The Empire Trilogy is precedent setting. Nothing about its size, form, or processes fits traditional models. As indie artists we’re often faced with economic or festival constraints; proper equipment and time to experiment with it is a luxury. The scale of The Empire is an act of resistance: we refuse to think small. As female, queer, and next-generation creators we want to inspire Canadian artists to think big and provide practical models for doing so.
Our Past Artistic Achievements:
Each member of our core team has 8-12 years of creating, developing, and producing performances of large and intimate scale, in traditional, site-specific, and outdoor venues. We've made work in indie pop-ups, and cutting-edge performance festivals across Canada, New York, Amsterdam, Vienna, Berlin, London, as well as in foundational art institutions like Canadian Stage, The Stratford Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Yale School of Drama, Residenztheatre (Munich), and The Alliance Theatre (GA,USA). Our rock ‘n roll, post-modern aesthetics, love of classic and experimental work, and our contemporary practices come from the risk-taking championed by these institutions and the Canadian artists we are mentored by. We've compiled a list of selected past credits that speak to our artistic achievements and praise for our team from: Guillermo Verdecchia, Sarah Garton Stanley, Daniel Brooks, Kim Collier, and Brian Quirt. Read it here.
Our Track Record with Large-Scale Budgets & Producing:
Coming up through performance festivals and indie models before working at larger institutions has made our core team of producers and directors incredibly creative in developing various revenue streams, problem solving, and managing budgets that range from $5,000-500,000. We've compiled a list of selected past credits that speak to our ability to execute The Empire Trilogy. Read it here with a letter of support from Kristina Lemieux, the Executive Director Generator, Toronto's artist-producer mentoring, teaching, and innovation incubator.
Our Supporting Partners:
As indie artists we have the flexibility to work project to project, but need the infrastructural support larger institutions can contribute to execute a full season of work. The unique multi-partnership PARADIGM is crafting with Luminato, Small Wooden Shoe, Buddies in Bad Times, The Theatre Centre, and Storefront Theatre responds directly to the challenges of developing and presenting works of scale. These organizations have shown visionary commitment to responding to what the local and national theatre ecology needs and how rapidly it's changing. To develop and premiere The Empire Trilogy we're asking our community of partners to resource pool, allocate performance venues to the needs of development, share audience, and demonstrate that there are many ways to think about participating in the creation of a “season.” It's an incredibly rare opportunity to practice new models for making work. Read letters of support from our partners here.
Since nothing about The Empire Trilogy fits into standard models, we've augmented The Creation Fund budget template to include show-by-show sheets in order to show how the Fund supports each development period for each play in the trilogy. Each show's budget contains notes on expenses and feeds into the trilogy wide summary on the first page.
In creating this budget, we regarded every member of the team as working on a company’s season of programming that spans Fall 2018 to Summer 2019. While the creative fees are broken down by each play and phase of work, consideration was given to what a fair living wage salary should be for each role given our timeline and holistic approach to the work. Similarly, performer fees are scaled at a median range across the trilogy rather than minimum company category rates.
This budget brings The Empire Trilogy into full manifestation of vision, design, and performance. It also prepares the trilogy for a continued life beyond the premieres at Luminato 2019. The process we have outlined positions The Empire Trilogy for successful reception with national and international presenters who will experience this epic theatrical event together with audiences for the first time. By creating the world of each play in studio through the workshops and then revisiting that world in physical space for the premieres, we are readying the productions for remount and touring. We will be able to have concrete conversations about the functionalities of each production and the financial requirements; not losing momentum for these works to have further presentations together or as individual plays.
We've already sourced over $200,000 to get The Empire Trilogy on its feet plus interest from Luminato with additional investment of over $100,000. We're asking The Creation Fund for $208,070 to help us bring this singular theatrical event to life.
We acknowledge that the opportunity to bring the three plays of The Empire Trilogy into the world simultaneously is only possible with both the Creation Fund and Luminato implicated in our budget.
If we are to proceed without that funding, and only our current confirmed revenues, we're still well on our way to execute a more traditional “indie” model for the trilogy, where each show would premiere months apart without our integrated design workshop process. In this scenario, without trilogy wide revenue from Luminato or the Creation Fund, we would anticipate an increase to our current revenue goals by approximately 25% (presentation budgets only). That being said, compromises could be made to quality of materials, access to technologies, timelines with performers, and many other logistical factors. But those are ways we are used to working--limited by the "creation gap". Based on the scale of the work and the structure of our partnerships, no one pending funder is able to dismantle our trajectory of premiering these works.
But The Empire presents an opportunity to subvert established models and ways of thinking in its context as much as in its content. The methodology proposed in this budget, bridges the gap between indie and institutional theatre making. It is a collaborative process with shared stakes and a balance of power harnessed to disrupt the inertia of Canada’s national theatre ecology.
"It's important to always be planning for the Future. In case it ever arrives." The Scavenger's Daughter
Our Timeline: The Creation Fund plays a critical role in the timeline of The Empire Trilogy.
Without the fund, our timeline would consist of 3 traditional rehearsal and premiere models:
- 2 weeks rehearsal, 1 week tech, 2 week run. In order to build each show from scratch we'd need these premieres to be spread over several months--meaning audiences will have to wait months to see the next part of the Trilogy.
With the support of The Creation Fund, we can conduct:
- a 1 week conceptual design summit, focused on trilogy wide design principles. By furthering the conceptual work we've already begun, we can maximize our time for practical experimentation within the in-studio workshops.
- 3 week, in-studio workshop for each play (for a total of 10 weeks of additional development time).
These workshops give our design ensemble critical time together, with casts, and the new sound and projection technologies they’re experimenting with, to create and test each show's specific design needs. By supporting how we develop this work The Fund enables us to launch the Trilogy during Luminato's 2019 festival for audiences to experience the whole ride, over days, or, for the truly daring--in one, 3 show day.
Our Production Manager, David Costello, and Alison Wong have made a simplified timeline for you to view. Scroll over the weeks highlighted in green to see how the Fund is supporting that portion of the development, and scroll over the weeks highlighted in yellow to see how this supported development impacts the future presentation. See our Timeline here.