Epic Women's Directing Project
4th Line Theatre’s newest project is its Epic Women’s Directing Project which will focus on giving female Canadian directors the opportunity to train and work in the company’s unique community-based model. According to Equity In Theatre’s website “in terms of artistic directors, directors and playwrights, women in Canada's professional theatre industry have not yet surpassed the 35% employment marker.”
Over the next five years, 4th Line will make it a priority to hire and train emerging and established Canadian women directors and give them the opportunity to direct in the outdoor, epic, large cast milieu which 4th Line has created over the past 25 seasons. Working under Managing Artistic Director Kim Blackwell and Founder and Creative Director Robert Winslow, women directors will be given the chance to explore epic historical plays in the company’s farm theatre space.
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What it meant to be invited to participate in The Epic Women's Directing Project as an
observer to the directorial process of Judith Thompson's Who Killed Snow White directed by Kim Blackwell, summer 2018.
First and foremost, thank you for the opportunity to partake in the rehearsal process of the premiere production.
Because of a project I am working on, I was most interested in learning by observation female theatre artists directing and producing plays written by women, telling stories about women. Perfect!
Ms. Thompson’s play woven with threads (dialogue) and needles (direction) to create a blanket (story), that captures comfort, warmth, yet tangles. Such is weaving, a skill and craft many women undertake for its practical purpose and with each stitch a most beautiful design is created. Such is this play’s production. The creative elements were all woven throughout the rehearsal process…built skillfully stitch after stitch, yet, at times threads pulled out, replaced, changed in colour, tones to blend perfectly. The weaving continues blending adding choreography, music, working within the elements of nature, yet another “character” to be considered. A tuck here, a rip there, nothing sacred but each piece revered for the only desire, by everyone, is to present, on the sweeping stage of 4th Line Theatre, a story well told. The play did not arrive perfect. But perfect it became.
To bear witness (as an observer no contribution was expected) to the brilliance of the work. Engaged actors and crew members, designers, builders. In particular for me, was observing the process of one of Canada's most distinguished playwrights, Judith Thompson, and directors, Kim Blackwell. Educational and inspiring. How they came to weave classic Greek tragedy in modern story telling of one of the greatest of life's tragedies was magical.
Judith and Kim were an incredible team. I watched them working through their creative differences, listening to each other, hearing what was meant if not quite said. The creation of dialogue – the serving the story line – delivering the message- creating characters- each rehearsal day stitching, unfolding, a bit more of the truth of the story. I witnessed their creative waltz breed from the intimacy of knowing the subject matter, caring deeply, and selfishly, to express and imprint, respectfully, their own intentions into the play.
The dialogue, each word so carefully considered, each word so carefully placed: blocking matters, theatre as a collaborative venture embraces each craft to create the whole. Much like creating a cosmos, temporary at times, but influences everything within its sphere. What power there is in theatre. It never ceases to amaze me, I am in awe of the process, the impact.
The audience, whom I watched the performance several times with, was smitten. Tears shed, laughs made, and hearty applause after each night’s performance. This play had impact. It definitely, from the start of rehearsal to final performance, the director and the playwright lovingly cloaked all the participants to confidently and safely tell a brutal story that needed telling.
What is art but the process one follows to find one's own truth. To discover what is already known though hidden deep within. To create it, to share it, to learn from it. To build a better world from it. Which is my hope, my intention. To share relevant and inspiring stories. To believe in change for the better, as individuals and within the collective consciousness.
Again, thank you for I am deeply grateful for having watched this production in particular come to life. I am inspired to continue on my journey of self fulfillment, developing my creative skills in the world of theatre.
-Simone Georges, Participant