Legacy of PQ 2015

by Patrick DuWors

At the 2016 AGM held in Calgary, I had the pleasure of detailing a brief report on the success of the PQ2015 exhibition, Shared [private] Space, for ADC.  As you consider ADC’s future involvement with PQ, it might be useful to share again, some of that information.


  • PQ2015 was delivered on time and on budget by our fantastic director of production, David Fraser and our build and set-up teams in Calgary and in Prague.

  • We were able to secure $40,000 in Canada Council funding (split 50% with APASQ), $40,000 in Ontario Arts Council Funding as well as significant monetary and in-kind funding from the University of Calgary, Mirvish Production and Alberta Theatre Projects. 

  • The fund-raising success we achieved, not only in through arts granting programs, but notably through partnership with the post-secondary sector and members of the theatre community mark a significant breakthrough for the organisation. 

  • Our open, online-call for submissions also garnered entries from over 50 individual designers and the submission fees gathered were able to demonstrate to our funders, that we had significant buy-in from designers across the country.   In 2011 there had been no open call for submissions.

  • Of the 50+ individual submissions, 9 productions were selected which included 13 designers.  ADC provided letters of support and almost all of the presenting designers who were able to attend received additional travel support from the Canada Council.  The 2011 exhibition featured one designer from English Canada and one from Quebec.

  • The online system for accepting and judging submissions via SlideRoom.com was also a break-through and important cost-saving measure for the organization.

  • A number of new members (established professionals and associates) were recruited as a direct result of ADC’s organization of the PQ exhibition.

  • The Canada + Quebec formula which presented two distinct artistic concepts within a single space allowed both ADC and APASQ to address the respective interest of their memberships, while at the same time, created a positive synergy between the two organizations, which was helpful in securing funding from the Canada Council through a joint application.

  • Canada’s open day was attended by Canada’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic, and was perhaps the best attended national day at the PQ.  Hundreds of guests took-in a shot of Canadian Club Rye Whisky and a tour of the outhouse exhibit.  It was a truly joyous celebration.

  • The Canadian Student Exhibit, attracted the participation of nine Canadian universities, who funded their project entirely though participation fees.  Several hundred Canadian students attended PQ2015 in person marking a significant growth in participation.  ADC administrative support for the student section created a positive introduction between the association and potential future members.

  • Ancillary events were extremely popular and very well attended.  They included a panel discussion on Contemporary Canadian Scenography, moderated by Phil Silver, a presentation on Gender Equity in Canadian Theatre by Sheila Sky, and a research presentation The Designer Speaks Through Sketch, by April Vickzo.

  • A physical (hard copy) catalogue with ISBN number was created for PQ2015 leaving a legacy for future scholars and designers to examine.

  • Shared [private] Space gathered significant international attention including invitations to remount in Poland and interviews with German Public Radio, Czech radio and Barcelona Television.

  • Shared [private] Space has also been noticed in Canada.  It was jointly awarded, along with Quebec’s exhibit Traces Burning,  CITT’s prestigious Award for Technical Merit at the 2015 CITT Rendez-Vous in Vancouver.

  • The exhibit was re-mounted for the 2016 PACT AGM and Canadian Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, allowing us to share this work with artistic directors, producers and scholars from across Canada and will also be remounted by the National Arts Centre English Theatre for their 2018-19 season launch.


We also learned a few things from our challenges and mistakes.

  • A project manager, separate from the office, needs to be hired to minimize customer service delays for regular ADC business.

  • A repeatable producing structure needs to be created to preserve institutional knowledge.  In other words, we need not re-invent the wheel every four years.  This structure might include a more formal way of selecting a Curator and Exhibit Designers.

  • Future tours should be planned and budgeted for as part of the initial design.


Patrick DuWors