Sydney Gilbert is the Marketing and Development Manager for Theater Junction Grand. This contemporary and multidisciplinary company lives and breathes, kicks and spits, in the golden guts of Calgary’s oldest and sassiest theater, the 100-year-old Grand. At 5’5 the 24-year-old Gilbert hits you with a 6’8 personality. This vibrant, Little Mermaid poster child threw the Grand an 100 year birthday party that spanned twelve hours, included performances by over twenty artists and DJ’s: Wax Romeo, DJ Pump and Ivan Rankic to name a few.
FREQ: Why multidisciplinary live art?
SG: We’re trying to set ourselves apart and do something different. We believe that theater is an important part of Calgarian culture and society and that it’s a tool we can use to move forward. It’s a tool to analyze and think critically about what’s going on in the world; where we’re going and where we have been. We can process all of this on the stage together as a group. Creativity is becoming a more important resource in our world.
FREQ: What kinds of shows are you exhibiting this season?
SG: We have everything from live music, film, projection, technological art to theater performances. We’re starting off the season with an Andy Warhol film and music piece from Dean Wareham and Britta Philips. They selected 13 of Warhol’s most beautiful screen tests which will be projected on the back of the theater, while Wareham and Philips play original music, composed to preform in front of the shots. The style is similar to light indie rock. We have another piece ‘Sunken Red’ that is coming from Belgium and has been developed from a classic novel and adapted for the stage. We have international performances from four continents.
FREQ: What’s been the response?
SG: People seem interested in what we do but it’s sometimes hard to persuade them to try new things or to take a risk. It’s risk taking — live contemporary art. What we are presenting is most likely going to be unlike anything you’ve seen before. Still people are very open. We have a passionate core group who love our shows. Part of my job is sharing this and spreading the passion. Part of the reason I love this path is that I get to promote art and I really get to stand behind something I believe in.
FREQ: You’re amping up perks for season pass holders this year?
SG: Our student and artist season pass is disgustingly cheap. It is 17 dollars a show including all taxes and fees. This year we are going to really try to build a sense of community among our season subscribers. We are planning on exclusive subscriber parties. We will hopefully have some exciting artist talks that are just for season ticket holders. [We] also have parties with some of the best DJ’s in Calgary. These will be free and exclusive to all season.
Words by Natasha Puka