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Discomfort Lab 2019
The Castell Building
Calgary, AB
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Discomfort Lab 2019
Discomfort Lab 2019 performance incubator, presented by Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre
Public presentations April 26 to 28, 2019
Suitable for audiences 18+

For 2 weeks, Swallow-a-Bicycle is taking over an entire floor of a downtown Calgary building.
We've given artists cash and 2 weeks of access to space in which to develop performances.
At the end of the 2 weeks, we invite Calgary audiences to join us for public presentations of the projects.
Performances will be wide-ranging in form, themes and aesthetic.

Participating Artists:
Stephen Jackman-Torkoff (they/them/their)
Wayne Burns (he/him/his)
Mii-Sum-In-Iskum (he/him/they)
J Stevens (she/her/hers)
Mark Hopkins (he/him/his)
Bianca Guimarães de Manuel (she/her/hers)
Katie Green (she/her/hers)

All washrooms at Discomfort Lab 2019 are all-gender washrooms.
Accessibility info:
Wheelchair accessible space with wheelchair accessible washrooms.
ASL interpretation will not be available.
Audio-described performances will not be available.
Relaxed performances will not be available.

Content warnings include:
audience participation, nudity, coarse language, descriptions of violence, sexual assault, overdose, death
Please contact us ahead of time if you have any hesitations.

Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre is based in Mohkinstsis, the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) name for the place we now call Calgary, located in the Treaty 7 region and the traditional lands of the Blackfoot Confederacy (including the Siksika, Piikani and Kainai First Nations), the Tsuutina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda (including the Chiniki, Bearspaw and Wesley First Nations). The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III. Were grateful to the past, present and future stewards of this land.

What is Discomfort Lab?

In 2017, Swallow-a-Bicycle ran a performance incubator called Discomfort Lab, as a way of testing our company's mandate of supporting work which engages in 'productive discomfort'.  We gave artists space, money, and time. We endeavoured to hold space for uncomfortable conversations.  
The overwhelming feedback we got from Calgary's performance community was:
So were trying to make Discomfort Lab a recurring part of Swallow-a-Bicycles programming.

Discomfort Lab 2019's projects are:

Die Phantasie
creator/performer: Stephen Jackman-Torkoff
with visual art by Stephen, assisted by Katie Green and featuring some of Katie's original work

Die Phantasie is a poetic fantasmal quest of a wandering poet/fool into the hedonistic liberation of Berlin and the spiritual unknown of the self. Their world is turned upside down as they attempt to open their heart to every last beat of life. To let fall away the restrictions of the home self and let in the self that exists beyond realms of fear. And as the poet seems to reach this point of transcendence, the death of their brother back home leads them down a path of immense grief. In a sometimes electric, sometimes rhythmic and sometimes disarmingly casual style the poet offers a world of effervescent light and consuming darkness. What happens when those two energies meet? And who do we become? And what new worlds can we create from this place? In Die Phantasie the poet pushes the edges of what we think is possible and asks What freedom truly means? Where do we hold the dead? How do we actually live? And is it possible to recreate the world through intimacy, sex, friendship, delving into the depth of our pain and/or disco dancing? The poet's main question though that drives them to wander around the world is.... How many people is it possible to love?

artists: Wayne Burns, Mii-Sum-In-Iskum, J Stevens

Following a young mans assault at a hotel on New Years Eve, fastLOVE is an exploration of consumption and the political power of human bodies. A three-part solo show utilizing storytelling, video installation and vocal sampling, this piece investigates the ways in which we manipulate ourselves for the pleasure of others.

artists: Mark Hopkins, Bianca Guimarães de Manuel

Clothing is a strong marker of group affiliation: are you one of us or one of them? Two artists from Swallow-a-Bicycle  Bianca Guimarães de Manuel and Mark Hopkins  will dig into the role that clothing plays in uniting or separating us. With the rise of conservative populism and extremism around the world, were interested in how clothing demarcates what is acceptable and what is to be feared: whether its the Quebec governments religious symbols ban, that will disproportionately affect Muslim women and other religious minorities, or Calgarys recent public uproar about a swim organized by a group of nudists. Clothing will be an investigation into how were received by society based on what we do, or do not, wear.

*Regrettably, End the Stigma is no longer part of Discomfort Lab 2019. We look forward to seeing that projects future development.


The Castell Building (View)
616 MacLeod Trail SE
Calgary, AB T2G 2M2


Arts > Performance
Arts > Theatre
Social > LGBT

Minimum Age: 18
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


Owner: Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre
On BPT Since: Oct 18, 2012
Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre

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