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The Playhouse’s Spink on KCPQ

: Cornish Playhouse Manager Liisa Spink interviewed by KCPQ's Kaci Aitchison. Photo by Pinky Estell.

The Playhouse’s Spink on KCPQ

: Cornish Playhouse Manager Liisa Spink with Technical Supervisor Pinky Estell (PP '07). Lurking behind them is an auroch, a mythical beast featured in "Tewaz". Photo by Pinky Estell.

The Playhouse’s Spink on KCPQ

: Cornish performance production student Levi Plumb (PP ’17), left, learns from long-time union electrician JC Wills. Photo by Pinky Estell.

The Playhouse’s Spink on KCPQ

: Cornish performance production student Shelby Choo (PP ’16), right, listens as Ryan, the IATSE head rigger, left, explains to the union crew how a platform will be flown. Photo by Pinky Estell.

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Cornish Playhouse Manager Liisa Spink was interviewed on KCPQ about the college’s partnership with The Cabiri and the student pre-professional opportunities it offers.

On Tuesday, June 2, KCPQ’s “Morning News” visited the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center to do a spot on the opening of Tewaz, a new performance by up-and-coming “cirque” company The Cabiri. “Cirque,” popularized by Canada’s Cirque du Soleil, is becoming its own genre of performance art featuring circus techniques, acrobatics, dance, and theater. Front and center for the third segment of the live broadcast was Cornish’s own Liisa Spink, manager of the Playhouse. Interviewed by KCPQ reporter Kaci Aitchison, Spink talked about the three-year partnership between Cornish and The Cabiri which is providing a venue for the company and invaluable training for the college’s students.

“They’re using our students behind the scenes as well as on stage,” says Spink of The Cabiri in the interview. “We have one of our theater students actually as part of the performance. And our performance production students are behind the stage doing things like aerial rigging and installing sound grids and these really, really technical things specific to cirque that they otherwise might not get a chance to do. So it’s a fantastic collaboration, having [The Cabiri] in the Cornish Playhouse.”

Tewaz is the first part of a trilogy and the first part of a relationship between The Cabiri and Cornish. “We’re partnering with them over three years,” continues Spink. “The goal is, this is the first year and we have two more years coming up, where students will get more and more integrated into the piece as we sort of collaborate further together.”

The performance production (PP) students are “shadowing” the union staff at the Playhouse, members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), gaining invaluable pre-professional experience. The students include Shelby Choo (PP ’16) and Em Russell (PP ’16), both with a technical directing focus, and Levi Plumb (PP ’17) with a lighting focus.

The very busy Liisa Spink oversees a loaded schedule at the Cornish Playhouse. There are Cornish productions, of course, but in service to the community, the Playhouse plays hosts to many outside companies — such as The Cabiri — and resident companies Intiman Theatre Festival and the Seattle Shakespeare Company.

The Cabiri writes of their new production “Tewaz is an epic adventure that crosses 8,000 years of folktales from Anatolia, through the Levant (present day eastern Mediterranean) and into North Africa.

“In Tewaz the angelic Watchers return to make contact with the people of Huyukan (the pre-literate lost society of the Anatolian Plateau). It touches upon the celestial images of the collective unconscious and is appropriate for children ages 6 and up.”

The Cabiri is headed by Artistic Director John S. Murphy and Managing Director Charly McCreary. Tewaz features choreography and artistic direction by former Cirque du Soleil collaborators Sam Alvarez and Marshall Garfield respectively. With a lighting display from Seattle Opera’s Connie Yun and an original score by Constantin Parvelescu.

Tewaz opens June 6 at the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center and plays through June 14.


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