The third annual IndieFest returns for 2022, with its first fully in-person festival bringing 14 events to venues around Vancouver, over 11 days.
Taking place November 16-27, the festival showcases new and genre-defying musical performances, highlighting the stories and people that have been overshadowed by history and tradition. From modern opera, new music, and Indigenous performances to drag, theatre and extended reality, the festival empowers marginalized artists to change the narrative and reimagine the future of storytelling.
This year’s programming invites audiences and artists to consider the last two years, and how a sustainable, equitable future depends on collective healing. These creative works are presented at all stages of the creative process, from initial workshop performances to final, fully realized productions.
IndieFest co-producers and curators Debi Wong and Stephanie Wong embarked on a nation-wide collaboration with four indie opera companies to present the Canadian premiere of Pulitzer Prize winning opera, Angel’s Bone, by Chinese-American Composer Du Yun and Canadian Librettist Royce Vavrek. This newly-imagined, all-Canadian production depicts the realities of child and youth trafficking and sexual exploitation, juxtaposed with the resilience of survivors and the journey of reclaiming one’s power.
“The history of opera is steeped in colonial constructs that have excluded many histories, particularly those of BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ communities. By providing marginalized artists access to innovative spaces and emerging technology, we are empowering them to transcend old power structures that have held back their creative voices,” said Debi Wong.
Kicking off the Festival November 18th at The Annex, opera meets emerging technology with the first ever in-person performance of Live from the Underworld II: Eurydice’s Calling. Using computer-generated sets and mythological avatars brought to life by the remarkable collaboration of opera, dance, hip hop and video game professionals, audiences can experience a hybrid stage adaptation of the story through real-time motion capture and projection. This two-part series has been nominated at the 2022 AUREA Awards, one of the most prestigious events in immersive entertainment, happening this December in Germany at the NTR – The Metaverse Summit.
“We use emerging technology as a blank canvas to drive new ways of problem solving and engaging with the world,” said Stephanie Wong. “We create immersive and interdisciplinary artistic experiences because colonialism, patriarchy, and other social issues we are aiming to deconstruct are complex and require a multitude of ideas and perspectives.”
Audiences can also look forward to the four-part Imaginarium Concert series, which brings together BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ leaders from different artistic disciplines, at various stages of their careers, to curate and participate in futuristic design processes that catalyzes the arts industry towards transformational change. Curators Stephanie Wong, Kelsey Wavey, Raven Grenier, and Rich Coburn each host an evening of multi-disciplinary experimentation, burlesque, Indigenous performances, and vocal chamber music, respectively.
“IndieFest uplifts the long and rich history of underrepresented communities by amplifying artists and their works at every stage of their artistic journey. Through artistic process and experiences, we can orient everyone towards interconnected and intercultural futures. We invite audiences and artists to dream together, create together and imagine new futures together,” said Debi Wong.
Other highlights include; Inferno a new hip-hop opera in development by IndieFest 2022 resident artists, Omari Newton and Amy Lee Lavoie. The story reimagines Dante’s Inferno as a feminist, anti-establishment, anti-colonial allegory, with the story’s framed layers of Hell representing oppressive systems of power. IndieArtist Cabaret, curated by Kristina Lao, for those who love variety, daring artists and illuminating works, 10 minute showcases celebrate diverse local talent from the dance, opera, drag, music, and theatre sectors
Find the full festival program at reopera.ca/indiefest. IndieFest takes place at multiple venues around Vancouver, November 16 – 27, 2022. Information and tickets are available at indiefest.eventbrite.ca.