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The (w)HOLE: Beyond Boom & Bust in Rural America
October 4 @ 8:00 pm
One event on October 5, 2019 at 8:00pm
One event on October 6, 2019 at 6:00pm
Mountain Theatre at Ashland High School (201 South Mountain Ave., Ashland, OR 97520)
Takilma Dome School (9367 Takilma Rd, Cave Junction, OR 97523)
“The financial stuff, in my mind, eventually will get better. It’s not. It’s getting worse, but that’s just what I keep trying for. That one day this will get better and the kids will get older and things will just get easier, you know?” (Illinois Valley resident)
The Kalmiopsis Leachiana, a rare endemic flower found in the Illinois Valley, thrives in a difficult environment…as do the people of the Illinois Valley. Economic circumstances have made life in this rural southwestern Oregon valley a struggle, but a group of artists are using performance as a means for illuminating a path forward through this most recent economic collapse.
Beyond Boom & Bust is a multi-year initiative exploring the topic of rural economies through an artistic lens, focused on the Illinois Valley in southwestern Oregon. The economy, what wealth means, and resilience are the focus of the upcoming show, The (w)HOLE, which will be performed in Ashland on October 4-5 and in Cave Junction on October 6. Tickets will be available online at beyondboomandbust.weebly.com or by calling Lindsey Jones, (541)-649-2333.
As with many other rural communities, the history of the Illinois Valley, a rural community of about 12,000 situated around the city of Cave Junction, has been shaped by economic booms and their inevitable busts–from gold mining to timber to cannabis. The recent regulation of cannabis and resulting statewide oversupply has signaled the newest bust, forcing the community to again search for ways to ‘make a living.’
So what is the role of arts & culture here? “The economy, the management of public resources for public good, is a central policy and voting issue–which means it is also a cultural issue,” explains artist and ensemble member Eliot Feenstra. The aim of the show is to work culturally to develop an alternative narrative for rural communities which is collaborative, just, resilient, and forward-looking. “In the wake of the 2016 election and a climate of heightened tension in public dialogue, we believe the arts have a key role to play in expressing and speaking to the heart, igniting our imaginations, and connecting us in revitalizing and building resilient economies which care for people, land, and the future of our rural communities,” writes choreographer and ensemble member Gina Angelique.
Artists have been interviewing local Illinois Valley residents about these topics. During August and September, they will be hosting story circles and town halls in Southern Oregon about the economy, gathering recordings and stories for the original show. The ensemble of local and visiting artists brings back together RiverStars co-founders, including: choreographer, farmer, and dancefarm Artistic Director Gina Angelique (Cave Junction); Cave Junction City Council President, arts educator and Dell’Arte graduate Lindsey Jones (Cave Junction); dancer and arts educator Kari Kvittem (Selma); and community-based artist and performance scholar Eliot Feenstra (Takilma) who is returning from Toronto for this production. They will be joined by environmental activist and dancer Bianca Ballara (Murphy), videographer Earthen Watson (Port Townsend), lighting designer Chris Hall (Cave Junction), costume designer and farmer Alisa Ocean (Cave Junction), dancer and choreographer Ericka Moore (San Diego), performer and theatre/film creator Sophie Traub (Toronto/New York), and youth performers Isadora Millay and Finn Franklin.
The production and process is supported by generous funding from the MAP Foundation, a national foundation which invests in artistic production as the critical foundation of imagining and co-creating a more equitable and vibrant society; and by Oregon Humanities, a statewide organization which is committed to bringing people together across difference and connecting Oregonians to ideas that change lives and transform communities. It is being produced in partnership with the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization and the Rural Organizing Project. The show will be performed at the Mountain Ave. Theatre at Ashland High on October 4 and 5; and at the Takilma Community Building in the Illinois Valley on October 6. Tickets are pay what you can; suggested donation $20-30. For more information or to reserve tickets, visit beyondboomandbust.weebly.com or contact Lindsey Jones at (816) 769 7287. You can also follow the project on Facebook.com/beyondboomandbust.