Who are you and how did you first get into theatre?
My name is Jack Paterson (he/him). I am Vancouver based/ launched director, devisor, dramaturg, translator, actor and creative producer whose practice has taken me across Canada, the UK, EU, and around the world. My work has ranged from cross-cultural and trans-sensory devised creations, multi-disciplinary and multi-lingual projects to new texts, translations, and classical theatre in contemporary form.
I’m not sure how I got into theatre. Growing up it was always around me. My parent were avid theatre goers. I was that baby crying during act 1. Perhaps due to being a bit of a troublemaker as a teenager, my parents enrolled me in the Carousel Theatre Teen Summer Shakespeare program. That would be it. Between volunteering for United Players (a company I still return to as a director) and Carousel I was hooked. I began making my own teen angsty shows at Kitsilano Secondary , full of smoking and swearing and questionable poetry.
Through my training in New York (Circle in the Square Theatre Conservatory), we made theatre on rooftops and in the back of bars and wherever we could. I spent my rent money on The Pelican Theatre, a 50 seat black box just off theatre row, and slept under the risers for three months to direct my first show. Some of it was pretty good. Some of it wasn’t.
An empty theatre is a place of dreams. A rehearsal hall can be a beach, a park, an abandoned building, someone’s sister’s kitchen. A theatre can be anywhere under the sun or stars. Whatever it is and wherever it is, it’s home.
What inspires you to keep creating?
As a theatre maker, I have been fortunate to travel extensively in my practice. I’ve worked in languages I don’t speak, with artists I didn’t know, and in cultures with practices, traditions, and world views very different from my own.
Although I believe the same to be true here at home, nowhere is it more readily evident that “your way” is only one of many than international exchange. It forces us to engage with the unknown, daring us to look beyond individual comfort zones and echo chambers, and compels us to set aside personal beliefs, expectations, and assumptions to engage with the often dramatically different perspectives of others.
These creative journeys are the most enriching and the ones that keep me going. We learn about ourselves through others and that is at the heart of theatre from the actor and character, artists and audience, or two artists in collaboration. The greater the road between these two the greater the conversation.
Tell us about your current/upcoming project…
Where to start…
Later this month on the PHT main stage, we will be wrapping the early research of an Active Access Design/ Cross Sensory Translation – the integration of access into the generative and production practices of theatre creation. Joel Grinke (www.joelgrinke.com), Paul Power (www.powerproductionsnl.com), Hannah Siden (www.hannahsiden.com), Vanka Salim (www.vankasalim.com), and Anika Vervecken will be exploring Digital Directors – creating a path for directors unable to be in the space to participate in the hall from home. https://www.
jackpatersontheatre.com/ active-access-design-labs- directors-designers/
Dr. Julia Henderson and I have just launched into The Creatus Project, an early research intergenerational exploration of Active Access Design for elder artists and audiences with PAL Vancouver and Western Gold Theatre. We are working with three amazing teams of artists, producers, and crews to imagine new creative ways to address obstacles faced by senior performers. www.creatus.ca
New Translation Canada | Nouvelle Traduction Canada, an inter provincial collective formed by me (BC), Johanna Nutter (Qu) and Yolanda Ferrato (NS) is continuing our translations of works by the 2020 Prix Siminovitch Prize nominated playwrights. We recently finished our workshop of Tara Beagun’s Free as inuns, translated to French by Charles Bender. Next up is Carmen Aguire’s Anywhere but here, translated to French by Emmanuel Jiminez. www.newtranslationcanada.com
Next month – or maybe the one after hat – New Constellations & Perspectives PHT Studio Series will be back with workshops on led by Anju Singh (www.anjusingh.com) and a follow up Ageing in the Performing Arts at The Presentation House Theatre
With any luck, travel funding will come in for playwright Rhiannon Collett to join Teatro Vista in Chicago for the translation workshop of their fantastic work The Kissing Game, translated to Spanish by Mayu River Coello Jara. www.bouchewhacked.com
And later this fall, I will be heading back to Bali with a Canadian team for a new cross-cultural collaboration with that fantastic I. Made Sidia, Sanggar Paripurna (www.sanggarparipurna.com) and PEPADI Indonesian Society of Wayang Puppetry.
How has being a member of the PHT creative HUB helped you?
Grounded in Vancouver by the pandemic, I joined the Hub immediately. PHT was a life saver. From various rooms in the building, I ran a series of 25 pan Canadian and international digital translation workshops free from the interruption of nephews armed with lightsabres.
Since reopening, the Hub has provided desperately needed rehearsal space for my directorial project, the English language premiere of Mishka Lavigne’s GG winning play Haven (with the afor mentioned United Players).
Perhaps more importantly, the hub has provided a shelter from the storm. A theatre space where I can go sit and type grants, ask advice, and engage in creative conversations.