“ ...no one is better at mounting a totally unique and exquisitely creative piece of work than Ghost River Theatre.”
Jessica Goldman, CBC Radio Reviewer
About Ghost River Theatre
Led by Artistic Director Eric Rose, GRT is a devised theatre company that creates, develops and mounts original productions through a significant investment in imaginative research and development. We make our work in a rigorous, supportive collaborative-creation environment that recognizes and utilizes the unique abilities of all participants, premiering our work in Calgary and then touring it nationally and internationally. Our work embraces a hybrid of high tech visual spectacle with low-fi theatrical magic. As Jessica Goldman of CBC Radio stated “…no one is better at mounting a totally unique and exquisitely creative piece of work than Ghost River Theatre.”
Over our 25 year history, our unique creation process has yielded an impressive roster of critically acclaimed productions: Mesa, Eye for an Eye, ONE, The Highest Step in the World, The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst amongst many others. GRT has created and toured some of the most thoughtful, daring, imaginative, and seemingly impossible work that this country has produced. With a keen desire to create, to engage and to push the boundaries of live performance GRT has established itself firmly as a leader in the Calgary, Alberta, and national cultural ecologies.
Ghost River Theatre is a nationally acclaimed theatre company based in Calgary with a more than 20-year history of daring performance creation. The company began as an ad-hoc group in 1992 with a performance of Lester’s Hat at One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo and became an incorporated company in 1999. Under the visional leadership of its founder Doug Curtis, Ghost River quickly established itself as a social and political provocateur, creating boundary-defying performance theatre in Canada. Seminal shows like The Carrot Warrior, Mesa and An Eye for an Eye brought issues of local and national importance to the stage while garnering critical acclaim to the company; opening up both national and international touring opportunities.
When Doug stepped back from the company due to health issues in 2007, incoming Artistic Director Jason Rothery transitioned the company into a new model to lead the company into a sustainable future while continuing to present and create vital new Canadian works.
In 2009, David van Belle and Eric Rose were appointed as Co-Artistic Directors with a mandate to reinvigorate the organization and establish a clear artistic and administrative structure. Van Belle and Rose’s vision of imaginative storytelling, provocative and challenging creation processes and a focus on strategic planning and administrative excellence would propel GRT beyond its founder. Under their leadership, the company has embraced and reinterpreted Ghost River’s mandate for highly theatrical creation through such works as The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst, ONE, Tomorrow’s Child and The Highest Step in the World.
In 2015, Eric Rose became the sole Artistic Director of Ghost River Theatre after David van Belle stepped-down as Co-Artistic Director to become GRT’s Creator in Residence. Eric plans on continuing to expand the intellectual, physical and spiritual imagination of devised performance by exploring the full language of the theatre.
For an independent company Ghost River has consistently punched above its weight
21 Betty Mitchell awards, 64 nominations;
39 original productions since 1992;
Appearances at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, High Performance Rodeo, Canada’s National Arts Centre, the Pride of Place Festival (UK), Summerworks National Series and Montreal’s Les 20 jours du theatre a risqué;
Winning 3 Betty Mitchell Awards for Outstanding Production of a Play for The Highest Step in the World (2010), ONE (2011) and The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst (2015).
Receiving the Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology’s Award of Merit for The Highest Step in the World (2012).
Receiving the Calgary Critics Award for Best Technical Design for Tomorrow’s Child (2014)
Snezana Pesic’s design work for ONE (2011) was selected to represent Canada at the 2015 Prague Quadrennial.
Chosen as the first ever Company-in-Residence at the University of Calgary’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts (2015-16)
These kinds of accomplishments and accolades received by Ghost River Theatre are recognition of a deep ongoing commitment for achieving the highest in artistic excellence.
Eric Rose: Artistic Director
Eric Rose is an award winning director, creator, and deviser. His passion for the creative process has inspired the diversity of his theatrical experience spanning: large scale contemporary and classical theatre, site- specific performance, performance creation, devising theatre, new play development, physical theatre and dance. Eric has been honoured to be the Playwright in Residence at Alberta Theatre Projects, to be named to Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 and to have received the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award for his body of work as a theatrical innovator.
Recent GRT credits include: directing/co-writing The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst, (Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Production, Direction, New Play and shortlisted for the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Prize in Playwriting); adapting/directing Ray Bradbury’s short story Tomorrow’s Child for a blindfolded audience as part of GRT’s Six Senses Performance Series (Betty Nomination Outstanding Sound Design and New Play), directing/dramaturging Jason Carnew’s ONE (Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Production, Nomination for Outstanding Direction and the Canadian Stage Award for Direction at the SummerWorks Festival), directing/co-writing The Highest Step in the World (Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Production, shortlisted for the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Prize in Playwriting and the 2012 recipient of the CITT Award for Technical Merit).
Additional credits include: directing/co-creating A Date With The Night for The Globe Theatre; directing/dramaturging a new version of Hannah Moscovitch’s The Huron Bride for Vertigo Theatre; directing the Canadian premiere of The Kite Runner for Theatre Calgary/Citadel Theatre; directing/co-writing Once Upon an Atom Bomb for the Green Fools Physical Theatre; directing/co-writing Peril in Paris (Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding New Play), a new musical for Lunchbox Theatre; directing/dramaturging The Forbidden Sacrifice for the Kathy Knowles Theatre Company in Ghana.
As an educator, Eric has taught for: Globe Theatre Regina, One Trunk in Winnipeg, University of Toronto, Theatre Calgary, Charlottetown Festival, Tarragon Theatre, NextFest, Mount Royal University, Red Deer and Sheridan College, University of Calgary, Theatre Ontario, Artstrek and many others.
Jenna marie SCHWARtz: general manager
Jenna Marie is a theatre administrator, director and creator based in Alberta. Raised in Manitoba, Jenna headed west to pursue a BFA in Multidisciplinary studies at the University of Lethbridge. Co-Founder of indie theatre collectives Beans Theatre and Cardigans & Caviar, Jenna’s directing, producing, creation and performance works have won several awards on the provincial festival circuit. Her passion for the sustainability and longevity of the arts led to the positions of Front of House Manager, and then Program Development Intern at New West Theatre. There, Jenna introduced the Volunteer Appreciation Award, brought the TYA tour to new communities, and increased social media engagement.
LOUISE CASEMORE: ARTISTIC ASSOCIATE
Louise Casemore is a director, theatre artist, and overall creative renegade currently based in Alberta, Canada. She received her post-secondary training as one of the final graduates of Keyano College’s conservatory Drama program in Fort McMurray, and has worked relentlessly across the arts industry ever since. These pursuits have led to directing internships at the internationally acclaimed Catalyst Theatre, mentorship opportunities with acclaimed artists such as Paul Gelineau and Vern Thiessen, and a position as Associate Artistic Producer for Azimuth Theatre. In 2007 she founded her company, Defiance Theatre, whose mandate is committed to encouraging the development of new original work and bridging the gap between emerging and established artists. Under her leadership and drive, Louise and Defiance have been responsible for eight staged world premieres and counting, including: Diary, Half A League, False Start, Colony Collapse Disorder, Middleton: A Folk Musical (in association with Poiema Productions), A Madhouse Dramedy, Sundogs (in association with Holding Hollow Theatre), and received two Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award nominations for OCD (Outstanding Fringe Performance and Outstanding Fringe New Work).
In addition to her work in the theatre she remains actively involved in event coordination and fundraising for both the commercial and non-profit sectors. Louise has served as the Co-Chair of Fundraising for Theatre Network, a proud member of the Workshop West Playwright’s Theatre Board of Directors, as well as the Keyano College Board of Governors.
She is passionate about exploring new ways to approach storytelling, good food, and all things strange and unusual.
DAVID van belle: Creator in Residence
Born in Amsterdam and raised all over Canada, David van Belle is a Calgary-based director, actor, playwright and theatre deviser. He has spent time as Co-Artistic Director of Ghost River (2009-2015) ensemble member of One Yellow Rabbit (2001-2007) and playwright-in-residence at Alberta Theatre Projects (2008-2010, 2014-2015). He recently premiered The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst, created with Eric Rose at Alberta Theatre Projects. Other works include The Highest Step in the World and Reverie (co-created with Eric Rose), Tomorrow’s Child (co-created with Matthew Waddell and Eric Rose) Everything Is Terribly Nice Here and Liberation Days, which premiered at Theatre Calgary in 2014.
David has also created such works as BUZZ JOB! The True Story of Cal Cavendish with Kris Demeanor and The Invisible Project during a month-long residency at Calgary’s largest homeless shelter. In 2014 David created a new show, Of Fighting Age, with Verb Theatre for the High Performance Rodeo, and taught devised creation at the University of Alberta. He is the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award (as part of the One Yellow Rabbit ensemble) and numerous other awards and citations.
David is fascinated by people’s lives and the ways in which they live them. He shares a beautiful life with his wife Vanessa and his daughter Wren
Matthew Waddell: Associate Artist
Matthew Waddell is an audiovisual artist, multimedia programmer and educator. Matthew has been involved with digital arts for the last ten years and programs his own audiovisual performance software which has been used in Theatre, Dance, New Media, Music creation and recently Architectural Building Projection. As a musician he has performed in a number of festivals including Mutek, Suoni per il Popolo and Le Festival des Musiques de Creation deJonquiere. He has attended residencies at the Banff Centre and the Society for Arts and Technology in Montreal and presented New Media work in Quebec and France. Matthew is an instructor and coach in the production department at the National Theatre School of Canada. Matthew has received two Betty Mitchell Awards: Outstanding Projection Design, (The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst, 2015) and Outstanding Sound Design (ONE, 2011) and a Calgary Critics Award for Best Technical Design (Tomorrow’s Child, 2014).