The BMO Lab and Canadian Stage announce the 2021-22 resident artist and collaborative production of Arturo Ui

September 24, 2021 by Tara Maher

(The following is sourced from the Canadian Stage news release announcement) 

The BMO Lab and Canadian Stage are excited to announce that multimedia artist and director Bronwen Sharp has been selected as the BMO Lab Resident Artist for the 2021-22 season. For this second year of the residency program, the BMO Lab and Canadian Stage will participate in a collaborative workshop production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, which will apply the technologies and performance modalities explored as part of the residency. This year’s workshop will be directed by celebrated German director and actor Johanna Schall and have two public showings at Canadian Stage’s Berkeley Street Theatre – dates and details to be announced.

Launched in 2020, as part of Canadian Stage’s deep commitment to artistic innovation and development, the BMO Lab Residency Program runs in partnership with the BMO Lab at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Students (CDTPS) and is a unique paid opportunity that embeds professional artists with a live performance practice and interest in creation and emergent technologies, in a graduate-level, interdisciplinary course environment. Inaugural participants for 2020-2021 were Ryan Cunningham and Sébastien Heins.

In the program, residents immerse themselves with the Lab’s technologies and research possibilities for application to live theatre performance. The aim of this residency is to provide resident artists with access to an educational space experimenting in the application of technology to live performance, and to work deeply with students and educators on the practical creation of new experiments in performance. Through this residency, artists gain valuable skills and knowledge to inform and support their existing artistic practice, while providing valuable insight for the students and course facilitators to the application of new technologies from their own experiences in the professional industry.  The salary is jointly paid by Canadian Stage and the BMO Lab, with each recipient receiving a total of $10,000 (CAD). 

“I am so pleased to have Bronwen joining the BMO Lab as this year's Resident Artist,” says Canadian Stage Associate Artistic Director Mel Hague. “As we continue working through a socially distant world and into hybrid forms of live performance, I am excited to see what possibilities emergent technologies have in the performance worlds of the future. The partnership with the BMO Lab and Canadian Stage continues to be a spot of hope for me, in how technology and art can connect us – both when we are apart, and when we are together.”

Sharp comments, “I’m truly looking forward to participating in this year’s edition of the Canadian Stage BMO lab and to enhancing and developing my artistic practice and while engaging with new emerging technology and Artificial Intelligence. I am excited to conduct experiments and collaborate with artists and researchers in the Lab in addition to participating in the workshop production of Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. This is an incredible opportunity and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

“The lab is very much a place to experiment at the intersection of performance and technology,” shares BMO Lab Director David Rokeby. “On another level, it’s a hub where we can bring together people from very different disciplines, because we think that this kind of open, creative and productive conversation across disciplines is essential if we are to navigate towards a future that we can feel good about.”

This fall, Sharp will collaborate with Lab instructors, be introduced to technologies and approaches that are being used in the Lab, as well as participate in collaborative experimental exploration of the possibilities that these provide for theatre and performance. In the winter and spring, Sharp will attend and participate in the program’s Theatre and Emerging Technologies course, as well as participate in the BMO Lab’s workshop production.

About Bronwen Sharp
Bronwen draws on her background as a visual artist working with multimedia creating live art immersive performances and installations. She is passionate about exploring new technologies as a tool for live performance. She co-directed ‘An Odyssey’ that went on tour to the National Theatre in Rome and directed ‘Button Pushers’ and ‘Just Deserts’ for Greenhouse Ensemble’s Quarantine Soirée live online from Toronto and directed ’Infected Minds’ at Ravensfield Theatre in London inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth creating a dream sequence with projected video on Hologauze and live projection mapping. 
Bronwen has worked for Canadian Opera Company, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Soulpepper Theatre, Factory Theatre in Toronto and Shakespeare Globe, National Theatre, Royal Court, Donmar Warehouse, Young Vic, and Bush Theatre in London. She has photographed Jude Law, Dame Judi Dench, Ben Whishaw and Daniel Radcliffe for the Michael Grandage Company. Bronwen has created a large body of portraits of playwrights from around the world. Her recent solo exhibitions include Portraits of American Playwrights at the Lincoln Centre in New York City, Playwrights in Focus at the Southwark Playhouse in London, Generate at The Theatre Centre in Toronto. Her work has been exhibited at The Tower of London and Victoria and Albert Museum theatre section and featured in magazines, publications, and billboards across the globe. 

About the BMO Lab
An initiative of the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto, the BMO Lab is a transdisciplinary hub providing a home for collaborative creative research across the Arts and Sciences. Grounded in the Arts, it is driven by a special but non-exclusive focus on emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence. 

The Lab recognizes theatre as a vital locus of integration among the arts and a point of entry to a foundational inquiry of human experience in the rapidly changing world resulting from these technologies.  With this as its gravitational centre, all the activities in the Lab are firmly placed in human, social, and cultural space, committed to engagement with the broader public, and addressing the growing complexities of the lived world. 

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About Canadian Stage
Canadian Stage is one of the country’s leading contemporary performing arts organizations. A collision of disciplines and cultures, Canadian Stage reflects the dynamism and complexity of Canada and is a vital artistic force locally, nationally, and internationally. In its over thirty-year history, Canadian Stage has employed thousands of artists and developed and produced hundreds of new productions. Many of the plays developed by Canadian Stage have been awarded and nominated for Canada's most prestigious literary and performing arts honours, including Governor General's, Chalmers, and Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Throughout the theatre season, nearly 100,000 patrons attend performances and workshops in its three Toronto venues. 

Dream in High Park is one of Canada’s largest and longest running outdoor professional theatre events, taking place at the picturesque High Park Amphitheatre, and welcoming over 30,000 audience members to the park each year. Dream has grown into a large-scale cultural event that runs throughout the summer and offers pay-what-you-wish pricing for an inclusive family-friendly event that provides accessible theatre and engages the local community.

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