At STO Union, we explore how the ancient art form called Theatre is being transformed with time.
We center our exploration on research questions. Research questions can come from anywhere: whether we want to look at what happens when the audience becomes the performer or whether we want to look at different kinds of producing models, we research the things that we think are important to the development of the art form.
These are the general themes that fuel our current questions:
Impact of Cyber-Space on the “Body-Arts”
This art form exists primarily in ‘real’ time and ‘real’ space. We are currently undergoing a shift away from the body/physical ‘live’ universe towards a digitized/cyber one. Can we use the power that the digital realm offers us for the purposes of the live? How can we exploit it for the live performing arts benefit? How can the digital world make it easier for people to put on live events? How can the digital make touring easier and less damaging to the environment?
We are all Makers
In a series of small, short pieces made right in the first years of STO Union’s operations, Nadia had already defined what her primary interest in making performances was: YOU.
In Dog meets Bone (1992), Nadia placed a dog bone at the end of a long runway, right at the edge of where the stage meets the audience. Slowly and with total commitment, Zoot the border collie dragged Nadia by his leash from the back wall of the stage to the end of the runway where, right after he crossed the audience/stage divide, he reached out and took his bone. In Kiss Me (1995) Nadia sat onstage and repeated “kiss me” to the audience. It took a few seconds before the fourth wall was broken and about half a dozen people came onstage for a kiss, breaking the fourth wall and the taboo that an audience must ‘behave’. In both of these small demonstrations, Nadia defines what is in all of her body of work: desire and specifically the desire to break through the thing that holds us apart.
The questions she asked in the 90’s have evolved to where the ‘audience’ are now fully ‘makers’ at STO Union, the fourth wall is fully breached, there is no ‘us’(artists) and ‘them’ (audience). Our community collaborations like The Twilight Parade, Super Ego Out Loud and Intersections continue our explorations into the public as makers, and the role that making things together has on the health of communities, as does our co-production with Carte Blanche’s Constituons! which has the public become the writers of a constitution for Quebec.
This is a special, one time program with a big purpose.
We can only bring our audience to where we personally, are willing to go. Since 1992, the artists at STO Union have tried to ‘go there’, to wherever big impossible questions wait for our attention. We’ve been exploring many core questions relating to the art from for almost three decades, and over the next three years, heading up to our 30thanniversary, we are going to be compiling the best of our explorations. What we’ve learned, the failures and successes, in the hope that some of this will be useful to the explorers of tomorrow.
Theatre is Dead. Long Live Theatre.
Our first main-stage production was in 1994. The Alistair Trilogy, a collaboration between Nadia Ross and Diane Cave, began STO Union’s award winning style of shaking the traditions of the theatrical art form at the root and coming up with new kinds of theatrical experiences for the public to have.
For our current cycle, the collaboration between Nadia Ross and Christian Lapointe, P.O.R.N. Portrait of Restless Narcissism challenges us to find the New Institutional Theatre, to break the rules of the theatre and by breaking them, admit that they exist, which in turns brings them back to life. In this never ending cycle, we find the mechanisms of P.O.R.N. which have infiltrated every aspect of life, and especially the theatre.