For immediate release: November 27, 2017
Media contact: Liz Cave, Board Chair
CHRIS GATCHALIAN TO STEP DOWN AS ARTISTIC PRODUCER OF THE FRANK THEATRE COMPANY AFTER SIX GROUNDBREAKING SEASONS
Vancouver, November 27, 2017: After six groundbreaking seasons, Chris Gatchalian will be stepping down from his role as Artistic Producer of the frank theatre company, Vancouver’s professional queer theatre company, effective December 15, 2017.
Gatchalian is resigning from the position to return to his primary practice as a writer and theatre artist. He is currently Writer-in-Residence at Kogawa House in Vancouver.
Gatchalian first joined the frank in 2009 as its Associate Artistic Director. From 2009 to 2012, he worked alongside then-Artistic Managing Director Seán Cummings to grow and expand the organization’s operations and programming.
In November 2011, he assumed the company’s executive, first as Co-Artistic Director with Cummings and then, in October 2012, alone, as the company’s Artistic Producer. Under his visionary leadership, the company quickly grew to become the second largest queer-mandated theatre company in the country. Artistically, his six-year tenure saw the company score significant successes, including a remarkable ten world premieres: his own play, Falling In Time, Seán Cummings’ Chasing Home, Jan Derbyshire’s Turkey in the Woods and All In, Evan Tsitsias’ Unstuck, Minh Ly’s Ga Ting (Family), Antonette Rea’s Miss Understood, the collective creation The Pink Line: Pain Held Tight, Sean O’Leary’s Walt Whitman’s Secret and Katie Sly’s Serenity Wild. Since Gatchalian took over the helm, the company has received a total of 10 Jessie Richardson Award nominations and a number of wins, including two for his own work as an artist and producer.
Gatchalian’s holistic approach to programming is evident in the community- and youth-based work he has programmed during his tenure. In 2014 he launched Telling It Bent, the frank’s writing and performance program for queer youth. In 2016 he produced Sparkle!, a dance/movement/performance focused program for queer youth, in partnership with Made In BC. And in 2016 he produced The Pink Line, a program focused on racism within the queer community, that culminated in a highly acclaimed and much-discussed performance at the 2016 Queer Arts Festival.
Gatchalian was also instrumental in increasing the company’s national profile. Under his tenure, the company embarked on its first tours outside of British Columbia: first in 2014, with the Toronto presentation of the lesbian-themed opera When the Sun Comes Out, and then in 2016, with the tour of Miss Understood at FemFest in Winnipeg.
One of Gatchalian’s landmark achievements was his conception and organization of Q2Q, the first-ever national conference devoted to queer theatre and performance. Conducted in partnership with Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts, the event, which took place in Vancouver in July 2016, was free and open to the public and attracted many of the country’s most renowned queer theatre artists and practitioners, including evalyn parry, d’bi.young anitafrika, Brendan Healy and Sky Gilbert.
While Artistic Producer of the frank, Gatchalian has been at the forefront of crucial discussions around inclusion and representation in Vancouver’s, and Canada’s, theatre ecology. Along with Valerie Sing Turner, Diane Roberts and Omari Newton, he spearheaded the writing of an open-letter to the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards Society, calling for greater diversity in the membership of both the Board and the juries. He has also demonstrated his commitment to advancing the cause of accessibility, forming partnerships with organizations such as VocalEye and the BC Rainbow Alliance for the Deaf (BCRAD) to make the frank’s programming as accessible as possible to the Deaf and disability communities.
“Chris Gatchalian fostered and grew the frank for six years,” says Liz Cave, Board Chair of the frank. “Under Chris’ leadership, the frank‘s mission and work has made an impact on the queer and arts communities locally and nationally. We are excited that Chris is taking this opportunity to focus on creating his own art, and look forward to continuing to working with him as an artist.”
“the frank/Screaming Weenie has been at the centre of my life the last 9 years,” Gatchalian says. “Ilena Lee Cramer founded the company and built the framework without which none of what we have achieved would be possible. Seán Cummings fully professionalized the company, and made it a consistent presence in the community. My goal when I took this job was to walk through the doors that were opened for me and grow the company so that it could deliver its mission as powerfully and broadly as possible. I am deeply grateful for the support of the board, the staff, the volunteers, the donors, the artists, the audiences, and the communities that I have worked with over the years. the frank is now a company with a strong local and national profile and an undisputed place in the cultural ecology. It is with pride and excitement that I hand it over to my successor.
“As for my future, I’m excited to be primarily an artist again. It’s something I simply couldn’t do running a theatre company full-time. But in my new capacity as a freelance artist, I will continue to be a vocal advocate for artists, for the marginalized, and for greater inclusion, representation and financial accessibility in theatre.”
Although Gatchalian is relinquishing the executive reins of the organization, he will remain involved with the frank as its Senior Associate Artist.
The author of five books, Gatchalian is a nationally renowned, award-winning playwright and author. His plays, which include Falling In Time, Motifs & Repetitions, Crossing and People Like Vince, have been produced locally, nationally and internationally, as well as on radio and television. The 2013 recipient of the Dayne Ogilvie Prize, awarded annually by the Writers’ Trust of Canada to an outstanding emerging LGBT writer, he has been shortlisted twice for the prestigious Lambda Literary Award, which honours the best in LGBT literature in English. He is currently Writer-in-Residence at Vancouver’s Kogawa House, where he is completing a non-fiction manuscript.
the frank’s new executive leader will be announced in early December.
the frank theatre company is Vancouver’s only explicitly mandated professional queer theatre company. Its vision is a world where sexual and gender diversity are accepted and embraced everywhere in every society, by everyone. To actualize this vision, its mission is to produce and present queer-themed stories for live theatre.
MEDIA CONTACT: Please direct all inquiries or interview requests to Liz Cave, Board Chair
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: 604.209.7589