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Hands with black nailpolish record a live performance on a smartphone.

Creating In New Spaces

Creating In New Spaces

Who dares create performance art with nowhere to perform? Courageous Academy students, of course. In this COVID-era addition to the Academy class roster, students took on the daunting task of playwriting beyond the stage, bringing their creative process to unexpected mediums. We are proud to share their innovative and imaginative works in progress with you here.

A Note from the Facilitator, Veronique West

Over the last fourteen weeks, I met with Aiden, Alex, Anna Marie, Chantal, Jesse, and Sophie through video calls. Collectively, we explored what it means to make performance in the context of physical distancing. What excited me about our gatherings was the opportunity to experiment and ask questions, without the expectation of delivering a product or finding answers. We had many brainstorms and open-ended conversations. We brought to the table perspectives shaped by our multifaceted lived experiences. We tested a series of mini-projects, each in a different physically distanced medium. Participants chose a single mini-project, a work-in-progress, to revise and share here, on this webpage. As a facilitator, my hope was to centre each person’s self-determination, capacity, and access needs as much as possible. I know that our time together radically expanded my understanding of performance and its role within communities. I’m so grateful to have learned with and from these brilliant humans.


Even Then 
Created by: Aiden Cowell
Performed by: Jesse del Fierro

Project | Transcript Told via monologue: A young female university student is desperate for some fun in the ending stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disappointed over her lack of a traditional high school grad year, she aims to hit the clubs with her buddies. A case report on the news leaves her disgruntled and a dilemma ensues in its wake.

Accessibility information: this is a video project with minimal visual elements. Captions and a transcript are included.

The 2020 Group Project
Created by: Alex Masse | Performed by: Aiden Cowell, Anna Marie Anderson, and Sophie Labrie

A green coffee cup on a desk next to a laptop with Zoom open, with lots of faces featured in the blurred background.

Project | Transcript A short, Zoom-based play created with the medium limitations in mind. Enter a call between you and three other university students putting together a Film Studies presentation from their homes, where they get into how the pandemic has affected them. Also features a musical number!

Accessibility information: this is a video project. Captions and a transcript are included. Key visual elements are described in the audio track. 

J.S + K.L  = <3 
Created by: Anna Marie Anderson
Performed by: Anna Marie Anderson 

An eagle's eye view of a geographic landscape with a heart cut into the rocky terrain. 
Project | Transcript This is an audio piece that is focused on environment and setting. While being immersed in the story it is Anna Marie's goal to bring you to a specific place in your mind and to look at this environment you know so well with a new lens.

Accessibility information: this is an audio project. A transcript is included. 
Content warning: grief.

Future Outlook=Future nostalgia is the name! Fourth time Gateway attendee, former competitive gymnast, two-times published author.

Alex Masse is a writer, musician, and general storyteller. Their words have been everywhere from the Vancouver Fringe Festival, to the Scholastic Writing Awards, to Vancouver is Awesome. She's also a neurodivergent lesbian, which greatly affects her work. When not creating, they’re probably daydreaming about creating.

Anna Marie Anderson (she/her) is a creator on the unceded territories of the Lekwungen speaking people, now known as the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations. She is a director, actor, and theatre educator. A lot of her works focus on stories about and for young adults that focus on themes such as coming of age, mental health, and identity. As a producer and director she aims to create opportunities for stories, identities and voices that are often not seen on stage. 

Treetop Homes: A Pod Play 
Created by: Chantal Dobles Gering 
Performed by: Chantal Dobles Gering and Saliska

Colourful artpiece with the words 'Look Listen' integrated within in green and pink.

Project | Transcript This interactive listening experience will take you through the world of the Majestic Forest of Herbalism and Medicine. Listen as your bedroom, home, and neighborhood transform into a treetop community. Will Lizen and the listener be able to find their way home?

Accessibility information: this is an audio project. A transcript is included.

Time of Day
Created by: Jesse del Fierro

Screenshot of a Twitter profile that reads '@TimeofDay18'. Pinned Tweet: For 36 days I will answer one of the 36 questions to Fall in Love, 3 times a day: when I wake up, when I remember throughout the day, and right before bed. What answers will change?

Project 36 questions to fall in love, but you are the one you’re falling for. By answering a question a day, multiple times a day, can we learn to love ourselves in a different way? Can we find a new view on love?

Accessibility information: this project consists of written posts on Twitter. Twitter's interface can be navigated using many common screen readers, though each type of screen reader will interact with the interface differently. 
Content warning: a reference to suicide.

It's 3AM and I Am 
Created by: Sophie Labrie

Project Step inside the mind of a stranger. 3AM musings from an anonymous insomniac speaking into the void of her phone during the little hours of the night, when sleep is just out of her grasp. Past and present come together in an audiovisual project that promotes self-reflection and uses Tumblr (a social media blogging platform) as a way to communicate and catalogue those ethereal midnight thoughts that are often forgotten by dawn.

Accessibility information: this project consists of images, GIFs, writing, and voice memos on a Tumblr page. Tumblr's interface is known for not being easily navigable using screen readers. The voice memos do not include transcripts. The images and GIFs do not include alternative text. 
Content warnings: romantic/sexual desire, existential dread, imagery of/references to death.

Chantal (they/she) is a queer latinx/german actor, choreographer, playwright, poet, and forest wanderer currently in the UBC BFA Acting program. Chantal’s previous acting credits include Concord Floral (2017 Push Festival), One of a Kind (2018 International Children’s Festival), Centurions (2019 Play Development and Presentation by Sally Stubbs), Isle Dell’arte, The Changeling, and Bonjour, Lá, Bonjour (UBC). They co-wrote and performed Clitorisms (2020 Instagram Live Show),  produced a 24 hour playwriting competition called Play4Change (2018), and premiered their play Papa Records Everything in the 2020 National Theatre School’s Art Apart Festival. Their art is about truth and healing.

Jesse Del Fierro is a non-binary, Filipinx - Canadian theatre creator, performer and facilitator with the privilege to work in both Moh'kinstsis on Treaty 7 Territory and on the unceded, ancestral territories of the Coast Salish peoples colloquially known as Calgary AB and Vancouver BC respectively. They hold a BFA in Theatre Performance from Simon Fraser University, and have collaborated on works presented at PuSh International Performance Art Festival, SummerWorks, Audain Gallery and rEvolver Festival amongst others. Intersectionality is their only reality. Honesty is the policy and so is screaming. Say hello at

Sophie Labrie is an actor/writer/
singer/songwriter who loves stories and all the different way you can tell them. She graduated from the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts, a film and television acting program (2016). She attended the Sarah McLaughlin School of Music to learn and explore her voice as a singer. And has worked with SomeAssembly theatre company for ten years in various roles, including; script writer/consulter, performer, musician, musical mentor/coach, and post-show facilitator/trainer. 


About the Facilitator
Veronique (she/her, they/them) is a settler of Polish descent, living on the unceded and occupied territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Her practice, informed by her lived experience of psychiatric disability, spans performance creation, dramaturgy, and education, as well as mental health peer support and advocacy. As an arts educator and mentor, they have worked with the Arts Club Theatre Company, the Cultch, Theatre Terrific, Green Room Theatre, and Gateway Theatre. Veronique is the recipient of a Playwrights Theatre Centre Associates residency and a National Theatre School Art Apart award, as well as a winner of Tarragon Theatre's 20/20 Playwriting Competition. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from UBC. Alongside their creative work, they have been an eating disorder peer support mentor, and currently provide emotional support and collaborative safety planning to people navigating mental health crises.