Ippolito Chiarello (centre) and Alessandra Pomarico (left) led community members and SFU theatre students in a special performance at the Woodward's atrium.


Italian artist brings DTES community members and SFU theatre students together to perform at Heart of the City Festival

November 22, 2016

By Ian Bryce

‘Homeless’ theatre, where actors take to the streets to perform for passers-by, is a specialty of Italian actor and director Ippolito Chiarello.

In late October, Chiarello, along with co-curator Alessandra Pomarico, brought this expertise to the Downtown Eastside (DTES), conducting daily workshops for local community members through SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Over a two-week residency they helped workshop participants create a collaborative performance piece based on personal stories they developed during the workshops.

Participants create an improvised stage at the Woodward's atrium.

Their performance explored this year’s Heart of the City Festival theme “Living on Shared Territory,” through storytelling, songs, poems, movement and games.

The piece was performed during the Heart of the City Festival at the Woodward’s Atrium on Friday, Nov. 4, where workshop participants had created an impromptu stage and then encouraged passers-by to watch and listen to the performers’ powerful, heartfelt monologues.

Community members and SFU students perform at Woodward's atrium as part of Heart of the City Festival.

The residency was supported by Musagetes Foundation, the Vancouver Italian Cultural Centre and SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement, and co-presented by SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts, Creativa International, DTES Heart of the City Festival, Super Cool Tuesdays, and Megaphone magazine.

Local actor, Taninli Wright, delivers a monologue to audience members.