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Vertigo Theatre is excited to announce its 2021 Foreign Relations program as part of THE AGENCY initiative committed to giving a unique experience to artists at any stage of their career.

Artists are given the chance to work under the umbrella of a professional theatre company and its staff, while maximizing their creative process.

In this time when the arts have been devastated and there are limited opportunities for artists, Vertigo is encouraging artistic growth by providing support in venue costs, technical gear, technical staff and development needs in order to build a space of creativity and accessibility. By providing these levels of support, artists can focus solely on the creation and the development of their piece.

From 40 submissions, 10 projects were shortlisted and six groups were selected. These selections were based on the impact this residency opportunity would have on the artists and their work, as well as equity, diversity, and inclusion. Special attention was paid to those artists who were forced to pivot in creating digital content and are expanding their artistic practice when theatres are not able to hold live in-person events. Vertigo worked in alignment with the 35//50 initiative (an initiative that calls for a minimum of 35% BIPOC and 50% women or non-binary people in paid, professional positions) These residencies were made possible through the generous support of the RBC Emerging Artist Program.

The Spring 2021 Foreign Relations Artistic Residencies are as follows:

USS Artemis
Created by Ali DeRegt and Camille Pavlenko (Audio Experience)

March 29 – April 9, 2021

USS Artemis is an audio-only, sci-fi mystery about an old-model starship on route to Earth after a failed mission. DeRegt and Pavlenko will be developing their experiential audio design that will transform the listener’s home into the interior of The United Star Ship Artemis. Vertigo audiences may remember Pavlenko as the playwright for Vertigo Mystery Radio’s The Hitchhiker.

Delayed Deliverance
Written by Lara Schmitz
April 12 – 17, 2021

Delayed Deliverance is a queer, femme, sci-fi theatrical experience that begins and ends in your mailbox. A woman discovers unsent, sealed letters from someone who died over a year ago in a consciousness convergence experiment. Lara Schmitz will work with a team to further script development and dramaturgical design elements.

Written by Constantine X. Anastasakis and Johnathan F. Clark (OIL); Sarah Kerr and Samuel Jurisic (SANCTUM)
Various Dates

IDGAF Theatre will be developing two scripts over various dates. OIL is a series of ten short live political cartoons and is a cheeky look at the oil and gas industry. Sanctum explores the themes of humanity and religion, following four young people, each trapped in a room alone.

我的名是张欣恩 (Gimme Chance Leh)
Written and performed by Kris Vanessa Teo
Produced by the Chromatic Theatre Team
April 18 – May 1, 2021

我的名是张欣恩 (Gimme Chance Leh) is a one-woman identity play about growing up between Calgary and Singapore. Using Mandarin, English and Singlish, Kris Vanessa Teo navigates the cultural differences of her upbringing and the stereotypes that were placed upon her in a heartfelt and humorous story. The original production of Gimme Chance Leh was cancelled due to COVID-19, only days before it was meant to premier.

Ella the Elk
Created by Blue Jeans Theatre
May 10 – 21, 2021

Ella the Elk is a new musical for young people told through the use of physical theatre and collaboratively created music. Audiences will follow Ella as she struggles to find her place in the herd with the arrival of her new antlers. Blue Jeans Theatre is a new company in Calgary dedicated to the creation and support of LGBTQ2IAS+ artists.

Pope Joan & Brain Bent (Music)
May 31 – June 13, 2021

Pope Joan & Brain Bent are two punk rock bands that are collaborating to create a pre-recorded concert. Featuring musicians; Sacha Crow, Caleigh Crow (Pope Joan); Joanna Iles, Travis Midwinter, Gus Rendell and Nathan Iles (Brain Bent); the bands will incorporate original songs, spoken word, projections and other theatrical explorations in the development of a punk rock show.

THE AGENCY emphasizes Vertigo Theatre’s core values of excellence, mentorship, collaboration, and accessibility and has been made possible through the RBC Emerging Artist Program. Vertigo Theatre is following all AHS guidelines and protocols to ensure the safety of residency participants and staff.

For more information on our 2021 Foreign Relations Agency Residencies, please visit

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