1st Caravan Stage Co. NOLA PRESS RELEASE
If you’re driving along Third Street S, or just happen to be taking in the view of Bayboro Harbor behind the University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s library, you might have noticed a mysterious black ship tied off on the seawall. Glance inland, across tiny Poynter Park, and you’ll see a towering scaffold. The ship looks like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean, or our long-lost Bounty.
Clearly, something’s afoot. But there is no sign. No buckskin-clad actor passing out handbills or selling glow-in-the-dark swords. Think a little harder and the conclusion becomes obvious: This must be some kind of traveling theater company, probably about to put on a rock opera.
Created in 1970, by Paul Kirby and Adriana Kelder, the Caravan started as a one wagon puppet show traveling on Vancouver island it grew to become a major theatrical organization with a 25 person company of actors, musicians, artists and technicians touring in six large wagons each one pulled by a team of matched bay Clydesdales. The mandate of the Caravan was to bring original theatrical productions directly into the lives of people who seldom had the opportunity to experience the performing arts.
There’s a ship docked in downtown St. Pete with aerialists flying from the rigging. It’s a ship filled with actors and dancers and theatre crew, creating a visually spectacular story about climate change.
Adriana Kelder started the Caravan Stage Company with Paul Kirby in the 1970s. They’ve been bringing original productions to small towns and cities around North America – and Europe – for more than 40 years.
“Among the identical weekend yachts docked at Bayboro Harbor, passersby would have a hard time missing this 85-foot-long replica of a 19th century Thames River sailing barge.
It is the Amara Zee, and it looks like something out of Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus.” Picture a crew of more than 20 young aerialists, acrobats, opera singers and stagehands calling the nautical theater their home. They sail around the world, performing original waterfront productions onboard the 21-foot-wide deck.”
The set for ‘Hacked: The Treasure Of The Empire’ sits atop the tall ship Amara Zee at the Gowanus Bay Terminal
-Wall Street Journal, September 26 2014
“Many odd vessels have been spotted transiting the ICW and the coastal waters of the South, but a truly unique sight cover2will be plying the coastlines throughout the summer. Shipped from Europe last summer, a 100′ Thames Barge and her theatrical troupe and crew of Europeans and North Americans are transiting the Gulf Coast and then Florida to arrive in Jacksonville for the start of their North American tour. Best described as a nautical Cirque d’Soleil, although they prefer to be compared as more of a descendant of the theatrical troupes that travelled Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries, who set up their productions in the plazas of Florence and Venice and brought their satirical expressionism straight to the people.”
-Gulf Latitudes, May 07 2014
Pirates are again gathering and plotting in Lafitte. The shipborne theater group Caravan Stage Company is docked along the Intracoastal Waterway where crew members are developing a pirate-themed musical/circus arts show it will unveil in spring and take on a tour up the East Coast to Canada, the Great Lakes and downriver into the Ohio Valley.Caravan Stage last docked in Lafitte in 2002 before embarking on a similar odyssey. For the last eight years, the group has toured Europe, starting in Rotterdam and going as far south as the Greece and Turkey.
It presented a trilogy about global climate change and indigenous cultures, and its most recent show was the beginning of a new series about piracy. It concluded with the pirates stealing a treasure of gold from a bank, which they intend to redistribute around the globe Robin Hood-style. In the beginning of the forthcoming show Hacked…The Treasure of the Empire, the pirates and the treasure are captured. But it’s also a modern story, with themes about the surveillance state, computer hacking and mammoth global corporations.
Caravan Stage travels with a crew of 18-24 onboard, including boat and technical crew and performers. The company seeks to present its multi-media and musical spectaculars to new audiences. Shows combine video, light projections, puppets, singing, aerialists and acrobats, and they use the boat and its riggings as a stage. The shows are spectacle-driven (think Cirque de Soleil on a ship), but themes are often progressive (ie about the loss of indigenous cultures, preservation of natural resources, pro-democracatization). As choreographers develop the movement for the new show, the tech crew is designing a mini-roller coaster that will be stretch between the masts and be a main feature in Hacked.
Caravan Stage was founded by Paul Kirby and Adriana Kelder in 1970. The two met while working in the alternative press in Montreal, Canada, but they moved to western Canada to start a traveling puppet and musical theater company. For 20 years, they grew as a Clydesdale horse-drawn caravan, presenting alternative theatrical performances across Canada and the United States. Eventually, they decided to shed the limitations of fitting their shows on horse-drawn wagons and undertook to build their boat, the Amara Zee.
“We’re a pauper theater company,” Kirby says.
It took four years to build their vessel and they secured donations of equipment from roughly 700 companies to outfit it. The flat-bottomed boat is a Thames sailing barge design, and it’s not meant for ocean voyages — the flat bottom allows them to dock in areas best-suited to reach audiences. They generally ask cities and festivals to pay for the shows and offer them to local audiences for free.
The boat had to be shipped back from Europe in June, and it arrived in Houston in mid-July. The crew then sailed it to Lafitte, where it has been docked for 12 days. The current crew includes a polyglot mix of North Americans and Europeans from the most recent tour, and more will join the group as it prepares to embark on its 2014 tour.
The crew expects to host an open house and preview of material in Hacked in late September.
At the conclusion of the 2014 tour, the boat will return to Houston and be loaded onto trucks for its first over-land tour across Texas and the Southwest. It’s eventual destination is the Puget Sound in Washington State.
June 18, 2013 – BBC Chartering is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the Caravan Stage Company’s Tall Ship Theater. The Caravan Stage Company is a non-profit theatrical company that brings innovative performances to shore audiences from the deck of the ‘Amara Zee’.
On June 15, 2013, BBC Chartering loaded the 30m long ‘Amara Zee’ (125mt) on board the m/v BBC Ohio in Salerno, Italy for transatlantic transport to Houston. It will then travel on its own keel to New Orleans to prepare for its upcoming show, “Hacked…The Treasure of the Empire.” The performance is scheduled for the end of September.
Adriana Kelder, show producer and designer of the Caravan Stage Company, got excited about the successful loading. “When the Amara Zee finally settled on to the deck of the BBC Ohio, a resounding cheer was heard from the crews, a standing ovation to the BBC Chartering Team! This is about as good as it gets for a beautiful theatre ship in performance!”
Svend Andersen, BBC Chartering’s CEO proudly said,“We are excited to see the Amara Zee move with BBC Chartering and we are pleased that we can help bring the Caravan Stage Company’s show to people around the world.”
About BBC Chartering – BBC Chartering is based in Leer, Germany and commenced operations in 1997 with a fleet of seven multipurpose vessels. The company today markets the single largest multipurpose and heavy lift fleet in the market. Fleet size and composition ensure high performance levels to charterers offering lifting capacities up to 800mt on tramp, liner and contract services.
BBC Chartering has 28 sales and chartering offices worldwide. About 360 employees support local and global clients in planning and executing their transport assignments. The company helps clients with shipping solutions in the sectors of energy and power, construction and mining, transport and infrastructure.
For media inquiries:
BBC Chartering & Logistic GmbH & Co.KG Raymond E. Fisch SVP / Corporate Communication Hafenstr. 10b 26789 Leer – Germany Phone: +49 491 925 2090 Fax: +49 491 925 2099 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org For more information please visit www.bbc-chartering.com
The Caravan Stage Company, with thetall ship, Amara Zee, after touringthe rivers and seas of Europe, is coming back toNorth American. BBC Chartering, aworld leader in the ocean carriage of heavy lift and project cargoes,is sponsoring the return of the Amara Zee to the USA. In June 2013, departing fromGenoa, Italy,the 30meter, 100 Ton, Amara Zee will be lifted ontoone of the BBC Chartering heavy lift carriersand shipped tothesouthern USA.
The Caravan directors, Paul Kirby and Adriana Kelder are very pleased and excited to work with the renowned and respected BBC Chartering. The Caravan is a non-for-profit professionalcompany that has performed their original contemporary spectacles on their theatre ship for communitiesall over North America and Europe. The Caravan is very pleased and grateful for the generosity and support of BBC Chartering to help promote and encourage the arts internationally, crossing borders and sharing cultures.
The Amara Zee, the custom-built theatreship,was originally built in Kingston, Canada from 1993 to 1997. From 1997 to 2005 the company toured and performed in cities and towns through out the Atlantic seaboard, Great Lakes, and Gulf of Mexico…as well as small villages and communities that arenot even on the official maps! Have Theatre Ship will visit and perform.
In 2005, the Amara Zee left New Orleans for the start a five-year European Odyssey. Five years grew into eight, with visits to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Montenegro, Croatia and Italy.
Along the way, the Caravanhas worked with professional artists and theatre technicians from all these countries. Artistic Director, Paul Kirby says: “The Caravan European Odysseyhas been thrilling and exhilarating adventure.”
Now the time has come for the Caravan to return to North America. In 2013, a new show, an experimental musical called:‘HACKED: The Treasure of the Empire!’will be produced. It is a tale of pirate activists who,through virtual and creative manipulation, battle the corrupting icons of our past and present world.
The Caravan Stage Company heartily thanks BBC Chartering for the Atlantic crossing. The Caravan, on it’s beautiful traditional sailing ship the Amara Zee, will sail on to further adventures connecting water and land, arts and theatre, hearts and souls.
Una fantasia di musica, colori ed evoluzioni acrobatiche in un bagno di folla al porto di Monopoli. Lo spettacolo presentato dalla Caravan Stage Company, cocktail di mezza estate sospeso fra musical, teatro di figura e impegno politico con incursioni nel mondo delle arti visuali ha soffiato riflessioni di “pensiero critico” sugli spettatori. Il tema della crisi costante del capitalismo attraverso gli occhioni delle sei maschere parlanti, simbolo delle lobby di potere mondiali, in un mondo grottesco dominato da potenti senza scrupoli che tentano di raggiungere il dominio totale attraverso l’eugenetica e il controllo sistematico delle masse. Scenografie intriganti, musiche dal vivo e attori saltimbanchi pronti a coinvolgere il pubblico sui sintomi umani delle derive conformiste imputate di omologazione. Il trionfo del teatro sperimentale del comandante Paul Kirby, della sua compagna Adriana Kelder e di tutta la troupe, in quella dolce accoglienza che solo i porti sanno riservare agli avventurieri. Il pubblico, all’inizio un po’ spiazzato, ha certamente gradito l’opportunita di svago politico offerta dai teatranti che sono ripartiti in mattinata alla vota di Brindisi, loro prossima tappa.
-MonopoliLive, July 28 2011
A theatrical performance by Amara Zee, a 27 metre sailing boat, will be offered for free on the 10th and 11th June for the inhabitants of Fano and tourists as the first ‘stop’ in the new tour. This is what has been proposed by Tall Ship Caravan Stage theatre, a theatre company with Canadian origins.
BELLEVILLE, ON, October 5, 2004 — The Caravan Stage Company has presented plays of substance for over 30 years beginning in horse drawn caravans to their current 90 foot tall ship. The Company that started life in British Columbia (BC) as the world’s only horse drawn theatre troupe, is about to embark on a three year “European Waters” tour in 2005, debuting their new play, “Vanishing Currents” first in Holland and Belgium, then England (2006) and Germany and The Baltic. (2007).
Principals, Adriana Kelder and Paul Kirby have crisscrossed North America presenting and performing original Canadian plays since 1970. Fueled by an apprenticeship in the turbulent 60’s in Montreal producing LOGOS, an underground newspaper, they turned to theatre to communicate their ideas and concepts beyond the printed word.
Their first project in 1970, the LITTLE PEOPLE’S CARAVAN, toured vibrant puppet shows in a one horse wagon from Vancouver Island to the interior of BC. By 1974, there were three wagons.
Puppets morphed into outdoor theatre in 1975 with the creation of The CARAVAN STAGE COMPANY. 25 actors, musicians, artists and technicians traveling in 5 large horse drawn wagons performed original Canadian productions throughout rural and urban BC, Alberta, Ontario, Washington, Oregon, California, New York and Florida.
The Company continued to travel and perform into the early 90’s when a new and very ambitious dream started taking shape. Imagine a sailing “tall ship”, filled with actors, musicians, dancers and aerial artists, traveling from port to port performing for an audience sitting ashore.
That dream became a reality in 1997 with the launch of the 90′ (30 meter) AMARA ZEE (meaning: heart of the sea goddess). The ship, built in Kingston, Ontario, is an accurate replica of an 1800`s Thames Sailing Barge that combines the best of present day marine design and theatre technology. The entire vessel provides the stage and backdrop for newer and more adventurous productions. The Company has performed at waterfronts from Miami to Boston, New York to Kingston and Chicago to New Orleans from 1997 to the present.
“Vanishing Currents” is The Company`s latest, contemporary and provocative presentation. Playwright, Paul Kirby`s summation, “In current times, survival is a matter of trying to stay afloat in a container full of vanishing dreams in a sea of global fantasy” is reflected by author, Howard Zinn`s response, “…VANISHING CURRENTS…is a wonderfully imaginative, poetic fanciful work while making a serious comment on the world today.” The play, second in a trilogy, began with the much praised “Red Tides” and will be followed by “Utopian Drifts.”