Lights Out

Feb. 9-17, 2024

Reeve Theatre, University of Calgary

Lights Out, University of Calgary, School of Creative and Performing Arts, Drama Division, 2023-24 Season

What does it take to move in a world beset by paralysis? What might a movement look, sound and feel like if, against all odds, it flexes its muscles and finds its voice? With the planet on fire, in a vacuum of corporate responsibility and political will, Lights Out is an embodied search for answers to these questions—a defiant celebration of collective movement and sound in the face of an uncertain future.

Running time: 90 minutes

Created by the Ensemble
Conceived and Directed by Bruce Barton in collaboration with Beth Kates, Christopher Sies, Heather Ware, Jean-Louis Bleau and Laura Hynes

Audience Advisory
The performance will occasionally include high volume sound and loud music. Ear plugs will be available for patrons with sensitive hearing. There will also be high contrast lighting effects, including the use of strobe lighting. As an immersive performance, the ensemble will move close to, around, and among the audience. There may be occasional opportunities for careful physical contact with a performer, but these will be entirely voluntary on the part of all patrons. There are no requirements for direct audience participation.

Because the performance is immersive, we ask that any patron who attends feeling unwell should wear a mask. The front of house staff can provide you with a mask, upon request.

Accessibility Information
This performance has no fixed seating configuration. Audience members are invited to stand, sit on the floor, and/or move throughout the space as guided by the performers. Individual chairs will be available on request for patrons who require them. All performances are fully wheelchair accessible.

Performance Schedule

Friday, February 9 - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 10 - 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 13 - 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 14 - 7:30 p.m.
Thursday February 15 - 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 16 - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 17 - 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

$22 (adults) /$17 (students/seniors)

UCalgary students receive FREE ticket in-person at the box office, limited quantity available!

UCalgary employees, emeriti and alumni receive 50% off for themselves and one guest.

Visit Claim Your Seat page for more information.

Lights Out has grown from a number of distinct seeds of inspiration. The primary catalyst, from the beginning to the end of this process, has been to imagine what collective purpose can look, sound, and move like at this critical moment in history. So many aspects of so many contemporary societies are designed to breed inertia and apathy in isolated individuals, leaving them to wrestle with personal guilt and powerlessness associated with climate change. What can any of us do, on our own, that will have any substantial impact on our planetary collision course? Although there are many answers to that question, the most insistent one is “not enough.” Real, substantive change is almost always not individual in nature, but rather communal, and the evidence of this impact can be found in every continent, every nation, and every municipality. However, in general, our social and economic systems are built upon very different values and priorities, and collective movement does not come ‘naturally’ under these conditions. 

Lights Out, with its immersive design and collective creation dramaturgy, is a figurative and literal invitation to audiences to share our search for meaning through movement. My close collaborator in this regard has been the interdisciplinary dance artist Heather Ware, who has introduced the students to a choreographic experience of space, motion, creativity, and—most important—the potential in their own bodies. The remarkable agility of the ensemble has emerged directly out of her mentorship and her deep trust in their abilities.

Several other core fascinations have determined and driven the creation of the piece. One is the potential for sound to serve as the visceral, tangible environment of a performance. Chris Sies’s remarkable composition “Horizon Lines” is the sonic soul of the performance, as it engages with the other original and pre-recorded musical elements of the work. Chris’s presence, not only as a composer, but also as a live performer in every performance, along with the UCalgary Percussion Ensemble, has provided our production’s intensely beating heart. 

Another key fascination is a realization that much of the most important activity in any context—social and cultural, as well as artistic—happens out of the spotlight, off to the side and deep in the shadows. It has been a privilege to once again work with Beth Kates, who both created and is operating the production’s lighting and projection designs in each performance. Beth’s contribution has allowed us to make the powerful but elusive metaphor of “hope in the dark” truly manifest in the visual world of the performance—in ways that I dreamt of, but never actually believed to be possible.

I also offer my thanks to Laura Hynes, whose vocal virtuosity has shaped key aspects of the performance’s song work, and to our other vocal coaching contributors, Jean-Louis Bleau and Jane MacFarlane. And I offer deep gratitude for the strong insight of dramaturg Pil Hansen, whose contributions to the script arrangement process and the structuring of the performance have been invaluable.

However, the most awe-inspiring aspect of this production, at every stage of the process, has been its ensemble cast. The drama, dance and music students have been tireless, fearless, and hungry for challenges, growth and understanding. From the initial audition process through to opening night, they have simply blown us away with their talent and commitment. The words they have crafted, the physicality they have embodied, and the raw spirit they have breathed into every rehearsal—these are, I believe, the most immediate and persuasive signs of hope one could possibly imagine. This performance is theirs, as is the future it explores, challenges and imagines.

- Bruce Barton, Director

Liam Akehurst

Liam Akehurst (he/him) is an actor, performer, and theatre creator, based in Mohkinstsis (Calgary), completing his undergraduate degree in Drama at the University of Calgary School of Creative and Performing Arts. Obsessed with performance, Liam believes that theatre is the most fulfilling artistic practice. He is known by his peers as hardworking, focused, and even a little goofy. Holding himself to a high standard of leadership, he loves building a new community each time he starts on a show.

“I believe art exists in all of us, and I want to make art with the whole world. Actors have the responsibility to foster their own artistic practice while supporting the practices of others. I want to discover the potential of my art, and challenge my own limits as an artist. I want to eliminate my comfort zone.”

Liam loves to learn, and enjoys experimenting in all types of theatre. He will try anything, and loves to collaborate with people who share his obsession for the craft. Currently, he is most interested in theatre of the devised, and interdisciplinary theatre. 

Liam’s most recent performances at the School of Creative and Performing Arts include A Monster Calls, Argonautika, Wagonstage: The Little Forest, and Shakespeare in Love.  

Liam likes basketball, reading, writing and hopes to one day learn to dance.

Keith Boniol

Keith Boniol (he/him) is a queer Filipinx man in his fourth year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama. He has been truly blessed and lucky to be in multiple shows within the university such as Tao of the World, Horsegirls, Much Ado About Nothing, Argonautika, Monster Calls, Shakespeare in Love, The Thing, and now, Lights Out! He has also performed outside the university in the High Performance Rodeo, Downstage's Stage-It Program "Kindling", Reckless Daughter Collective's "Heartache", Sunflower Collection's "Date Night", Chromatic and Lunchbox working in the design workshop of "Kisapmata". With his background in dance, he likes to also incorporate movement and create dynamic and inclusive pieces. As an actor, writer, and director, he wants to showcase these stories to create conversations, highlight culture, and inspire community and togetherness. 

Sophia Garcia

Sophia (They/ She) is a Third-year student at the University of Calgary, pursuing a BFA in drama. She has dedicated many years to the practice of acting and is consistently ready to jump into the unknown when working on new projects. Sophia's goal in the workspace is to create an environment where all feel free to play and explore with each other. Over the past year, she has had the privilege of working with multiple directors in the department, such as Deedra Ladouceur, Cali Sproule, Saeid Asgarian, and Steven Conde. If she's not reviewing her lines in aggressive thought, you can find Sophia attempting to make someone laugh, doodling in her notes, or sipping on some sweet sweet ice tea. She strongly believes that art is a reflection of the human experience, and its power lies in its ability to connect people and convey the beauty and complexity of the world around us. She hopes to reflect this in her work and in her future as an inspiring actor.

McKenzie Gathercole

McKenzie Gathercole is in her fifth year at the University of Calgary, studying Fine Arts Drama with a focus in acting. McKenzie‘s passion for theatre comes from the sense of play and importance it can bring to the community. Previous shows in the SCPA include Much Ado About Nothing and A Monster Calls. Outside of theatre, McKenzie enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching sports, singing in the car in preparation for her big break on carpool karaoke; and long walks on the beach. She would like to thank all those who put in hard work to make this production possible and everyone who has supported her through this process. 


Ainsley Gingras

Ainsley Gingras (she/her) is a fourth-year drama student at the University of Calgary. Ainsley’s focus comes from embodying the characters she portrays to their full potential and finding new aspects of herself to put onstage. She would like to thank all her friends, family, and fellow ensemble for their support and hard work during this production.

Madeleine Graham

Madeleine Graham (she/her) is an emerging dance artist from Northwestern Ontario. She is currently in her final year of the Dance and Kinesiology program at the University of Calgary. This show has been a great opportunity to explore her interest in environmentalism and re-discover her favourite part of being an artist, connecting with others in space. 

Elizabeth Houghton
Elizabeth Houghton (she/her) is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Calgary, completing her BFA Degree in Drama. Her most recent projects include the University of Calgary's productions of Argonautika and Much Ado About Nothing, and Shakespeare In Love. Throughout her degree, Elizabeth has been exploring her love for both the performing and creative arts, whether she is sharing her craft onstage or working behind the scenes in an endless pile of paperwork, she finds herself feeling fulfilled and connected to the work and the people who surround her. When not working on a production, Elizabeth finds herself sleeping. She is endlessly grateful for the opportunity to be apart of the Lights Out ensemble and have gotten a chance to meet and work with such inspiring individuals. She would like to thank the amazing cast, crew and creative team for creating a very memorable and beautiful show!
Zahra Masoumi

Zahra Masoumi (she/her) is a Persian (Iranian) actress with a foundation in theater. She has immersed herself in both interdisciplinary and script-based performances, Zahra seamlessly transforms into diverse personas, embracing the opportunity to inhabit characters from varied walks of life. Her repertoire features performances in "Absence," "13 Play" (inspired by "12 Angry Men"), "The Crucible," "Antigone," and more.

Wyliem McDonald

Wyliem McDonald (He/Him) is a fourth year, Franco-Albertan Drama major with the University of Calgary. He wants to explore many sweeping topics through his art, including tackling the problems of today. Wyliem loves acting and working with all those around him. He also can't wait for you to see the

Andres Garcia Munoz

Andrés is a fourth-year Drama student at the University of Calgary motivated in fostering emotional intimacy, providing a space to make  mistakes for development, and investigating the relations of an individual soul in a collective conscience. Andrés was so pleased to have been a part of the 2023 Fall Mainstage play ‘Shakespeare in Love’ and can not wait to share the space with the crowd for ‘Lights Out’!

Lexi Plante

Lexi Plante (she/her) is in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Fine arts in Drama. She has previously performed in “Here We Go” directed by Cali Sproule and “The Green Key” directed by Saeid Asgarian as well as other collaborative works within the University of Calgary. She enjoys spending time in all forms of fine art and is thrilled about any opportunity to advance these skills. Lexi would like to thank here family and friends for all their love and support as well as the entire cast and crew of this production for their hard work and dedication to the creative process.

Ian Riep

Ian (he/him) is excited to be sharing such a unique and innovative interdisciplinary performance piece. He is currently in his third year, getting degrees in both drama and psychology. You may have seen Ian in previous University of Calgary shows, including A Monster Calls and WROL. Outside of school, Ian performed in Kinky Boots and Mamma Mia! with Front Row Centre and Bring It On with Storybook Theatre. In his very limited amount of spare time, he studies singing, sometimes designs makeup, and is frequently a silly goose.


Nicola Rvachew

Nicola Rvachew (they/them) is a 3rd year Education major. They are so excited to be a member of the ensemble of Lights Out. They are so proud of the work that has been put into this piece by everyone involved, and cannot wait for everyone to witness the culmination of this work. The message of this show is so so important.

Daniel Sanguinetti

Daniel, originally from Venezuela, is active in music, theatre, and film here in Calgary! Previous show credits include Legally Blonde with MTUCalgary, Mamma Mia! and Kinky Boots with Front Row Centre Players, and most recently Venus and Adonis… and the Rest of Us with the University of Calgary Collegium Musicum. Daniel is currently a third year Bachelor of Music and Drama Minor, and is gearing up for his junior recital this March! Outside of school, Daniel can be found at CJSW 90.9FM or NUTV, cooking, writing, or making content on TikTok and YouTube. Daniel is honored to have Lights Out be his first mainstage show with the University of Calgary.

Nakota Starr Tobias

Nakota Starr Tobias (they/them) is an Indigiqueer Two-Spirit actor and playwright currently residing in Moh’kinstsis, but is originally from Treaty Six Territory, and is Nakota Sioux/Anishinaabe Ojibwe. They are an individual with a passion and determination for storytelling, and a motivation to inspire and uplift the current and future generations of Indigenous artists. They aim to tell stories of the soul, of joy, connection, and love through the lens of their intersectional identities, whether this is through bringing it to life as an actor or being the one to write the story themself. 

They are also very proud and excited to bring this production to life, and hope you enjoy it!

Chelsea Woodard

Chelsea Woodard is an interdisciplinary artist originally from Saskatchewan, who is now proudly based in Calgary. She is currently enrolled in the BMus program studying classical voice under Dr. Laura Hynes at UofC. Previously, Chelsea studied acting at George Brown Theatre School in Toronto. She has directed and produced independent theatre in Toronto, as well as entertained audiences in Kananaskis Country through interpretive/educational theatre. Recent credits include Miranda in Venus & Adonis… and the Rest of Us (Collegium Musicum/UofC). Upcoming credits include Nicole/Joan in The Book of Joan (Alchemy Festival), Petra in A Little Night Music (Nuova Vocal Arts). Chelsea hopes that Light’s Out sparks renewed conversation about the climate crisis and our relationship to the land, water, air, and most importantly, each other.   

Lucas Tang, Stage Manager

Tsung Ming Tang (Lucas) is a third-year BFA student at the University of Calgary, focusing on Stage Management. Lights Out is the first devised theatre piece in which he is involved. Lucas has been working in the industry from time to time since 2020. However, he just started to get into stage management during the previous summer, being the Stage Manager for Love's Heavy Burden (2023) by the Shakespeare Company and The Button of Love (2023) by Dramaone. From each production, he learned more insights into becoming a better Stage Manager. He has been enjoying the work and would like to pursue and continue exploring it further. He is excited about the future and would be grateful to take more opportunities for stage management. Fun fact: If Lucas is not in the theatre, he is 98% on the bouldering wall (2% in the hospital already).

Bruce Barton, Director

Bruce Barton is a performance maker, scholar and Director of the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary, where he teaches dramaturgy, theatrical devising, and interdisciplinary theory and practice. He works extensively as a professional director and dramaturg, and is the Co-Artistic Director, with Pil Hansen, of Vertical City. Vertical City creates a wide range of interdisciplinary projects, from large-scale event installations to intimate micro-performances, with a constant focus on the generative possibilities in imbalance and the kinetic joy of navigating unfamiliar terrain. As a playwright, Bruce’s stage and radio plays have been performed across Canada, received multiple awards and nominations, and been anthologized. Bruce is the author or editor/contributor of seven books, including Performance as Research: Methods, Knowledge, Impact (Routledge 2018), Mediating Practice(s): Performance as Research and/in/through Mediation (U of Winchester P, 2013), and At the Intersection Between Art and Research (NSU 2010). Bruce is the co-convenor of the Artistic Research Working Group of Performance Studies international (PSi) and a past convenor of the Performance as Research Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research (FIRT/IFTR). 

Beth Kates is an award-winning, lighting, set, projection and mixed-reality designer, as well as a ‘digital dramaturg’. Her work has been seen on stages around the world for over 30 years. She proudly holds an MFA in Theatre Studies (with a focus on Computer Science) from the University of Calgary. A leader in new forms of performance creation with emerging digital tools, Beth directed, wrote, and co-created, Bury The Wren with Neil Christensen. A re-telling of the religious and politically fuelled massacre of the Donnelly family in 1880, Bury The Wren is an immersive one-on-one performance that combines Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and ‘Carbon’ Reality (CR) with live performance. Employing a similar approach, Beth and Karlee Fellner are adapting Fellner’s doctoral dissertation into a performance: ᒪᐢᑭᐦᑮᐃᐧᐊᐧᐟ maskihkîwiwat. This work began at the 2022 Banff Playwrights Lab. Beth is honored to be part of this incredible and inspiring team on Lights Out. Her favourite production is her son, Aaron, for whom every show of hers is dedicated to… but especially this one. May the words of the generation standing before you initiate action and activism.

Alison Morasch is a fourth-year design student hoping to work in both lighting and video/projection design. She has greatly enjoyed the process of learning video design and designing for this show. Her past credits include Much Ado About Nothing with the SCPA as a dresser, A&B with ND Theatre as designer and stage manager and Shakespeare in Love as assistant lighting designer with the SCPA.

Chris Sies, Soundscape Composer and Performer

Living in multiple musical dimensions, percussionist and composer Chris Sies seeks to bring visceral sonic experiences to audiences through his unique voice and “virtuoso flair” (Detroit Free Press). Chris has composed and performed with a multitude of artists, collaborating in acts such as the Grammy award-winning Attacca Quartet, the Akropolis Reed Quintet, the National Arab Orchestra, Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble, Shara Nova’s My Brightest Diamond, and the JUNO-nominated Land’s End Ensemble among many others. He has performed extensively throughout North America at venues including the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, (le) poisson rouge, and Princeton University, with performances on the Vans Warped Tour, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Bowling Green New Music Festival, and Detroit’s Strange Beautiful Music.

Possessing a “searing intensity” (College Music Symposium), Chris made his debut on New Amsterdam Records in 2019 as the percussionist and composer with the cross-continental new music ensemble, Latitude 49 on the release of their second album Wax and Wire. Aside from his work as a composer and chamber musician, Chris is an in-demand orchestral percussionist, having performed with various orchestras across North America and Europe including the Sarasota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the Grafenegg Academy Orchestra, among others. In addition to New Amsterdam Records, Chris can be heard on New Focus Recordings, Furious Artisans, Flag Day Recordings, and NAXOS recording labels. Currently based in Calgary, Chris is on faculty at the University of Calgary's Music Division and co-directs the Sound Atlas New Music Festival.

Heather Ware, Choreography

Canadian dancer/choreographer Heather Ware was a core dancer of LeineRoebana in Amsterdam (Netherlands) from 2003-2018. In 2010 Heather was awarded de Zwaan (the Swan) for most impressive dance performance of the year, and from 2015-2017 was the recipient of a Nieuwe-Makers Regeling from the Dutch Performing Arts Fund.

Heather is fascinated by the possibilities of the dancing body, and how complex coordinations affect how we experience emotion. As a choreographer Heather is known for her in-depth collaborations with musical partners, notably cellist Jakob Koranyi, violist Oene van Geel, and composer Rebecca Bruton. Her work has been presented throughout Europe and has been supported by Banff Centre (Canada), Kulturhuset i Ytterjärna (Sweden) and Podium Bloos (Netherlands). For 2019-2021 seasons Heather was one of the Artists in Residence with Dancers’ Studio West. Since 2019 Heather has been affiliated with the University of Calgary, where she teaches contemporary technique and Interdisciplinary studies. 

I’ve come into this project to work with the students on movement. To find an entry point into using their physical bodies to turn apathy into action, to turn anger into momentum, to turn despair into hope. Not blind hope, but active hope, one step at a time. What I see within the performers as we work is the entire world of possibilities, how these intelligent, courageous and engaged young people are able to work with care, as a collective, for each other and the world. These are the bold voices that we are often not able to hear. It’s +12 degrees in January this week. That should be enough reason to find this work important.

Pil Hansen, Dramaturgy

Pil Hansen (PhD) is a dance and devising dramaturg, founding member of Vertical City Performance, founding editor of the Routledge book series Expanded Dramaturgy, and Professor of performing arts at UCalgary. She also lives and works with physical disability. Her empirical and artistic experiments examine dynamics of memory, learning, and socio-environmental relations in creative processes, most recently with a focus on accessibility. Hansen has dramaturged 35+ works and her research is widely published. She authored the monograph Performance Generating Systems in Dance (Intellect, 2022) and edited the books Performing the Remembered Present (Methuen, 2017) and Dance Dramaturgy (Palgrave, 2015).

Laura Hynes, Vocal Coach (song)

A Fulbright scholar in France, soprano Laura Hynes (she/her) has performed repertoire ranging from baroque opera with Les Arts Florissants to “classical cabaret” and improvisations on French television and radio. She has sung throughout Europe and North America, in venues including New York’s Alice Tully Hall, the Barbican in London, and the Châtelet in Paris, and her recording of John Corigliano's Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan with the Land’s End Ensemble will be released this year on Naxos International. An associate professor of Voice, Hynes and her students explore what it means to have a voice in this time through curation and contemporary performance of art song and opera. She is also pursuing Alexander Technique teacher training through the Balance Arts Center in NYC and looks forward to bringing this awareness practice into her work with young artists.

Photo credit: Brooks Peterson

Production Team

Created by the Ensemble
Conceived and Directed by Bruce Barton
Stage Manager: Tsung Ming Tang, Lucas
Assistant Stage Manager (Costume/Props): Willow Bennett
Student Producer: Abby Robbins

Text by the Ensemble, Arranged by Bruce Barton
Light and Projection Design created and performed by Beth Kates
Assistant Lighting Designer: Claude McCaffery
Assistant Projection Designer: Alison Morasch
Soundscape composed and performed by Christopher Sies
Choreography by Heather Ware with Bruce Barton
Dramaturgy by Pil Hansen
Vocal Coach (song): Laura Hynes
Vocal Coach (spoken text): Jane MacFarlane and Graham Percy
Vocal Coach (choral): Jean-Louis Bleau


Tate Ellis (percussion)
Ernest Flancia (percussion)
Matthew Lane (guitar)
Kailey Leong (vocals and violin) 
Kyla Lomocso (vocals) 
Elise Marleau (vocals) 
Ian Riep (vocals)
Daniel Sanguinetti (guitar)
Nate Taylor (percussion)
Chelsea Woodard (vocals)
Henry Wu (percussion)

Performance Ensemble

Liam Akehurst
Sebastian Salomon Arriagada
Keith Boniol
Nakota Starr Tobias
Andrés García Muñoz
Ainsley Gingras
Madeleine Graham
Ivan Guevara Garcia
Sophia Garcia
McKenzie Gathercole
Elizabeth Houghton
Mariza-Fernanda Iturbe-Becerril
Kailey Leong
Kyla Lomocso
Matthew Lane
Elise Marleau
Zara Masoumi
Wyliem McDonald
Lexi Plante
Ian Riep
Nicola Rvachew
Nikhat Saheb
Daniel Sanguinetti
Veronica Tomlinson
Joseri Villarta
Gabrielle Vos de Wael
Chelsea Woodard


  1. Staff

    Director BRUCE BARTON
    Associate Director ALLAN BELL
    Dance Division Lead MELANIE KLOETZEL
    Drama Division Lead CHRISTINE BRUBAKER
    Music Division Lead JEREMY BROWN
    Production Manager ANDREW NORTH
    Performance and Artist Coordinator ALIDA LOWE
    Communications and Marketing Advisor SATOKO (TOKIE) ONODA
    Department Operations Manager MARY LOU MENDYK
    Administrative Assistant ALEXANDRA LYONS
    Academic Program Specialist ROSABEL CHOI
    Academic Program Specialist CONSTANTINA CALDIS ROBERTS
    Graduate Program Advisor ALISON SCHMAL

    Drama Technical Staff

    Technical Supervisor TREVOR MCDONALD
    Costume Supervisor ROBERT LAFLAMME
    Properties Master CELINA BAHARALLY

  2. Theatre Services

    Venue & Client Relations Manager DAVID FRASER
    Venue Business Administrator ABIR BACHIR
    Booking Administrator CATHERINE ROULEAU
    Front of House Manager KRISTINE ASTOP
    Audio Technician ALEX BOHN
    Lighting Technician JASON SCHWARZ
    Scenic Carpenter SCOTT FREEMAN
    Stage Technician IAN WILSON


Backstage Crew

Poster Design
Egg Press Co.