John

January 12-15, 2022

The Firehall Arts Centre is pleased to open 2022 with Helen Walkley’s powerful dance/theatre piece, John, from Wednesday, January 12 to Saturday, January 15.

This production will run at 50% capacity.

“John is a memoir of my oldest brother who disappeared from Vancouver in May of 1969, never to be heard from again. I sourced from an archive of family letters dating from 1959–2010, which document the years leading up to his disappearance, his medical history, and the subsequent tracking my parents did of his disappearance. He was twenty-three at the time and I was thirteen.” – Helen Walkley.

Choreographed by Helen Walkley and performed by Josh Martin and Billy Marchenski, John premiered and wowed audiences during its sold-out run at the 2019 Dancing on the Edge Festival. Following these performances at the Firehall Arts Centre, John will be presented in Victoria, Edmonton, and Regina.

Since 1980, Helen Walkley has, as a contemporary dance artist, certified Laban Movement Analyst and Somatic Movement educator, lived in the U.S., Germany, and The Netherlands and Canada choreographing, performing, and teaching. She completed an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies in the School for Contemporary Arts at SFU in 1996 and has since been based here in Vancouver. In 2020, Helen received the Dance Centre’s Isadora Award, which recognizes an artist’s lifetime achievement.

“John is such a powerful, intimate piece that you are left feeling like you know this mysterious person,” says Artistic Producer Donna Spencer. “The performers, Josh Martin and Billy Marchenski, work together and apart in a manner that captures the inner feelings and outer conflicts of this young man. The work takes you on a journey of hope and loss with gentleness and frustration – it is a wonderful and memorable night of dance theatre.”

Credits for John:

Choreographer:  Helen Walkley

Composer:  James Maxwell

Text:  Helen Walkley and an archive of family letters dating from 1959 to 2010

Performers:  Josh Martin & Billy Marchenski

Lighting Design:  James Proudfoot

Costume Design:  Leah Weinstein & Helen Walkley

Construction of the shirts:  Leslie Parent

Construction of the box:  Chris Nicols

Set Design:  Helen Walkley