plastic orchid factory

about

plastic orchid factory is an artist-run organism that uses the body as a site for social commentary. Created in 2008 by James Gnam and Natalie LeFebvre Gnam, plastic orchid makes, supports and advocates for divergent art works that are pluralistic in practice and in form. plastic orchid prioritizes inclusive approaches that blend genres and facilitate research, collaboration, exchange and the development of new frameworks for making and experiencing art.  

During its eleven year history, plastic orchid factory has devised over 20 original works that have been presented in both formal and unconventional spaces. This body of work has been supported by The Vancouver Art Gallery, The New Forms Festival, Will Aballe Art Projects, The Capture Festival, The Facade Festival, The Belkin Gallery, The Dance Centre, EDAM dance, Circuit-Est (Montréal), Opera Estate (Bassano Italy), Electric Company Theatre, The Vancouver East Cultural Centre, The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Boca del Lupo, The Vancouver International Dance Festival,10 Gates Dancing and The National Arts Centre. 

In 2017, plastic orchid created Left of Main, an artist-run space dedicated to the live arts, located in Vancouver’s Historic Chinatown. plastic orchid continues to seek out and develop facilities and systems that move outside of traditional forms of production and dissemination. 

plastic orchid factory acknowledges that we are on the unceded, ancestral and traditional Coast Salish territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people. As artists that live, work and play on these lands, we strive to be allies with, to learn from, and to acknowledge the rights of indigenous peoples. 

Our hope is that everyone is able to access and enjoy our work. If there is anything we can do to help or improve your experience, please let us know by e-mail at plasticorchid@me.com

plastic orchid factory is a registered charity. Your support directly impacts our ability to bring impactful, innovative live art to over 15,000 people in BC and beyond, annually. If our work resonates with you, consider making a donation. Visit Canadahelps.org to make a gift (donations of $25+ receive a tax receipt). Thank you for your support!

artists

artistic director, collaborator & performer | James Gnam is a dance artist based in Vancouver and Montreal. He is the artistic director of plastic orchid factory, a founding member of Left of Main as well as an associate artist with MAYDAY and Grand Poney. He trained at the National Ballet School of Canada and from 1998 to the present, has performed in the works of Crystal Pite, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Jiri Kylian, Barak Marshall and collaborated in the creation of new work with Lee Su-Feh, Jacques Poulin-Denis, Melanie Demers, Vanessa Goodman, Evann Siebens, Peter Bingham and Tedd Robinson. With plastic orchid, James collaboratively devises interdisciplinary work that focuses the body as a site of social commentary. James’ research and performance have been supported by Opera Estate in Bassano Italy; Circuit-Est in Montreal; Centre Q and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa; Electric Company Theatre, The New Forms Festival, The Vancouver Art gallery, The Burrard Arts Foundation/Facade Festival, The Belkin Gallery and SFU/W in Vancouver. In 2010, the late Lola Maclaughlin nominated James and his wife Natalie for the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for Dance.

artistic producer, collaborator & performer | Natalie LeFebvre Gnam is a dance artist, educator, mother and artistic producer. She studied at L’École supérieure de danse du Québec, in Montréal and since 1994, has worked with companies and artists across Canada including, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Coleman Lemieux & Co. and The Vancouver Opera. Natalie collaborates, performs in and produces the projects of plastic orchid factory, teaches bilingual movement classes across BC and is Financial Operations Manager for Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret and the chair of the Training Society of Vancouver. With her produce hat, she has worked across disciplines with DanceHouse, The Cultch, Théâtre la Seizième and Fight With a Stick. In 2009, Natalie was awarded the Isadora Award for excellence in performance and with James Gnam, was nominated by the late Lola Maclaughlin for the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Dance. In 2017, she led plastic orchid’s work in establishing Left of Main, a creator hub for the live arts. Natalie lives and works on unceded Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver).

scenography & costume design | Natalie Purschwitz is an interdisciplinary artist based in Vancouver, Canada. Her work seeks out spaces between art, design, performance and daily life. Her curiosities include anthropology, the notion of survival, clothing as a type of cultural production, language and mythology. Natalie shows her artwork internationally, designs costumes for a wide range of productions and maintains a small clothing line called Hunt & Gather. In 2010 she completed Makeshift (a yearlong endeavour to wear only things that she made herself), a project that received worldwide attention and press. She has studied at the University of Calgary (BA, Archaeology) the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science (NY, NY) and Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (BFA, Media Arts). She recently returned from Paris where she was an artist in residence at La Cité Internationale des Arts as a recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts International Residency award. http://nataliepurschwitz.com

lighting design, collaborator & performer | Self-taught in the realm of dance lighting, James Proudfoot has contributed designs for dance works to many companies, including: Lola Dance, 605 Collective, Co. Erasga, Wen Wei Dance, Joe Ink, EDAM, The Contingency Plan, battery opera, Kinesis Dance, Ballet BC, Restless Productions, Holy Body Tattoo, Dumb Instrument, MACHiNENOiSY, Anatomica, Tara Cheyenne Performance, Les Productions Figlio, Karen Jamieson, Trial & Eros, Action at a Distance, Out Innerspace, Helen Walkley, BJM, Justine A. Chambers, and plastic orchid factory. He is currently Resident Lighting Designer and Lighting Director for Ballet British Columbia, and has lit more than 20 pieces for the company.

media design, collaborator & performer | Evann Siebens makes media with movement. She has exhibited at galleries such as Eyebeam and Centre Pompidou, while her documentaries have screened at MOMA and on PBS. A former dancer with the National Ballet of Canada and Bonn Ballet, Evann graduated from New York University. Now based in Vancouver, she has participated in residencies at the Banff Centre, Frankfurt Ballett and ACMELondon. Evann recently exhibited a geodesic dome and 360 projection at the Belkin Gallery in Vancouver, and also screened a commissioned work on the exterior of the Vancouver Art Gallery. She showed a moving triptych billboard as part of Capture’s Photography Festival and also performed live with her media at New Media Gallery and the Western Front, Vancouver. She is represented by Wil Aballe Art Projects in Vancouver. http://evannsiebens.com

sound design, collaborator & performer | Kevin Legere has written, performed and produced audio for various music, dance and film projects. Kevin’s most successful project was a live electronic band called Death to Sexy. Death to Sexy was featured on Much Musics 'The Wedge' and hit Earshot’s top 20 electronic charts following the release of their self titled album ‘Fall of the Prom Queen’. Recently Kevin has been researching the interaction between music, abstract themes and technology. It is here is where he has found new ways to construct and deconstruct sound. During this time Kevin has been collaborating with the Plastic Orchid Factory in order to explore these concepts more deeply. 

sound design, collaborator & performer | Nancy Tam is a sound artist who uses sound and performance as primary mediums to making interdisciplinary performances. She composes with the Toronto based Toy Piano Composers collective since its inception in 2008. Her compositions and performances have toured in Germany, Denmark, the U.S. and throughout Canada. As a performance maker, Nancy works closely with Fight With A Stick performance company with whom she devised and collaborated on the Critic’s Choice Award winning show Revolutions in 2017. At present, Nancy is focused on creating work with her performance collective A Wake of Vultures in Vancouver. http://www.nantam.ca

media design, collaborator & performer | Vanessa Goodman is the artistic director of Action at a Distance. She respectfully acknowledges that she works and creates on the unceded ancestral territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Her works have been presented nationally, in the USA and South America. She has received several honours including; the Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award (2013); the Yulanda M. Faris Program (2017/18) and the Chrystal Dance Prize (2019).  Vanessa holds a BFA from SFU and has been an artist in residence at EDAM, The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, The Shadbolt Centre, Harbourfront Centre, SFUW and The Dance Centre. Often collaborating with artists across disciplines Vanessa frequently works with: plastic orchid factory;  AV artist Loscil (Scott Morgan); and lighting designer James Proudfoot to build performative works. Upcoming projects in 2020/2021 include collaborations with international artists; composer Caroline Shaw (USA) for "Graveyards and Gardens"; and Simona Deaconescu (Romania) for "BLOT". http://www.actionatadistance.ca

collaborator & performer | Jane Osborne  is a former contemporary dance artist who spent over a decade devising, interpreting, producing and teaching in Vancouver. She had the honour of spending time in process, production and performance with many of this beautiful community's incredible artists; the experiences are too many to count but each is kept close. Jane holds a BFA from SFU and for many years was Co-Director of The Contingency Plan. Jane has the continued privilege of living and working on the unceded, ancestral lands of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. These days she spends her time teaching Pilates, nerding out about the body, and zooming around on the water and in the mountains. 

production & technical director | Jonathan Kim better known as Jono, is a technical director and lighting designer based in Vancouver, BC. He is a graduate of SFU's Theatre Production and Design program. His recent works include: Kim’s Convenience (Pacific Theatre); Flow(er) (Dong Mei Dance and Sammy Chien); Digital Folk: Hard Core Logo Tour (plastic orchid factory); Med'Cine (O.Dela Arts); Soul Samurai (Affair of Honor); Suddenly Slaughter (The Biting School); Loop, Lull (Company 605); Dialogue (National Tour) (Wen Wei Dance); Ying Yun (Wen Wei Dance); Crossing Mountains & Seas (Orchid Ensemble with Sound of Dragon Society); The Little Mermaid (Kelowna Actors Studio); Amélie (West Moon Theatre); and Mother of the Maid (Pacific Theatre). Jonathan is also a member of the interdisciplinary collective: Chimerik 似不像.

set design | Paula Viitanen Aldazosa is currently based in Vancouver, BC, is a versatile theatre deviser. She is a professional carpenter holding a degree in Industrial Joinery from Helsinki, Finland, as well as a BFA  in Theatre: Production and Design from Simon Fraser University.  Having worked as a head carpenter, technical director, stage manager, and designer on numerous productions in the Vancouver area, she has gathered wide-ranging experiences and expertise from the performing arts industry. Recent selected work includes Topophilia (Set Design, SFU, Vancouver) Cinerama (Technical Direction, Fight With a Stick, Vancouver), Between Two Rocks (Technical Direction, Macromatter, Taipei/Vancouver), Romeo + Juliet (Set Design, SFU, Vancouver), Repertory Dancers: 5 New Workds (Light Design, SFU, Vancouver), and Revolutions (Stage Management, Fight With a Stick).

associate producer | Kayla De Vos is a dance artist and arts administrator working in Vancouver, BC. Graduating from Simon Fraser University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Kayla is the General Administrator of Co.ERASGA, and recently was the producer of a film project that took her to the Philippines. She has worked as the Volunteer Coordinator for Festival of Recorded Movement, a youth-driven film festival; sits on the board of the Training Society of Vancouver.

graphic design | Atelier Mille Mille is a graphic design workshop founded by Julie Espinasse in 2012, in Montreal. https://www.ateliermillemille.com

Left of Main

Since 2013, plastic orchid factory has spearheaded a cultural space development project on behalf of the independent dance community in Vancouver and beyond. Natalie instigated two planning projects, which led to the acquisition of a 1,500 sq. ft space in the former Park Lock Dim Sum restaurant in Vancouver’s Historic Chinatown. She and James managed the major capital renovation and recent capacity upgrade. Left of Main opened its door in April 2017 and welcomes over 4,000 people annually. The project has received support from the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Infrastructure Grant Program, Canada Council for the Arts’ Leadership for Change, Canadian Heritage’s Cultural Spaces Fund, Western Economic Diversification’s Canada 150 and was one of only 13 projects from across BC to receive funding from BC Collaborative Spaces. Left of Main is located at 211 Keefer Street, on the second floor and is currently shared with MACHiNENOiSY and Tara Cheyenne Performance. 

board of directors

Chair — Nathan Medd - Managing Director of Performing Arts, Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity 

Secretary/Treasurer — Judy Haranghy - Consultant IT Specialist

Director — Kevin Legere - Senior Product Design/Productivity Management, ACL

Director — Alexandra Bouchard - Freelance Writer and Editor 

Member at Large — David McIntosh - Artistic Producer, battery opera performance