Theatre at its Roots with the Farm Arts Collective

April 28, 2020

I was 12 when I first went to see a proper theatrical performance. I packed into a Dodge passenger van with my 6th grade class of about 16 people with my dad as a chaperone. We drove down into New York City to see the quintessential Broadway show, “The Phantom of the Opera.” This introduction showed all of the amazing aspects of theatre from the music, to the resourcefulness, the community and of course the creativity. Fast forward another 15 years, I’m now working at the Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre and I’ve had the opportunity to work with Tannis Kowalchuk and the Farm Arts Collective.

Tannis recently performed her piece “Stone Soup Cooking Class” which is an interactive theatrical cooking class. With only a few instruments, ingredients and actors Tannis along with Jess Beveridge create an engrossing, savory and educational look into the history of cooking, all while whipping up some plant based recipes on the spot.

The real magic of this piece lies in the simplicity of the set with Kowalchuk and Beveridge’s resourcefulness bringing magic to a set of pots, pans and some vegetables. A key moment where I couldn’t help but smile included the two intermittently holding a mirror to allow the audience to see inside the pots and pans while the cooking class was in session. The ability to utilize tools to draw an audience in with little expense but a wealth of creativity and communication is similar to the way Miles Davis expressed immense amounts of emotions through only a few musical notes. “Stone Soup” is filled with these tiny magical moments that draw in audiences of all ages and cooking levels.

At the culmination of the performance and lesson, the food is shared between cast, crew, and audience members replicating one of the most important aspects of both theatre and food, community. Through the camaraderie of audience and actors the, “Stone Soup Cooking Class” emanates all of the key aspects of theatre without big budgets, or extravagant sets but by focusing in on what the audience is there for, giving them something they didn’t expect, and having them leave with more than they had entered with.

Theatre is a truly magical piece of entertainment that has endured for centuries and has a charm that will always be relevant. We at Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre are excited for the chance to once again serve up morsels like “Stone Soup Cooking Class” as soon as possible. For more information about Tannis and the Farm Arts Collective check them out here:
Stay Strong, Make Art
-Michael Coney