Monday, July 18, 2011

Thank you Glenmore!

The Social Potluck project has drawn to a close in Glenmore. Many thanks to Michelle Kam at the City of Kelowna for helping spread the word, Sandi and Jim at the Bridges at Glenview Pond development for letting me use their incredible show home,DeBakkers for the bread, Joan at St. David's Presbyterian for ensuring I had a venue and of course all the amazing participants for sharing a story. The project was made possible by a grant provided through a partnership between the City of Kelowna and the University of British Columbia.
The dinners were a real treat. I felt honoured to be able to break bread with such generous and supportive people who had amazing tales to tell. I have a great job.
The finale was filled with such good wishes and support for myself and for each other. I hate to admit it but the show almost feels irrelevant, that just getting back together is enough, the show is simple the excuse.
The following night I performed the same show to an audience that hadn't participated. There was a strange mix of friends, colleagues and strangers. People brought their moms and their kids. It was a full house and some chairs needed to be added at the last minute. Most people didn't mind not having been at the dinners, they liked the surprise aspect of the stories, nothing was familiar. I thought this was interesting. Both evenings had a different feel.
In the end I could tell that people wished they could have stayed and heard more stories from each other. I will have to see how I can facilitate that in the future.
Below are a few pictures taken of one of the dinners I hosted at the Bridges at Glenview Pond development. The pictures were taken by Kate Mahaits Photography.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Social Potluck show for the public on July 16th. Only 50 seats available!

MEDIA RELEASE | July 7, 2011

On July 16th, for one night only, a very unique dinner theatre event will be taking place in the Glenmore neighbourhood of Kelowna. How is it unique? It is a potluck dinner show all about the people who live in Glenmore.

The show is a culmination of months of work where storyteller Gabriel Newman explored the community of Glenmore through its stories. In June, Newman hosted four intimate dinners at the Bridges at Glenview Pond development where guests told him a story in exchange for a meal. “We had an amazing mix of stories taking place not only in Kelowna but around the world,” says Newman who will perform to those guests at a private show on the fifteenth before presenting it to the general public on the sixteenth.

Cost to attend the July sixteenth show is free but guests are asked to bring an item of food to share as there will be a giant potluck dinner as part of the show. “”I love the metaphor of the potluck, says Newman who adds, “Thomas King said “"The truth about stories is, that's all we are." I believe that follows through to the communities we live in. Which stories we choose to tell becomes what we offer to the cultural potluck table of our community.”

Newman created Social Potluck as his thesis project to fulfill the requirements of a Master’s of Fine Arts degree at UBC Okanagan’s Performance Program. “I have been working as a performer and a story teller for the past fifteen years but I wasn’t satisfied with the work I was doing. I was convinced that there had to be a different way of working that was sustainable and provide a truly live and relevant experience. That is why I went back to school to complete my masters; to figure out a new structure. The fact that I have been able to work my love of food and storytelling into this project is a bonus,” laughs Newman who lives and works in Vernon.

This is the second time he has conducted a Social Potluck project, the first time was earlier this spring in Vernon.

The Glenmore Social Potluck project is one of three projects sponsored through an innovative partnership between the University of British Columbia and the City of Kelowna to help foster sustainable community development. Social Potluck is unique in that it is the only project that contributes directly to building social sustainability and social capital in the community. “We are empathetic creatures and we build community through storytelling whether it is at the table or on stage. Glenmore has a vibrant culture, we just need to stop every once in a while and listen to it,” says Newman who is grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate the practical nature of “applied theatre.”

The performance will take place at St. David’s Presbyterian at 6:00 PM. There are only fifty seats available so guests must make reservations if they wish to attend. There will be no tickets available at the door. Contact Newman at 250-260-8757 or to reserve a space.

To learn more and to see a video of the previous Social Potluck click here.


Gabriel Newman
Graduate student, Performance/Theatre, Creative Studies
The University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus