Intrepid Theatre’s UNO Fest comes to ­Fernwood Square in May

›› Sean Guist

What began as a conversation about change and connection has gone on to transform cities around Canada and the world. This May, it’s your turn to wander through a city of stories in Fernwood Square with ­Trophy. This magical performance ­installation ­features local community members sharing their own stories of change inside a pop-up storytelling event.

Trophy lights up Fernwood Square with a cluster of transparent tents and nine local storytellers on Saturday, May 11th. Inside each tent sits a different performer, and audiences move throughout the installation, encountering as many of the stories as they wish. Ottawa artist and co-creator Sarah Conn describes Trophy as “a series of micro-episodes that dive straight to the heart of a turning point or a point of change in each of these storytellers’ lives.” The ­storytellers have been curated by Conn from applications received from ­community members from across ­Victoria and in some cases, are ­sharing their ­personal encounters for the first time in public.

Audiences not only encounter the ­stories inside the tents, but leave their own responses on coloured transparencies attached to the tents which become part of the installation. Conn says people can expect to “hear beautiful stories that stay with you, that allow you to reflect on your own experiences and turning points in your own life. You will see people differently and learn more about people from your own community that you might walk past on the street but never talk to.”

Originally part of an artist residency in Ottawa that paired artists with ­community groups, co-creators Conn and Allison O’Connor were working on a traditional style play with a group of homeless men. The conversations they were having were centring on stories of change, turning points in their lives and discovering the ­different lives that they had all led and ­finding common threads that linked them.

This became the first instalment of ­Trophy in Ottawa with five tents and ­storytellers. Since then, the installation has popped up at festivals and cities across Canada, as well as Dublin, Ireland and after Victoria is headed to Prague.

Trophy is a free event as part of Intrepid Theatre’s UNO Fest, ­presented in ­partnership with the ­Belfry ­Theatre and the Inter-Cultural Association. There is no charge for tickets, however capacity is ­limited. Trophy ­performance times are 3:00pm, 5:00pm, and 7:30pm. To book a free ticket, email ­info­@­intrepidtheatre.­com or arrive at Fernwood Square at ­performance times. Find out more about Trophy and UNO Fest at ­intrepidtheatre­.­com.