August 2020: MISCELLANEOUS Productions
Q&A with Elaine Carol, Artistic Director and Co-founder of MISCELLANEOUS Productions
IG & Twitter: @misccommunity
How would you describe MISCELLANEOUS Productions in a sentence?
MISCELLANEOUS Productions is a community-engaged, hip hop dance theatre boot camp for youth from the community who face multiple barriers, presenting to the public an original theatrical work every two years, give free peer-run workshops to at-risk youth, tour, and make films about our performances.
What was your artistic path that led you to building the company?
When we founded MISCELLANEOUS Productions 20 years ago, there were no full-time professional performance programs of this calibre specifically for culturally and socially representative youth in Canada. Our original Board including QBIPOC, BIPOC and Trans people wanted to fill that gap while creating issue-oriented performances directly relevant to and reflective of the youth participants’ lives.
What inspires the work you create?
The inspiration for the work we co-create with community members is the young people themselves, their lives and their stories in their own words, movement, dance and music.
Who inspires the work you create, for example are there people who have influenced and continue to influence the company’s artistic trajectory?
The primary inspiration for the work we create is always the youth participants. Aesthetically, we are influenced by community-engaged performance, visual, film and digital artists internationally.
What are the core values of your company in three words?
Integrity, authenticity, and perseverance.
Do you have rituals that you carry out each day?
Since we are living in a time of plague and uncertainty, all our previous rituals (group physical and vocal warm-ups, etc.) have been side-tracked in favour of moving all our programming into digital formats. New rituals with which we continue to create and present work are currently being formulated.
What is coming up for you this season and how have you adjusted your programming?
We have adapted and moved all our original live performance and film screenings online and have postponed our 20th Anniversary Celebration until a vaccine is developed/distributed.
We have already produced a new Watch Party including a screening of MISCELLANEOUS Productions’ MONSTERS, clips from AWAY with HOME and a live Q&A with youth cast members on June 12. In the next few months, we will be producing a new dance video using the originally commissioned No Superman hip hop song from AWAY with HOME choreographed by Natasha Gorrie. We are producing a new film of a lecture by internationally renowned fairy tale and folklorist, Jack Zipes that will be followed by a live Q&A. We will also be presenting a series of Distance Hats/International and Indigenous Fairy Tales and Folklore workshops for culturally and socially representative youth throughout BC early in 2021. We will be mailing 200 visual art/hat-making kits to youth-serving agencies across BC and providing instruction using Zoom. All events and workshops are free.
What would you say is the biggest benefit for MISCELLANEOUS Productions for being a Dance Centre member?
We are so grateful to The Dance Centre for the most excellent office, rehearsal, and performance space. We feel that it is a great privilege to be welcomed into this gifted community of artists! The Dance Centre has provided us with the cleanest, most efficient and comfortable space we have ever worked in. It is an honour to see our youth treated with such respect – they really rise to the occasion as a result!
Interested in becoming a Dance Centre Member? Learn more here
Photos: Chris Randle