Works on the Way
"Sometimes the journey from the beginning to the end of a creative project can comprise months if not years.
Sometimes a creator appreciates an opportunity to share the work in progress- to have a deadline to shoot for, a first draft to access, a pathway to reconnect
with inspiration and find encouragement - a chance to get that raw material out there and see what it is - or might become.
I hope you will join us for this evening of “Work on the Way” featuring two wonderful creative artists, Diana Tso and Yanna Mcintosh. "
Yanna McIntosh is an actress and teacher. Her most recent stage work, playing Hermione in the San Francisco production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, was interrupted by the Pandemic. Known primarily as a stage actress, she feels extremely fortunate to have been able to "pivot" (slightly) toward more television, film and voice acting. Viewers who don't blink too frequently will be able to see her work in the new Disney/Sci-Fi network show, Y: The Last Man, the upcoming Netflix film, Slumberland and the feature film, The Marsh King's Daughter.
This piece emerged out of a writing workshop with Alison Wearing in (gulp), 2017. I think I had begun to write something about my mother and hair. That piece astonishingly lacked her voice, they said. (Rude.) What does she sound like?, they asked. (Nosy.) I told a story of hearing her talking about me to a train performer. Try to write her voice, they said. (Bossy.) The story developed (grew to its current amorphous and unwieldy, no-end-in-sight form) through subsequent workshops in 2018 and 2019. My mother was ailing (failing) and the attempt to write about her felt like a way of writing her back to life. Sadly, it did not grow much outside of workshops which created a weekly impetus to produce; one thing I have not mastered is how to carve out time to write from a busy, hurry-up-and-wait-now-we-want-it-yesterday modern-day actor's life. A question for myself is: what is the point of a writer who only has one story? In 2019, my mother died, and the piece, having failed in its main mission, became too painful to engage with. Two and a half years on, for some reason, (that I cannot now fathom), I decided I was ready to look at it again. Other than that, I don't know what it is about.
Diana Tso is a theatre artist, storyteller, actor, playwright and a theatre faculty member at George Brown College. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BA hons in English Literature and Ecole Internationale de Théâtre de Jacques Lecoq in France. Her most recent
performances include Modern Times Stage Company’s The Cherry Orchard, Theatre Smith- Gilmour’s Les Misérables, Stratford Festival’s 2017 season in Bakkhai and The Komagata Maru Incident.
Her Red Snow Collective empowers women’s voices and re-imagines mythologies through female perspectives www.redsnowcollective.ca
Her play, Red Snow, inspired by the survivors of the Rape of Nanking in WWII, produced in association with Aluna Theatre and directed by Beatriz Pizano, premiered in Toronto in 2012, followed by its international premiere at the Shanghai International Contemporary Theatre
Festival in China. Her play, Comfort, inspired by the resilience of women in war, premiered in Toronto 2016, directed by William Yong and was nominated for the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding music composition. Her Spring Moon, commissioned and produced by Mix
Company Theatre, premiered in 2017 and was inspired stories of grandmothers and granddaughters. Her Monkey Queen, inspired by Wu Cheng’en’s 16th century epic of monkey king, re-imagined through the female warrior, directed by William Yong, premiered in November 2018. Currently she’s writing, carried by the river, a story about women and a river.
Her plays are available at PGC’s Canadian Play Outlet:
Her most recent creation is “unwavering”, commissioned by a Convergence Theatre’s COVID
Confessions series. read / listen at the link below:
The artists of Salar have woven their work into Nova Scotia’s artistic tapestry over the past three decades, crossed paths at various intersections along the way, and now come together as the creative collective The Hatch, based in K’jipuktuk/Halifax. The ensemble includes Benn Ross, Kersti Tacreiter, Cathy Porter and Alexis Milligan. For this production they are joined by a number of supporting artists who have added their expertise and creative energy to the development of this new work. The Hatch fosters understanding, inspires action, and creates lasting connections through arts-based practices in knowledge translation and exchange.
Halifax based drummer, instructor, producer, composer and songwriter Benn Ross has been a leader in the Halifax music scene for well over 2 decades. He studied percussion privately and at Dalhousie University and has been playing since 1993. He performs with The Negligents, part-time Mellotones drummer, Bubbles, and many other Halifax-based bands and artists. Recording & production credits include projects with Tanya Davis, Rose Vaughan and Cathy Porter, among others. He has also toured and recorded with Joel Plaskett, Matt Mays, Erin Costelo and Amelia Curran. His production on Little Miss Moffat's 'Wild About Nature' won a NSMW award and nomination for an ECMA. Benn has made a dozen solo albums and composed, recorded and produced music for film, theatre and dance, with a notable body of work in collaboration with filmmakers and animators, Siloën Daley and Dylan Edwards. He has provided musical accompaniment for various theatrical and movement workshops and worked as an accompanist at Halifax Dance. Benn enjoys collaborating with interdisciplinary artists and creating new ways of communicating through music. For samples of Benn’s sound and music composition, production and recording in collaboration with animators, film, and visual artists, please visit: Onions, or Sometimes Clouds Get in the Way
Further selections of Benn’s work can be found at: bennross.bandcamp.com
Alexis Milligan is an acclaimed actor, movement specialist and director, both on stage and film/TV, with a number of awards and nominations to her name: alexismilligan.com.
She is a noted artistic collaborator and has created choreography and movement for many theatre companies around the world. Currently, Alexis is in her fifth season as Movement Director at The Shaw Festival, she was also the movement and puppetry director for the sold out run of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at The Stratford Festival, as well as En Julefortelling (A Christmas Carol) with the National Theatre of Norway in Bergen. Alexis’ passion is arts-based communication and she is pursuing her Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies, combining the performing arts, curriculum development and neuroscience, at the University of New Brunswick. She also sits on the steering committee for the newly formed Canadian Network for Imagination and Creativity as well as The Atlantic Centre for Creativity, and she is a recurring guest teacher at NYU: The Tisch School for the Performing Arts.
Kersti is a performer and creator with over two decades' experience in devised, physical, popular and improvisational ensemble theatre. This, coupled with 10+ years' experience working as a seasonal national park interpreter, sparks her passion for bringing stories about the wonders of nature to life and inspiring a deeper understanding of and connection with nonhuman nature. Kersti loves to explore and seeks out adventure at every turn, readily donning her hiking boots, life jacket, skis, and sometimes even stilts, to experience natural and cultural wonders across the continents. During her acting career, she has lived and trained in tiny Italian villages high in the hills of Umbria and Campania, performed under the stars in southern New Jersey farmland and amidst the concrete of Manhattan’s East Village, summoned crowds in Kraków’s cobble streets and brought stories to life across Canada. A mother of three, Kersti is a second generation Canadian, still very connected to her Polish, Beskid Highlander roots and immeasurably grateful to have grown up in the incredible, nurturing landscape of Mi’kma’ki.
A versatile and engaging performer on piano and her signature array of unusual hand percussion, multi-instrumentalist Cathy Porter has been a staple on Canada's East Coast music scene since 1990. Freelancing as side-musician has taken her on extensive tours throughout the US and Canada, Western Europe, and to Brazil with numerous Nova Scotia-based local and international acts. In 2013 Cathy was the first woman in East Coast Music Association’s history to be recognized with the honorary Musician’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Cathy released two independent instructional videos for an oft-seen but little-used instrument called the cabasa on YouTube in 2013 and 2020. The first continues to be one of the most-watched cabasa tutorials world-wide.
Mary Louise Bernard
Mary Louise Bernard is a Mi’kmaq elder, self-published author, and former Chief from Wagmatcook First Nation Community. Mary is going on her fifth season as a Mi’kmaw Interpreter at the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Mary’s signature program at the park is “Sweet Discovery” which she created from her children’s book Sismoqnapui’skwe’j/Sweetwater Maiden: The Legend of Maple Syrup. Another popular event she developed is the Grandmother Moon Ceremony, a woman empowering ceremony, which she conducts throughout the park and beyond during the full moon. When not in the Highlands, you could find Mary visiting her family, friends and searching for that famous mouth-watering fish chowder. Mary’s favorite place is the Cheticamp Campground. It is surrounded by beauty - the many trails that take you to many spectacular places by the mountains, the rivers, and the ocean. There is so much to see in its natural form, and space to enjoy the beauty and sounds of nature.