IGNITE! 2020: SoulSwap

Art Series: Theatre

Poster Credit: Oliver Bailey

In the near future, Elliot and Lily join an experimental process to take one another’s bodies for a spin. As they adjust to their new embodiments, Elliot and Lily encounter the unexpected: complicated feelings, foreign memories, and a newfound romantic interest in one another. Overlaid with sci-fi themes, but still deeply intimate, SoulSwap re-imagines and explores trans experiences of euphoria and dysphoria in a new one-act by emerging artist Oliver Bailey. SoulSwap was originally written for the stage, but in the era of COVID-19 it has been transformed for digital consumption as a filmed staged reading.

Show Times –

  • June 11 – 8:00-9:00

Run time – 60 minutes
Rating – PG-13

  • Adult language/content
  • Suicide/suicidal ideation
  • Sexual content
  • Self-harm

Skipping Stone is an organization that provides counselling and mental heath services for trans* and gender diverse individuals, their families, and support systems. To learn more or set up an appointment, call 587-333-4342 or fill out their contact form.

If you have questions relating to mental health, Alberta Health – Access Mental Health is an excellent resource with trained professionals who can answer questions about these matters.

If you need immediate help and support the Calgary Distress Centre can provide immediate access to a crisis counsellor. Accessible by phone at 403-266-4357 and by their chat function – located here.

Owl Pod is offering free virtual counselling sessions – needing to talk is okay. No problem is too small.

Cast and Creative Team

Playwright and Project Lead – Oliver Bailey
Oliver Bailey is an aspiring performer and playwright currently studying drama at the University of Calgary. He came out as trans in 2015, and loves being visible! He describes his gender as ethereal and mysterious. Embodiment and identity is an endless fascination, meaning he loves writing ghosts, including one in A Robot, a Biomechanic, and a Ghost and another in Haunted Doll Poetry, both written for YouthRiot with Alberta Playwrights Network. SoulSwap does not currently feature a ghost, but he’s open to that possibility for a future draft.

Artistic Mentor – Natalie Meisner

Dramaturg – Eden Middleton
Eden Middleton is a poet-playwright, with work featured in ND Theatre, Theatre Calgary Outloud, People’s Poetry Festival, Lida Lit Magazine and Nod Magazine. Their play Centre Line won first place at the 2019 Newmarket National Ten Minute Play Festival. Eden adores queer art, haunted churches, and stargazing in the desert and their writing usually features one of the three. They are so thrilled to support spooky sci-fi trans art with their dear friends and collaborators.

Director – Lizzie Rajchel
Lizzie Rajchel is an emerging director, costume designer and performer. She just concluded her studies in Drama at the University of Calgary and can not wait to start her internship at Quest Theatre. She enjoys a creative challenge and is excited to see how she can harness Zoom for this project. Lizzie is a fan of ghosts in theatre but hopes she never encounters one in real life. She would like to thank her team, friends, family and partner for their constant love and support.

Performer, “Lily” – Jesselle Laurén
Jesselle Laurén is a queer actor and fight performer based out of Calgary, Alberta. They are delighted to be joining Sage Theatre for this years Ignite Festival as the industry pushes boundaries for new ways of delivering content. Before the shut down they could be seen as a regular member of Calgary’s improvised soap opera Dirty Laundry YYC, and often found with a sword in hand training with Fight Directors Canada.

Performer, “Elliot” – Émanuel Dubbeldam
Émanuel Dubbeldam is a francophone queer and trans actor based in Edmonton. For two thirds of the year he co-hosts Radio-Canada’s children’s program ONIVA! and for the remaining third he is writing, acting, tending to houseplants, and goofing off. You can catch a stream of his play POSITIVE on June 14, presented by Nextfest, Edmonton’s Emerging Arts Festival. An audio recording of his play À VENDRE is featured in the Alberta Queer Calendar Project (queercalendar.ca).

Performer, Stage Direction – Thalia Parena Altura Bituin
Performance Credits: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Cappuccino Musical Theatre); Broadway The Early Years (Impromptu Concert Series, Toronto); Tawa Filipinx Comedy Festival (Bad Dog Theatre); Memoirs of a Trans Artist (120 Diner Cabaret Series); The Sleeping Beauty Panto (Morpheus Theatre); The Dangerous Hour (Royal Princess Cruises). Education Mechanicals 2018-2019 Season (Factory Theatre)
Education: Performing Arts, Diploma (Randolph College).
Thalia is a proud multidisciplinary Trans Artist and Fashion Stylist @saks. She’s a foodie and an art collector luxury handbags included. Follow her on Instagram @lathaliax

Stage Manager – Allison Weninger
Performance Credits: #Uni, When She Was Good (SCPA, University of Calgary).
Technical Credits: Nickel and Dime Student Theatre (PM); Fritters in Kandahar (SM), Machinal (ASM) (SCPA, University of Calgary); Goosebumps (ASM) (SBT).
Allison is in the business of caring, pulling extra highlighters out of thin air, and making dreams happen on time. She is thrilled at the efficiency of setting up and striking an online rehearsal hall and stage. She would like to thank the SoulSwap and IGNITE! teams for their enthusiasm, support, and enduring love of the arts.

Our festival is free to attend although donations help us with funding and enables us to keep bringing you amazing performances every year! We are also encouraging donations to the Calgary Black Empowerment Fund.