Parade of Lost Souls: Trickster's Treat!
Festival Production + Design
"The trickster's function is to break taboos, create mischief, stir things up. In the end, the trickster gives people what they really want, some sort of freedom." - Tom Robbins
The Parade of Lost Souls is one of Vancouver's most beloved fall festivals, running for over 25 years. The festival draws inspiration from a wide breadth of cultural harvest celebrations and death ceremonies celebrated in October, integrating these diverse myths and rituals into a celebration that is equal parts raucous and contemplative. At its heart, the festival aims to celebrate the creative power inherent in death and dark places, a way to let go of the fear that these concepts typically engender.
In 2015, parade celebrated the unexpected, finding freedom in a celebration of mythology’s most infamous tricksters!
Produced by the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret Society, the festival includes numerous multicultural performers and visual artists who draw from a wide variety of traditions to build interactive sculptures, community-engaged artwork, and participatory performances for the public to enjoy.
The festival's true popularity lies in its ability to inspire and accentuate the creativity of those who attend. The Parade of Lost Souls is proof that we have not lost our link to the richness and depth of the ritual celebrations of our ancestors.
Working closely and in conjunction with the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret Society's Director Kat Single-Dain, Chelsea and Steve were involved as Producers, with many roles in the 2015 Parade of Lost Souls, including parade production, infrastructural planning, graphic design and artwork, educational community workshop planning and execution, fundraising/crowd-sourcing efforts, web design and social media. Steve and Chelsea, along with Gordon Yiu, were also responsible for the design and construction of several key pieces of festival infrastructure including thresholds, lanterns, and the festival's centrepiece, the Nest.
The Nest, a temporary structure constructed of bamboo in a tensegrity structure, formed the end-piece to the parade's funerary procession. Guarded by the Raven (Opera singer Leah Giselle Field) and a murder of crows (the Kingsgate Chorus), the Nest became a contemplative place where festival goers could pay their respects to the lost souls or keepsakes in their lives. Paper lanterns and scraps of fabric adorned the structure with hand-written love notes and memories placed throughout as an offering to the spirits of past.
scope | Producers, Lead Designers, Illustration, Web
project team | Chelsea Louise Grant, Steve Gairns, Gordon Yiu with Kat Single-Dain, Michelle Wishart, and Jenny Lee Craig of the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret Society