Caminos 2015 is a week-long festival of new “propuestas” (performance proposals) presented by Aluna Theatre in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts. Caminos ask Toronto audiences to join them in “re-imagining las Americas” through the presentation of new works in theatre and dance from 60 Panamerican and Indigenous artists. Each night features a wide variety of long and short-length programming, including: conversation and experimental performance labs on making theatre in two languages, a remount of the award-winning 2015 SummerWorks production of Ayelen, an interdisciplinary creation on the history of stoning, and a Latin American dance lesson.
We asked Aluna Theatre‘s Artistic Director Beatriz Pizano for her thoughts on some of the important themes in this year’s festival.
Our partnership with NEPA [Native Earth Performing Arts] began last year with our international festival RUTAS. They opened their doors to us. We had a number of indigenous artists coming to the festival from the Amazon and other places down South, and this made perfect sense. My dream is to connect people and I really want to see indigenous artists from here working with other indigenous and non-indigenous artists in the Americas and vice-verse. I find great inspiration in NEPA. The Latin Canadian communities can learn much from how these artists have grown as a community. They also inspire us to think of our heritages and how to bring these into our performances. I also love that they like to think and dream big as we do at Aluna. They take risks.
You have called Caminos a week-long festival of “propuestas” (performance proposals). What should audiences expect to see? Are there any overarching themes that connect and distinguish this year’s collection of performances?
The audiences will see a variety of performances, languages, hybridity, interdisciplinary works and just really exciting ideas coming together. Works are presented not as readings but as staged pieces. I would say that most of these are close to production. This is a great moment for them to see how else they need to grow.
I would say that for me the theme is language, How can we communicate? Whether we use words, movement, or multi-languages. Cultural interpretation– how we are seen, how do we see and perceive.
There’s such a wide range of programming available each night — from talks to plays to dance lessons. What are some highlights of the festival that you are especially excited to introduce or reintroduce to Toronto audiences?
All of them. We have taken great care in inviting these artists. We have seen them grow and mature. Others we are seeing emerge. We believe in them, in their journey and in what they have to offer to Canadian theatre, dance and other forms.
I was happy to note that the festival is very financially accessible. Was that a conscientious decision made by the organizers of the festival?
Accessibility is crucial. For us is about encouraging people to see theatre. And making it available to others who may have never come to a show and are willing to make a small investment. Artists and young people can’t afford expensive tickets.
I also want to make sure that newcomers and people who simply have very little money can enjoy the vibrant cultural life of this city. I don’t believe in theatre as an elitist experience. We need our city to participate in the making of art. And audiences do that. They have a great effect on the work. If only a certain sector of society can see theatre, then we are really not talking about our society, and with our societies.
Why is it important for Toronto theatre audiences to support festivals like Caminos?
I have come to the conclusion that we build the world we want together. Canada is part of the Americas. It is a key player in this continent. And Caminos is about this land. Of course as a theatre artist I think theatre is important. I can’t dictate what is important to others, but I do think that this country is full of potential. Supporting all its artists will keep us growing toward becoming an important voice on the world stage.
- Caminos 2015 is on until Sunday November 8th at the Aki Studio Theatre and Ada Slaight Hall in the Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East).
- A list of all the events can be found here.
- Tickets are sold for the entire evening of programming, and are $15 for Tuesday-Thursday nights, $20 for Friday and Saturday night (including the Cabarets), and a week-long festival pass can be purchased for $50. Sunday is Pay-What-You-Can. Tickets and passes can be purchased online, by phone at 416-531-1402, or with cash, debit, VISA and Mastercard at the door.
Photo of Aluna’s Intrepretation Lab provided by the festival.