Quiver at Intrepid Theatre Uno Fest 2017. Interview with Anna Chatterton.

Quiver at Intrepid Theatre Uno Fest 2017. Interview with Anna Chatterton.

What sparked the creation of this show (can you speak to the creation process)? Is this your first one person show?

This is my first solo show!

This story is inspired by my teenage self and is a fictional account of that time in my life. I am playing a fictional and dramatic version of myself, my older sister, and my mother. I wrote Quiver as my thesis project when I was doing my MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Guelph. I began writing it as a solo show, but then I started writing scenes, so I thought, I guess this is a three-person play. After I wrote the play I started becoming really interested in sound art, and wanted to learn more about creating live vocal effects for a play. Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, Ontario asked me if I had a play for their studio series and I started to think Quiver might actually be the right fit as a solo play working with sound in the forefront. My partner Jim Ruxton, who is an electronics engineer, did some research and found a vocal processor that could pretty much do anything. When I approached Andrea Donaldson to direct Quiver, and told her what I wanted to do she said “I love it, a woman in front of a microphone, a master of ceremonies of her story.” Then we hired sound designer Mike Rinaldi to help me actualize my sound dreams and I worked super hard to learn and master the technology I am using in the show.

Quiver debuted at Theatre Aquarius as part of the TA2 Studio series and then was produced by Nightwood– how has it changed since the debut?                                          

I rewrote the ending and a few other scenes. I morph my voice through the vocal processor to play the characters in the play, and for the premiere with Nightwood Theatre we added in more voices for all the characters– originally I only had voices for the three main characters, but now I have voices for four additional smaller roles.

Can you comment on the design aspect of your show, its esthetic?

The original production had a set that was a large yellow shield, (designed by Kelly Wolf) which I stood on. However, it is very heavy and big so I wasn’t able to transport it out for this short run at Uno, so I will perform on the floor. But the main aesthetic of the show is that you see all my gear in plain sight, with tons of cords and a mixer and the processor, a midi controller and my laptop.

We talk about this show as being like a radio show that you watch happening live.  So the audience is always aware of me, the creator/performer, manipulating sound in front them while telling this intimate tale about a broken family.

What do you hope to inspire in your audience?

I want the audience to go on the emotional journey with the characters. Previous audience members have said they found my play really stirred up memories of their teenage years and family- life, I liked hearing that.

Who will be interested as a potential audience member?

This play appeals to the general public, but I think it might be of particular interest to those from families of divorce and single parent families, and those interested in experimental theatre and sound work.

What would you say to entice someone to come?

Come watch a performer DJ, manipulate and spin a fictional account of her teenage-hood.

What’s next?

My opera Sweat with composer Juliet Palmer (which premiered in Brooklyn, NY in the fall) is being produced by the Bicycle Opera Project this summer in Toronto and other bikeable cities. I am developing a new play about contemporary cowgirls called Cowgirl Up with Alberta Theatre Projects, as well as developing a new piece called Heroine with Nightwood Theatre, where I am playwright in residence.  I am writing text for a dance piece for director/choreographer Matjash Mrozewski for ProArteDanza for the fall, and am the Artist in Residence for NotaBle Acts in Fredericton this July, working on my plays and dramaturging their festival of new plays.

Significant accolades or awards?

I was recently won the Best Supporting Actress award from the Toronto Theatre Critics Awards, as well as Outstanding Actress from the My Entertainment Awards, both for my role of Alice in my theatre company Independent Aunties play Gertrude and Alice, co-written by myself and Evalyn Parry. Our play was also nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Ensemble.

Is there anything I haven’t asked you that it would be important to know?

I actually lived in Victoria from age 8 to 11, and my dad and two aunts live here, so it feels great to be performing here for the first time as an adult!

A single mother and her rebellious teenage daughter collide when a love interest comes between them, leaving the youngest daughter in the crossfire. Writer-performer Anna Chatterton, armed with a microphone, laptop and vocal processor, crafts and conducts a sonic landscape to tell this dark, delicious comedy about a passionate and imperfect family.

Quiver, Proper Slang Production (Toronto)
created and performed by Anna Chatterton
May 18 at 8pm, May 19 at 7pm
Metro Studio Theatre
comedy/drama, 70 minutes
coarse language, adult themes
Tickets $20 via Ticket Rocket online.
Tickets can also be purchased over the phone at 1-855-842-7575, or in person at 101-804 Broughton Street.
May 18 is Pay What You Can

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.


  1. […] by Anna Chatterton, one of NOW Magazine’s top 10 Toronto theatre artists of 2016, Quiver is a fictionalized account of a time in her life. The story focuses on the relationship between youngest daughter Maddie, her older sibling […]

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