UFV Theatre is excited to present the first production of its 2022-2023 theatre season, Ghosting of Sumas Lake, directed by Dr. Michelle LaFlamme.
In November 2021 the Sumas Prairie region experienced a historic storm, a month’s worth of relentless rain in three days, causing catastrophic flooding and havoc that destroyed homes, farms, livestock, and forced mass evacuations and displacement. Exactly one year later, UFV Theatre has created a devised show based on the student’s experiences of the devastating Sumas Prairie floods, exploring the impact of our climate crisis, the stories of community loss and resilience, and how we continue to be ghosted by our experiences on the land, history, and the past.
Dr. Michelle LaFlamme is an Associate Professor in the UFV English department and has extensive training in forum theatre methods, and the use of theatre for social change. Her research and teaching focus is in contemporary Canadian literature, with a special interest in Indigenous theatre, literature, and performance. For three decades she has been engaged in performing, writing, and developing plays, and has worked as an actor, director, dramaturg and, most recently, as a collaborator working on devised and Forum theatre.
LaFlamme shares, “The focus for the Fall show was chosen because I feel that it is both timely and relevant, as the performance and our gallery installation of the same name are important ways to mark these experiences, exactly one year later. The 2021 Sumas Prairie floods have impacted every single person on the UFV campus and within the surrounding communities. The show is a container for some of these experiences, and through the talk-backs scheduled for the show, we hope to generate even more conversations with students, faculty, staff and people from the local communities. The title I chose for this workshop performance was to remind us about the multiple ways that we are ghosted by the past, in this case, the lake returning to where it had been. And, we are ghosted by the experiences on this land, including the losses during the recent and historical floods in this region. Ghosting is also a way to appreciate the sense of loss that occurred for Indigenous peoples in the area when the lake was originally drained. And, of course, all of humanity is ghosted by the persistent threat of the global climate crisis. So, in these diverse ways, ghosting became a foundational aesthetic for this show.”
Audience members can expect to experience these immersive elements and a sense of immediacy, as this dynamic show will use multimedia to create the ghosting effects, layering audio sources and visuals from the floods.
Performances will be held at the UFV Abbotsford campus Performance Studio on November 30, and December 1, 2, and 3, 2022.
The UFV Theatre student cast features Aryan Tuknayat, Nishi Channa, Sabrina Morgan, Owen Muller, and Erin Wansink.
The student production crew includes Artyom “Arty” Urdabayev (lighting designer), Lisa Patetta (stage manager), Kai S. Pollock (dramaturge and assistant director), Anatole Smith (props master), Hunter Holden (set designer), Simon Davis (set and props assistant), and Ramina Akhmetova (sound designer).
Students are also mentored by UFV associate professor Parjad Sharifi, wardrobe manager Heather Robertson, and production manager Giuseppe Condello.
Please be advised that early reservations via Eventbrite are encouraged as seating will be extremely limited. All bookings can be made through Eventbrite and ticket registration ends 2 hours before the performance start times. Performances will be held in the Performance Studio, Building D, 105, Abbotsford Campus, University of the Fraser Valley, 33844 King Road.
Seats can be booked via Eventbrite.
Tickets are “pay what you like”, with options for $0, $5, $10, $20, or $40.
Preview matinee: Wednesday, November 30 at 2:00 pm.
Opening night: Thursday, December 1 at 7:00 pm.
Performance: Friday, December 2 at 7:00 pm.
Closing: Saturday, December 3 at 2:00 pm.
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Accompanying the production will be a stand-alone exhibition of the same name, Ghosting of Sumas Lake, which will be available to view from November 16-December 2, 2022, at the S’eliyemetaxwtexw Art Gallery, room B136, at the UFV Abbotsford campus. The installation will document the impact of the November 2021 flooding of the Sumas Prairie region. It will also contain an immersive audio-visual element, a guest book for reflections, and an overview of the archival data that was researched to support the Fall performance. An opening reception will be held on November 16 from 4:00 pm-6:00 pm, and it will be free and open to the public.
About the 2022-2023 Season of Theatre at UFV
In March 2023, UFV Theatre will perform The Laramie Project, directed by Shelley Liebembuk, Assistant Professor in Theatre. Created by Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theatre Project, this verbatim theatre piece is constructed from the transcripts of over 200 interviews, conducted in the aftermath of the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man, in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998. The piece reveals a community grappling with violence, responsibility, and healing; and showcases how theatre can be a brave space for us to engage with this together.