“Throughout human history, we’ve always told each other stories. It’s where theatre came from.”
Ask Dancing Sky Theatre’s artistic director Angus Ferguson how he envisioned the theatre’s future during the pandemic and he points to the past.
“When Dancing Sky first started, we did a lot of large, outdoor productions. When COVID-19 hit, it became clear gatherings outside are safer than indoors.” He explains, “People are aching to come back to communal, artistic events but we needed to figure out how to make them feel safe doing it.”
Ferguson and his team picked up their tools and built an outdoor amphitheater and fire pit area in the theatre’s backyard. It can hold about 30 people in their own physically distanced groups nestled around the campfire. With the venue set, the team turned to the performance.
“The idea was stories around a fire which is a very Saskatchewan thing to do,” says Ferguson. “Our theatre looks out over the prairie and we are going back to the land with stories about people who’ve walked it.”
The tales are being created collectively by the artists who will tell them. Artist Elizabeth Nepjuk is tapping into her own heritage with a tale of Ukrainian immigrants who homesteaded here. Stories about Indigenous people and recent newcomers to Canada will tell about the challenges and bounty that this prairie landscape has to offer. Musician Lancelot Knight will add to the magic with original music created the evening.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dancing Sky Theatre experience without a meal and Chef Ernie has pivoted from the dining room fare to create individual picnics the audience can enjoy before each performance.
A show this unique should be shared. That’s why Dancing Sky is partnering Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan to present Fireside Stories on its new site in Saskatoon after the Meacham run. This marks the first ticketed performance on the site giving audiences a chance to see what they’ve built.
Ferguson hopes this event will bring people safely together to share in an age-old tradition.
“This is something we all need especially during these trying times. Come watch the sun set, smell the wood smoke and share in the power of community and sharing stories.”
Fireside Stories – Meacham
Sept. 10 – 20, 2020
Picnic 7p.m. / Show 7:30p.m.
For more information on this run click here.
Fireside Stories – Saskatoon
Sept. 22 – 27, 2020
For more information on these shows follow this link.