ARTIST JAM: Stretch Marks Movement Exploration w/ Nickeshia Garrick
Sasha, a pregnant, transracial adoptee, attempts to beat her gestational clock as she battles with her past, present, and future to decide whether she should keep her unplanned child or place them for adoption.
Stretch Marks is a one-woman show that explores the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual imbalances of oncoming motherhood and themes of young Black motherhood and the cyclical and familial trauma that motherhood can encompass. The audience follows the protagonist through the decision-making process of whether she should follow in her biological mother’s footsteps or forge a path of her own.
ABOUT THE MOVEMENT EXPLORATION
These sessions seek to explore how the main character’s past experiences manifest through her body and physical movement. The artists will be exploring breath to action and connection to cultural roots.
Vanessa C Spence
ARTIST: Vanessa C Spence is a classically trained theatre actor, published author, playwright, producer, and arts educator. She is the artistic director of Virtu Arts – the first Black woman-led theatre company in the Region of Waterloo that serves the diaspora of Black, Caribbean, and African artists in regions where they are not well represented. She is the Producer at Obsidian Theatre – Canada’s leading culturally specific theatre company, and an associate artist of Pat the Dog Theatre Creation where she is currently completing a company/creator arts residency supported by the Ontario Arts Council. Vanessa is also the Board Chair of Arts Awards Waterloo Region.
Vanessa’s personal artistic practice is rooted in building empathy and understanding of the stories of Black female bodies as a call to action that will positively affect the community and future generations. Vanessa was accepted as a regional playwright in the 2021 cohort for Pat The Dog’s Women’s Room where she completed her most recent work, Stretch Marks which saw a 3-day run in the IMPACT21 Festival presented by MT Space. Vanessa is currently developing an untitled, intergenerational play that tells the story of three sisters from Trinidad grappling with themes of aging, legacy, illness, and life vs. death.
Learn more about Vanessa at vanessacspence.com, and Virtu Arts at virtuarts.ca.
Nickeshia Garrick was born in Toronto, Ontario, and has been performing since the tender age of six. She received her dance training at the NYIDE (New York Institution of Dance and Education), National Ballet School of Canada, Toronto Dance Theatre, and Simon Fraser University. Her classical vocal and theatre training was achieved at Eastwood Collegiate Institute. Nickeshia has had the honour of training with Sean McLeod (New York) to achieve her certification in Sean McLeod’s Reinforced Motor Function Technique®, RMF®. Her extensive dance training includes Bakari E. Lindsay, Arsenio Andrade, Rob Kitsos, Peter Bingham, and Christopher House. She has received the privilege of performing in pieces by TDT, T.I.L.T Sound and Motion, Kaeja d’ Dance, Serge Bennathan, James Kudelka, Ballet Jorgen, and the Newton Moraes Dance Theatre, just to mention a few. Nickeshia has performed the Canadian National Anthem at the Rogers Centre, was a commissioned artist for the 2010 Winter Olympics (Vancouver) as part of the Push International Performing Arts Festival, has made appearances in various art installations and shows for Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche (Toronto) and Fringe Festival (Toronto), and was invited to perform at the Nafro Festival (Winnipeg) as a soloist and part of a trio. Furthermore, Nickeshia has recently performed in Queerantine created by Rhoma Spencer for Toronto Pride, 2020 as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on the queer community. Queerantine has recently been adapted into a short film called, My Execution Will Be Televised as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Nickeshia holds her BFA at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver), is a 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Award winner for Outstanding Ensemble in Pool (no water), and is currently working on the second iteration of her solo show, To My Past, Present, and Future…
ABOUT VIRTU ARTS
Virtu Arts is a theatre company that creates physical and virtual spaces to advance the careers and stories of the diaspora of Black creators. This creative hub supports Black identifying artists of all capacities outside of the GTA via its Creative Streams: education, development, and production.