On November 27th, CMVan is pleased to announce this unique evening edition with THREE SPEAKERS from Vancouver’s theatre and stage performance community!
Heipo Leung works as a set designer in theatre and film/TV productions.She didn’t grow up dreaming of a career in theatre. She was artistic, always drawing and making things with her hands when she was a kid, but she wasn’t aware of actual jobs related to this artsy doodling. The only art-related occupation she knew of involved cutting off one’s ears, starving, committing suicide, and gaining fame only after death. A bit bleak, she thought. She never treated her artistic inclinations seriously enough to take them further - yet in 2014, Heipo decided to leave her beloved Hong Kong to attend a Theatre Design Master’s Program in Vancouver. She cried on the first night of arrival missing her family and started to doubt that decision. It has been an exciting journey for her. Heipo looks forward to an uncertain future - like an audience gets excited about what is behind the theatre curtain.How do you define creativity and apply it in your life and career?
Creativity to me is a process of active thinking - of not being lazy to exercise one’s brain cells and getting comfortable of follow all existing ways of doing things. There were so many things invented before us. The expectation becomes higher, if someone has an idea of creating something unique that could fly a group of people in the air. We might still end up with a conclusion that airplane is what we could get so far, but one’s curiosity and desire to explore is the origin of creativity to me. I apply creativity almost like a problem-solving skill in both my life and career. I am always curious to know why things fail in a certain way and what are the possibilities to improve it. I am a directionally challenged person and I have an instinct of turning right whenever I exit a place. This frustrated me sometimes, because my workplace is on the opposite way. I decided to put a relatively strange weird looking stuff animal at my right back seat, so I will get a scare when I look over my shoulder and hopefully I would think twice before turning. It is NOT an ideal solution and the animal is gone now cause it was a bit too intense, but it is a process to create I believe.Q&AWhere do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?
It is cliche but inspiration is really everywhere. The best ones usually come when you are not looking for them - those truly inspires me just because. For finding creative energy, then absolutely museums, art galleries, and the nature. Just being inside a museum or art gallery stimulates me without even started seeing what are exhibited. The experience of being in there itself is almost as important as the display collections - the high ceiling interior with spot lights hiding or profoundly showing, the extreme quietness or the tapping sound from wood bottom shoes walking on stone floor, the distinct smell of certain artifacts, the self restraint of not touching anything, and so on.What’s one piece of creative advice or a tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
Being observant. It relies on all five senses but for what I do, using sight becomes particularly valuable. I wish I would have known it earlier in life because it takes time to train one’s eyes to attend to details. Sometimes I will “forget” seeing things. When I am “looking” at a sunny-side up egg, I know it is the food I consume in the morning to give me energy. When I am “seeing” that sunny-side up egg, I see a perfect honey yellow circle resting on a not too perfect bigger ivory circle. It has shine/reflection on it that suggesting a smooth/fluid surface. This sunny-side up egg becomes an abstract form than anything else. I found inspiration comes within paying detail attention to things surrounding me.Who (living or dead) would you most enjoy hearing speak at CreativeMornings?
A group of “Renaissance man”. I am always curious about how they managed their time. Some of them, sadly, died young, yet they have high achievement on many different fields of study at such young age. I would be really enjoyed to listen to their sharing on their daily schedules and how to (or not to) maintain a social life.How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?
I create space to drive and enhance people’s emotions during a storytelling process.What myths about creativity would you like to set straight?
Creativity does not equal to being different from everyone else.If I could open a door and go anywhere where would that be?
I would like to be in a place that is 10,278 kilometers away from where I am and have a dinner with my family.
Landon Krentz is a bilaterally profoundly Deaf individual who is completely bilingual in American Sign Language (ASL) and English.As a Deaf artist, he brings a unique perspective to the role of a Director of Artistic Sign Language for theatre organization that wants to establish professional sign language theatre as an inclusive and intersectional artistic practice. The role has allowed him to advocate for the inclusion of artists within the larger community so that Deafness is looked upon as a reflection of diversity and culture. He is a skilled ASL/English transcriber who understands the theatrical context into sign language and works with a community of like-minded theatre interpreters in order to bridge the communication gaps between arts organizations and Deaf artists. To date, he was successful in producing his dream conference called, “Awakening Deaf Theatre in Canada”, that looks at connecting prominent Deaf artists and their hearing allies to learn about producing professional sign language theatre.Q&AHow do you define creativity and apply it to your life and career?
Creativity pushes the boundaries of traditional, social and psychological ideas and finding ways to adapt to different practices that don’t use a cookie-cutter method because nobody fits in a box. Creativity improves my sign language life and using it as a weapon to appeal to the audience in ways that are inviting and holistic.Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?
I find my best creative inspiration through theatre and collaborating with other artists. Pioneering new artistic practices excites me.What’s one piece of creative advice or a tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
I wish that I knew that sign language has the kind of flexibility to exist on a theatrical stage. It’s okay to be your true authentic self without having to compromise your artistic and cultural integrity.Who (living or dead) would you most enjoy hearing speak at CreativeMornings?
So many to list! Josette Bushell-Mingo, Dawn Birley, Joanne Webber, David Keyzer, DJ Kurs, Joshua Castille, Ravi Jain, Mira Zimmerson, Linda Campbell, and so many more. Everyone is worth listening to.How does your life and career compare to what you envisioned for your future when you were a sixth grader?
I had wanted to be a demolition engineer as a child. Deconstructing is fascinating! I feel that my interest in “imploding buildings” has a significant relevance to my artistic career of deconstructing the traditional model of theatre. I have grown to love the idea of destroying things in order to make the new positive changes that I want to see in our community. (Be prepared to be blown away otherwise I’ll be coming in like a wrecking ball… Haha!)What was the best surprise you’ve experienced so far in life?
My biggest surprise that I’ve experienced in my life was that the Scandinavia regions have some of the world’s best theatre companies and I had no idea that some of them are sign language theatres! I intend to follow their footsteps in order to achieve professional sign language in Canada as an inclusive artistic practice.
“Yvonne Wallace (Ucwalmicw) from the Lil’wat Nation. Recently graduated from the Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree program at Capilano University.Her enthusiasm for playwriting began while she worked at The Centre for Indigenous Theatre. Later, she graduated with honours from Humber College Theatre Acting program. She has written three plays “Smothered Sweetly”, “The Last Dance”, and “Utsan” a play dealing with language reclamation and her first language fluency progression.Currently writing “7 Misconceptions of a Half-Breed Mother” a tragicomedy about the public-school system.