Mark Henderson's Message
Ten years ago, Theatre Prospero was performing two Shakespeare plays with touring sets at the Avenue Theatre for two weeks. We noticed we had an idle, empty stage in the evenings.
The Edmonton Arts Council provided some funding to kickstart a festival. We put the word out that if you had a favourite myth you had always wanted to do something with, we had a space for it.
One year later, we had an Indigenous Spirit World Circus Quest with Stiltwalkers and Glitter Hoop Ninjas, Sublime Hindustani Classical Guitar and Bharatanatyam interwoven with original mythic Goddess text and Photography, a Jazz Suite on the Life of the Buddha, Tololwa Mollel storytelling, and others.
Aesthetically and culturally diverse, the Thousand Faces Festival has given Dancers, Musicians, Poets, Painters, Playwrights and Players space to tell stories from two- minute poems to feature-length multi-disciplinary epics.
Many artists, such as Malavika Venkatsubbaiah, Tololwa Mollel, Usha Gupta, and Sebastian Barrera come back most years. At times these join in collaborations that grow, like Tololwa’s Zulu Epic Trilogy Anthem of Life, which Theatre Prospero is now producing in 2023 and 2024.
Our tenth anniversary acknowledged the foundational contribution of artists like Ushaji, Malavika, Enakshi Sinha and others with CanNatyam Classical Dance, a Weekend of Heaven on Stage. Canadian Dancers from Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver performed in 4 styles, one never seen in Edmonton. I am deeply indebted to Malavika for her faith and curation and Shreela Chakrabartty for her wild imagination, without which this would not have become the amazing event it has been.
I hope you enjoyed the 2022 Thousand Faces Festival. I look forward to the next ten years.