As I mentioned in a previous post, one of my main reasons for visiting Vancouver this month – aside from attending shows at the wonderful PuSh Festival – was to dig through some archives belonging to Electric Company Theatre. Part of my research entails analyzing archival videos of performances over a number of years. My subject of choice is the company’s maiden production Brilliant! The Blinding Enlightenment of Nikola Tesla. The show has changed drastically over the years, and it is my aim to find out why these changes were made and what it says about the process of developing theatre in Canada. Smart stuff like that.
This past October, Electric Company Theatre — joined by Boca Del Lupo, neworld theatre, and Rumble Productions — moved into a brand new space on William Street, near Commercial Drive. Each company has its own office space, and they share a large rehearsal space and lounge area. It is a wonderfully spacious building. In fact, it probably used to be… well, a garment manufacturing industry (i.e. a sweat shop). When the companies first arrived, they saw all these long tables with sewing machines and lamps hanging very low above these instruments. And now it’s a theatre space: I can’t think of a more wonderful transition.
The rent for the space is $6000 a month, split between the four companies. They have had to do a lot of construction to fix the place up, but it’s well on its way to becoming a decent performance space. I wonder, are there any similar (and available) buildings in Ottawa, and would it be useful for a number of companies to join together for a like cause? The benefits, I think, are obvious; and the whole set-up really inspires a sense of community.
Here are some more pictures…