To create and to foster the creation of classical, mythic and poetic theatre and other arts through productions, festivals, and residencies.
WHAT WE DO
School Artists-in-Residence Programs
Over the past 18 years Theatre Prospero has given thousands of Alberta Children aged 5-18 the chance to discover their creative powers, they make theatre with our mentorship. While we continue to offer Residencies grounded in Shakespeare, we increasingly offer Residencies where students can discover the richness of stories from other mythologies and backgrounds including Indigenous, South Asian African and other cultural worlds.
We offer a wide range of options for residencies, but the general format is as follows. We bring 3-8 professional theatre artists into a school to mentor 15-250 students for 1-15 days as they create a piece of theatre form 15 to 90 minutes long. The students share this with their school and/or community. Often the piece is a version of one of Shakespeare’s plays. Sometimes it is a piece grounded in mythology and the students’ imaginations. Sometimes it’s their adaptation to of a Shakespeare to another culture or cosmology. At times our actors perform with the students, but often the students do it all themselves. Students who want to support the piece without acting do so through mentored technical theatre and design.
There are many positive stories about the impact of this work on students and schools. Over and over, we have seen students who do not shine in academics or athletics amaze themselves and their peers by excelling on stage. In Chief Napeweaw School, Frog Lake First Nation, one residency led to another, and this momentum led to a drama program, and a theatre. Other schools and communities have sprouted drama clubs and societies after our visits. The academic benefits are substantial, especially when they are learning one of Shakespeare’s plays by acting in them. Many successful theatre professionals got their start in our residencies. Thousands of children and youth who otherwise would not have had the chance got to be in a play because we came to their school. That is a chance every child should have, at least once.
Since 2001 we have created many productions of Shakespeare’s plays, and toured them extensively all over Alberta . We have also developed and produced new Canadian Mythic and Poetic work, much of it by female playwrights, since 2008. These have ranged from a three-performer Tango Poetry Cabaret by Jannie Edwards called Blood Opera to Pawâkan Macbeth, Reneltta Arluk’s Cree-culture Tragedy with a cast of 11 Indigenous actors, to the Maggie Now Series of Plays, a 6-hour 10-actor 72-character Irish/American/
Theatre Prospero’s Artistic Director, Mark Henderson, initiated two new theatre festivals in Edmonton under the banner of Theatre Prospero. In 2009 we premiered the Serca Festival of Irish Theatre, which ran as an independent event from 2010 to 2016. In 2011 we launched the Thousand Faces Festival of Mythic Theatre, a multidisciplinary festival mainly showcasing arts rooted in the mythologies of the world. Since 2013 the Thousand Faces Festival Society has produced this exciting event. We often have the pleasure of performing work at the festival. Finally, we produce Yule Ave, an inclusive Yuletide festival for families on Alberta Avenue.
If you would like to learn more, please contact us at:
Jennifer Wanke – General Manager
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Randall Fraser: President
Keith Hallgren: Vice President/Treasurer
Margaret Field: Secretary
Carol Davidson: Director
PAST ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE PROGRAMS:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Romeo and Juliet
A Child’s Christmas in Wales
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
Much Ado About Nothing
The Taming of the Shrew
Blood Opera: The Raven Tango Poems
The Second Shepherd’s Play