Studio Ensemble illuminates environmental issues, Indigenous-settler relations

VICTORIA, B.C. — ‘Company C’ Studio Ensemble is launching its 2019-20 season on Oct. 17 with a production of Yvette Nolan’s The Birds, with two of the nation’s leading Indigenous theatre artists at the helm.

The award-winning playwright, director, author and dramaturge’s timely modern adaptation of the bitter Aristophanes comedy is being directed by Keith Barker, an Algonquin Métis playwright, actor, and theatre director from Northwestern Ontario. The pair’s creative contributions are being augmented by the work of movement consultant Lindsay Delaronde, who was inaugural Indigenous Artist in Residence for the City of Victoria from February of 2017 until January of this year.

When The Birds takes flight next week in the Performance Hall of the Canadian College of Performing Arts, 1701 Elgin Rd., it will mark the first time Nolan’s play will have been presented in Greater Victoria.

Set on Turtle Island, her contemporary adaptation tells the tale of two men rejecting society’s corruption and condition, and falling into the fabled realm of the birds in an unexpected way. A dramatic and comedic retelling of the classic tale of Euelpides and Pisthetaerus fleeing Athens, the play also creatively conveys a message of Canadians’ relationship with colonialism and the land. With the climate crisis currently in full swing, it sheds new light on an ancient tale.

“The playwright reminds us that in order to be truly present, we must carry with us our ancestors while thinking about our descendants, and in this way we find balance,” says Barker.

The Birds engages the audience with “timely and important dialogue through a highly entertaining production that showcases very unique physical and production elements they haven’t seen before at the College,” says CCPA’s managing artistic director Caleb Marshall. “Its messages will linger and we hope have a lasting impact.”

The cast features 15 actors, 13 of them adorned with beautifully handcrafted masks to bring the essence of The Birds to life. This touching comedy also features joyous dances and original choral music composed by cast members.

What: The Birds
Who: ‘Company C’ Studio Ensemble at the Canadian College of Performing Arts
Where: Performance Hall, Canadian College of Performing Arts, 1701 Elgin Rd.
When: Thurs., Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 18, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 19, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 20, 2 p.m.

Ticket Prices

Adults: $27.50
Seniors (65+): $23.50
Under 30: $18.50

Tickets can be bought online at, or by calling 250-595-9970.

On October 19 at 2:00pm, the College presents its first relaxed performance of the season. It’s a performance that is open to everyone, but intended to be welcoming of anyone who may find the theatre environment challenging.

To find out more, visit or call us at 250-595-9970.


Michael D. Reid
Public Relations Liaison