Shane Koyczan spent February going to the art spaces that sit empty, breathing some life into them through his spoken word poetry which has been shared on the Chan Centre's Dot Com series which premiers March 12. (Facebook)

Penticton’s famed spoken word artist Shane Koyczan reflects on the pandemic in new show

The show premiers March 12 and features Penticton art centres hit hard by COVID-19

Famed spoken word artist Shane Koyczan spent some of February visiting his favourite art spaces in Penticton that have mostly sat empty because of the pandemic.

While visiting, he breathed some life into them through his spoken word poetry which was recorded and will be shared on the Chan Centre’s Dot Com series premiering March 12 at 7 p.m.

The digital recording celebrates some of the community’s meaningful arts spaces that have been hit hard by the pandemic including an empty Cleland Theatre, where he has performed many times; The Dream Café, a cornerstone for indie music and culture; the Many Hats Theatre Company, a community theatre unsure of its future; and The Bookshop, a beloved second-hand bookstore catering to the arts.

There will be a virtual watch party and live chat March 12 and the show will remain available for on demand viewing until May 31.

In this virtual presentation, Koyczan reflects on the current state of the world as he grapples with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis himself.

“As the finish line for lockdown continues to move further away, the challenges in maintaining one’s mental health grow. We’re left to reflect on our wounded world and cling to memories in the vacuum of isolation,” said Koyczan.

Koyczan explores the amplified despair of the times in which we find ourselves, and searches for the missing needle of the compass that’s left us feeling lost.

“In challenging periods we often look for connection through art and I can’t think of a better person to reveal our shared humanity and help bring us together than Shane,” says Wendy Atkinson, programming manager at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

“His work, steeped in emotion and wisdom, has the unique ability to illuminate a path forward from what may feel like a dark place. We are thrilled to welcome him back to the Chan Centre series for the first time since two sold-out performances in 2014 to share more of his inimitable talent with our audience.”

Canada’s best-known spoken word artist, Koyczan’s TED Talk and soul-laid-bare anti-bullying video To This Day are shown in classrooms worldwide. His book Stickboy was adapted for the stage by Vancouver Opera, and his collaborations with the likes of Tanya Tagaq, Ani DiFranco, and David Suzuki keep him innovating and growing. In 2010, the world caught a glimpse of Koyczan’s talent with his presentation at the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The Chan Centre Dot Com Series launched in September 2020 in light of restrictions on gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Delivered 100 per cent online, the series features a wide range of performing artists, both locally and internationally.

Watch online from March 12.

Ticket Prices: $0/$10/$20 (Supported/General/Supportive)

chan.tickets@ubc.ca

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