The International Organisation of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) has chosen Calgary, Alberta, Canada as the next destination for World Stage Design (WSD2021). From August 5th to 15th, 2021 the University of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) with the Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology/Institut canadien des technologies scénographiques (CITT/ICTS), Canada’s OISTAT Centre, will host WSD2021. World Stage Design is an OISTAT event held every four years that is comprised of four distinct components that are presented simultaneously: International Design Exhibition and Competition, Scenofest Conference, Theatre Architecture Competition (TAC), and Technical Invention Prize (TIP). In addition to the four components of WSD, the OISTAT World Congress and the CITT/ICTS annual trade show and conference, Rendez-vous will be on the UCalgary campus.
The University of Calgary is situated on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina, and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. The university is situated on land adjacent to where the Bow River meets the Elbow River, the traditional Blackfoot name of this place is “Mohkinstsis”, which we now call the City of Calgary. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
UCalgary’s main campus occupies a beautiful setting with a view of the Rocky Mountains, covering more than 200 hectares. The university has extensive facilities to host large events with residences on campus as well as numerous theatres, performance spaces, teaching studios and exciting exhibition spaces. We are located 60 minutes away from Canada’s jewel of the Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park.
WSD2021 will be the fifth iteration of this OISTAT event which is held every four years on a different continent. Originating in Toronto, Canada, WSD has been to Seoul, South Korea; Cardiff, Wales; and Taipei, Taiwan. At WSD2017 in Taipei, 168 designs from 35 countries were on display, and 121 performances of 35 different productions were presented selling 5,000 tickets. The conference included panels, keynote speakers, and workshops. WSD2017 hosted more than 15,000 visitors from 71 countries over 10 days, exchanging and sharing ideas.
The WSD international design exhibition is a competitive, international, juried event with prizes given to first, second, and third place winners in a variety of disciplines within emerging and professional categories. Scenofest is the premiere conference for Design, Theatre Architecture, and Technical Theatre in the world, spanning several days with performances, workshops, lectures, keynote speakers. The Theatre Architecture Competition (TAC) is a prestigious international ideas competition, aimed at students and emerging architecture practitioners. The Technical Invention Prize (TIP) is awarded to technicians working in theatre or any part of the entertainment industry who make gadgets or devices that offer simple and smart solutions for backstage use. OISTAT World Congress hosts 60 delegates from around the globe over 3 days for business and committee meetings. Rendez-vous will feature a trade show with state-of-the-art technology for live performance.
While the SCPA has sufficient spaces to host all of the Scenofest events and the World Congress, we will require spaces beyond the SCPA for all of our activities. In order to host this number of delegates (estimated at 1000) and the required international student volunteers on campus, the ability to access campus housing will be essential. We have an operating budget in place with CITT/ICTS and are looking for contributions from external partners for assistance in the form of financial and in-kind resources. We are prepared to meet with you in person to discuss these aspects of the project.
The Three Sisters
Located near Canmore, Alberta, between UCalgary and Banff National Park, is a mountain known as Three Sisters. The mountain is known for its three peaks and is a significant landmark to the area with stories and the name originating with the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. This mountain has served as an inspiration for our thinking around World Stage Design writ large and small. WSD is a multi- summit event, like the Three Sisters.
Through our discernment of priorities for this event, the planning committee has been inspired by landscape of the region. While travelling from Banff to Calgary, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and looking onto the prairie unfolding before us, we crafted our three sisters of Scenofest. These sisters are individual peaks but also closely connected as they share a singular base, and extend from the same piece of earth. Like the base of the Three Sisters mountain, the coming together of our Three Sisters will be a fertile and lively place.
Big Sister: Indigenous Ways of Knowing
Saakokoto, our friend and a Blackfoot Elder and member of the Blood Tribe, has graciously agreed to be the knowledge keeper for WSD. We look forward to working with Elder Bottle, Saakokoto, to learn more about the Blackfoot way of living in Mohkinstsis and how interaction with land, landscape and storytelling have meaning for cultures of today. Canada is at a watershed moment in our history where many truths are being unearthed and brought to light, where our history as a settler culture is calling current generations to begin to repair damages and live together in a good way with Indigenous peoples. Scenofest will offer opportunities for professionals and students to explore the beautiful landscape in Southern Alberta and learn about Blackfoot ways of knowing the land, landscape and storytelling.
Middle Sister: Ecoscenography
Coined by Tanja Beer, the term ecoscenography, conjures ideas of ecology, economy, landscape, scenographic theory, and possibility. We are living in complex times, facing climate change, animal extinction, and resource depletion. As artists, creators, and makers, we have been asking, “what can we do to consume less, pollute less, and yet maintain aesthetics that appeal to our audiences?”. Beer’s theories of ecoscenograpy are appealing because they are rooted in aesthetic thinking and
hopeful approaches to the creation of performance. We look forward to events that will encourage innovation and hopeful exploration of the impossible. The Sustainable Theatre Project will be a central part of Scenofest activities on the Main Campus of UCalgary.
Little Sister: Multiple Realities
While the name of this sister seems diminutive, it is in fact, the hardest peak to climb of the Three Sisters mountain. The world of performance design has expanded to include virtual reality, artificial reality, and digital reality. Yet, we are still grappling with contextual and historical realities, cultural realities, and of course as designers, architects and technicians we cannot escape material reality. Multiple Realities allows the exploration of many aspects of performance design and lets us engage with digital methodologies and practices while connecting to our current state.
The effect of the whole or the trickling of ideas from these peaks to the base of Scenofest will be the connection of all WSD events. For example, the Sustainable Theatre Project may host Indigenous Ceremony or performance which may engage the creators and audience in cultural realities explored through digital expression. We look forward to seeing what the commissions of OISTAT and the artists of Scenofest will create!
The Exhibitions, TAC and TIP
The exhibitions will be realized in venues on the Main Campus of UCalgary, where the SCPA is located. The Reeve Theatre will be home to the professional and student international exhibition of stage design. WSD2021 will exhibit the best of performance and stage design from around the world. An international jury of professional designers and architects will select approximately 100 designs to be exhibited.
The Rosza Centre Great Hall, a beautiful architectural space, will host the exhibition of the prestigious Theatre Architecture Competition (TAC). The shortlisted projects of the competition will be on display for delegates and the public to enjoy. This prize encourages creativity in designing theatre spaces for performance with distinct challenges for the architects.
The Taylor Family Digital Library will host the Technical Invention Prize (TIP). This is perhaps the most delightful exhibition in the WSD series. It celebrates innovation and problem-solving through the display of short-listed inventions, gadgets and practical solutions to everyday backstage problems.
While no specific curatorial theme will be prescribed for submissions in any exhibition, the events surrounding the exhibition will interrogate the notions around land, landscape and storytelling with the guiding themes of the Three Sisters. All winners will be announced at the awards ceremony near the end of WSD.
The venues of SCPA will be the home of Scenofest. The University Theatre Lobby will serve as the meeting place and social hub for Scenofest.
The F.R. Matthews Theatre and the Doolittle Studio are two small black box style theatres that can be used for performance or workshops. The costume, props and scenic shops, fully equipped teaching and production spaces, can be used for workshops or master classes. We also have access to numerous studio and classroom spaces that can be used for any style of activities. The University Theatre will host larger performances and keynote speakers as it seats 505 people and is in a fixed seating configuration. The Rosza Centre Ekhart Gramarte recital theatre will be an excellent location for keynote speakers and panel presentations.
Please view the facilities of the SCPA here:
Events for unique encounters with landscape for the participants of Scenofest and World Congress will include field trips to Writing on Stone Provincial Park with opportunities to be led through artistic inquiry with Blackfoot Elder, Saakokoto, and overnight retreats in the Ghost River Valley where a camp experience in traditional Blackfoot tipis is constructed every Spring. Excursions to the Banff Centre for the Arts will also be programmed and may form a part of the Masterclasses offered as a part of Scenofest. The Arts Commons, home to the Martha Cohen Theatre, the only courtyard theatre in Canada, will be used as an off-campus space.
We are committed to creating a family-friendly atmosphere at Scenofest. There will be activities for participants of all ages and some events specifically targeted for children and youth. We will be working with the University Summer Camps program and the University Childcare Centre to provide support for families requiring supervision of children while they participate in Scenofest or World Congress events.
The outdoor greenspace known as the Taylor Quad, in front of the Taylor Family Digital Library (TFLD) is a perfect location for outdoor performance and is at the heart of the campus. The outdoor paved courtyard in front of the Taylor Institute is a great place for outdoor installation or performance. The TFLD holds an art gallery, small lecture hall, film viewing rooms, and a maker-space complete with 3D printers, cnc cutting machines, and a 3D scanner.
The events surrounding World Congress will take place primarily in the Rosza Centre which has beautiful meeting rooms with plenty of natural light. The main hall, Ekhart Gramarte, recital theatre is an inviting venue nicely appointed for plenary sessions and meetings of commissions and sub- commissions. The planning committee has been successful in securing a group hotel rate with the Westin in Calgary which will serve as the host hotel for Congress. This exceptional hotel is located in the downtown core of Calgary, a short LRT ride away to campus.
MacEwan Hall, located 300m from the Rosza Centre, will be home to Rendez-vous, the trade show and conference of CITT/ICTS. Rendez-vous will overlap slightly with the World Congress of OISTAT. WSD2021 will work closely with CITT/ICTS to ensure that programming of Rendez-vous can be accessed by participants of Scenofest and visitors to WSD. This exciting trade show will bring the newest and most relevant technology in live performance to the UCalgary campus. Sponsorship opportunities to support the international student internships and WSD activities will be presented to CITT/ICTS members.