Lonely Child Project
Escape into the dream world of a child: surrounded in layers of colourful zebra stripes, fairies dance the farandole under a starlit sky, Merlin the Magician casts his magical spells and the evil fairy Carabosse glares down at the merriment from high up in her jade palace
Film: 16:40: premiere: The Revue Cinema, Toronto, December 5, 2022
The Lonely Child project is an intricate tapestry of elements, combining contemporary music, theatre, dance and circus to reimagine Claude Vivier’s iconic Lonely Child in a dramatic setting by animating the role of the child sung by soprano Stacie Dunlop, while his dream world is brought to life through the choreography of aerialist-dancers Angola Murdoch and Holly Treddenick.
In our unique creation approach for this project, there has been no director or outside artistic vision. The work has come together organically through discussion, discovery and experimentation. The evolution of this work did not begin with a preconceived idea of what it should be, rather it has progressed from our research, play and feedback within the group. It is in this manner a truly collaborative approach to the creative process.
In March 2022, a film of the work was captured, supported by the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Now incentive. In its current iteration, Lonely Child provides a wealth of potential as a digital or live presentation, as it can function as a powerful performance piece suitable for festival presentation, or other wide-ranging performance opportunities. Due to its nature of being both an icon of modern classical composition, and a powerful expression of aerial dance, this work will be a good fit for both music and circus presenters.
Theatrical Production: 70 minutes: premiere: Fall 2025
The Lonely Child project is a work-in-process that was initiated in January 2017. The core members of the project are Soprano Stacie Dunlop, Composer/Arranger/Musical Director Scott Good and Circus Artists Angola Murdoch (LookUp Theatre) and Holly Treddenick (Femmes de Feu Creations) and creative consultant Sara Porter. It is a 4-stage creation project:
For the first stage (March 2019) a new arrangement was created of Claude Vivier’s Lonely Child (originally composed for soprano and chamber orchestra) by composer/arranger Scott Good for singer (soprano Stacie Dunlop), pre-recorded instrumentals, and reimagines it in a dramatic setting by animating the role of the child sung by soprano Stacie Dunlop, while his dream world is brought to life through the choreography of aerialists Angola Murdoch and Holly Treddenick.
A stunning example of modernist composition, Lonely Child is an account of both affirmation and tragedy. A $7,500 grant was received from the Canada Council of the Arts to support the initial exploration/creation stage of this project, with the first workshop stage being completed in March 2019. A second grant for $18,000 was received from the Canada Council of the Arts and to support the next stage of the projects development that included the addition of 8 instrumentalists (string quartet, double bass, percussion and 2 accordion) and concentrated on refinement of the choreography and integration of the instrumentalists to the piece.
The work for this stage began in February 2020 and was scheduled to culminate in a private showing in April 2020, but was postponed temporarily due to COVID-19, resuming in a newly visioned way as a recording produced in isolation along with two intensive isolation residencies took place in Toronto and at The Bank Art House Welland in September and October, 2020. The isolation recording was produced at Big Smoke Audio in Toronto, by recording engineer Dennis Patterson. In March 2022, a film of this second stage of the work was captured, supported by a $50,000 grant through the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Now incentive.
The third stage for this project was completed in 2023, with the support of a $25,000 Research and Creation grant from the Canada Council for the Arts and a fourth and final stage of development will take place in Winter 2024. Once this last stage of development is complete, it will see the individual work of Lonely Child at the core of a 70-minute hybrid contemporary music/circus production, to be presented with live or recorded instrumentals, and live voice.
With this vision in mind, in its current iteration, the Lonely Child Project provides a wealth of potential as on its own as a 17-minute digital, 17-minute live singular work, or 70-minute live fully realized production. It can function as a powerful performance piece suitable for festival presentation, as the reduced orchestration will allow for many more wide-ranging performance opportunities including potential collaboration with new music ensembles. Due to its nature of being both an icon of modern classical composition, and a powerful expression of aerial dance, this work will be a good fit for both music and circus presenters.