The Scoop: Alternative News & Views

Big Green Sky, Stone & Sky 2016

Patricia Fell

26 September 2016 in Archive

After the successful production of Big Green Sky for the MayWorks Windsor 2016 Arts & Labour Festival, Windsor Feminist Theatre continued presenting professional performance, literary, and visual artists throughout the entire summer on Pelee Island. Stone & Sky, an eclectic series of concerts and other events takes place in a disused limestone fossilized quarry in the southernmost inhabited community in Canada. Featuring professional artists, we present weekly concerts, and the series culminates with an experimental theatre production.

We produced 5 concerts featuring poets, visual artists and classical, jazz, and experimental music. The music represented a 23 voice choir, a classical string trio, an experimental soundscape artist, a jazz trio, and an opera singer and accompanist performing art songs. The finalé production was a collaborative theatrical event featuring voice, text, movement, and music performed by artists from across the country and as far away as Victoria and Halifax. The event was composed of 4 musicians, 4 dancers, 4 actors, an opera singer from Ottawa, and an artistic team comprised of the director, composer, choreographer, set & costume designer, and stage manager. In all, 63 artists, including a film crew, participated this year, with almost all staying for extended artist residencies and delivering free workshops and master classes to the community. We also employed a crew of 3 students.

The introduction of a farmers market in the quarry was an unparalleled success, which generated sustained interest throughout the summer. Permanent and temporary residents, cottagers, weekenders, and day-trippers all frequented the market. The market attracted more than 1,500 people who then had access to the open and free workshops and master classes provided by the professional artists as part of their week long residencies. We look forward to continuing this initiative next year for Stone & Sky 2017.

We received support from the Ontario Arts Council for producing and promoting live performance arts. We are also very proud that we were recognized by Heritage Canada as a culturally significant event, nationally, and they have already indicated their continued support of Stone & Sky 2017. As the only professional theatre company in south-west Ontario, and the Canadian Heritage recognition enabling us to hire artists from across the nation, our reputation continues to build, and this is guaranteed to attract more artists and patrons to take a chance on Pelee. We are proud of the new artistic work we commission, and of our reputation of paying artists according to scale wages, while offering them a peaceful and meaningful cultural bridge.