Flam Chen

New circus and fire theater


Community outreach & education meet performance specific & environmental theater concerns. Turning spectators into participants and awakening the true purpose of public space-our work takes us many places and our most vibrant memories are where we not only get to present a performance or spectacle- but where we empower other communities to form their own site, region and local perspectives into a specific and intentional community performance.


Site Specific History

miner1In Nanaimo, BC Canada, in the summer of 2006, The Carpetbag Brigade and Flam Chen collaboratively taught a 10 day long workshop culminating in a performance called “Whizzbang!” Participants drew on the legends, myths, history and characters of their Northwest island locale to create striking stage images of the ghosts, miners and decimated wildlife that are their ancestry and heritage. The project received Canadian Arts Council funding for a second, month-long phase of development, and was completed in summer 2008.

The Nanaimo project illustrates a site-specific residency model. This type of residency elaborates themes inherent within a place and creates distinct, site-specific physical theater performances drawing on the theatrical, dance, writing and acrobatic skills of local participants as well as their personal story.

To develop a coherent performance we study the history of an area and research events that have happened on the grounds or in relation to it. Working dramaturgically we evolve characters that have a relationship to the past history of place. We compose stories around these characters and present them in unique locations of the given space. Using our array of circus arts and physical theater we create dynamic threads that connect the space and its sense of history in a performance continuum that moves spectators throughout the site and story. Sponsored by Crimson Coast Dance Society.

STILT Walking Workshops

Flam Chen & Co. along with The Carpetbag Brigade have both teamed up on multiple occasions as well as working individually on empowering different communities around the world with Stilt Walking, Stilt-Acro, and other Circus & Physical Theater Arts.

Acrobatic Stilt-based Residency-Monterrey MX 2007

During The Carpetbag Brigade’s time in residency at the Universal Forum of Cultures in Monterrey, Mexico, we taught our acrobatic stilt work and theatrical style to 20 local participants. (Flam Chen provided technical direction and 25 pairs of acrobatic stilts) We created choreographic performances specifically for two groups of local actors, acrobats and payasos (clowns) based on our own performances and then integrated them into our repertory performances creating “grande” versions of our work.

These performances each featured 5 Carpetbag performers and 20 performers from Monterrey, Mexico. They became a living display of the cross cultural collaboration that occurred at the Cultural Forum in Monterrey, Mexico. This is a highly physical residency model, particularly suitable for cross-cultural exchanges in non-English speaking countries. We are open to envisioning long-term cultural exchange projects in which The Carpetbag Brigade and Flam Chen come to a community and present their work, teach unique performance skills to interested members of the community, and then create a collaborative project with the members of that community.

Youth Based Residency with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe 2007

A 4-6 hour empowerment (can be as long a 3 days) for youths and young adults. Basic Stilt Walking, Poi, Staff and African Drumming with Dambe Project. This workshop was in collaboration with Sewa Uusim.

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