When it comes to storytelling, Kent Allen is a master and, in the past year, he’s had limited opportunities to entertain an audience. Allen is one of the many storytellers taking part in Dancing Sky Theatre’s Fireside Stories II May 27 – June 6. The production is a collaborative work with each artist bringing their own story to the table to be part of the event. Allen’s tale is taken from his father’s account of the family’s survival during the Great Depression.
“What my family went through in the 30s is an extraordinary challenge. It made a deep impression on my father,” says Allen. “In times like we are experiencing today, it’s important to remind ourselves how much we need each other to make sure we survive, and we all come out of it alright.”
Dancing Sky Theatre in Meacham has had to rely on its creativity during the past year. The company built an outdoor amphitheatre and held its first Fireside Stories last Fall. The show featured original music, story and performance told around a campfire allowing for the safety and physical distancing of its audience. The show played in Meacham and Saskatoon. It was so well received, they decided to create a second installment.
Hardship & Resilience: A New Round of Sask. Stories by Dancing Sky Theatre
This year’s production includes storytelling through movement. Saskatoon’s Free Flow Dance Company’s Prairie Love Story is part of the show. It blends clowning, contemporary dance and poetry into the piece. Free Flow’s Jackie Latendresse says Fireside Stories is a unique opportunity for audiences to take in a live show again, to safely share in a communal experience.
“The prairie experience is something we all share out here, something we all hold dear,” says Latendresse. “There’s something innate about us that we need to share our stories, it’s the basis of human communication and understanding.”
Allen agrees, he says there are so many parallels between the hardships we’ve experiences during the pandemic and those Saskatchewan people have been through in the past.
“These stories remind us that the world has always had its ups and downs,” he says. “We must not be defeated by it. These are Saskatchewan stories that I think so many of us can relate to.”
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“These stories remind us that the world has always been up and down, but we must not be defeated by it” – Kent Allen
Lead image credit Dancing Sky Theatre