CROSSING BORDERS

BY VELINA HASU HOUSTON AND ALEX MCSWEENEY

Two separate stories of migration WHERE SHADOW CHASES LIGHT by Velina Hasu Houston and FRAGMENTS by Alex McSweeney explore a common theme in CROSSING BORDERS - an international exploration of two cultures and their paths of immigration. The two cultures, Japanese and Iranian, make their way to new frontiers in North America (to Canada) and in the United Kingdom (to London). Three generations of a Japanese Canadian family – a grandmother in Japan, her son who emigrates to Canada, and her Japanese Canadian grandson who is fully assimilated into Canadian life is interwoven with the fragmented recollections of a young Iranian man constructing the fractured memories of his childhood in Tehran propelled by a treasured picture that links his brother and father, and his new London existence and beyond. These moving, funny, and heroic tales are the universal story of migration - of leaving something behind for the promise of a better future.

70 Minutes

Saturday June 16th at 2:00pm and 8:00pm and Sunday June 17th at 2:00pm

Gill Foster is an actor, director and Associate Professor in Drama and Performance at London South Bank University.  As the Artistic Director of the LSBU Theatre Company she has produced and directed over 30 shows. As a researcher in creative, collaborative practices Gill has worked extensively in Europe as both director and dramaturge on a series of bi-lingual adaptations of classic plays. In the UK she has worked as an arts education consultant to theatres such as LIFT, the Almeida and the Young Vic and has developed a wide range of theatre education initiatives including, most recently an intergenerational theatre project with the New York Theatre Workshop and the Southwark Playhouse in London.  Gill is thrilled to be working with Ryerson School of Performance on this exciting new work for the Parados Festival.

Gill Foster

Director

Velina Hasu Houston is an internationally celebrated writer with over twenty-five commissions in theatre, musical theatre, and opera.  Her career began Off-Broadway in New York at Manhattan Theatre Club, branching out to be produced nationwide and globally at notable institutions such as the Old Globe Theatre, Los Angeles Opera, Off-Broadway at Negro Ensemble Company, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, TheatreWorks, and The Pasadena Playhouse, State Theatre of California, where she served as first-ever Playwright-in-Residence under the auspices of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.  Her work in film and television includes PBS, Columbia Pictures, Eleven Arts, and True Heart Films; and her current award-winning film short, Path of Dreams, has been Best Short or Directors’ Choice at the Los Angeles International Film Festival, the New York Winter Film Festival, California Women’s Film Festival, Cinema on the Bayou (New Orleans) Film Festival, and others.  She is a published poet, essayist, journalist, blogger, and novelist.  Honored by the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, Japan Foundation, Wallace Foundation, and others, she founded graduate playwriting studies at the School of Dramatic Arts, University of Southern California, in 1991, where she is Distinguished Professor of Theatre in Dramatic Writing, Associate Dean of Faculty, Director of MFA Dramatic Writing, Head of Undergraduate Playwriting, and Resident Playwright.  She was the inaugural recipient of the USC Provost Mentoring Award.  Formerly, she taught master classes in the MFA in Screenwriting program at the University of California at Los Angeles.  A Fulbright Scholar, she was on the US Department of State's Japan-US Friendship Commission for six years.  In Japan, she has served as visiting faculty at that country’s top universities including Kyoto University, Aoyama Gakuin University, and Doshisha University; and participated in an international research seminar at Keio University.  Her archives are with the Library of Congress, Washington DC; and the Huntington Library, San Marino, California. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild of America-West, League of Professional Theatre Women, and Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.  Houston explores the lives of people who live in unfamiliar spaces – women, the figuratively or literally stateless, fish out of water, and people of color, especially those who are coalescences of cultures and ethnicities.  She believes that the heart and mind defy borders, and sometimes even languages; that identity is fluid and personal; and that change, growth, and illumination can be transformative, most pointedly when life surprises us.  And surprise us it does.

Velma Hasu Houston

Writer

Alex Aoki is a 2018 graduate of the Acting program at Ryerson’s School of Performance and is thrilled to be a part of Crossing Borders and the Parodos Festival. He could most recently be seen struggling to define his identity as a Venice-conceived, Vancouver-born, Edmonton-raised, Toronto-educated actor and a Japanese-Italian millennial. Past Ryerson credits include How I Lost My Virginity & Other Sad Tales, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, and Our Leonardo. Alex has also appeared in the Edmonton International Fringe Festival in musicals such as Hedwig and the Angry Inch, American Idiot, and Dogfight.

Testuyoshi "Alex" Aoki

Actor

Nathan Wang (王宗賢) is a Chinese­American pianist and composer for Film, Television, Video Games, Musical Theater, Opera and the Concert Stage. As a prolific and versatile composer for Hollywood and Asian cinema, he has scored over 300 films and television shows.His credits include projects for Steven Spielberg, Disney Studios, Dreamworks,Sony Pictures, Jackie Chan, PolyBona, Perfect World, China Film Group, EMP, Wanda, Huayi Brothers, and Light Chaser Animation. His compositions have been performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Shanghai Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, and Chicago Symphony. Mr. Wang is a recipient of two Emmy Awards for “Reefer Madness”, Showtime 2005; “Pancho Barnes”, PBS 2011, also 1993 Singapore Grammy for Faye Wong’s hit song “Wo Yuan Yi” (I’m Willing), and was a 2014 Golden Horse Award nominee for his film score to director Ning Hao’s “No Man’s Land’.

Nathan Wang

Composer

Claudia Van-Nimwegen is a student of BA Theatre Technologies at LSBU with a keen interest in immersive technologies, disability arts and creative education practices. Claudia is always seeking new experiences and opportunities to create and collaborate in order to develop their profile as an emerging theatre artist.

 

Previously, Claudia has worked professionally as trainee production journalist for ITV and the Media Trust (2016); lighting designer and stage manager for the Brighton Fringe Festival (2016); performance artist at the ‘Visions in the Nunnery’ Festival in London (2017) and as the installation designer on the ‘Live Portal’ project for the Global Campus Networkt in collaboration with Ryerson University (2017).  For the LSBU Student Theatre Company they have worked as costume designer for ‘Welcome To Thebes’, lighting designer for ‘The Love of The Nightingale’ and DSM for ‘Electra’ directed by Lucy Pittman-Wallace.

Claudia Van-Nimwegen

Technical Assistant

Producer Monique Yamaguchi has produced a wide range of projects including features, short films, documentaries, music videos, and new media projects. Monique has been a producer on feature films such as The Young Kieslowski and The Spirit of Marathon, as well as having her new media projects such as "NYPDM" premiere at San Diego Comic-Con. She is also a producing partner on a YouTube channel called Schadenfreude Industries which has garnered about 43mil views.

moniqueproducer.com

Monique Yamaguchi

Videographer

Dr. Peggy Shannon (Producer of Parodos; Director of Crossing Borders) is a professor of theatre and Chair of the School of Performance at Ryerson University. She has directed plays and musicals at many professional theatres across the United States including Atlanta's Alliance Theatre, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Los Angeles Theatre Center, L.A. Theatre Works, Mixed Blood Theatre, the New Jersey, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, California and Oregon Shakespearean Festivals, the Portland Repertory Theatre, Long Beach Civic Light Opera, the International City Theatre, and the Sacramento Theatre Company. Internationally, she has worked at the Old Vic National Youth Theatre in London, and at Hydrama Theatre & Arts Centre, Delphi, Elefsina, Syngrou Theatre in Poros, and the amphitheatre in Spetses, all in Greece. 

 

She has served as the Artistic Director of two major American theatres: A Contemporary Theatre (Seattle) and the Sacramento Theatre Company in California. She also served as the Associate Producing Director of L.A. Theatre Works where she directed and co-produced over 30 plays for National Public Radio affiliate KCRW. Shannon has been a professor and administrator at several North American universities including the University of California, Davis, where she served as professor of theatre and Associate Vice Provost, and for the past seven years at the Ryerson University where she teaches, mentors, and administrates the performance programs.

Peggy Shannon

Director

Alex McSweeney is an actor with an extensive range of credits on stage and television including Steven Berkoff’s recent productions of Oedipus at the Liverpool Playhouse and On The Waterfront at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, Cornielle’s Horace and What you Get and What you Expect, both at the Lyric, Hammersmith.  His TV work includes Primeval 3, Silent Witness, Commander ll, Eastenders, Call The Midwife, Endeavour as well as Films including Hellboy ll, Gangster No1. And Secrets.

As a writer/director his credits inc. Out of the Cage (The Park Theatre & The Rose Theatre, Kingston), A Hero of Our Time (The Rose Theatre, Kingston & Zoo, Edinburgh), Between Women (Hen and Chickens Theatre, Islington), The Heart of Everything (The Pleasence Theatre, London),  Kaleidoscope (The Tabernacle Theatre, Notting Hill).  In My Time of Dying (St. George's Theatre, Tufnel Park), Face Value, Short Film.  His new play DISTANCE opens in London at the Park Theatre in Sept. 2018 before a national tour of regional theatres such as Bristol Old Vic and Derby Playhouse.

Alex Sweeney

Writer

Amir is an upcoming Actor, and a soon to be graduate of BA in Drama & Performance at London South Bank University (LSBU). Amir attended theatrical schools such as Stagecoach and Jigsaw while also featuring in multiple productions since taking up his degree. This includes a contemporary spin - off on the TV sitcom Friends called Mates, produced by RIFT Theatre. As well as, Frantic Assembly’s Struggle hosted by LSBU, LSBU's productions of The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Brecht, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, D.N.A by Dennis Kelly and The Sweetest Swing In Baseball by Rebecca Gillman. Amir has also received film training at LSBU and has a leading Male credit in the feature film One Night More, directed by Louis Holder.

Amir Ibrahim

Actor

Ed is a director and performer with focus as a movement practitioner. He graduated from London South Bank University in 2014, and has since trained and performed with Obra theatre company, based in the south of France. Currently he teaches at LSBU, and has his own practice. Ed prefers to approach work as a collaboration, rather than using a hierarchical model of working, for both artistic and political reasons. Recently he has worked as a movement director, associate director, and co-director, alongside teaching, with aims to develop a pedagogy which can fuse his practice with teaching, focusing on how we can reach a conceptual understanding of ideas through an embodied investigation. His practice incorporates kin-aesthetic responsiveness, impulse investigation, play, ritual and clowning as well as a myriad of movement practices which investigate external stimuli to achieve an internal “state”. Ed is also completing a research project at the moment, focusing on kin-aesthetic theatre training practices, phenomenology and human cognition.  

Ed Richards

Movement Choreographer

I'm nineteen years old, and originally I'm from Windsor, Ontario. I'm Iraqi by blood and proud! I love dancing and listening to Kendrick. I feed pigeons in my free time and I'm a barber to-be. 

Laith Al-Kinani

Research Assistant

Arthur Skinner currently studies BA (Hons) Theatre Technologies at London South Bank University. He has a passion for multimedia theatre, focusing on the creative possibilities arising from the synergy between the performer and new technologies. Arthur has developed his technical and artistic abilities through a number of productions for the LSBU Student Theatre Company including lighting design and DSM for Welcome to Thebes, AV and sound design for The Love of the Nightingale and lighting and sound design for Electra directed by Lucy Pittman-Wallace.  Previously Arthur has worked as a creative technician for Footprint Scenery and 20th Century Fox and is currently working as an assistant AV and sound technician on the The Lehman Trilogy directed by Sam Mendes at the National Theatre.  

Arthur Skinner

Technical Assistant