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Atelier Ludmila presents Baba Yaga and The Lost Babuska

September 6, 2014 at 3 pm (Stewart Street at Bethune - south of Sherbrooke)
September 7, 2014 at 3 pm (corner of Brock & Water Sts.)
A sugested minimun donation of $10 or PWYC

BABA webcard

Baba Yaga and The Lost Babushka, a family-friendly afternoon performance, set among the trees of a little park on Saturday; or the trees and rolling lawns of Victoria Park on Sunday as part of Artsweek 2014.

Join our band of merry-makers and follow the Giant Fire Bird on a roving adventure, in this adaptation of an Eastern European classic celebrating children, friendship and grandmas! . Featuring live music, giant puppets and some rather big and very little surprises along the way.

More about Baba Yaga and The Lost Babuska at Artsweek 2014 here.

Atelier Ludmila is a performance-based production house and research lab invested in making art big with the public. More about Aletelier Ludmila here.

Erring on the Mount - No Man's Land

No Man's Land Curatorial Statement - A special installation within Erring on the Mount

by Judith A. Mason

When I heard that Public Energy had secured the use of the Mount--a decommissioned convent--for an interdisciplinary community arts event, I began to imagine an intimate exhibition of the work of women artists. As I toured the site, I was particularly drawn to the pinkish corridor on the first floor, once bedrooms of the Sisters, as a rich location to explore the intersection between Christianity and Feminism – both contentious paradigms. This smaller exhibition within the larger Erring on the Mount Festival weaves together aspects of the historical work and lives of the Sisters with the lived experiences of eight contemporary artists.
The title No Man’s Land suggests a liminal space, a space of in-between, a site of transition, an unclaimed interval, and a place without men. Women’s experiences often coalesce in this unclaimed territory. At times, it is difficult to navigate our way to the centre of our own lives.  And, as Elizabeth Wright suggests “speaking desires can be dangerous.”1 Communicating through a male-derived language system that continually constructs woman as ‘other,’ minimizes, obscures, annexes, undermines, or simply negates female perspectives.

These mid-career artists create an altered space, a space that communicates private concerns, personal experiences, intimate thoughts and visceral feelings with all the paradox, ambiguity and vagueness that visual picturing allows. This site activates this creative response and the installations activate this site creating a “keeping place”2: enacting a living memory practice that brings all that is held there into the present moment.
Feminist issues of the 60s and 70s have not disappeared in any sense of the word. Far from it, they have grown and multiplied. Our cultural values, ethics, relationships, and economies remain defined by an archaic patriarchal system. The (un)Holy Trinity of Capitalism, Democracy and Christianity has not secured a world of health and well-being for most, but, has and continues to, exploit the majority for the benefit of the few.

1 Wright, Elizabeth, Speaking Desires Can be Dangerous: The Poetics of the Unconscious (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999).

2 See Jonathan Bordo’s essay, “The Keeping Place,” particularly 173-174, in Monuments and Memory, Made and Unmade (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003).


Erring - What's in a name?

erring: n. a state of wandering

Erring (1996) by Tracy Shumate 
Erring (1996) by Tracy Shumate

See excerpts of Erring (1996) in development, taken from a full-length video shot by Brian Mitolo. From the first tours of the spaces above the Only Café to demolishing rooms, installing the artistic environments, painting the hallways and rehearsing the plays prior to opening night.

See the Erring poster. See the Erring program.

Erring was a multidisciplinary event staged June 14 and 15, 1996 by members of the Union Theatre collective in vacant apartments above The Only Café that were being demolished to make way for The Gordon Best Theatre.

Erring on the Mount is using the word ‘erring’ in the same way it was used in 1996. Many familiar with the idiom “to err is human” associate erring with sins, or mistakes. But its Latin root is errant, meaning ‘to wander’. The first Erring, and now Erring on the Mount, embrace these varied meanings to describe an event in which artists and audiences alike are invited to search for new and unusual experiences in an unfamiliar place.

As ground zero for Peterborough’s downtown arts scene in 1996, The Only Café was a natural choice for the event: the idea was hatched there over a few pints; the 2nd and 3rd floors above the café were about to be demolished to make way for a beautiful new theatre/bar/restaurant; and the owners of the café, Jerome and Charon Ackhurst were big theatre supporters. After all, just 4 years earlier the Café had served as a kind of midwife for the birth of the 4th Line Theatre, today the area’s most successful theatre company. Now that same theatre community, which had been operating a space called the Union Theatre (a hot house for alternative theatre) was without a home, evicted by a landlord looking for more money and less riffraff.

The idea for Erring was that it would do two things: provide a place to create some theatre and, since all artists would donate their time, generate funds to find a new space.
To determine which artists would fill the limited spaces available, the organizers of Erring created randomly matched teams composed of a writer/director, a performer and a visual artist. In each of seven rooms, a writer would contribute a script or story, an actor or dancer would perform, and a visual artist would create a unique environment. And in each case, the artistic teams were created by drawing names out of a beer pitcher, contributing to the edgy energy of the event. In addition, seven performers were chosen as guides to lead the audience from room to room. To accommodate more artists two bathrooms were turned into artistic installations as were the hallways. Even the outside fire escape was added as an 8th performance site. The result was that more than 70 artists and supporters and 50 businesses – as named in the program - contributed in one way or another to an event produced completely without public funding.

One challenge in creating this event was to name it. Credit for that goes to one Sarah Clift, who drew on the Latin meaning of the word: ‘to wander’. In 1996 Peterborough's alternative theatre community was in search of a place to play and perhaps make some mistakes or even commit a few sins along the way.

Erring (1996) poster:

Erring (1996) Poster
Erring (1996) program: 

Erring (1996) program - front cover

Erring (1996) program - inside left

Erring (1996) program - inside right

Erring (1996) program - back cover


Erring on the Mount - statements

Statements by Artistic Producer and Curator of Erring on the Mount

Welcome to the final event in Public Energy’s 20th anniversary season.

To mark the occasion we’re producing an event that really shows the world what we do – the diversity of artistic styles and collaborations, and our commitment to trying new things while not losing sight of how we got here. It’s not often that the past plays a role in a festival of forward-thinking art, but it seems appropriate as we enter our third decade.
The history of the Mount is well known to those who have interacted with the building and the Sisters of St. Joseph over the years. What is less known is that the idea for Erring on the Mount comes from an event staged in Peterborough in 1996. Credit for the special way in which the word erring is used belongs to the artists of the Union Theatre, who created the first Erring as an imaginative response to being removed from their home at the time.
That event, and its title, have stuck with me all these years – their memory a constant reminder that the best artmaking is always worth the risks taken to pull it off. So it is in that spirit that we use the word erring, drawing as much on the Latin meaning to wander or stray as to be mistaken, to describe an event in which artists and audiences alike search for new and unusual experiences in an unfamiliar place. Here’s wishing you good luck and that you won’t make too many mistakes as you stray among the art and artifacts of Erring on the Mount.
- Bill Kimball, Artistic Producer

An Act Of Faith

Curating a first-time multi-artists festival is an act of faith. It involves not only trust, but conviction, that the end result will reward the effort; that the funding will come; that the organizers, artists, and public, will come; that together we will all experience something transformative and transcendent. The result of that act of faith is now on display for all to see at Erring on the Mount.
Over seventy proposals from writers, actors, dancers, painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, and storytellers were submitted in response to our public call. Artistic producer Bill Kimball and I ultimately chose  51 works that most fit the festival goals passed down to us from the original Erring artists*. Multidisciplinary, site-specific, site-responsive,  and collaborative new works  would  transform unusual spaces into artworks, but instead of apartments over a bar, we are using two wings of a de-consecrated  convent.
Site-specific/site-responsive art engages with architecture in a way that traditional gallery and theatre pieces do not. Traditional settings for experiencing art ask the works to conform to a designated ‘blank canvas’; art and performances fit within the boundaries of a mutable gallery or theatre and divisions between audience and creators are understood and accepted. In site-specific art, the physical space is the starting point of the work; the guiding principal that inspires the creators is the history and function of the location, and the resulting works reflect the legacy of place.
For Erring on the Mount, Public Energy brings you public art for an untraditional space: the former Motherhouse of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, now known as the Mount Community Centre, future home of an inclusive and diverse community, yet to be established. The Sisters have moved to a new home next-door, more in keeping with their current numbers and role in the community - but for over one hundred years, the site was the bustling home of over 300 nuns, carrying out good works of education and healing in this community and beyond. The home, with its chapels, dormitories and even infirmary, was once full of stained  glass and statuary, icons of the Catholic faith, and remnants and echoes of the Sisters’ lives and religion remain in traces that cannot ever be erased or removed.
The site however, is undergoing many changes, and Public Energy has been given the opportunity to aid in the transformation process. By inviting artists to speak to the site, we investigate its place in the communal imagination, and each artist’s work forms a response. Some challenge, some chide, others honour and extol. Turning a former convent into a temporary artistic experience is risky, but our hope is that it generates the kind of public energy that occurs when risk-taking artists come together with openhearted audiences. We have faith that you will enjoy experiencing it, as much as we have had in the making of it.
- Elizabeth Fennell, Curator

*Some original  Erring artists have returned for this one:
David Bateman, Brad Brackenridge, Kim Blackwell, Ryan Kerr, Kate Story, Esther Vincent.


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