIDF by the Vancouver Sun.

Posted on 01 Mar 2017 in

Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium

The always-busy Judy Radul is part of a timely and interesting exhibition – Contour Biennale 8: Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium – that offers a challenging question as it's premise:

"How to distinguish between the deep historical injustices of colonial modernity, settler governance, and mercantile empire, and the current operations of neoliberal capitalism that pronounce conditions of injustice in the familiar tenor of historical experience yet persist with a transformed planetary vigor and a reconstituted means of language, while taking planetary effect?"

To unpack and address that question (or indeed accumulated series of related questions), the Biennale brings together "a number of collectives to partake in shared deliberation, informal exchanges, durational research, and process-based contributions."

Artists and collectives participating in the Biennale include: Adelita Husni-Bey, Agency, Ana Torfs, Arvo Leo, Basir Mahmood, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Council, Eric Baudelaire, Filipa César & Louis Henderson, Ho Tzu Nyen, inhabitants, Judy Radul, Karrabing Film Collective, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Madonna Staunton, Otobong Nkanga, Pallavi Paul, Pedro Gómez-Egaña, Rana Hamadeh, Ritu Sarin & Tenzing Sonam, Rossella Biscotti, Susanne M. Winterling, The Empire Remains Shop (Cooking Sections), Trevor Paglen, and Trinh Thi Nguyen.

Click here for a list of the curatorial, organizational, and behind the scenes team (which includes Judy as an 'advisor').

One initiative beyond the exhibitions offered by the Biennale is an online journal called Hearings, which is "a periodically updated resource tracing the artistic process, conceptual approach and historical research through textual as well as image and video-based contributions from a range of artists, filmmakers, thinkers and authors."

Hearings is full of great content, including Judy's thoughtful essay Video Temporality and Hindsight Evidence, which situates video art in the context of video-based evidentiary practices, both popular (YouTube, etc.) and juridical (police body-cams, interrogation videos, etc.). Now in a world supersaturated by video recording technologies and interactive platforms for sharing and showing videos of all kinds, Judy's essay asks: how "has video technology changed our ability to memorialize the “moments” in which decisions of exigent importance are made?"

Contour Biennale 8 Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium is on view from March 11 to May 21, 2017, in venues throughput Mechelen, Belgium, and also includes several nights of public programming (details here).

Posted on 28 Feb 2017 in

Workshop with Tedi Tafel

Intensive with Tedi Tafel from Montreal
Produced by Babelle Theatre and supported by SFU School for the Contemporary Arts

This workshop will bring together two very different physical practices: Mind/Body training and Authentic Movement. Mind/Body begins with form and looks to find the life inside that shapes it (sensation, intention, and perception). Authentic Movement starts with impulse and explores the pathway into form. Seemingly opposite in approach their common goal is to create access and openness in the performing body.

Mind/Body training is based on the research of Japanese Butoh dancer Min Tanaka. It’s an energetic, dynamic workout that re-examines the mental structures and physical habits that can inhibit the potential state of the individual. Here we rigorously explore the body as a site of presence and transformation while developing strength, stamina, support, precision and abandon. As the mind ‘drops’ into the body, a concrete experience of sustained presence is made possible.

Authentic Movement looks to the body as source and inspiration through the embodiment of internal impulse. Here the body is seen as subject, to be attended to, listened to, with its stories, intelligence, perceptions and experiences. Leaving aside for the time being our desire to invent, to direct, to be creative, we learn instead to listen and allow. As we enter this realm that is unplanned, without goal, unpredictable and often surprising, we invite direct experience of personal and creative truth.

Eligibility While the workshop is geared for performers (dancers, actors) we invite practitioners from diverse disciplines to join us. The workshop is open to professional performing artists who want to learn about an innovative process of training and creation. Applicants must be able to demonstrate some experience as a performer, physical aptitudes and a willingness to move!

How to apply Please send your resume to by March 24, 2017. We will accept up to 14 participants.

Dates April 3-7 (Monday through Friday) ● 9am – 12pm

Cost $220 (If finances are a barrier, please contact us to discuss options.)

Location Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street – Studio 4650

TEDI TAFEL has been a teacher, dancer and choreographer for over 25 years. At the heart of her work is an interest in exploring movement as an entranceway into the deeper layers of human experience. Tedi is an award-winning artist with a reputation for creating innovative and deeply sensitive work. She is inspired by a long-term engagement with somatic practices that access the intelligence of the body and reveal its intrinsic expressive language. Along with her studies with Butoh master Min Tanaka, she has worked extensively with renowned teachers Janet Alder and Judith Koltai in the disciplines of Authentic Movement and Embodied Practice. Tedi has taught across the country and at the Stratford Festival and Playwrights Workshop of Montreal. From 1997-2013 she played a principal role in the training of actors and playwrights at the National Theatre School of Canada.

Trajectory Fields ● Image by Antony Gormley. All rights reserved.