Western Canada Theatre’s newest production Secret City is an experiment that isn’t performed in a conventional way. The production has participants walking the streets of downtown rather than sitting in a theatre. The show consists of all true stories that tackle different subjects and are told in different ways.
The production starts at the Red Collar Brewery where participants gear up with an MP3 player, headphones and a map. They then take a stroll through downtown to find each location where different stories take place. The podcast-meets-reality experience takes participants to the Kamloops Public Library, the Paramount Theatre, the Rex, 35 West Seymour Street, City Hall and 165 Victoria Street.
The first stop on the tour is The Grind, with a story written and directed by Andrew Cooper, a TRU grad, about losing love rather than gaining it, taking place in front of the library, at the Paramount and The Grind, now replaced by Pizza King. This story takes us from the first date all the way through to the last. It details the intimate relationship of two young lovers as they move about the city and move through their relationship, ultimately losing sight of what was most important.
The six stories are about 10 minutes in length and were created by six different artists. The artists involved were Alicia Ashcroft with “Trouble Child,” Andrew Cooper with “The Grind,” Cayman Duncan “Hypnotised or Not,” Devon More Music with “Summer of ‘77,” Laura Michele-Evans with “Standing on the Corner of Indecision and I Love You” and Matt Macintosh with “Safe Deep Space.”
Conceived and curated by Western Canada Theatre’s associate artistic director Heather Cant, Secret City gives attendees an inside scoop on the once silent streets.
“There are some stories that are about fun nights out, there are stories about love, there’s stories about loss, there’s stories that are memories of loved ones that have gone. There is quite an assortment, both in content and in style. Each of the artists has created something that is uniquely different from the others,” Cant said.
Cant says that this unique theatre experience is composed of personal stories, that have gone unknown until now.
“Secret City is really all about the memories that we carry with us, that are really tied to specific places,” Cant said.
The stories each take place at a location that is distinctly Kamloops. A place where many people have walked by time and time again not knowing the history that it holds for some. Cant adds that this is why it is such a fun way to learn about the lives of the locals.
“Often when we are moving through town, in our everyday life, we encounter places that remind us of things that bring back strong memories that we have. I’m really interested in exploring that and sharing that with people. I think the personal stories that we carry with us are really fascinating to other people, if they even knew that they existed,” Cant said.
Cant says that Secret City explores memories and places in an artistic way, created through the use of sound and sight. The production is an unique way to hear stories from other locals that otherwise would have gone unheard.
“This is an opportunity for us to share stories that are personal, that you would never otherwise know that are kind of a secret,” Cant said.
Secret City is a part of Western Canada Theatre’s fourth annual High-Wire Festival.