Where: Various locations, including the Galloping Goose Regional Trail and Songhees Walkway
When: Friday to Sunday
Tickets: Pay What You Can ($10 suggested donation; $20 for families)
Theatre SKAM will expand its offerings this weekend to include international artists and full-length performances for the first time ever during SKAMpede, the theatre company’s annual outdoor performing arts festival.
The 15th edition features live theatre, dance, puppetry, and comedy performances and workshops, all of which are accessible this weekend through walking and bikes routes. Site-specific performances spread throughout the day allow attendees to arrive unannounced at each site, with admission to performances in Songhees Park Plaza and along the Galloping Goose Regional Trail and Songhees Walkway offered on a pay-what-you-can basis, with $10 being the suggested donation.
The festival features a dozen theatre companies, including SNAFU Society of Unexpected Spectacles, Salty Broad Productions, and the Paris-based Compagnie SHIFT SHAPE, which is co-directed by Victoria’s Kathleen O’Reilly and New York’s Anya Opshinsky.
“I was impressed at how motivated they were to welcome us and adapt what they normally do,” O’Reilly said.
O’Reilly, who studied acting at the University of Victoria, returns to SKAMpede with high hopes for her company’s physical comedy, ROVERS: Mimes on the Run. The hour-long production is unusual for SKAMpede in that the majority of offerings are less than 30 minutes in length and from almost exclusively Greater Victoria companies.
“They were excited to expand,” said O’Reilly, who now lives in Paris but appeared in previous editions of SKAMpede when she was a UVic student. “They have never invited international artists to do something, and to do a longer piece.”
In 2021, amid restrictions due to the pandemic, SKAMpede altered its approach, which to that point had guests travelling as a group by bike or on foot to their respective performances. Last year, patrons met at the venue and ventured afterward back to a central hub in Songhees Park Plaza, where further performances were staged.
That same schedule is in play this weekend. Two separate biking/walking tours are offered, and each tour includes four performances. SKAMpede stands alone in its unique approach to summer programming, O’Reilly said.
“I don’t know many other theatre companies that do site-specific theatre outdoors in the summer, with a beautiful, central location that is so accessible to people. Theatre SKAM is so impressive that way.”