Cole Lewis: 1991

SCA Faculty Research Series – In-progress workshop presentation

September 4 – 5, 2018 | 7:00 p.m.
SFU at Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 W. Hastings, Vancouver V6B 1H4
Free event. Limited capacity. First come first seated.

** Trigger warning: This work addresses issues of sexual violence **

In the summer of ’91, a 12-year-old girl is sexually assaulted. Except she doesn’t call it that because she doesn’t have the words. In the summer of ’91, a 12-year-old girl hears the word ‘rape’ for the first time. It is used to describe the crimes of a serial killer in her community.

1991 is the brief retelling of what it is like to come of age in the early ‘90s as a victim of sexual assault in a community encased in fear. Youth are left to their own devices. Poverty is rampant. And misogyny is the norm. It is a world unlike today, and yet, eerily similar.

Using overhead projection, live sound modulation, elements of autobiography, and cinematic techniques, 1991 explores feminist issues surrounding consent, sexual assault, and how different people define ‘victim.’

Written and Directed by Cole Lewis. Developing Partners: Storefront Theatre’s Feminist Fuck It Fest for offering us the opportunity to first develop the piece and WhyNot Theatre for additional support.

Dramaturgy: Patrick Blenkarn and Jessica Carmichael
Projection design: Patrick Blenkarn and Cole Lewis
Sound design: Sam Ferguson

Child: Cole Lewis
June and other characters: Jessica Carmichael
Overhead Puppeteer: Arthi Chandra
Overhead Puppeteer: Montserrat Videla
*With thanks to previous and upcoming collaborators in alphabetical order: Mina James, Nicola Rough, Clelia Scala


Cole Lewis is a director and writer with a MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama who resides in Vancouver, BC, Canada. 

She is a founding member of Ontario’s award-winning Suitcase in Point Theatre Company (SIP), a group of like-minded artists who strive to engage and excite through collaborative play development.  As an Artistic Associate of SiP for ten years, Cole worked on 23 original cabarets and directed 6 original productions.  These include BeWearing Wolf, at Harbourfront Hatch Festival in Toronto and the Dora Award nominated Keith Richards: A One Woman Show that has undergone a national tour in Canada. 

Under the banner of her new company, Guilty by Association, Cole devised AGMI which premiered off-Broadway at ArsNova's 2014 AntFest in NYC. Antigonick (2014), Moderato Cantabile (2015) and These Violent Delights (2017) all premiered at Toronto’s SummerWorks Performance Festival. For these productions, she received several accolades including an Emerging Artist Award; Best Production and Best Direction nods from Now Magazine; and a Best Director nomination from My Entertainment World. Her shows are often the pick of the Festival.

Currently Cole has three projects in development. These include an adaptation of Kyo Maclear’s Virginia Wolf, a devised project temporarily named The Untitled Nurse Project and a multidisciplinary piece called 1991 that will premiere in Toronto for the Spring of 2019. She is actively working to learn more about cinema, digital projection and experimental sound practices with her colleagues inside and outside of SFU while simultaneously deepening her deep love of text-based theatre.

Patrick Blenkarn currently makes art in Vancouver. He is a director and mixed media artist. Upcoming he will be Artist in residence at the Shadbolt Center for the Arts for IF WE WEREN’T SUCH ASSES and Artist in residence at Malaspina Printmakers. He is also collaborating with fellow Vancouver artist Milton Lim on a card game project titled, culturecapital, at Boca del Lupa’s Micro Performance Residency. Recently, Patrick created Soliloquy in English, a performance piece about English as a second language which premiered at the Toronto SummerWorks Performance Fesitval. It used a rich combination of materials: words spoken aloud, a book containing varied experiences, and paper handmade from a second-hand dictionary.

Jessica Carmichael is a mixed non-status Abenaki/Euro director, dramaturge, playwright, actor, and educator. Jessica trained at the National Theatre School of Canada (Acting), the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts & King’s College London (MA Text & Performance Studies with Distinction), the University of Alberta (MFA with Distinction), and the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction (Stratford Festival, 2014 & 2016).

Jessica spent three seasons as the Artistic Director of Carousel Players, a professional theatre company for young audiences. She is a past Artistic Associate with Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto and was Program Director of the Playwrights Unit Animiikiig. She was a host workshop leader for “The Study” hosted by the National Arts Centre, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance and Debajehmujig Creation Centre.

Select Directing Credits Include: Ipperwash by Falen Johnson (Blyth Festival), Boys, Girls, and Other Mythological Creatures by Mark Crawford (Carousel Players); Tick by Matt Mackenzie (Carousel Players); iChild in collaboration with Mitchell Cushman (Carousel Players); Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin adapted by Jessica Carmichael and written by Chieri Uegaki (Carousel Players); Aeneid by Olivier Kemeid (assistant director, Stratford Festival); Two Indians by Falen Johnson (SummerWorks); CLGA Unarchived (co-curator, Buddies in Bad Times Rhubarb Festival); Christina the Girl King by Michel Marc Bouchard (assistant director, Stratford Festival); Savage (Native Earth/Stratford Springworks); Treaty No. 9 (Aluna Theatre Rutas Festival); girls!girls!girls! by Greg MacArthur (co-director, SummerWorks).

Co-presented by SFU Woodward's Cultural Programs and SFU School for the Contemporary Arts.

September 04, 2018