Today’s dossier is an extension of dossier #5 with Natalie Frijia. After re-connecting with Guy Doucette, a peer from theatre-school days, and talking about the What Are You Doing Up There? festival I’ve become awed at the scope of it. Around 30 acts across 3 evenings, each one different. It stands aside from other festivals because the performers hang about throughout the event to meet people and just have a good time instead of disappearing behind the curtain after their 10-minute slot. It is quite remarkable.
After this, I got in touch with Katrina Carey through an absolutely lovely “over-the-phone-coffee-date.” We also connected over the simplicity and fun this festival is all about. I’ve transcribed the majority of it below.
So, without any more possible ado, I present dossier #5.1:
Who are we talking with?
Guy Doucette and Katrina Carey – 2013 WAYDUT Festival Coordinators
What drew you to this? (to theatre, to WAYDUT, to each other, to wherever you are right now?)
Guy: Working in the arts has been something I’ve been drawn to since I was in elementary school. I got into public speaking and choir in grade 4, and then later a school musical. It snowballed from there. SO the road that brought me to meet Katrina Carey and Natalie Frijia started a little over 20 years ago. The traveling companionship has never been better!
Katrina: My mother would tell you that I came out of her womb singing and performing. It was just always a part of who I was. I was the black sheep of the family in that way. At Christmastime I wanted to dance and sing carols where everyone else wanted to sit around and watch Christmas movies. I grew up in B.C. in a small town called Port Coquitlam, and when I moved to Toronto I started finding people like me, that loved to perform, that just loved everything about theatre and that moving people to think things and feel things through art. That’s what really drew me to it: finding kindred spirits in the arts, I guess.
Guy, why What Are You Doing Up There? Haven’t I heard of this festival before, but with a slightly different name?
Guy: This is the festival’s third venue. The first was an open concept basement apartment that was converted into a theatre space several times throughout the year – people used to walk by and crane their heads and sometimes peek in through the window when they heard music or actors shouting. When you keep seeing people coming to or leaving a house in costume you can’t help but wander over to see “what is going on”. So, since it was in the basement we called the festival “What Are You Doing DOWN There?!”. Our next venue took us to the back space of the Queen on Dominion Bar, transforming to ‘BACK There!?’ and now… you guessed it, Siren Rock Studios is UP on the second floor of a multi-studio building on Sterling Avenue.
Katrina, what drew you to this festival? Is there something about it that really excites you?
Katrina: Oh yeah. It’s the bringing together of any and all facets of art that really appeals to me. I dabble in a little bit of painting myself, I play the guitar, I sing, I act, I do a little bit of everything, I puppeteer, and to be able to bring all of that into one festival that’s not specific to one medium really speaks to me. The first festival that I was involved in, I believe it was the maybe the first or second year that they were going, and I was an emerging artist myself, and had nowhere to go to perform, um, out of fear. I didn’t want to go to an open mic. I didn’t want to do anything above my artistic level at that time and that festival really opened the doors for me to start showcasing my work.
Back Burner has humble and quite charming origins. Tell us your favourite story from the house.
Guy: Living at 11 Lonsdale and converting it into the In House Theatre for four seasons certainly created many a story – so it’s hard to choose any one singular moment as my favorite. Certainly holding rehearsals on the front lawn in summer time as people passed by and watched will be some of my favorite moments. Teaching other artists (and even some neighbours!) how to stilt in the back parking lot and up and down the street is ranked very high , not to mention the community meals, the after-hours jams and once even doing a recording of a special kitchen object musical symphony as part of weekend project called “The Kitchen Collectives”. [Also,] dancing and then joining in singing with the great punk-grass band The Stables from Oshawa back in 2008. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting them and hearing their music can agree that that not only are they terrific people, they make phenomenal toe-tapping, get you up and dancing music!
Katrina: Do I have a favourite story from the house? God. Not at the moment. I think what I really loved about the festival in the house, and especially when I was living there, was how we transformed the main floor of the house, or the basement into a theatre and getting up in the morning and going downstairs into an art gallery, into a theatre was so inspiring. I could totally be one of those eccentric old ladies that lives in a loft above a theatre in the abbey. I think that probably for me, personally, that was one of things that I really enjoyed. And the energy that always just stayed after the shows.
What is the earliest memory you have of wanting, or needing to do this?
Guy: People have the capacity to bring great change into the world through creativity – if they are only given the chance. Coming out of York University in 2006, I saw many emerging and mature artists of all kinds, but rarely did I find events where they all converged to share their works. Festivals have always been a great way to bring people together in celebration. My knowledge had at first been primarily with theatre festivals and indeed the first winter festival in 2007, was comprised of 5 theatre shorts, but it soon grew as the festival opened to artists to all walks of life. It was during those early months out of University that I really became aware of needing to help create the festival.
Katrina: My parents always tried to get me into sports, and all the, you know, the regular piano lessons and things that you do just ’cause you do, and I had a good friend who was in dance classes, and her mother was my babysitter, and I had to sit in on one of her dance classes one day, just ’cause there was nowhere else for me to go, and I watched it go down, and I was probably about 6 years old, and something just hit into my spirit and said, This is what I want to do, and I remember going home to my mom and going, “I want to do dance lessons. I want to do that.”
In a sentence, tell us what to expect from WAYDUT.
Guy: Expect to see the arts through a kaleidoscope – dance, theatre, music… they all spin into one another to create a spectacular festival experience you won’t ever forget!
Katrina: Expect the unexpected.
Describe the event in three adjectives or phrases.
Guy: Welcoming, Vibrant and Unforgettable.
There’s something for everybody.
Katrina: Ugh. You’re asking the girl that can never find the right word at the right moment. Um. What’s the word for when people… oh god. Ecclectic… it’s kind of like Cheers. Anybody can come in there and have a good time. Any walk of life, there’s something for everybody. There’s one: there’s something for everybody.
Do you have anything you want to share with us? A story? A photo? A song? A video?
Guy: Here is a video from one of our past arts festivals! It features Lane Argue from the Living Art on guitar. Shadow puppets and performance by Craig Morrison, Krista Dalby and myself (Guy Doucette)
And of my own accord, because they just posted this video today of what happened last night at WAYDUT, I’ll embed this video featuring SideBoxNation, Jeff Giles and Princess Penelope Pamplemousse: