Performed at La Cité Francophone
Opening Night SOLD OUT
Shelter: a nuclear family adrift in the atomic age. Since Prometheus stole fire from the gods, we have flirted with the dangerous beauty of science. In this cartoon fable, a father protects his family at any cost.
Thomas and Claire fall madly in love at a fundraising party. Thomas has decided to “find a wife, get a life,” while Claire wants a man “with a heart and a bank account.” As they birth a glowing daughter called Hope, a midwife hovers in the background. She is physicist Lise Meitner, co-discoverer of fission, who warns that “chemistry isn’t enough, you need form, elegance, physics, to release this fire, this hidden energy.” As the growing girl wanders restlessly from basement to attic, “stuck within this house, a secret in this house,” Thomas tries desperately to hide his daughter from outside eyes. He hires Meitner to be Hope’s governess, and the young girl presses her teacher to explain the bewildering world of war and love. On Hope’s 21st birthday, a mysterious force draws a young man to her door. He is the Pilot, with a destiny to fulfill.
Click on any of the performers' names to read their full bio.
Juliet Kiri Palmer
Based in Toronto, her work has been featured around the world with performances at New York’s Lincoln Center, London's Southbank Centre, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Bath International Festival, Voix Nouvelles France, Italy’s Angelica Festival, Evenings of New Music Bratislava, Musica Ficta Festival Lithuania, NYYD Festival Estonia, The Istanbul Festival, Soundculture Japan, the Adelaide Festival, the New Zealand International Arts Festival and Canada's Sound Symposium. Juliet is the artistic director of Urbanvessel, a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration. Recent works include Stitch, Slip and Voice-Box. Upcoming projects include Sweat, an a cappella opera with writer Anna Chatterton and director Tim Albery (Soundstreams Canada), Daughters of the Ocean with playwright and singer Sharada Eswar, and a new work for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. Juliet was the 2011/12 Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards composer-in-residence at the New Zealand School of Music and is the 2012 composer-in-residence of Vector Wellington Orchestra.
Julie Salverson writes plays, essays and libretti, and has published extensively about the artist as witness to stories of violence, historical memory, ethics and the imagination. Plays include Boom, Thumbelina and The Haunting of Sophie Scholl. In 2011/12 she was Playwright in Residence at the Royal Military College of Canada. Her feature about Canada and the atomic bomb, "They Never Told Us These Things," appears online in Maisonneuve Magazine (Summer 2011) and was nominated for a National Magazine Award. She edited Community Engaged Theatre (2011), and Popular Political Theatre and Performance (2010), Playwrights Canada Press. She received an honourable mention in 2008 from Malahat Review, Creative Nonfiction Prize (with Peter van Wyck) and in 2009 she was a CBC Literary Awards finalist. She performed her prose poem The Loyal Wife at Ekphrasis 12, Art Gallery of Ontario, 2010. Julie teaches drama at Queen’s University. She is working on the book Lines of Flight: an atomic memoir.
Keith Turnbull’s directing career is highlighted by a commitment to contemporary and new work in both theatre and opera. He worked as a producer, designer and director in London, Ont., before becoming the assistant to the artistic director at the Stratford Festival. He has also worked as an artistic director for the Manitoba Theatre Centre, Neptune Theatre Second Stage, as a director at Tarragon Theatre, founded NDWT Co., and worked as the artistic director/executive producer of theatre arts for the Banff Centre. Keith has directed 90 plays for theatres across Canada and directed and developed operas for Coups de Théâtre, nexmap, Norbotten Music Theatre, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Music Theatre Wales, Peteå Chamber Opera, Tapestry New Opera Works, Welsh National Opera and Vancouver Opera. Most recently, in Sweden he directed the much-acclaimed World Premiere of Carl Unander-Scharin’s The Crystal Cabinet for which he was co-librettist.
Stage and costume design
A Toronto-based set and costume designer, Sue LePage’s design credits include Arms and the Man, Candida, Ragtime, Saint Joan, The Magic Fire, Bus Stop, Something on the Side and Pygmalion (Shaw Festival), The Real Inspector Hound and The Chairs (Soulpepper Theatre Company), The Ventriloquist (Factory Theatre), Lillian Alling, Frobisher and Filumena (Calgary Opera/Banff Centre), No Exit, The Human Voice and The Elephant Song (Stratford Festival), Fish Wrap, Capture Me, Side Man, Soldier’s Heart, Perfect Pie, The Four Lives of Marie, The Memory of Water and Lion in the Streets (Tarragon Theatre), Zadie’s Shoes (Factory Theatre/Winter Garden Theatre), The Lonesome West, Billy Bishop Goes to War (national tour), The Glorious 12th, Dancing at Lughnasa, Death and the Maiden and The Elephant Man (CanStage), Juliet (and Romeo), Merlin, Jacob Two-Two, Anne and Treasure Island (Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People/Young People’s Theatre) and Anastasia (Ballet Jorgen). She has also worked on productions with companies in Charlottetown, Halifax, Ontario, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Lighting and video design
Beth is an award-winning lighting, projection, set and costume designer, and the co-creative director (with husband Ben Chaisson) of Playground Studios. They created two interactive installations; Night Light Travels and The ToyBox, which was awarded the 2011 CITT Award for Technical Merit. Recently they designed and co-produced Malaria Lullaby, projections for The Wizard of Oz and Snow White (Ross Petty pantomimes), and Ragtime (Shaw Festival). For Tapestry New Opera, Beth created the full production design for Dark Star Requiem, and sets/costumes for Get Stuffed. For WYRD Prod., Beth has designed MacHomer, Bigger Than Jesus (Dora Award for Lighting), Hardsell and others. For director Adam Brazier, she created the sets for Assassins, Sweeney Todd and Theatre 20’s Bloodless. Other design highlights include Yichud (Seclusion), Brimful of Asha (Tarragon), Max & Ruby (Broadway), The Backyardigans, Judith Thompson’s world premieres of Such Creatures and Sick and creating original projections for the band The ElastoCitizens. Upcoming projects include her co-creation with Steven McCarthy, The Synesthesia Project. Her most major production, her son Aaron, was born in April 2012.
Lighting and video design
Ben Chaisson is a sound and projections designer, the 2010 Laureate of the Pauline McGibbon Award for Design, and a new dad! As resident sound and video designer for WYRD Productions, he co-designed Into the Ring, Bigger than Jesus and HARDSELL. Ben has been nominated for a number of Dora Mavor Moore and Betty Mitchell Awards for his design work on Bigger Than Jesus and The Highest Step In The World (Ghost River / Alberta Theatre Projects) . Other highlights include Theatrefront’s The Mill, epic oratorio Dark Star Requiem (LuminaTO/ Tapestry New Opera Works), To Capture Light (Mulgrave Road), The Wizard of Oz and Snow White (Ross Petty Productions), and Cavalera Rusticana and Pagliacci (Opera Hamilton). He recently made his debut with the Shaw Fesitval, co-designing Ragtime with his wife and creative partner Beth Kates. Their company, Playground Studios, designs productions, presents master classes in projection/video design, and has created two installations, Night Light Travels and The ToyBox, which won the 2011 CITT Award for Technical Merit.
Jo has contributed to over 120 productions in theatre and dance as choreographer, movement director, dramaturge, director and coach. Highlights include Paris 1994 (The Dietrich Group, World Stage), A Chair in Love (new opera, Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea, Wales), Vaudevilles of Chekhov, Hamlet, The Wrong Son (National Arts Centre),Taming of the Shrew, The Odyssey and The Liar (Stratford Festival),The List (Nightwood Theatre), and Tour BusT (on a travelling Greyhound bus). Upcoming projects include the new opera, Elephant Man, with NorrlandsOperan, Sweden. Jo was the company movement coach at The Stratford Festival (2005-08) and principal movement teacher at The National Theatre School (1990-2001).
Award-winning Saskatchewan baritone Peter McGillivray has been gaining accolades on both the concert and operatic stage. Stage works last season included Pagliacci (Silvio), Gianni Schicchi (Betto) and Moby Dick (Stubb) for Calgary Opera, Gianni Schicchi (Marco) for the Canadian Opera Company and La Bohème (Schaunard) for Opera Lyra Ottawa. He was also featured at the Festival of the Sound (Parry Sound) and in Tapestry’s Shelter workshop last summer. This coming season will see him as the Vicar in Pacific Opera Victoria’s Albert Herring. A former member of the Ensemble Studio of the Canadian Opera Company, he made his professional debut with the company as Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas), followed by Coffee Canata, Albert Herring and Faust. Highlights of past seasons include Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Tanglewood, a Debut Atlantic tour of the Maritime provinces, recitals in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Saskatoon and Ottawa, and engagements with the Calgary Philharmonic, the Regina Symphony and l’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec.
Keith Klassen has emerged to become one of Canada's busiest tenors, with engagements across Canada, Scotland, Germany, the United States, Ireland and the Czech Republic. This past season he was featured with the Pax Christi Chorale in Elgar’s The Kingdom and as Prince Edwin in Gypsy Princess with Toronto Operetta Theatre. Appearing frequently with the latter, he has starred in Count of Luxembourg (Count Rene), Die Fledermaus (Alfred), The Bird Seller (Count Stanislaus), Patience (Reginald Bunthorne), Gondoliers (Marco) and The Chocolate Soldier (Alexius). He has also been seen with the Canadian Opera Company as Nick (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Spoletta (Tosca), with Vancouver Opera as Jimmy (Lillian Alling), with Saskatoon Opera as Don Jose (Carmen), and as Alfred with Opera Hamilton (Die Fledermaus). Keith was last seen with Edmonton Opera in Falstaff as Dr. Caius and is pleased to continue his work with Tapestry New Opera Works, joining their newly formed studio company.
A native of Timmins, Ont., soprano Maghan McPhee’s voice has been described as “brilliant, with warm lyricism” (Times Argus). Maghan was a semi-finalist in the Montreal International Voice Competition and winner of the silver medal at the esteemed Eckhardt-Gramatté competition, which focuses on new music. The bilingual Ontarian made her debut at Carnegie Hall where she gave the world premiere of a work by Ryan Carter. Other highlights include her debut recital at the National Arts Centre, a recital at the Juilliard School with pianist Joel Harder and performances with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra, on the mainstage at the National Arts Centre under Pinchas Zukerman’s baton, and at the National Gallery of Canada. She has sung throughout Canada and in Italy, France and Austria. Maghan was pleased to join the voice faculty at Carleton University this past fall.
Andrea Ludwig has had great success as a performer of contemporary opera, premiering new works as well as in the traditional mezzo-soprano repertoire. Her charm and warmth, as well as her easy sense of humour are perfect for stage, and her vibrant musicality makes her a favourite to all her audiences. Very much in demand for contemporary opera, this June she was heard with Tapestry New Opera in Toronto in the new opera The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G. (Gervais/Murphy). Also, as part of the multi Dora-nominated Queen of Puddings production of Svadba – Wedding, she will be reprising that role in France and Serbia (October 2012) and then again with Edmonton Opera in 2013. With concert work, Andrea returns to Symphony Nova Scotia next season to premiere Peter Lieberson’s songs Neruda Songs, after having been featured for their Orchestral Currents series in 2011.
A musical chameleon with a near five-octave range, Christine Duncan uses her voice as an instrument, exploring its full tonal, timbral and textural range. She is involved in everything from jazz, R&B, gospel, improvised music and sound poetry, to new music and musique actuelle. Christine has been a member of the Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation big band for over 15 years. She is one half of Barnyard Drama, an improvising duo of drums, electronics and voice, with Jean Martin, who also runs Barnyard Records. Christine and Jean also have a trio with DB Boyko called Idiolalla which has an album on the Ambiances Magnetiques label in Montreal. Christine has created, developed and regularly performs with an improvising choir in Toronto, called the Element Choir. Christine is an active educator and teaches in the jazz programs at the University of Toronto and Humber College. For more information on Christine Duncan and upcoming events, see www.barnyardrecords.com.
One of Canada’s most distinguished music directors, Wayne Strongman is the Artistic Director and CEO of Tapestry New Opera. He has commissioned and premiered over 30 new Canadian operas, including the Cantonese-English Iron Road (Brownell/Chan, 2001), Facing South (Hannah/Smith), The Shadow (Poch-Goldin/Daniel) and Nigredo Hotel (MacDonald/Gotham). He is the director/dramaturge of Tapestry’s Composer-Librettist Laboratory, and is committed to a contemporary practice within the operatic form. After conducting and premiering Sanctuary Song (Chan/Richardson) and Dark Star Requiem (Battson/Staniland) for Luminato, Strongman has increasingly focused on relationships with like-minded producers like Edmonton Opera and Scottish Opera UK to develop homes for the exciting new operas emerging from the Tapestry new work studio. He is one of 50 Canadian Ambassadors for New Music (Canadian Music Centre, 2009), and honoured as a member of the Order of Canada (2010) for his innovative leadership of Tapestry and dedication to the children of Regent Park.
Director Keith Turnbull talks about Shelter, which will make its world premiere in Edmonton on Nov. 15
Thomas (Peter McGillivray) and Claire (Christine Duncan) at the party where they fall in love, during the first scene of "Shelter."
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