Blue Note

Blue Note environment detail. Photo by John Lauener.


“Trust Nightswimming to turn a standard performance into an experimental theatrical journey.”
   – NOW Magazine

Read the entire NOW Magazine review here.

Created by Martin Julien and Brian Quirt

Music won’t be made, but maybe music can be conjured, if you know how.

Blue Note is a collaboration between theatre artists, musicians and architects. A character study of a vocal ensemble, Blue Note follows seven singers in rehearsal, painting a picture of each person. As in a piece of choral music, the whole story is only revealed once the individual voices are singing together.

An elegiac investigation into loss within the realm of collaboration, Blue Note is a work in progress, an installation rather than a traditional theatre piece, and during both the rehearsal process and the formal presentations the audience can observe the ensemble rehearsing, and the performance evolving, over the exhibition period.

Nightswimming led the theatrical development of Blue Note, while PLANT Architect Inc. created a spatial setting to allow the audience access to the performance, and to contain the work in a metaphoric environment that supports the emotional and narrative content of the piece.

View images of the Blue Note environment by PLANT Architect Inc.

Blue Note in Spacing Magazine.

Download the Canadian Theatre Review article on Blue Note, including script and photos.

Download The Embodiment of Grief in Blue Note by Laura Lucci

Production History

York Quay Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto
presented by Nightswimming and Harbourfront Centre as part of Fresh Ground New Works
September 11-21, 2008 – open rehearsals, noon-5pm
September 16-21, 2008 – performances, 7pm

Created by Martin Julien and Brian Quirt
Design by PLANT Architect Inc.
Produced by Naomi Campbell
Performed by Neema Bickersteth, Jay Bowen, Christine Brubaker, Steven Gallagher, Kate Hennig, John Millard & Jane Miller
Stage managed by Sandy Plunkett
Lighting Consultation by Trevor Schwellnus
Apprentice Director Ulla Laidlaw *

Special thanks to previous workshop participants Thom Allison, Christine Duncan, Megan Hamilton, Andrew Kirshnir, Doug McNaughton, Frank Moore, Imali Perera, Andrea Romaldi, Suba Sankaran & Jovanni Sy.

Nightswimming developed Blue Note from inception and was awarded a Fresh Ground New Works commission by Harbourfront Centre to stage the workshop production which was presented as part of World Stage.

PLANT Architect Inc. is an interdisciplinary design firm active in architecture, landscape, art, and graphic design, and recently won the Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization Competition. Blue Note team: Lisa Rapoport, Chris Pommer, Mary Tremain, Matt Hartney, Lisa Dietrich, Jessica Craig, Victoria Taylor.

* The services of Ulla Laidlaw were made possible through Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program, funded by the Ontario Arts Council.

Blue Note musical repertoire
Hush No More – Henry Purcell, from The Fairie Queen; Rise Up My Love – Healey Willan / John Millard arr.; God Moves in Mysterious Ways – R. Murray Schafer; O Magnify the Lord – Gospel, traditional; In C – Terry Riley; Choose Something Like a Star – Randall Thompson/Robert Frost; What’s The Most Exciting Thing – Moondog; Psalm 121 – Dave Brubeck; Ask Everything – Jane Miller; Happy Together – Garry Bonner/Alan Gordon; Now I Walk in Beauty – Navaho Prayer – traditional round; O Magnum Mysterium – Tomas Luis de Victoria; Though My Soul May Set in Darkness – round; Cantate Domino – Claudio Monteverdi; O Sacrum Convivium – Olivier Messiaen; I Don’t Want to Know About Evil – John Martyn; Chichester Psalm – Leonard Bernstein; When Jesus Wept – William Billings; O Perfect Love – Dorothy Gurney / Joseph Barnby; Crazy – Gnarls Barkley; Weep O Mine Eyes – John Bennet; Ae Fond Kiss – Robert Burns/John Millard arr.; Inchworm – Frank Loesser; A Northern Catch – traditional; Lullaby – Dixie Chicks; Cantique de Jean Racine – Gabriel Fauré; Eighteen – Alice Cooper; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat – Joni Mitchell/Charles Mingus; You’ll Never Walk Alone – Rogers and Hammerstein; Full Fathom Five – William Shakespeare.

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