Platypus Theatre is pleased to announce that Co-Founder and Artistic Director Peter Duschenes is a recipient of a 2015 Chalmers Arts Fellowship from the Ontario Arts Council. Duschenes will travel across Europe and North America working with some of the world’s most respected musicians, puppeteers and storytellers to research new models for interactive audience experiences that combine music and theatre.
Duschenes, an actor and award-winning playwright, co-founded the Platypus Theatre touring company in 1989 with his brother Michael as a way to make classical music accessible for young people. In its 25-year history, Platypus Theatre has performed more than 500 times with 60+ orchestras for almost one million audience members world-wide. With this Chalmers Arts Fellowship, Peter will focus on developing smaller-scale productions requiring only a few performers, as opposed to the larger-sized shows with orchestras for which Platypus Theatre is known.
As well as introducing children to classical music, Duschenes, who performs in both English and French, creates shows that help children process troubling and difficult circumstances, mainly surrounding issues of identity and community. “My aspiration is to create artistic experiences for children combining music and narratives, that allows them to enter dark places but ultimately provides an awareness that the light of hope continues to burn both within them and in the community that surrounds them,” said Duschenes.
The Chalmers Arts Fellowships provide support for the careers of artists and arts professionals when a concentration on artistic growth or renewal is most likely to have the greatest impact on their long-term artistic and career development. Throughout the course of this fellowship, Duschenes will travel to Germany, Denmark, the UK, The Netherlands and the United States, in addition to meeting with artists and educators within Canada.
Peter gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chalmers Arts Fellowships program administered by the Ontario Arts Council.