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Theatre SKAM

Theatre company, founded by Matthew Payne, Sarah Donald, Karen Turner, and Amiel Gladstone in 1995, and based in Victoria British Columbia. Its mandate is “to produce high quality provocative theatre for audiences in Victoria and on tour, working to create dialogue and partnership with like-minded arts practitioners (professional & non-professional), community groups and local experts” (website). It strives “to effect positive social change in [the] community” and to support and encourage the careers of emerging artists in Victoria.

After twelve years as an ad-hoc, project-based company, in 2007 Matthew Payne took over as Artistic Producer, with a mandate to move the company to year-round operations. Theatre SKAM also runs a theatre school, and creates new work, including many site-specific productions.

Works include: Aerwacol and Billy Nothin’ by Sean Dixon (1999), Hippies and Bolsheviks, The Wedding Pool, Black Box and My Three Sisters by Amiel Gladstone.

In 2003 and 2004, Theatre SKAM produced Lieutenant Nun by Elaine Avila in McCaulay Point Park, where the story of the arrival of Spanish conquistadors moved with its audience from the beach through the park, past crumbling concrete gun mounts, and through a candle-lit tunnel.

More recent work includes Cariboo Buckaroo (2014), developed in partnership with the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation and presented with community partners throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin; Smalltown (2014), a new musical by Amiel Gladstone and Lucas Myers, selected as Victoria’s Critics’ Choice Spotlight Awards Best New Play; and Shop Talk by Matthew Payne (2016), which explores sexual politics in the work place.

SKAMpede, a three-day, site-specific, multidiscipline festival was initiated in 2008. It features short performances by companies from across Canada in twelve locations along the Galloping Goose Regional Cycling Trail, with the audience on bikes or on foot.

Theatre SKAM has toured to Nanaimo, Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, Philadelphia, New York, France, Cardiff, and Bristol.

Website: www.skam.ca

Source: Matthew Payne. “Origin Story: SKAMpede,” Canadian Theatre Review 173 (Winter 2018): 65-70.

Last updated 2018-04-09