Mar. 06, 2013 - Issue #907: Garbage Goes Green
SkirtsAfire herArts Festival was an idea that Annette Loiselle had been toying with for some time prior to its actual creation.
"There was a PACT [Professional Association of Canadian Theatres] Equity and Canadian theatre report on gender done for the 2008 and 2009 theatre season," Loiselle says. "And in that report it came out that 71 percent of artistic directors and produced playwrights were men [...] but ironically, 60 percent of our audiences were women, and 68 percent of students enrolled in performing arts and communication programs that year were women. So we're training all these women to become artists, and then what happens is there's a lot of women out there, but they're not necessarily working."
Though the trigger for SkirtsAfire was this report on theatre, Loiselle notes that the festival is fundamentally multidisciplinary, featuring staged readings of theatre along with music, poetry and spoken word, storytelling, visual art and dance.
All events of this four-day festival will be held at venues along 118 Avenue, which Loiselle believes will be the next centre of arts in Edmonton.
"I feel like 118 Ave is becoming what Old Strathcona became," she says. "When I finished theatre school back in the late '80s, early '90s, Old Strathcona was very much, at that time, in the place that 118 Ave is now. The Fringe was in its baby days, there were still pawn shops, but these really trendy coffee shops were popping up, and trendy restaurants, and arts and theatre."
Admission to all events is by donation, furthering its accessibility and audience. Ultimately, Loiselle stresses that SkirtsAfire is a celebration of women in the arts, and not something pitting the sexes against each other.
"It's not them against us; it's not men against women," she adds. "It's really just providing more opportunities for women to take on more leadership roles, in all art forms. We want to create opportunities for women in the arts, and a place to showcase their work."
Thu, Mar 7 – Sun, Mar 10
Alberta (118) Avenue
Admission by donation (all events)
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