The Whole Shebang Guelph: by Elysha Poirier

The Guelph Shebang by Erin MacIndoe Sproule

Watch the video by Erin Sproule


The city of Guelph holds a very special place in my heart. Fondly, I think back on summer months that I spent there house-sitting, two weddings of friends I’ve known for over a decade, and one of the first times I sold some artwork at a Community Roots shop curated by a friend, Tracey Enns. I’ve had some fantastic times at the River Run Centre as well; two dance festivals I performed in, as well as a beautiful reception at one of the said weddings. The centre has a certain air of magic and appeal to it. The main hall is especially captivating with floor to ceiling windows looking out on to the Speed River.    Continue reading

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The Burlington Shebang by Jessa Agilo

As an observer and translator of the Shebang Process, I have come to witness “openness” and “sharing” between artists and supporters as one of the most impactful, mercurial “ripple effects” of the Shebang Process as adapted in Burlington, Guelph, Kingston and St Catharines.

As expressed by some of the Burlington Shebang artists (“because witnessing isn’t enough”), the open, collaborative value of art has “the chance to create beyond one’s own limitations, to infuse new perspectives and expand interpretation of possibility(ies)”, to “open the mind and soul to allow us to connect more deeply and experience life in a more fulfilling manner”, to “reveal our insides”, and, perhaps more simply, “to achieve an unknown and maybe unexpected outcome”.

Artists, audiences, presenters, producers and community members so rarely have the opportunity to come together in the inspiring, essential environment of the studio. By observing this latest phase of The Burlington Shebang Process (in August 2015), it is clear to me how so much can happen when artists and their supporters are granted time to communicate their stories together, and to balance between “knowing and not knowing” in an unscripted exploration of life, art and the creative process without restriction, expectation, or judgment.

Many of these desires came to light through the course of a delightful and deeply felt day at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.  Reflecting the Burlington artists’ expressed desires to share their individual and collective senses of “play”, “abandon”, “sorrow’, “love”, “fight”, and a “visceral connection to our shared humanity, from heartache to high hopes”, a highlight of the day was an unexpected, unscheduled visit by Costin Manu, Burlington Performing Arts Centre’s Community Engagement Manager.

After brief introductions, the group was engaged by the telling of a profound story shared by Costin. Completely unplanned, the stories shared between the group inspired a new creation process including Costin and the artists.  Culminating in a short dance-story performance, the dance brought together many of the sharing techniques that Shebang artists have been developing in Burlington and other communities. Tears of heartache and hope were shared amongst all in attendance.

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The Guelph Shebang – Post by Nadine Saxton

Janet Morton hanging domestic lamps throughout the River Run Centre.  Illuminating some of the hidden parts of the building and inviting the public into a more private, intimate experience as they explore.

Janet Morton hanging domestic lamps throughout the River Run Centre. Illuminating some of the hidden parts of the building and inviting the public into a more private, intimate experience as they explore.

I was delighted to join Andrea Monday morning for an early drive to Guelph with other Shebang members Gabriel Cropley, and Elysha Poirier. I haven’t had a opportunity to share the Shebang experience as an Artistic Translator since the opening of Kingston’s Tett Centre last winter and was looking forward to sharing what was happening in Guelph.

The resident Guelph Shebang Artists, are preparing for their production as part of Culture Days at the River Run Centre, which runs from 3pm-5pm this Saturday, September 26th.  

What a warm welcome we received and what a beautiful space. I lugged armfuls of equipment into the Co-operator’s Hall – and was awed by the size of the room.  After the “Meet and Greet” of the group, which included dancers Megan O’Donnell and Ishra Blanco, musicians Amadeo Ventura and Bry Webb, video artist Jenn E. Norton, writer Claire Tacon, and Erin Sproule, a documentary filmmaker here to record the process of the event, Andrea quietly explained how the week would proceed. 

Andrea offered a guided warm-up where they revisited experiences of past workshops to anchor the Shebang experience allowing the artists to take this practice of embodied moving, knowing and, learning into their lives after the Shebang.

This small intimate group of artists have been working together for several years, and the culmination of their collaborations is this week. The pathways of working with each other have been laid down in the process workshops they have participated in, Due to schedules and other commitments, this morning was to be the only time the artists were all going to be together until the Dress Rehearsal Friday. It was important for the company to connect as a group once more.

Installation by Claire Tacon: pick a machine. in one sentence, respond in any way to the advice you see on the index card. post your writing on the wall.

Installation by Claire Tacon: pick a machine. in one sentence, respond in any way to the advice you see on the index card. post your writing on the wall.

Explorations that awaken sensory organs, eyes, ears, nasal passages, tongue and throat were explored, as well as kinesthetic attuning to one another and the environment through which they were moving. Andrea’s prosodic voice invited a tuning in to rhythms and sounds within the self and in the surroundings. Hearing breath within and hearing the breath of others around, the group moved observing gravity and observing space through their sensations, and in so doing re-connecting with one another. There is a willingness to participate and accept others where they are, as they are. 

This process of embodied connection to self, and meeting and blending with other was evident in the collaborative works.  Jenn’s work Arm’s Reach was scored by Bry. There is a mesmerizing quality that is translated to the viewer reclining in beanbag chairs, I was transported to an altered state.

Dancers from Immigrant Services Guelph-Wellington.

Dancers from Immigrant Services Guelph-Wellington.

Although not there for rehearsal, Amadeo was present in Ishra’s fluid undulating sensual spiraling movement. Her interpretation of his music has a cellular consciousness to it and this must arise from their moving connections with one another. There is a mature sensitivity and authenticity to this collaboration.

There is awareness and wisdom of experience in these collaborations. Younger emerging artists working with seasoned professionals make for a respectful, thoughtful engaging program. There was no ego in the place, only appreciation for the individual artist and the curiosity of how the works speak to one another. This group processing through somatic experiences has influenced the way they work and interact. I am looking forward to following this exciting process through Saturday and beyond! 

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The Whole Shebang Guelph: by Lisa Hakvoort

I recently had the pleasure of attending a workshop at the River Run Centre in Guelph led by Andrea Nann in preparation for The Whole Shebang Guelph, taking place September 26, 2015.

Upon arriving at the River Run Centre I was introduced to the Guelph Shebang collaborators, each with different artistic backgrounds, ranging from storytelling and dance to music and video installation.

The Guelph Shebang by Erin MacIndoe Sproule

The Guelph Shebang by Erin MacIndoe Sproule

The day began with a warm up where artistic collaborators, translators and observers including myself were engaged in various movement and vocal exercises, leading to a greater awareness of the body and mind and eliminating any fears and anxieties. This process is meant to produce greater artistic creativity and exchange, which was clearly evident in the workshop that followed.

Observations, visions, ideas and questions were addressed and explored throughout the day. Each collaborator brought something truly unique to the group producing new, unexpected and rather exciting results.

For a sneak peek into the Guelph Shebang Workshop and the upcoming event in September check out the video by Erin MacIndoe Sproule

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The Kingston Shebang celebrates the opening of the Tett Centre

Check out this film by Tess Girard showcasing the Kingston Shebang performances at the brand-new Tett Centre.

The Kingston Shebang by Tess Girard

Tett Centre, Kingston

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Burlington Shebang Culminating Year 1 – Post by Lisa Emmons

photo by Lisa

photo by Lisa Emmons

music makers, movement explorers, word smiths and fabric formers – an unlikely

tribe crossing paths in an architecture of detail

visions of unfurling smoke, at times choking at times sending peace at times

enveloping me into a creationists high

your body knows. my body knows what it needs and wants, I hear it more clearly,

I see my peers more clearly, clearly through the magnetic wafts of mist and


fabrik attak yes lets the wall knows

the tribe is unleashed and the community is welcome, come and explore

how does andrea prime us so exactly to unfold and explore so deeply

the tribe holds me and I hold the tribe

I am burned and disintegrate

Fertilized with ideas and practices

The desire to keep on keeping on

The Ripple Effects

The practices that Andrea shares with us, I now take into the studio. I share them

with my employees. The practices and concepts are a vast planet waiting and

demanding to be explored. The work awakens curiosity, which I feel is the main

ingredient for creating. I work with various dance students across the GTA, dance

professionals and with myself. The ripple effects are continuous. My son and

husband came to the open session. It is now family practice as well. The games are

also a command to put down your devices and communicate and to be together


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Guelph Shebang – Year 2. On sharing artistic practices and personal responsibility. Post by Claire Tacon


Photos by Jacklyn Barber

Photo of Katie Ewald by Jacklyn Barber

Artistic exchange is at the heart of the Shebang Process.  It’s kind of like being invited into someone’s home and hanging out in their kitchen or trying on their favourite clothes as a way of discovering some new aspect of your self.   Part of why it’s so important for the Shebang Process to extend over years, is to allow for this unfolding and activating of a more “whole person” in artistic creation and collaboration and ultimately in the ways we share our work with the public.  At intervals during our process guest artists are invited to lead a session, to share something integral from their own artistic practice with the Resident Artists.

Photo of Katie Ewald by Jacklyn Barber

Photo of Katie Ewald by Jacklyn Barber

The following is a post by Guelph Resident Artist Claire Tacon:

In year two of the Guelph Shebang, we were joined by dance artist Katie Ewald for a text workshop. Up until that point, we had been exploring free-form vocal improvisations.  It’s an area I’d been struggling with—feeling free enough to make sound, to take up aural space. For one thing, I lacked some of the vocabulary around music that many of my collaborators had, not to mention their training. What did I have to contribute? The question and its answer clammed me up.

Katie started by taking music out of the equation. We simply had to tell a story, using a regular speaking voice. The challenge would come in trying to capture the attention of the listener, and in maintaining focus despite the distraction of a parallel narrative. It mirrored what we’d been doing with dance, finding our way into a specialized form through the everyday movements of our bodies.

We also talked about what had been holding us back before, the feeling that singing was automatically equated with performance. Exploration in that medium was difficult, even for the professional musicians among us. Katie suggested a technique that had pulled her through her own self-consciousness. She advised us to remember that, “You are in the improv, or the show, that you want to be in.”

That line cracked the whole process open for me. It was okay if I was too shy to harmonize with the group; there were other ways to participate. Active listening, basic percussion, spoken word.

I think what that line changed for me was that it increased my responsibility. How I built my role in the improvisation was my choice, but I had to make a choice. Having agency became a kind of safety net and I found myself making bolder contributions, knowing I could always pull back.

It reminded me of something that Daniel Brooks said about his play “Bigger than Jesus.” People kept walking out, offended by the production’s content. Until one night, the actor, Rick Miller, made an announcement mid-show. He told the crowd that the show wasn’t going to get less shocking and they should feel free to leave now, no hard feelings. No one left. Making the audience responsible for deciding whether to bail or stay, ended up helping them engage.

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Shared Words from Kingston Shebang artists and Public Workshop participants

Kingston Shebang public workshop

Kingston Shebang Community Workshop

August 22, 2014

I thought it would be useful to include another option for observations, thoughts, concerns, inspirations, disappointments, questions… to be shared in the time and space we have already carved out for the Shebang.  I brought in a box and index cards and invited everyone to write briefly and anonymously.  We did this 2 times with the core ensemble and once following the open community workshop.
here is some of what was collected (there were also some symbols that unfortunately I cannot recreate in text):
Working on rationing my energy…we’ll see…visualizing little wood furnaces in my cells
So many unique ways of looking at things
Wondering if I have my own stories.  The keyword a STORY.  searching for my own story…
A good reminder of the importance of reaching out and connecting to others is what makes a community a strong one.
Beautiful harmonies.    What loving energy.
day 1 – difficult drained, need to be alone, want to leave, went home exhausted
day 2 – before practice mixed feelings so much to do no time   want to stop Shebang
reframe practice   music energizes   feeling better…good day.
day 3 – good opening/warmup.  good vibes.  liked wall exercise of ‘moving’.  great dance energy.  more energy at end!
old world
surface   curve   warmth   gentle line   coming out
monday – it was monday  worried about things but had a commitment for Shebang
twisted thoughts about being in the dark Baby Grand and coming to the end of summer, enrolment, starting over again with a new year.
time well spent.  my appreciation of the Shebang process is definitely deepening and is becoming more helpful with my own work.
random acts of moving
I’m feeling so grateful, so deeply fortunate to be supported in a space of creative discoveries.
Interpretations  listening  leading  selecting  following  connections with community    how can this relate to what goes on now in Kingston   gently taking out   introducing
Shared focus, experiences, challenges
support, direct and indirect
expanding perceptions, ideas and possibilities
sanctuary that you can count on
connections with movements, people and motifs
lots and lots of ideas and sparking off points
super day – again     getting clarified!
permission to explore possibilities   memories   movements  rhythms  connections  combinations 
Dance so deeply you forget the dancer and become the dance.
.rhythm.  .moving.  .through.
I feel that there has been such rich ways of communicating in non-verbal ways…sometimes I feel as though we are doing too much talking…it is necessary but perhaps we need to spend a little more time in silence to find our way through the complexity of these profound connections.
glad to be in practice out of my own head!
observing, creating, moving, focus outside of myself!
Eureka    explosion
calm down listen don’t react no voice in head just get out of the way let joy in
understand   wait   feel   carry   soar
I’m feeling a little raw and vulnerable.  This process is putting in a sharp perspective for me, what it is we call home, how we perceive home and its ability to couch us in a sense of belonging.  I feel homesick, yet I feel deeply and profoundly at home here.
scratch music dance feel see hear    stories on the wall    stories in, on, around us
I have missed seeing everyone and sharing, bearing witness to the beautiful collective that is Shebang.  I am so genuinely looking forward to seeing where you have travelled in your journey.
healing practice of movement to just be
At the end… I felt as if I was on ecstasy
Fresh Air   Thank you
thank you to Ebon, Chantal, Moyra, Irina, Dorothy, Terry, Kyoko, Harry, Alison, Melissa and to our wonderful workshop guests for sharing these words.


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Kingston Shebang – Year ‘3’ August 20, 2014 post by Elysha Poirier

photo of Tett Centre reconstruction

photo of Tett Centre reconstruction

yarn bomb in Montreal.  artist unknown

yarn bomb in Montreal. artist unknown

August 19-20, 2014
Two days in Kingston, a city full of rich history… you can feel it in the pavement beneath your feet, see it in the stone houses and courtyards.
Conversations of people who have gone before us, I think of inspiring movements like “guerilla knitting”, also known as yarn bombing. It’s a form of street art to wrap an object, structure or a thing of nature in colourful yarn. It’s almost exclusively about a movement of reclaiming and personalizing sterile or old public places.
We explore movement in the Kingston workshop in many forms: warm up movement; asking what moves us, and what does it mean to move?
There’s a warmth in the group that melts my anxiety that comes with entering a new process, one that is so much bigger than myself. 
The word ‘new’ has been a central theme for last year or so: moving to a new city, new projects, and most recently meeting the Kingston artists who are about to move into a new home (the Tett Centre). Exploring the challenges and questions about what ‘moving’ means. Sometimes, just having a conversation about challenges we all face can make it feel less daunting, and more exciting.
The Tett Centre is an old brewery that is currently a massive construction zone. Its transformation from what I’ve gathered, is huge.  It’s inspiring to witness how these artists, and the Shebang process will work together to wrap this centre in warmth through their art. I think about the act of wrapping yarn around an urban fixture, making it new again, personalizing it. It will be a home coming for them, and that calls for a celebration, a massive house warming. 
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The Kingston Shebang prepares for the Tett Centre Grand Opening

The Kingston Shebang is set to take place at the opening of the Tett Centre in January 2015. The Kingston Shebang will celebrate the inauguration of the arts cluster by building bridges between the diverse artists and artistic organizations set to take up residency in the revitalized facility. The Shebang showcase – originally scheduled for October 4th, 2014 – will feature an expansive community oriented arts event that will engage artistic and local communities alike.

Read the full post at:

And stay tuned for the opening date!

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