November 3rd marked the beginning of the 5th annual Peek Festival with a combination of public performances with residencies, workshops, and showcases. But while the public can come and view never before seen work by emerging artists, the main focus of the festival is to develop and foster new artists and their work.
Peek Fest is an annual theatre festival, hosted through Impulse Theatre, designed first and foremost for artists in Victoria.
“A lot of our programming acts as a bridge between more sustainable opportunities like at the Belfry or something, and more informal opportunities,” said Jess Amy Shead, the festival marketing and outreach coordinator for Peek Fest. “There’s a gap in the middle that sometimes people have a hard time bridging, so the work that Peek Fest does is about bridging that gap.”
The festival is all about celebrating creation, performance, and exploration. Up and coming artists can take unfinished projects and apply to the Peek Fest in order to develop their works and allow an audience to get a peek behind the curtain of the creative process.
This year’s theme explores body and dance. Andrew Barrett, Impulse Theatre’s artistic producer, designed the themed events alongside Residency Mentor Stewart Legere.
A majority of the workshops have a focus on dance and movement, such as Movement for all Bodies with Tiffany Tjosvold and The Performing Body with Alex Thompson. On top of the festival’s focus on the body, the festival was also interested in bringing different bodies onto the stage in accommodating them and their art. There was also the Dance Incubator, a residency program that supported contemporary dance projects.
2021’s Peek Fest was a hybrid of in-person and digital events.
One such event that will be online is Peek Show 11 on November 19th. The event will showcase 5-7 short pieces some of which will be performed live, while others will be pre-recorded. As these pieces are all new works that haven’t seen the stage yet, the festival is giving the artists a chance to put their work in front of an audience and get some feedback. The feedback will help artists adjust their development process.
The short pieces will be under ten minutes. A short Q+A will be available after each piece so that the audience can ask their questions. The question period will also be an opportunity for the artists to ask questions to the audience in order to understand how their work came across and how they might incorporate that feedback into future versions of their project.
“It’s for the city of Victoria, it’s learning opportunities, development opportunities, showcasing opportunities that aren’t necessarily available in the city.” said Shead.
As any emerging artist knows, one of the hardest things to do as a new artist is finding the opportunities to establish themselves as an artist. Like many jobs, artists need some experience in their industry to get a foot in the door. But it can be hard to find something to give yourself the necessary boost to get noticed in the first place. But Peek Fest can offer artists a chance to do that.
Tickets can be purchased on the Impulse Theatre website to see Peek Show 11 on November 19th at 7:30pm.