Something from Nothing

2024 began in the best way – with a two-week workshop in devised, ensemble-based theatre making at the Pig Iron School in Philadelphia. Something from Nothing is Pig Iron’s winter intensive, and it’s been on my training to-do list for a looooong time. I saw a Pig Iron show, Cankerblossom, in 2010 at the Philly Fringe, and it was one of the many shows I saw that year, my first year out of undergrad, that cracked open my narrow concepts of what theatre could be. I fell hard for devised work.

This fall, I decided 2024 would be the year I did Something from Nothing, and I sent in my application.

Something from Nothing workshop participants

What a joy to get to spend ten days in a studio, collaborating with 18 other artists all day long, exploring the whole body as an instrument and tool for making new work. It’s probably one of my favourite things to do, and I don’t get to do it enough in my day-to-day. We moved as the elements, as colours, as kinetic forces; we made work from paintings, music, bodies in space, photographs and sound. We worked and re-worked pieces, some things failed, some things succeeded, we talked a lot about the moments where things collided into place like magic. We were complicit and playful and curious.

At the end of the ten days, we presented a showing of work to a small audience of friends, family, and Pig Iron folk. I loved having the chance to be a student again, and to live in my performer body for the better part of two weeks. And of course, getting to meet and collaborate with incredible artists from around the world, creating with such ferocity and speed we barely had time to think. I’m so excited to incorporate this work into my directing with the Pageant, and other projects on the horizon.

Many thanks to the PEI Arts Grants and the Canada Council for the Arts for the professional development support that helped me get here.

Thanks to John Muse for the photos, and so much gratitude to our amazing teacher Sarah Sanford, with Mitchell Nease and Sarah Owens assistant teaching and keeping us all playful.