The round robin format allows the artists to respond to one another and build the energy in a spontaneous way. If you’ve ever seen a ‘workshop stage’ at a folk festival, you’ll know how exciting it is to see artists perform in this more relaxed and informal atmosphere where anything can happen.
From Word Circus founder, Justin McGrail:
The Word Circus began in Montreal in 1994 as a series of live performances by Fluffy Pagan Echoes, the spoken word quintet featuring Scott Duncan, Ran Elfassy, Justin McGrail, Victoria Stanton, and Vince Tinguely. It broke away from the then standard poetry-reading format by incorporating group pieces, memorized text, and having the poets present in four thematic rounds. We also sat together on stage for the show, which made alternating at the mike easier, and made us really listen to each other’s performance.
Moving to Vancouver in 1995, I adapted the show format to a monthly series at the then just opened Whip Café Gallery on East 6th. Each month, three different local poets would be featured in a show that combined themes, music, and audience participation – in posters and event-listings audience members were encouraged to bring poetry. On stage were four chairs, three of which would be occupied by our featured poets. I would announce the theme of each round, and ask the audience if anyone had brought a poem that worked with it. One poet from the audience would be invited onstage to join the trio, and then we’d have four poems on one theme. Additionally, the show featured DJ’s (mainly acid-jazz and house) who would live mix in music with each poem. The result was a groovy, unpredictable, fun show, that ran for 14 months, and included performances by Tim Lander, David Campbell, Alexandra Oliver, Kedrick James, Andrew Lithgow, John Sobol, Rick Keating, Andrea Thompson, Davy Bouvier, Ralph Alfonso, Sheri-D Wilson and many more.
The last Word Circus was in the summer of 1998, which I hosted and performed in for the CBC on the Plaza, with poets Diane Laloge, Graham Olds, SR Duncan, and Ed Varney, with music supplied by Jim Good.
One tradition maintained in Montreal and Vancouver was that the theme of the third round is always love — ’cause, everyone’s got at least one poem about love!
This show is All Ages. General seating. Box office and Will Call will open with doors at 2:30pm. Box office is CASH ONLY. There is an ATM located in the building.
This show may contain strong language, controversial issues, and words that make you re-evaluate your life. Advance tickets are NOT mailed out they can be picked up at the Will Call station at the venue. Box office and Will Call will open with doors at 2:30pm. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable.
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Havana Theatre is an accessible venue. To reach the theatre, you must pass through the restaurant to the gallery space. On the right, is a black door leading into the theatre. There is a narrow hallway and two doors to access the performance space, but no stairs.