Founded in 2015, Tiny Bear Jaws is agile, femme/queer run cross-Canadian company co-run by Artistic Director Elena Eli Belyea (playwright, performer, dramaturg) and Artistic Associate and Producer Tori Morrison (sound and video designer, production manager, technician) which produces innovative, provocative, entertaining, and interdisciplinary new works. As producers, we believe in exploring the creative possibilities that exist exclusively in life performance, and in creating work that is transgressive in content and form. We are not tied in a particular city or venue, consequently we have worked in a variety of communities and spaces, depending on the needs of each project. We actively seek out new ways of engaging meaningfully with the communities with whom we share our work. Prior to the creation of Tiny Bear Jaws, we have been working together since 2011, and are both co-founders (with Andrew Ritchie and Molly Gisela Staley) of the Common Ground Arts Society’s Found Festival, Edmonton’s only found space arts festival, now in its 8th year.
We observe that independent companies such as Why Not Theatre (Toronto) (especially through their Riser Series); Workshop West (Edmonton) (in particular through the Sinergia, Black Arts Matter, and Sound Off Deaf Theatre festivals); and Swallow-A-Bicycle (Calgary) (especially via their Provocation Series) are simultaneously creating ground-breaking new works while actively transforming their communities by bolstering formerly marginalized artists. We believe these organizations are exceeding expectations of what theatre companies can be, and actively fostering an arts landscape where a greater number of young people will feel they have a future in the arts. We are interested in continuing this work from our unique position as cross-Canadian theatre makers hiring an average of 30 emerging artists from across the country a year, bridging the gap between what has and can be done.
DECLARATION OF VALUES
We believe theatre is for everyone.
We believe we are accountable to the communities where we produce work. This means being thoughtful of what we’re saying, how we’re saying it, and how it could be received by different audiences.
We believe in equity.
We believe in creating space for everyone to ask questions and bring up questions or concerns that may arise before, during, and/or after all our processes.
We believe process is necessarily linked to product, and that facilitating challenging, playful, and thoughtful rehearsal halls are without exception the only way to create excellent and meaningful work.
We believe in the constant re-examination and experimentation around how to set up a rehearsal hall, workshop, and production for success. (For example, asking, “Why?” and “Is this a fit for us?” before adopting any producing practice.)
We believe in minimizing waste. We believe in reusing and resource sharing, as a way of diminishing our company’s environmental footprint.
We believe in mentorship, and actively seek out ways to include at least one, if not several mentorship opportunities for every project we do, and prioritize making these available to emerging artists from formerly marginalized communities.
We believe in accessibility. All of our shows have a section of our tickets that are held at the door to be Pay-What-You-Can, and no one is ever turned away for lack of funds.
We believe in taking risks, failure, and assuming best intentions.
We believe everyone, regardless of role, is deserving of respect and dignity. We believe in eliminating the binary between “creative” and “production/technical” teams, and that anyone we hire is a valued artistic contributor.
We believe in utilizing technology in new and unexpected ways, especially when it comes to engaging audiences, archiving the daily work that we do (in our experience, many artists tend to be notoriously bad at this), and increasing our efficiency as administrators.
We believe two heads are better than one. We believe in structuring power within our organization in a way that allows for curiosity, questions, communication, and an ongoing disruption of the status quo.
We are inspired by leadership models such as Jillian Keilly and Sarah Garton Stanley working together as the Artistic Director and Associate Artistic Director of the English Section of the National Arts Centre.
Miss Katelyn’s Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable - July 2018 at Sunset Theatre (Wells), July 2018 at Fringe Theatre (Edmonton), May 2018 at Downstage Theatre (Calgary), 2015 Montreal Fringe, 2015 Edmonton Fringe, 2016 Wildside Festival (Montreal), 2016 Chinook Festival (Edmonton).
The Worst Thing I Could Be (Is Happy) – Development Residency at Theatre Junction (Calgary) in November 2017; Premiere at Buddies in Bad Times Rhubarb Festival February 2018 (Toronto).
Cleave – Fringe Theatre’s Curated Backstage Season, March 2018 (Edmonton).
Everyone We Know Will Be There: A House Party in One Act - 2017 Nextfest (Edmonton), 2017 Co-Production with Swallow-A-Bicycle (Calgary).
Centaur Theatre's Best English Production for Miss Katelyn’s Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable (Montreal Fringe, 2015)
Playwrights Workshop Montreal's Best New English Text Award for Miss Katelyn’s Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable (Montreal Fringe, 2015)
Sterling Nomination for Best Independent Production for Cleave and Best Supporting Role for Luc Tellier as Mark in Cleave (Edmonton, 2018).
Sterling Nomination for Best New Fringe Play for Miss Katelyn’s Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable (Edmonton Fringe, 2016)
Best Solo Production for Miss Katelyn’s Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable (Montreal Fringe, 2015)
Mainline Creativity Award for Miss Katelyn’s Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable (Montreal Fringe, 2015)
Most Promising English Company for Miss Katelyn’s Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable (Montreal Fringe, 2015)