duration: 90 mins
video: ︎trailer

A cyclic and playful meditation, Vivarium is a poetic allegiance to the unsung life persisting everywhere. You are invited to visit a site where four artists give their attention to detail, bending to weeds, bricks, and bugs. Two dancers oscillate limbs and torsos like Coleoptera or heliotropic plants—they jostle, camouflage, and compost. A musician plays field recordings, weaving a soundscape. A scenographer creates a pop-up garden from found-objects. In the lee of linear time, Vivarium both colonises and pollinates, engenders and contaminates pre-existing ecologies.

Paige Culley ©Maria Munera

Lucy M. May ©Nans Bortuzzo

brief history of the creation

Dance artist Lucy M. May invited collaborators Noémie Avidar, Patrick Conan and Paige Culley to join in an occupation of a backyard. The proposal was to feed their common interests in exploring atypical outdoor environments using the immediate landscape as a source of creativity. Fuelled by their mutual inclination towards spontaneity, unpredictability, and porousness, Vivarium was born.

The project was refined on back porches, in parks, and on railway tracks, where its identity and intentions took shape. Through free-association and experimentation, the collective began to focus on iterations of occupation and colonization. They commit themselves to neglected or invisible public spaces, investing them with minimal and discrete interventions. Their mandate is to question their belongingness in these natural and urban spaces, to question the public or private ownership of these areas, and to actively sense, observe, and articulate what they find there. The chosen or imposed sites become lands of strange games, oneiric and inclusive of everyone (and everything) deciding to engage in the dialogue.

Noémie Avidar; Patrick Conan ©ZuZu Knew

“Refined [and] sensitive work”
“Palpable… Intriguing. The artists create an atmosphere, a world that comes to life”


Rewilding, Tangente, The Wilder, Montréal, Mar 29—Apr 1
Open Studio Series Special Event, Kinetic Studio, Halifax, Jan 22
Impact Fest, Atlantic Ballet Canada, The Peace Centre, Moncton, Jan 19

Le Party Jouer Dehors, Parcours danse, The Wilder, Montréal, Nov 28
Suoni per il Popolo, École Nationale de théâtre, Montréal, Jun 14


Home Theatre Festival, Les Salons de l’est, Hochelaga, Montréal, May 25

co-creators, performers Noémie Avidar (scenography, installation), Patrick Conan (composition, sonic environment), Paige Culley (movement, costumes), Lucy M. May (movement, costumes)
photographers, videographers Zuzu Knew, Dorian Nuskind-Oder, Nans Bortuzzo, Emily Gan, Erin Fortier, María A. Múnera, Kevin M. Photographer, Alejandro de Leon
outside eyes Sasha Kleinplatz, Peter James
residencies, support in-kind Jouer dehors / La danse sur les routes du Québec, Bête Sauvage, Monument National / La SERRE- arts vivants, Montréal, arts interculturels (MAI), École nationale de théâtre du Canada, Tangente Danse, Atlantic Ballet Atlantique Canada
financial donors Caisse Desjardins de la culture, Luc Pelletier, Erin Fortier, Nathan Yaffe, Stephen Glasgow, Marie-Chantale Desrosiers, Stephen May, Julie Scriver, Charles & Zipper Scriver, Jean Conan, Nicola Poplawski, Thea Culley, Patrick Leonard, Nancy Bauer, Margaret Boyle, Erin Fortier, Sarah Hansen, Do-Ellen Hansen, Sharon May, Nathalie Senécal, Claire May, Lesandra Dodson, Linda Rabin, Troy Ogilvie, Julia Hansen, Toni Smith, David Rancourt, Lisa-Anne Ross, Alexander MacSween, Jalianne Li, Isabelle Poirier, Dorothea Saykaly, Alejandro de Leon, Andrew Turner, Susanna Hood, Marilène Bastien, Julie Caissie, Claudia Fancello, Louise Birdsell-Bauer, Lindsey Laidlaw, Marnie Pomeroy
produced by Lucy M. May in collaboration w/ Bête Sauvage, Noémie Avidar, Paige Culley, Patrick Conan
Vivarium was created in Montréal, Québec. This island was settled and is still settled. It has many names. The Kanien’kehá:ka Nation call it Tiohtiá:ke. We would like to acknowledge the people who have tended to this place since time immemorial—the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Huron-Wendat, Waban-aki, and Anishinabeck.

︎︎︎ animation ©Looumms

We would like to express our respect and gratitude to the traditional stewards of the stolen lands upon which these works were created: the Anishinaabeg, Chippewa, Haudenosaunee, Kanien’kehá:ka, Mi’kmaq, Mississaugas of the Credit, Peskotomuhkati, Sámi, Wabanaki, and Wolastoqey Nations and Confederacies. Creating dance and art relies on funding and resources, and all wealth comes from the earth. Land back.