Apr 23

Wrecking Ball starting political conversation

by Jenna Shummoogum · 1 comment

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There is too much theatre in politics and not enough politics in our theatre.

The Wrecking Ball has something to say about that. Originating in Toronto eight years ago, the event is a night of art that is highly politicized. Artists are given a few weeks to come up with original political work that delivers a discourse about the current election and political landscape. Mark Hopkins attended a Wrecking Ball event that took place in Calgary last election, “it was a really, really powerful evening, because not only did you have artists who were creatively engaged in the election, but you had a crowd of people that don’t usually talk about politics,” he says. “That really generated a powerful conversation.”

When this federal election was called, the Wrecking Ball put the call out to people across Canada to join them and Hopkins jumped on board. Teaming up with Ellen Close and Simon Mallett of Downstage Theatre, they worked to put the night together. “People are going above and beyond to make this happen,” Hopkins says, “it’s really great to see all these people get involved because they really want to have a conversation about the election.”

The night will feature three local playwrights Jonathan Chapman, AJ Demers and Eugene Stickland, as well as singer-songwriter Kris Demeanor performing original work specific to the upcoming election. “I like that the arts is having their take on [the election],” says writer/performer AJ Demers. “I wish that every citizen group or every interesting individual would express their own interest.”

The Wrecking Ball is about a national conversation. The event is taking place on Monday April 25th at 8:00pm in seven cities across Canada. Some of the cities are sharing similar scripts, and they will all be connected by social media. “As things start in different time zones, there will be a sweep across the country,” Hopkins explains, “it’s really exciting that literally hundreds of people want to take the time to have this conversation and want to work together to have it.”

The evening sets out to be a non-partisan political discourse. It isn’t an event to attack any particular party or candidate. It’s about having a real conversation about the issues with other people. “The plays that are there, the songs that are being written, the poetry that is being read, is really designed to engage people just in the fact of democracy,” Demers explains. “I’m hoping to get people involved in making an informed choice,” he adds. Hopkins feels the same way, “it’s really about allowing people to form their own opinions and not through any particular lens,” he says. “It’s about engagement and what can we do to start those conversations.”

The Wrecking Ball Calgary event is taking place at the Jack Singer lobby at the Epcor for the Performing Arts on Monday April 25th. Doors open at 7:30pm and performances start at 8:00pm. Pay what you can at the door and all proceeds go to the Actor’s Fund of Canada.

For more information on The Wrecking Ball go to thewreckingball.ca
The Wrecking Ball Calgary Event can be found on Facebook
Follow the event on twitter – hashtag: #wreckingball2011

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