• Sarah Kwok

Where the Quiet Queers Are - September 6-14

Where the Quiet Queers Are is a show that examines friendship in modern society with choral music, a cappella soundscape, and spken poetry as the medium. Read on as Sara Jellicoe, one of the directors of the show, discusses the choral works in the show, performing in a parkade, and the joy that the audience members will leave with at the end of the show (rumour has it the show will end with a big dance party!)

So, tell me about the show

I'm so excited to be collaborating on Where The Quiet Queers Are for this year's Vancouver Fringe Festival. The show incorporates choral music, choreography, and original poetry, and tells the story of an intense, loving queer friendship.

Can you tell me more about Amplify Choral Theatre? 

Amplify Choral Theatre is an emerging performance ensemble exploring how choral music can help amplify the stories of marginalized voices. This concept was inspired by Halifax's Xara Choral Theatre's collaboration with storytellers focusing on women's experiences and identities. This show, Where The Quiet Queers Are, is the pilot project for Amplify, and the artistic team are looking forward to where we can explore in future. For this production Amplify is featuring an artistic and leadership team of queer theatre-makers, and a team of queer performers, to share a story of queer friendship.

Can you talk more about how the music was chosen? How do you use this music as a part of the overall performance? 

For Where The Quiet Queers Are, we selected choral pieces by focusing on queer composers and looking at lyrics addressing friendship, mental health, and finding space for oneself. Unlike in most musical theatre and opera productions, there are no solos in the music, and the music is entirely a cappella; the community of voices and bodies together create the landscape of the show. We selected pieces and ordered them in a way that would allow for quick transition into each other, to create a seamless whole, and to express different emotional experiences in the changes in the lives of the friends portrayed. The piece is conducted by our choral leader throughout, and notes for the beginning of each piece are given by a performer with a tuning fork in a subtle way not to interrupt the flow of the show. So much choral music is performed in churches, often unsafe spaces for queers; this show actively engages with that history through lyrics, musical choices, and venue choice. The site specific category of the fringe encourages unusual performance spaces; the resonant, echoed parking garage is the setting for this reflection on finding queer spaces in Vancouver.

When the show is over and the audience is leaving, what do you want them to be thinking/experiencing?

I hope the audience will leave the space thinking about the joy in the queer community in Vancouver, the community that we manage to build together, as we navigate pressures from work, rent, and expectations on what is considered a successful, real, or mature relationship. I also hope that they will leave thinking about the versatility of a cappella choral music for combination with many different media, and the potential of choir to express what we can build physically and emotionally together.

Intrigued? Then go ahead and get your tickets!Where the Quiet Queers Are, presented by Amplify Choral Theatre, will be performed at the Old Bridge Indoor Parkade on September 6, 7, 8, 13, and 14 as part of the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

More information and tickets: click here

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