Sharada Eswar, guest artist
Sharada Eswar first trained in South Indian classical voice with Shri Krishnamurthy and veena (a string instrument) with Smt Subbalakshmi. She further developed her craft with other artists, including the Bombay Sisters, and the renowned Mallika Sarabhai at the prestigious Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in Ahmedabad, India. She represented India as part of the delegation sent to the India Abroad show in Paris and New York, and was one of the three chosen by the Centres Culturels des Lions Clubs de Paris to present Indian culture in Normandy, France. Since immigrating to Canada, Eswar has garnered artistic credits as a curator, speaker, storyteller, author, playwright, translator, and arts educator with the Toronto Festival of Storytelling, the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto District School Board, Harcourt Canada, Theatre Direct, Tarragon Theatre, Soulpepper Theatre, National Arts Centre, Jumblies Theatre, Weeseegechak Festival, Community Arts Guild, and others. Eswar and Yung collaborated in 2014 on a community storytelling project with newcomer women in Thorncliffe, and again in 2018 on a book of recipes by newcomers attending ESL classes.
Lauren Gillis, guest artist
Gillis is a University of Toronto graduate with a double major in drama and neuroscience. She is the co-artistic director of Lester Trips (Theatre), a company formed in 2011 that devises theatre with a bouffonesque approach to character and intense physicality rooted in butoh dance. The company’s latest production, Mr. Truth, has been nominated for two Dora awards in the independent theatre section (Outstanding New Play and Costume Design). Gillis is also an artistic associate at the Toronto theatre company the red light district, where she has been performing in, directing, and playing relentless dramaturgical whack-a-mole with contemporary takes on classic texts since 2008.
Cathy Gordon, guest artist
Cathy’s multidisciplinary practice has spanned the gamut from intimate one-on-one performances to large-scale participatory spectacles. Her seminal piece, ON MY KNEES – a public divorce ceremony(2007), marked her departure from experimental theatre/dance performance and her foray into durational performance and new media. Since then, her work has encompassed the “social” vibrating between two approaches to performance, that of theatre and visual arts histories. Highlights include Croeso, a commission for National Eisteddfod in Wales, commission of Little Big Man Remix(by The Contrary Collective) presented at Toronto Free Gallery (Toronto, 2012), Dunlop Gallery (Regina, 2012) and Viva! Art Action (Montreal, 2013), premiere of Moles Dancingat Chapter Art Gallery (Cardiff, 2012), remounted at Rhubarb! (Toronto, 2013) and a mini-tour ofMovie Monster(Art City, Winnipeg & Intrepid Theatre, Victoria, 2012). Her latest solo Hammer: The History of Cathy Gordon’s Anger – Six Strategies for Sublimationwas first conceived at Playwrights Workshop Montreal in a residency exchange with hub14 art & performance. Hammerwas further workshopped at SummerWorks (Toronto, 2013), which led to two dramaturgical retreats with Nadia Ross (Sto Union, Wakefield, QC), further development at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland, presentations at Experimentica festival in Wales, PuShOFF (Vancouver), The Theatre Centre (Toronto) and Mark Morris Dance Centre (Brooklyn, NY, 2016).
Cathy has appeared on panels across the country including PuShOFF (Vancouver), Magnetic North (Ottawa & Vancouver), PlayRites (Alberta Theatre Projects) and IMPACT (Kitchener). Her “deconstructed panel” for ACAQ Symposium in Montreal was reimagined for SummerWorks. For two years she was the Live Art curator for SummerWorks festival, with a focus on unique audience experiences. Since programming Bang! Block IN One Spot for four years at The Theatre Centre, Cathy has tried to bring artists of various disciplines together as a way to push forward the possibility of what performance might be. She currently produces for both SummerWorks and the Luminato Festival. She is the winner of the Ken McDougall Emerging Director Award, a Harold for her contribution to the Independent Theatre community; a three-time Dora Award nominee for Best Space Design and Best Production; two-time nominee for the K.M Hunter Award for choreography; and 2005 nominee for Canadian Comedy Awards.