Shannon is currently directing and choreographing World After Dark
March 6 - 9, 2019 at Harbourfront Centre Theatre
A choreographer, dancer, producer, director and facilitator, Shannon Litzenberger is known for creating live performance experiences at the intersection of forms. Her perspective is decidedly feminist, philosophical, socially conscious and emphatically Canadian. Her roots in Canada’s rural prairies inspire recurring themes of connection to land, environment, belonging, identity and place. Her work has been presented across Canada and the US, in collaboration with some of Canada’s leading artists including Marie-Josée Chartier, Lorna Crozier, David Earle, Noah Richler, Susie Burpee and Michael Greyeyes. She has been an invited resident artist at Banff Centre, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Toronto Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre and Atlantic Ballet Theatre. She is the recipient of the Jack McAllister award for accomplishment in dance, the recipient of a 2019 Chalmers Arts Fellowship and a twice-shortlisted finalist for the prestigious KM Hunter Award.
When did you first think of yourself as an artist?
I think the arts have always been a part of my DNA. From a very young age, I studied classical music and dance. In the 12th grade my English teacher nicknamed me ‘Miss Culture’. This might not seem extraordinary except that as a farm girl from a rural hockey town in Saskatchewan, it was a small miracle that I had access to an arts education at all. Our annual high school drama production was a fundraiser for the football team.
Who helped you develop your voice as an artist?
The very first person who really encouraged me to nurture my artistic talent was my grandfather. He would introduce me to all of his friends by saying “This is my granddaughter Shannon. She plays piano and is tops in ballet.” No one in my family considered themselves to be an artist but he was a self-taught musician who played piano in a weekend band. He drove me to and from dance class most nights and on Sundays we would sneak downstairs to play piano together after supper to get out of doing the dishes.
What’s something that’s inspired you this week?
My current collaborators. They are among the most generous, hard-working, beautiful and unbelievably talented humans I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
What’s your favourite restaurant in the city to visit?
Right now, Pearl Diver. Oysters and Chardonnay.
What do you want to see more of on Toronto stages?
I want to see more interdisciplinary work that bridges artistic forms and cultural perspectives. I believe some of the most exciting live performances are being created at the intersections. It’s time for us artists to collapse the silos. I want to hang out with more writers, visual artists, musicians, film and theatre makers working across a wide spectrum of viewpoints and aesthetics.