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7 Days of Creation

7 days of creation

artists in personal development, creation and support

Across Oceans Arts - 7 Days of Creation

Performing artists in dance, theatre, music, spoken word, or other forms of performance

  • who have a project that is in rehearsal

  • who need a residency situation to move the project forward

  • who welcome serious critique

  • who thrive on an environment of shared discovery, expert mutual support and exchange

Canaries are flying

Dec 16-Dec 27, 2019 24/7 FROM THE COMFORT OF OUR OWN DEVICES IN OUR OWN TIME climate change theatre action.


"I am standing here for a body that cannot stand here...and the sunny flicker of the canary in its cage." Canaries are used in coal mines to warn miners of air contamination. Their tiny bodies feel the contamination first. When the canaries stop singing the miners know they must evacuate. In Hanna's text many canaries have managed to get free but... (full text and director's notes, here).


By the way, AOA does not believe in English hegemony. If you do not speak English, or prefer not to speak it, please read the text in the way you want. Your voice reading a language that isn't yours' is a huge message in itself. Still you will likely want to know what you are reading or you might want to read in your mother tongue so if online translation is not good, do ask for us to get a translation for you.


Some information on a few groups, networks, and organizations dedicated to Climate Action are here opportunities for arms-length (sign petitions, donate) and hands-on involvement (volunteer, share info, etc), and information on what to do personally, communally and globally. Every amount of involvement is invaluable.

Canaries are flying
Love Lyrics

Love Lyrics

Love Lyrics (2012)

7 days of creation riffing off the images and poetry in the book “Love Sonnets” illustrated by Antonio Frasconi, edited by Louis Untermeyer. 

dance: Maxine Heppner

music: Miguel Frasconi

theatre: David Fancy

dramaturgy: Gerry Trentham

The outcome was a 45-minute performance that became the catalyst of “Beginnings of a love song for Antonio”.

5 Fresh Starts

5 Fresh Starts

Over 7 days of intensive studio work performing artists Lo Bil, Elizabeth Chitty, Maxine Heppner, Brad McDonald, Gayle Young, and Sashar Zarif created the seeds of several new performance works at the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University. On Sunday June 23 at 4pm, the public joined them as they tested their paper airplanes, singing doorways, blinking sunglasses and other devices. They showed what they'd been up to and how they created this work. Audience responses, insights, opinions were welcome and essential.

An intensive creation time sometimes propels artists into worlds of brilliance. It’s always useful to open this dreamy territory to others. From impartial observer or invading spy, grounding input and fierce challenge is always useful.


What: Open Studios: 7 Days of Creation: new performance works


Where: Department of Dramatic Arts, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON Canada

When: June 17 - June 23, 2013


Presented by:  Across Oceans Arts

Hosted by: the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University, 

With support of: Angels of Across Oceans and the Canada Council for the Arts

Woyzeck Moving

Woyzeck Moving

Jan 23-Feb 14, 2015



Lead: Michela Sisti

Facilitating Mentor: Maxine Heppner

Participants: Soo Garay, Yevgeniya Falcovich, Irina Lyubchenko, Karissa Fyrrar, Reg Mason, Jen Fraser, Noella Denny, Daniela Cerrone, Catie Graham, Alaine Hutton, En Lai Mah, Shekoufeh Sakhi, Will Hoffstetter


Intention: to devise from four physically-based starting points: 

  1. Images from Buchner‟s text (e.g. “eating the grass down to the roots”, and “round and round”), 

  2. Actions that are rooted in the main ideas of the play (e.g. I consume you, I cut through you, I wake you up) 

  3. The Human/Animal Body: How can we allow audiences to see the human body with new eyes? What behaviours do we share with other animals? When do we reveal these behaviours and when do we hide them?)

  4. Text-Movement dichotomy: How to find ways to use movement to de-familiarize words? How can we find ways of using words to de-familiarize movement? 

Goal: to enrich the theatrical experience.


THEME: Power

  • Shifts of power in society

  • Expressions of personal power

  • Proximity and power dynamics

  • What is the Space of power? The Muscularity of power? The Architecture of power?


Explorations through movement-centric direction.


Maxine’s Insistent Challenge:

“Move away from symbolic-metaphoric to physical present > What are you Doing?

What is Actually Going On? What do you Actually see/hear? What do you Really sense?


  • Moving attention from obvious themes to under-lying or over-riding concepts

  • Examining abstracted concepts for inherent qualities described through common dance vocabulary – such as force, energy, shape dynamic, time, weight.

  • What is the text besides words: force, energy, shape dynamic, time, weight.

  • Musicality of the work: identifying the metres and rhythms in the text then embodying metre, rhythm, tempo in a scene, in a character: symphonous relationships, counter-points.

  • Physical Struggle in real time/place. Physical struggles on stage are inherently dramatic. Moreover, if a performer is completely engaged in a physical challenge there is no need for ‘acting’. Examples of some physical struggles we worked with: chopping wood, breathing according to specific timing while doing other tasks, complex movement patterns demanding full attention, keeping in time with a leader, pulling a limp person across the room (challenge to pull, challenge to remain limp) Commitment to a physical struggle can be at the center of character.



Always be Movement – play, propose, try, explore, think, discuss, reflect, reset

Woyzeck, written by Georg Büchner, was incomplete at his death, but has been posthumously "finished" by many authors, editors and translators. It has become one of the most performed and influential plays in 20th century German theatre repertory. The "open" aspect of the unfinished play was an invitation to AO's "Woyzeck movers" to examine the words of the script, then leave them behind to enter the Body of the play itself through the Bodies of the Artists.

Woyzeck deals with the dehumanising effects of doctors and the military on a young man's life. It is often seen as 'working class' tragedy, though it can also be viewed as having another dimension, portraying the perennial tragedy of human jealousy. It is loosely based on the true story of Johann Christian Woyzeck, a Leipzig wigmaker who was drafted to be a soldier. In 1821, Woyzeck, in a fit of jealousy, murdered Christiane Woost, a widow with whom he had been living. He was later publicly beheaded. Büchner became fascinated with the case and he used it as inspiration for the play that would culminate his short but luminous literary career.

Pure research and creation .... "Well. that's a fine kettle of fish you got yourself into!"

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