IGNITE! Festival of Emerging Artists
Welcome to the IGNITE! Festival of Emerging Artists. This annual show is about putting a spotlight on the emerging artists in Alberta.
The Festival Line Up
forever anyway delves into the notions of eternity and loss, narrating the journey of the same couple across numerous years following their separation.
Amy Elizabeth Sawka is an emerging playwright, a performer, a creator, a youth drama instructor and a registered massage therapist working here in town. She graduated from York University’s Devised Theatre program many moons ago and has been making art both professionally and independently ever since. As a performer she has been lucky enough to grace many of the Calgary theatre stages, one in Edmonton, as well as school gyms across Alberta, and to have worked with many incredibly talented artists along the way. As a playwright, she has had a couple smaller pieces presented at a couple smaller festivals. forever anyway is Amy’s first play and she is delighted to see it brought to life by these amazing emerging artists. Amy would like to thank everyone who has already had their eyes on this piece and provided feedback, those who have previously given voice to the characters, and Ignite! for making this dream come true.
Kacie was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba but grew up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. She is an emerging artist and recent graduate with a B.F.A. in Drama Performance from the University of Lethbridge, with a specialty in directing and acting. Some recent credits include Perfect – TomorrowLove by Rosamund Small (director, University of Lethbridge Mainstage), Estate Sale by Day Chase (musician, Theatricks), A Dinner Party by Christopher Duthie (Boo, University of Lethbridge Mainstage, dir. Kelly Reay), and Design for Living by Noël Coward (assistant director, University of Lethbridge Mainstage, dir. Jay Whitehead).
Be Vardų, Be Kojų
“Be Vardų, Be Kojų,” which translates to ‘without names, without legs,’ is a completely innovative and new folk dance production that employs the amalgamated forms of 3D models to challenge the rigidity of gender roles and assignments within the Lithuanian language and dance.
La Vieja Astronauta
If a woman could have it her way, where would she choose to die, when she finds her roots and origin in different geographical places?
Playwright & Director, Be Vardų, Be Kojų
Brigita Gedgaudas is an emerging, interdisciplinary, trans*, and diasporic-Lithuanian artist working in so-called Toronto. Investigating the potential for queerness within Lithuanian folk dance, Brigita’s work deconstructs prescribed meanings of movement through exploring experimental realms of dance and digital spaces. Their practice centers around asking questions regarding how cultural heritage, nature, and technology impact the construction of the self. Brigita’s work has been shown at Trinity Square Video’s “Video Fever”, OCAD’s Great Hall, Ada Slaight Gallery, and the Bentway. Their work will be hosted at Diasporic Futurism’s database, “Temporal Tempest”. A part of the W*acking community in Toronto and a member of the performance collective, PriXm, Brigita has performed at the Drake Underground, Lithuanian House, and the AGO.
Playwright & Director, La Vieja Astronauta
Alexandra started her first theatre company, Grupo Totes, at age 7 with her cousin, Dani, in Bogotá, Colombia. One of her first, most memorable dance performances was dancing Navidad Negra, a traditional cumbia, in kindergarten. After that, there was lots of formal ballet training, degrees and fancy studies in contemporary dance, as well as some professional gigs, yada, yada. Then she had 3 kids, and now that they all go to school, she has more time to stumble upon amazing fellow artists to work with making exciting art in Calgary, Canadá.
What does the stagnant and predictable routine of the corporate day job mean for the everyday artist who wishes to break free and truly express their humanity in these working conditions?
poor recollections is a mixture of found text and a collection of self-reflections that explores power dynamics, trauma, and healing.
Verre Brisé is a movement piece that exposes what it is like to feel isolated because of mental illness, specifically Body Dysmorphia, and how those suffering must heal by looking inward.
Maddy Faunt, Sarah Vander Ploeg
Choreography & Director, pointless purSUIT
Sarah Vander Ploeg and Maddy Faunt are local emerging dance artists based in Mohkinstsis, Treaty Seven Territory, Calgary, Alberta. Sarah and Maddy first met at the University of Calgary where both were enrolled in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Dance. In April 2022 Sarah graduated from the program and Maddy graduated this spring 2023, receiving her BFA in Dance and BA in Social Cultural Anthropology. During Sarah’s and Maddy’s undergraduate career, they performed and choreographed in many shows such as Mainstage, “The Fairy Queen”, Dance@Noon and Dance@Night, “Clowning-Playful Deviance” and “Why Dance IV”. Both artists gravitate towards interdisciplinary modes of creation that allow them to utilize their talents and skills. Both Sarah and Maddy are versatile in many mediums of art such as visual arts, styling, photography, and videography. Throughout their creative friendship and professional relationship, Sarah and Maddy have explored various interests and endeavours, one of those interests being dance film. Their passion for dance film has shown them in many directions such as being accepted into the 2023 “WildDogs International Film Festival” and winning first prize in the “60 seconds of Glory” category with their film “Show-Her”. Both Sarah and Maddy define their work together as a fun, funky and bold expression of human emotion and embodiment. The pair is thrilled to see where their creativity and passion take them as they continue this journey together through dance, film, and interdisciplinary creation.
Playwright & Director, poor recollections
Cali (she/her) is an emerging director, creator and writer who is currently based in Moh’kins’tsis (Calgary). Cali is an MFA Directing candidate at the University of Calgary and holds a BA in Theatre and Psychology from the University of Manitoba. Thank you to her fiancé Zack, and her incredible friends and family for their support. Selected directorial credits: Much Ado About Nothing, here we go (University of Calgary), Macbeth (AD), Grave Story, and Chicago (University of Manitoba).
Playwright & Director, Verre Brisé
Amanda Iandolo, is an actress here in Calgary, acting in both film and theatre. Amanda, graduated from the University of Calgary in 2017, with a BFA in Drama and a BEd in Secondary Education. She studied abroad in New York City (Broadway and Jazz) and at Leeds University (British Literature), in England. Amanda has been inspired by Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms, since studying her technique in University, and wanted to further her research and passion with her latest piece “Verre Brisé” (Broken Glass). Amanda is currently teaching acting classes with StoryBook Theatre, and Drama at the High School level. She wishes to thank the entire team at Sage Theatre, for their support in making her vision come to life.
Green Key is an interactive theatrical production centered around the experiences of refugees, offering the audience a firsthand understanding of the realities and significance of being a refugee.
Playwright & Director
Saeid Asgarian is a professional director with his first master’s degree in theatre directing from the University of Tehran. In his current Theatre Studies graduate work here at UCalgary, he is analyzing the role of theatre as a social tool for integration. Saeid has directed, written, dramaturged, acted, and stage designed dozens of professional productions including Room No. 3 (2022), Life (2021), 60 Minutes Minus One (2019), A Memory of Two Mondays by Arthur Miller (2019), Winter by Jon Fosse (2018), A Behanding in Spokane by Martin McDonagh (2018), Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov (2017), etc.
High School Showcase
The Rabbit, the Water, and the Worms
An abusive father seeks forgiveness from the innermost epithets of his child, wife and mistress as he travels through the process of death.
The Unkindess of Ghosts
Should we feel responsible in the wake of tragedy? In the hands of director Sylviane Allard, The Unkindness of Ghosts, is a brutal social commentary on the role of bystanders in regards to mental health.
Playwright, The Rabbit, the Water, and the Worm
Ali Miller is a playwright, actor and dancer living in Calgary, Alberta. She is an accomplished student and participant in her high school’s drama program. “The Rabbit, the Water and the Worms” is her second play to be produced.
Director, The Rabbit, the Water, and the Worm
Marin MacKenzie is a young artist and storyteller. She has had the pleasure of participating in multiple high school theatre productions as a technical designer, actor, and director. Her most recent acting role was as Lord Capulet in her school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Along with theatre and performing arts, Marin is passionate about written and visual arts, where she likes to experiment with pushing artistic boundaries to create works with a very unique style. Marin is thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with so many talented actors and tech designers on all her directing and acting projects, especially with her most recent directing project “The Rabbit, the Water, and the Worms”.
Playwright, The Unkindness of Ghosts
Emily Haley is an eighteen-year-old amateur playwright, author, and poet. She is an active member of the drama program at her local high school and has taken part in several of their productions as a playwright, director, and actor. Outside of school she studies piano with the Royal Conservatory of Music and has participated in several city-wide competitions. She loves imagining worlds slightly different to our own and is often found reading fantasy books in dim light with a cup of tea. In the future, she hopes to continue pursuing her writing, and eventually have a career as an author. The Unkindness of Ghosts is her first play to be produced.
Director, The Unkindness of Ghosts
Sylviane Allard is a young, queer, emerging artist in the theatre industry. They were thrilled to have the opportunity this past year to play the role of Juliet in their school production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Sylviane has also been involved for the past two years in Dr. E.P. Scarlett’s one act play festival at first as an actor and more recently as an actor, director, and playwright. In their spare time Sylviane continues to work on editing the novel that they wrote during the pandemic and hopes to publish soon. They are a writer inspired by the desire to understand the inner motivations of the characters that they have brought to life both on the page and on the stage. This coming fall they look forward to continuing to explore all the aspects of their art form as they attend the University of Calgary, majoring in drama.
Choreographer, The Unkindness of Ghosts
Brianna Newman is an 18-year-old who lives in Calgary Alberta. She has had over a decade of competitive dance experience with The Dance Factory and has worked on choreography within her studio. Brianna is experienced in many styles of dance including but not limited to Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary, Modern and Tap. She has had the wonderful privilege of attending multiple competitions throughout her dance career, including representing Canada at the international level for tap dance and competing in the IDO world competition. She has worked with world-renowned choreographers such as Lisa la Touche, Tasha Lawson and Katie Sawka. As well as being a dancer Brianna is also a talented actor that has taken part in many productions such as Unity 1918, Romeo and Juliet and many smaller productions. She has worked as an understudy covering parts, as well as had experience in main roles. Brianna is classically trained in voice and currently has her grade 8 in RCM music for vocal training. She has competed in many competitions such as CPA within Calgary. Brianna is scheduled to attend Sheridan College with the class of 2027 for an Honors Bachelor in Music Theater in Ontario in which she will receive more extensive training within the performing arts.
What is it to lose your innocence, and who do you become when it’s gone? Innocence Astray is a devised storytelling structure that explores the concept of losing innocence following the characters of Alice, Peter, and Red Riding Hood.
Nikayla Goddard is a published journalist, fiction writer, and English teacher. This will be Nikayla’s first time taking her writing to the stage, and she is also a primary writer and creator for an upcoming audio adventure, The Stargazer Initiative, and an upcoming audio comedy, Ms. Z’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.
Creator & Director
Danelle White is a Moh-kins-tsis (Calgary) based artist with a passion for storytelling. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from the University of Calgary. Most recently Danelle believes there is no limit to storytelling, and is a director, actor, sound designer and fight choreographer. She is overwhelmed by the power of the cast and crew for Innocence Astray, and would like the thank them for bringing her vision to life. Danelle would also like the thank her mom for being her biggest fan, and her fiancé Sean for his immense support. Directing Credits: Barefoot in the Park (Pine Tree Players), The Graduate (Morpheus Theatre), The Stand Up (Kelowna Fringe Festival), Sister Act (Storybook Theatre), Viven (Pine Tree Players), Innocence (SCPA), Sexxxy 2017 (SCPA), Home for the Holidays (ND Theatre), and Splendour (SCPA).
Silver Spoon is a coming-of-age story that navigates childhood worries, poverty and family dynamics. This small-scale theatre show follows a young woman and her realizations about her place in the world through everyday encounters.
Islands Within Ourselves
One of the most earnest things one can do is reconcile with the past versions of themselves. This performance brings forth all those different ‘islands’ – the parts of ourselves that we exile and shows them loving embrace.
Writer & Performer
Sage Cannon is an emerging artist and researcher. Her work spans visual art and theatre with a focus in sculpture, installation, devised performance, performance art and collaborative creation. Sage is currently a Master’s of Fine Art candidate at the University of Calgary where she is studying “Interdisciplinary Performance Creation and Research.” Her current research is a community based project bringing together young adults to discuss lived experiences of poverty through creative practice.
Tales from the Gym
Tales from the Gym is a musical comedy that aims to deconstruct common character archetypes found in your local gym. Each song focuses on a different character – everyone from “main characters” to gym creeps to “the Boysplainer”. Who are they? See the show to find out!
Solo performance, Playwright, Director
ReeVay is the moniker of the multi-talented Marc Rivest. Marc’s career as a performer began as a street performer in Calgary. Spending a year and a half busking full-time in Calgary’s LRT stations, Marc invested his busking earnings into his craft. He released his first album “Breathe” in 2014 and relocated to Vancouver in 2015 to study jazz performance at Capilano University. Graduating in 2018, Marc rebranded his act as “ReeVay” and continued to write, perform, and release music in BC. ReeVay is now a staple to the music scene of Western Canada. His perpetually evolving material has been recognized by impressive radio, publications, and awards across the country. ReeVay was the recipient of a 2022 Fraser Valley Music Award for Jazz Artist of the Year and has been featured on Vancouver Co-Op Radio, CJSR (AB), CJSF (BC), Bonsai (UK), The Hawk (ON), Shady Pines Radio (US), and The River along with the Tinnitist and Sounds on the Couch (AUS). His latest project is a stage musical titled “Tales from the Gym” and he his thrilled to be presenting it at the 2023 IGNITE! Festival.
Thank you to our supporters
The 2023 Wildfire National Playwriting Competition
What is it?
We want to read awesome plays by young Canadian playwrights and we are willing to offer cash money!
We are looking for playwrights 30 years of age or under to submit fresh, young scripts that embrace risk, grit and innovation.
Submitting a play to the competition is free and the two winning scripts selected by our jury receive a cash prize, a development workshop, and a staged reading at MMMC’s Wildfire Showcase in association with Sage Theatre’s IGNITE! Festival.
This year we will be awarding the first-place playwright $750 and the runner-up a prize of $250.