Article, Arts & Culture

“For a Muse of Fire”

July 28, 2016

For a Muse of Fire brought humour and heart to SFU Woodward’s last week. Staged on July 18, the story takes place on the number 20 bus, inspired by lived experiences of community members of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and a little bit of Shakespeare.

The play takes its name from the opening lines of William Shakespeare’s Henry V: 

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

William Shakespeare,
The Life of King Henry the Fifth

The script was a collaborative effort of the cast members of a community theatre group which brings together residents of the DTES, “including those who have experienced homelessness or are currently vulnerably housed.” The piece — exploring diversity and community issues like homelessness — was directed by Luisa Jojic and produced by Creativa International.

Creativa International is a Vancouver based not-for-profit organization that produces community-engaged arts projects and intercultural artistic initiatives.

“The setting of the #20 bus was chosen as it represents a place where a cross section of our city’s community comes together. The play weaves real stories with imagination and the playful freedom of theatrical fantasy,” explained Jojic.

For a Muse of Fire is full of personality, laughter, and song and dance — the culmination of the play was a wedding on board the bus, after which the cast broke out in dance to a rendition of “Transit Queen,” to the tune of “Dancing Queen.”

The group originally mounted For a Muse of Fire as a part of last year’s Heart of the City Festival and Homelessness Action Week 2015. Other supporters included Vancouver Moving Theatre, the City of Vancouver, the British Columbia Arts Council, Raincity Housing, and Lookout Emergency Aid Society. For their first production in 2014, they created and performed Much Ado About Something, which was staged at the Carnegie Centre and Waterfront Theatre

“There have been so many favourite parts of putting together and performing For a Muse of Fire,” Jojic reflected, “the laughter, the dialogue around the project within the group throughout it’s development, the abundance of ideas that emerged,  the discussions that happen in the Q&A with the audiences after, and the continuing interest for the show by different communities.”

She explained how the performance aims to cultivate an environment of respect and understanding: “After each show, we facilitate a dialogue on the issues that are raised in the play, giving the audience and performers a chance to discuss perspectives and engage in communication around the issues.

“Projects like this are extremely important as they are an accessible opportunity for community members to come together in an environment that promotes creativity, expression, artistic challenge, and a venue to voice issues that are of importance to our city in a manner that promotes dialogue and understanding, and therefore hopefully, a step towards creating change.”

Jojic also spoke to the challenges that the group has faced in finding space to rehearse and perform. “Look Out Emergency Aid Society and SFU have stepped up to that challenge to help us by providing space, but as the project continues to grow, we are looking for more options.” She added, “In a city where rent is so high, finding adequate, accessible space is difficult and is part of the obstacle preventing more work like this from happening.”

Take a peek behind the curtain of For a Muse of Fire with this behind-the-scenes preview.

Latest/Related Updates

  • August 15, 2023

    August 15, 2023

    With details of our 5-year anniversary celebration event to come, let’s take a sneak peek of the upcoming season.

  • July 26, 2023

    July 26, 2023

    Since September 2022, we’ve held 42 events and workshops, released 33 episodes, and engaged more than 25,000 podcast listeners. During that time, working diligently behind the scenes—editing podcast audio, and supporting communications and events programming—was our interim Programs Assistant Samantha Walters, who we are pleased to announce has now moved into a continuing role in the office.

  • July 20, 2023

    July 20, 2023

    On June 29, 2023, 200 people turned out for the world premiere screening of Smokey Devil: Underworld Street Reporter, a feature length documentary by Nathaniel Canuel, co-hosted by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement.

  • June 29, 2023

    June 29, 2023

    On our latest spring season of the podcast, we had the chance to sit down with five SCA artist-scholars for some exciting discussions on their artistic practices and latest research. Whether you're looking to hear more about arts education and the local arts ecology, or just seeking some artistic inspiration, we hope you join us in diving back into these episodes.

  • June 13, 2023

    June 13, 2023

    Released every spring, Voices of the Street (VOTS) is a compendium of writing by Megaphone community members, a space for exploration of creative expression through language.


Stay Up to Date

Get the latest on upcoming events by subscribing to our newsletter below.