Claire Hesselgrave and Sean Harris Oliver in the Twenty Something Theatre production of Tender Napalm. It was this 2015 show which was the partial impetus for the re-branding of the company to Firepot Performance. Photo by Emily Cooper.
Claire Hesselgrave and Sean Harris Oliver in the Twenty Something Theatre production of Tender Napalm. It was this 2015 show which was the partial impetus for the re-branding of the company to Firepot Performance. Photo by Emily Cooper.

What happens when you name your theatre company Twenty Something Theatre and you reach your thirties?

If you are founder and artistic director Sabrina Evertt, you re-brand yourself as Firepot Performance to not only acknowledge the new decade, but also your evolution as an artist.

“It really started with Tender Napalm in 2015, where we began delving into the dance theatre fusion of work,” says Evertt.

Finding herself attracted to pieces of a more multi-disciplinary nature, Evertt began exploring works which also included live music along with movement. Perhaps surprisingly though, it wasn’t the final product seen on stage which she found most compelling, but in the creation process.

“It was basically using an entirely different rehearsal process, that really inspired me and changed me fundamentally as an artist,” she explains.

That change is tangibly reflected in the choice for the company’s new name, Firepot Performance.

A name first suggested by the mother of Firepot’s artistic associate, Julie McIsaac, it was one that would eventually stick through brainstorm sessions and focus groups.

Founder and artistic director Sabrina Evertt is taking her newly re-branded theatre company into its thirties with a focus on more multi-disciplinary works.
Founder and artistic director Sabrina Evertt is taking her newly re-branded theatre company into its thirties with a focus on more multi-disciplinary works.

“We had a bunch of people do a postmortem and asked them what the process felt like, and what the rehearsal room was like for them,” she explains. “A lot of them said there was a heat quality to it, obviously because people get hot and sweaty when they’re moving around.”

It is also a name which helped to solidify the company’s new vision of ensemble, process, rigour, creation, and community.

With its name now in place, the company began looking for its first artistic venture, eventually landing on The Circus Project, the working title of a piece originally in development as part of Twenty Something Theatre.

Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s fantasy novel, The Night Circus, The Circus Project is a mix of dance and physical theatre.

“After I read The Night Circus I kept thinking somehow, we have to make this into a theatre production, because it just blends itself so well to it,” she says.

Rather than an attempt at adapting Morgenstern’s book for the stage though, Evertt and her team has taken it as jumping off point to explore new territory, with the circus used as a metaphor to ask the question: what does it mean to be truly heroic?

“What we’re really trying to explore is, the idea of what it means to be heroic in today’s society,” she explains. “When we see circus artists performing these extraordinary feats, we marvel at that, and we think, wow that’s so brave and courageous and isn’t that like a superhero.”

Adding an element of authenticity to the show, Firepot Performance has partnered with Vancouver-based circus training school, CircusWest.

“We’ve been working together for about a year, and now we’re using their space, and collaborating with them on the next phase of this creation,” Evertt says.

Currently in development, The Circus Project will be presented in a workshop performance this December, with the premiere slated for the company’s 2018-2019 season. Visit http://firepotperformance.com for more information.