Daily Dose — Nelson Civic Theatre Society Supporting a New Cohort of Resident Artists
Nelson Civic Theatre Society (NCTS) Artists Residency is one of a kind. NCTS Executive Director Eleanor Stacey introduced this concept.
“When we initiated this program in 2020 with our first cohort of four artists, we sought to offer a space and opportunity that demanded nothing from the residents. We wanted to find a way to remove all barriers, time constraints, obligations, and extra administrative tasks so that the focus would be only on the artist’s accountability to themself,” says Stacey.
NCTS asks that residents, who can be at all stages of their artistic careers, seek an answer to a question within their creative process. The residency is also a space for inquiry, collaboration, support and friendship.
In November 2022, a new residency cohort started, and this group of six diverse artists is supporting each other’s creative projects through regular conversations.
One of the residents, Antonia Banyard, writes for children and adults. Her published works include a novel set in Nelson, four non-fiction books for children, two board books and poetry. Barnyard emigrated from Zambia to the Kootenays as a child and maintains close ties to Zambia through family and volunteering for Malambo Grassroots, a non-profit organization that her mother and sister started in the early 1990s. She also volunteers for Elephant Mountain Lit Fest.
Banyard says, “I love that this amazing community finds new, unexpected ways to support its artists. I am honoured to be part of this residency!”
Barnyard is working on a fiction project for children 8–12, melding her immigrant experience with her family history and Zambian folklore. A Columbia-Kootenay Cultural Alliance grant is supporting her with a story/plot consultant, an African folklore consultant, a developmental editor and two expert readers.
Resident Lindsay Clague performed on Vancouver stages before training in New York and has toured/ performed across Canada as an actor, dancer and singer and worked in the film industry. She is active locally as an actor, dancer, singer, choreographer and director, with major roles in shows, including Mamma Mia, Liberation Days, Jorinda, Fastlane to Paradise.
She has been involved in putting on many local shows like Decade of Delight, The Addams Family, I’ll Be Back Before Midnight, and Birthday Present for Myself. Clague has worked as a voice-over artist for the CBC and the KMC/CBT podcast series Headwaters.
Clague is working on an original theatre/dance piece entitled, Elegy for a Lost Friend. It explores the toll of losing a foundational relationship due to mental health struggles and asks if resolution is possible. With original music by Lila Gray and under the direction of Hiromoto Ida, Clague is developing a thought-provoking physical theatre piece that will juxtapose live performance with film footage. She plans to tour the show nationally.
With a voice called “undeniably fantastic,” Rachel DeShon won Marvin Hamlisch’s Search for a Star competition and was a guest artist on his national tour. She has performed with symphonies, opera houses, theatre productions and even circus tents.
She is a versatile performer and uses her voice in exciting and dynamic ways. She has performed with Marvin Hamlisch, Joan Baez, Ann Wilson, Thelma Houston, Martha Davis, and Norman Durkee. She has appeared with Seattle Symphony Pops, Boston POPS!, Pittsburgh Symphony Pops, 5th Avenue Theatre, North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Auburn Symphony Orchestra, and Singapore’s Esplanade Concert Hall.
DeShon is reimagining Emmy Award Winner Tim Noah’s music for ‘Anything is Possible!’ — a live, interactive musical celebration designed to captivate, empower and encourage children and adults to listen to their hearts, trust their intuition and believe in their dreams. This will be DeShon’s first self-produced and entirely original theatrical endeavour.
Resident Astrid Heyerdahl has deepened her exploration of and artistic practice in dance to break down age limitations within the performing arts. A lifelong dancer, Heyerdahl studied ballet from a young age, changing to house dance and now contemporary and heels.
Even when she hadn’t danced, the movement arts held immense presence and influence. She loved witnessing contemporary dance in Toronto and Vancouver and was involved on the boards of dance and performing arts companies.
Heyerdahl, 41, seeks to explore social constructs of age and ageism in dance while exploring healthy limitations and challenging the boundaries of age. Recently, she underwent a process of unravelling the complex layers of artistic expectation and imposed rigid femininity long-held by professional ballet. Returning to dance, she feels like herself and wants to see what she can do.
Ari Lord’s writing has been longlisted for the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize and the 2022 Jacob Zilber Prize and was nominated for the 2020 Sundress Press Best of Net Awards. Lord has published in Malahat, Puritan, Plenitude, Minola, and Black Bear Review and is writing a novel supported by BC and Canada art councils.
As a freelance Writer & Editor, Lord writes and edits reports and funding applications for nonprofits, journalistic and magazine articles, research and academic articles, and edits fiction and creative nonfiction. They sit on the board of Plenitude Literary Magazine.
Lord’s current novel features a city-dwelling protagonist who is practised at being a ‘good wife,’ but when she finds out her husband is not who he says he is, she leaves in the middle of the night for the wilds of the Kootenays. As she attempts to untangle societal and familial expectations and build a new home, her complicated past follows her.
Finally, Kelly Shpeley is a multi-disciplinary artist from Nelson who works on many projects, like a juggling creature.
They have had gallery showings in Canada, the US, and Norway and are published in Juxtapoz, Print Work, and Trend Prive magazines. They have worked in the film industry for fx studios, done artwork for Stan Lee via the Calgary Comic Expo and were part of Neil Gaiman’sCalendar of Tales. They painted the original poster for Vancouver International Jazz Festival 2015 and participated in theNelson International Mural Festival. Their work is described as “surrealistic and dreamlike.”
Shpeley’s current project, The Arrow of Time, is about the nature of entropy and how our selves affect our environments. It asks people to explore their awareness of that effect and their awareness of their environment. The project is expected to be finished at the start of 2024 and will be displayed a