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Talk is Free Theatre pandemic video project garners almost 1.25M views

Choreographer Cameron Carver's 'vision was to treat the video as its own creative piece instead of just a summary or highlight reel,' says artistic producer
Something Bubbled, Something Blue was performed in September at a park in Barrie in front of 30 socially distanced guests.

Talk is Free Theatre’s Something Bubbled, Something Blue has had more online success than any other National Arts Centre ‘Grand Acts of Theatre’ video.

Last spring, Talk is Free theatre was one of 11 theatre companies from across Canada selected to participate in the National Arts Centre’s Grand Acts of Theatre, an initiative designed to support theatre groups during the pandemic. Each of Canada’s most innovative theatre companies was challenged to perform large-scale outdoor works as a response to the current times.

Talk is Free theatre came up with Something Bubbled, Something Blue, an interpretation of a COVID wedding that playfully manifests the metaphor of personal bubbles. It was performed on Sept. 12 at a park in Barrie in front of 30 socially distanced guests.

Thanks to funding from RBC, Talk is Free was also able to create a video to extend the project’s reach, and give people who couldn’t attend the community ‘wedding’ in person a chance to experience the art.

The video, with 1,242,911 views and counting through the NAC website, has been more successful than any other from the Grand Acts initiative (the next closest has 888,000).

“Instead of turning to a videographer, I asked choreographer Cameron Carver to take this on, even though he hadn’t worked much with the medium,” said Arkady Spivak, founder and Artistic Producer at Talk is Free. “Cameron (one of the project’s co-creators) is very creative, and his vision was to treat the video as its own creative piece instead of just a summary or highlight reel. I think this is why the video has really gone viral and it’s been so great for our theatre.”

According to Spivak, the fact that the performance (and video) are language free is also helping extend its reach.

“With this entire Grand Acts project, we weren’t sure what we’d created – a video? A community event? A piece of theatre? It really was a new frontier for us,” added Spivak. “We’re so thankful to RBC for enabling the video extensions of the project. It’s not something we normally do, but it allowed us to push ourselves creatively and give our artists a chance to work in a new medium.”

For Carver, who has choreographed more than a dozen shows in both Canada and the United Kingdom, the video’s success has changed the way he looks at the potential of his art.

“Filming a piece of theatre is not something we are used to doing, and I’m a choreographer not a film maker,” said Carver. “But now very interested in this medium, and exploring its possibilities in a theatre context. Live theatre will always have its magic, but the success that we’ve had with Something Bubbled, Something Blue really shows that there is a place for this medium in the theatre world, too.”