2020, for a lot of us, began with hope. As the new decade dawned upon us, it brought with it new resolutions and dreams. Little did we know that, three months into the year, along with new resolutions there would also be a drastic transition into a new normal. This new normal seems to be here to stay. Over a year later we continue to live life six feet apart, barely able to see one another under our masks. Amidst this call to limit human connection, the FCPA cohort for Paprika 2021 has found a way to connect while keeping everyone safe and healthy at the same time, via our project The Thyme Capsule. We sent out a call for this year’s Paprika participants to send us digital, printable versions of anything that has brought them comfort and peace though this overwhelming year we are experiencing together. Once we collect all these little pieces of joy, we’ll send each one to another Paprika participant, like a little soul swap.
In this time where we have been ordered to stay away from each other, we want to create an opportunity for the connection that our little family lost out on. Given the fact that none of us have actually experienced each other in person, our project intends to leave everyone with a unique memory of one another, besides the small zoom squares we are currently forced to inhabit. What better way to build kinship with someone than to receive a personal memento that uplifted them through this anxious year, without having to think about the logistics of things (that’s what we’re here for!).
We will also be printing this priceless collection and storing it in a real time capsule, to be presented to a future Paprika cohort, as a way of archiving a piece of Paprika’s history by actually capturing and displaying this moment in time for them to experience along with us.
Lots of love and a warm hug,
Amanda, Kelsi, Naomi and Nathaniel
Amanda Baker (she/her) is a producer, theatre artist, and creative technologist based between Kingston and Toronto. She holds a BAH in Computing and the Creative Arts from Queen’s University, and recently completed her Master’s in Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. As a multidisciplinary artist specializing in immersive theatre, she has worked in a variety of roles with companies including Colliding Scopes Theatre, Soup Can Theatre, Convergence Theatre, and is the current Associate Artistic Producer for Single Thread Theatre. Amanda is also the Quality Assurance Lead for Cohort, an open source coding framework that allows artists to use smartphones to run live events, administered by adelheid. As a disabled artist, accessibility is a strong aspect of her practice, and she is currently working on an autobiographical show exploring the humour and realities of living with chronic illness.
Nathaniel Hanula-James (he/him) considers himself a queer, mixed, settler actor and creator. He is based in Tkaronto (Toronto), and grew up on the unceded, traditional, and occupied territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples (Vancouver, BC). Nathaniel holds a B.A. (Hon) from McGill University in drama studies, and a certificate in acting from the National Theatre School of Canada. Nathaniel is collaborating on a digital version of his solo piece ‘Untitled Flamingo Play’, and working on a project about recovering gifted children. He also collects salt-shakers. He likes to put on little shows with them.
Kelsi James (she/her) is a theatre artist, composer-lyricist and spoken word poet. She is presently living and creating from Coquitlam, BC, which sits on the lands of the Kwikwetlem, Tsleil-Waututh and Stó:lō Nations. She is an asexual human, a 2019 Sheridan Musical Theatre grad, and a strong believer in the power of community and collaboration to make positive social change. After developing hers and Dharma Bizier’s musical Heresy with Paprika in 2019, she is absolutely stoked to be back at Paprika again, this time in the Festival Creative Producers and Administrators Program. With the theatres closed, Kelsi is working on her pop album Echo (for release later in 2021), and developing a collection of spoken word poems with the aim of contributing to more visibility for asexual people.
Naomi Stokes (she/her) was born and brought up in Mumbai, India where she did her schooling in Christ Church School. She went on to get her Bachelors in Arts degree in Psychology and Anthropology from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Because of her college’s vibrant co-curricular as well as social service committee, she found her interest in theatre and landed an internship at The National Centre for the Performing Arts in their Theatre and Film department, where she went on to work for a year. Looking to broaden her understanding of the media and arts sector, she decided to do an internship at an event management company called 70 Event Media Group right before she came to Canada in 2019. Naomi then came to Canada to pursue the Media Fundamentals program at Sheridan College. Her interests include: photography and videography, research about practically anything, and any leisure activity that helps her break her routine. She is now a student at Humber College studying Arts Administration and Culture Management while working as a Program Coordinator Intern at Mass Culture. Naomi is a volunteer at Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre and the Harbourfront Centre and is hoping to explore the community outreach and engagement part of the sector.