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Living Things 2: Kelowna’s International Arts Festival

Kelowna's Cultural District |
Living Things 2: Kelowna’s International Arts Festival
Living Things 2: Kelowna's International Arts Festival.
Living Things 2: Kelowna's International Arts Festival.

The Living Things International Arts Festival brings Kelowna’s arts communities together once a year for an inclusive, winter festival with celebrated live performances from regional, national and international artists in local venues. Founded in 2017 by artistic director Neil Cadger, the festival was created to coincide with other winter art festivals in Western Canada.

Living Things presents contemporary artists employing a wide range of storytelling technologies with a particular interest in puppets, masks and performing objects.

“The Living Things festival fills a vital niche in the Okanagan Valley’s cultural fabric,” says Cadger. “The festival will feature boundary-pushing contemporary theatre, music, dance, animated films, visual art and multi-media performances from international artists at the height of their game.”

For the third annual 2019 festival, artists from France, UK, Toronto, Vancouver and the Okanagan region will be performing in Kelowna’s Cultural District from January 11th to February 2nd. We’ve broken down the events for you below.


Ideas Bobert by Candy Roberts

From award winning creator Candice Roberts comes a clown comedy tour de force. With vintage silent film styling, shadow puppetry, stop motion, animation projections, dance and live music, the world of Ideas Bobert! is rich with magic and creativity.

★★★★ “All ages will enjoy the fine clown work of the multi-talented Roberts. Anyone with a curious heart will find theirs aflutter watching Ideas Bobert!” – Winnipeg Free Press

Black Box Theatre
Saturday, January 19th at 1pm & 2:30pm
Purchase tickets

Puppet Slam!

Michael V. Smith (as Cookie) hosts an evening of professional and amateur performers doing unusual things with objects. Underground puppet slams are popping up everywhere. They feature contemporary short-form puppet and object theatre for adult audiences, often late at night in small venues, nightclubs, and art spaces.

Puppet Slams exist at the nexus of vaudeville, burlesque, and performance art through the intersection of experimental theater, art, music, and dance as a viable alternative to the culturally homogenous digital mass media. If you have a secret life as a puppeteer and want to come out, or an attention-worthy relationship with objects, this is your chance.

Black Box Theatre
Saturday, January 19th at 9:30pm
Tickets available at the door

Macbeth Muet by La Fille Du Laitier

A soldier loyal to his country encounters three witches on the battlefield that tell him he will be king. Now, Macbeth and his partner in crime, Lady Macbeth, are on a bloody path of ambition, power, and betrayal.

Macbeth Muet completely deconstructs this Shakespeare tragedy into a fast-paced, visceral theatre experience, using the body, objects as imagery, and a ton of fake blood. Entire scenes are reduced to a single look, as Shakespeare’s complex and beautiful poetry is rendered mute and searing. And through it all, a couple is transformed irrevocably. Our Macbeth is a world so devoid of morality or thought and so disposed towards action and results that human lives are as disposable as styrofoam cups. And the excess, the blood, the scraps, the waste, will all be left behind for future kings.

★★★★ “Inventive and oxygenating…it may break your heart in a way you don’t see coming.” – New York Times

Mary Irwin Theatre
Saturday & Sunday, January 19th & 20th at 8pm
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Bushel and Peck by Alastair Knowles & Stéphanie Morin-Robert

Alastair Knowles fuse their mastery of comedy and movement as they tear up their performance handbook, touch the untouchable, and are blown away by the uproarious consequences. Bushel and Peck will boisterously charm your naked heart.

“Brilliant and absurd. The perfect tonic for whatever ails your mind.” – London Free Press

Black Box Theatre
Sunday, January 20th at 2pm
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Butt Kapinski by Deanna Fleysher

Think it’s a solo show? Think again. Private eye Butt Kapinski invites you to co-star in a film noir murder mystery. Join Butt in a seedy world of sex, sin, shadows and subterfuge as you take the ride of a full-on interactive comedic experience. Kick reality to the curb! Play in a world of dark dreams and bad similes. ADULTS ONLY.

“This was a remarkable piece of theater, sort of like a foreign language immersion course. Almost everyone in the audience was drawn into this interaction show, and turned in quite incredible improv performances themselves. Don’t miss this limited run – you’ll be kicking yourself if you do.” — LA Reporter

Black Box Theatre
Saturday, January 26th at 7:30pm
Sunday, January 27th at 8pm
Purchase tickets

Pepper Pepper: Diva Practice by Kajanne Pepper

Being fabulous takes practice. Diva Practice embodies fabulousness by hybridizing drag, technological interventions and contemporary dance. While blending genres, Diva walks between the worlds of nightlife, dance-theatre, and installation, while also making accomplices of the audience.

Black Box Theatre
January 26th, 9pm
Tickets available at the door

Palmyra by Bertrand Lesca & Nasi Voutsas

“Clowning turned nasty and the crockery started to fly in Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas’s brilliantly conceived, absurd two-hander that takes its name from the much fought over ancient Syrian city. It could be seen as a show about the west’s inability to take action in Syria, but equally read as a metaphor for a personal relationship breakdown. Viciously funny.” – Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

★★★★ “The duo who created eurohouse shift from comic to tragic in a brilliant piece that reflects on Syria and the breakdown of relationships.” – The Guardian

Mary Irwin Theatre
Friday & Saturday, February 1st & 2nd at 8pm
Purchase tickets


Patrick Lundeen’s Noise Farm

Exhibit opening reception at the Alternator. Patrick Lundeen’s Dadaistic, improvisation-based, sound-making sculptures are simultaneously humorous and abrasive. Lundeen’s process includes freely associating with the meanings already within the found materials that he manipulates, and the creation of new forms based on creative intuition.

Many of the works included in Noise Farm contain elements that encourage viewer interaction and participation. Patrick Lundeen is an artist currently living and working in Kelowna, he teaches drawing and painting at the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus.

January 11th – February 2nd

Objects in Motion: Experimental Animated Film Curated by Myron Campbell

An evening of experimental animation showcasing both seasoned artists and directors, as well as new and emerging independent artists and storytellers from Canada and beyond.

Mary Irwin Theatre
Tuesday, January 22nd at 7pm
Purchase tickets


An interactive game created, performed and facilitated by Deanna Fleysher (Butt Kapinski) and Liam Kearns. Cheated! is an interactive escape mystery about the sting of betrayal, the necessity of moving on and the therapeutic power of art.

You and two other strangers meet in a bar. You are connected, but you don’t know how. And when you realize what you all have in common, one thing becomes clear: You have exactly one hour to save your life.

Cheated! is a solo experience. Participants can only buy one ticket, and can’t experience the event with friends. Trust us, it’s better this way.

Curious Café
January 22nd – 25, times tba
Tickets TBA

Upside Down, conceived and facilitated by Josh Fender

An interactive pop-up art gallery, a party, a performance. Black Box Theatre will transform over the course of the night into a dance party with costume options. This is an inclusive space where people are invited to step outside of their daily, normative behaviours.

Black Box Theatre
February 2nd, 10pm


Naked Comedy (fully clothed) with Deanna Fleysher

“Be more than funny. Be loved.” Naked Comedy will demand your heart, your guts, and all your fluids. We want to see how funny you can be without thinking or trying. Through play, we will explore your unique connection to the audience, the bravery required to be vulnerable, and the gratification that comes with letting go. Expose yourself (metaphorically speaking!) and make people laugh.

In this intensive, expect the following: a deeper connection to and understanding of the audience; personalized feedback (and plenty of it); discovery of your “sweet spots” (unique ways that you move/be, the emotional/physical states that the audience especially enjoys); more understanding of what “stage presence” means for you; how to really harness your performative power; more wildness, more bravery, more vulnerability; laughing a lot.

This workshop is ideal for improvisers, clowns/bouffons, stand-up comedians, actors, and anyone who wants to be more funny or comfortable in front of others than they currently are.

Workshop leader Deanna Fleysher is an American comedy artist, teacher and director. Inspired by clown, bouffon, improv and physical theater, she cultivates comedy that is interactive and brave. She currently tours with her award-winning solo show Butt Kapinski, and teaches workshops around the world. She also leads the ongoing Naked Comedy Lab in the Pacific Northwest.

RCA, Salloum Room
January 26th & 27th, 10am – 1pm

Politics in the Room with Bertrand Lesca & Nasi Voutas

How do we prioritize simplicity when talking about very complex matters? How do you inject feeling into facts? In this practical workshop based on their own practice and creative methodology, Bert and Nasi explore ideas around disagreement, frustration, hatred and reconciliation – particularly as these relate to contemporary society – using the stage as a space for artistic and political negotiation.

There will be some discussions, some improvisation and some loud music (probably ABBA). Participants will develop an understanding of how to make a political situation live in a room between two or three people; and to make use of metaphors in order to make the situation you are exploring more understandable.

Workshop leaders are Total Theatre Award (UK) winners Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas, creators and performers of Palmyra, who have developed a strong reputation in the UK for making original political theatre.

Black Box Theatre
Janurary 29th, 30th & 31st, 7pm – 10pm

January 11 - February 2, Check Times

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