Rising Sun Theatre – Profile by Mari Sasano.
The below sample videos were provided courtesy of Rising Sun Theatre and were recorded during the company’s March 2012 production of The Wheeler Dealer Cabaret (scroll down to view poster).
The Sunrise Circus
This scene was written through a series of exercises that looked at character creation through tableau. Each character was created by individual cast members.
SKILLS is an organization in Edmonton that offers support to adults with developmental disabilities and their families. In the mid-‘00s, they had begun providing arts programming to its members through the Nina Haggerty Centre. In 2004, they contracted director Gerry Potter to take the lead on a theatre project for their clients.
Through that process, Rising Sun Theatre was created to allow people with developmental and other disabilities to share their stories. Potter led the group through theatre games and storytelling until they created their first play, which the group took that to the Saskatoon Fringe. The second – Stories About Us – focused on the participants own lives, and was made into a film.
The DATS Blues
The lyrics for this musical number was created through content suggestions made by the entire cast and refined during the rehearsal process.
Since then, Rising Sun has been regularly creating new works that match the interests and skills of the group members. Potter and the other Rising Sun directors, Dhana Cartmell and Stephanie Leaf, help the group develop their stories and improve their movement and speaking skills. But Potter sees a greater benefit, overall, in self-expression.
“I think they felt a lot of pride showing they can do things. They face the obstacle of being stereotyped, that they are incapable of doing things. This shows they are capable of many, many things.”
According to Stephanie Leaf, this story line featuring a barber with a very particular haircut taste was the cast’s favourite skit!