Home-grown circus opens 2018 Sechelt Arts Festival

Satio will kick-off the 15-day 2018 Sechelt Arts Festival, and the 15th anniversary of the festival with a fantastical all ages nouveau cirque performance directed by Gerardo Avila. 

The festival has grown substantially over the years since its humble beginnings in 2003, and has now become the largest indoor fall arts and culture festival. 2018 will also feature the highly anticipated annual Art and Heritage exhibition, several locally-produced multi-disciplinary professional and emerging artists concerts events, and an inventive nine-event workshop series.

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This year’s anniversary theme is Home Grown a tribute to the dozens of local multi-talented artists and performers. Over 85 artists will be engaged, over 40 volunteers will participate, and over 4,500 people are expected to attend the various events over the 15 days. 

According to Avila, “the world of circus arts has changed.” Satio is a “nouveau cirque” performance event that embraces this revolution, and one that will engage the local community in a number of ways. As a Cirque de Soleil alumnus, working as a professional circus artist and international mime performer, local director Avila has watched the evolution in circus arts and clowning over the past two decades. He also teaches circus workshops at several local schools when he is not performing in off-Coast productions and festivals. 

“One of my greatest achievements has been inspiring emerging artists to succeed in the performance arts. I have taught circus and acting skills to elementary schools as well as university-aged students, and not just to learn a new skill, but as a vehicle to overcome creative blocks, improve self-confidence, and enhance problem solving.” 

Satio’s home grown circus production literally spawned from a seed (satio = seedling in Latin) used to illustrate the power of regeneration, combined with an appreciation for the incredible circus talents in our community. Performed by a mostly local, all-ages cast, Satio tells the story of how the seed of an idea, through sharing with others in the community and incorporating their input, flourishes and multiplies, becoming many new concepts. This project is a collaboration with the shíshálh Nation and will be premiered in the shíshálh Nation Longhouse on Friday evening Oct. 5 and Sunday afternoon Oct. 7. 

Working with Taiko drummers, shíshálh Nation drummers, live musicians Rakish Angles, aerial artists, stilt walkers, mimes and actors, this fantastical event features youth circus artists, youth acrobatic dancers, shíshálh Nation dancers, and special guests, internationally acclaimed Butoh/contemporary principal dancers Jay Hirabayashi and Barbara Bourget from Vancouver’s Kokoro Dance.

From the introduction of the “funamfools, looking for lights in a forest of waste, to a funtastic procession of life-size animal puppets, Satio will engage all ages and all of the senses, as well as shine a light on what we value most: a healthy, vibrant and respectful community.

See www.secheltartsfestival.com for the full schedule of events.

– By Diana Robertson

© Copyright 2018 Coast Reporter

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