The Arctic Cycle


(Note: Listen to this while you’re reading. Tanya is an Inuit artist who captures the uniqueness of the Arctic landscape and aesthetic.)

It’s always a bit tricky to talk about projects that aren’t quite ready to roll out, but I’m so excited that I have to tell you a little bit about this one.


Magdalene Fjord, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway. Photo by Chantal Bilodeau

“I hope to provide a catalyst for people from various backgrounds to engage in cross-disciplinary conversations and create new ways of collaborating and finding solutions before it’s too late.” Chantal Bilodeau

It’s not a new project. In fact, Chantal Bilodeau has been working on if for almost four years. What’s new is that I’m now partnering with Chantal and will be working as the Managing Producer for The Arctic Cycle and producing each of the plays in the Cycle.

I’m really, really excited that I get to work with Chantal. She’s a wonderful playwright, a very caring person, smart, engaging, funny, committed, and above all else, becoming a good friend. 

As Chantal’s website says: The Arctic Cycle is a six-play project that will use the power of storytelling to investigate, and attempt to understand, the many challenges posed by climate change and global warming, focusing on the melting ice in the Arctic. Each play is set in one of the countries touching the Arctic Ocean: U.S., Canada, Norway, Greenland, Iceland, and Russia. We’ll be conducting fact-finding trips to each location (Norway this fall), cultural exchanges, staged readings, productions, and so on.

Sila is the first play in the Cycle and is set in Canada and examines the competing interests shaping the future of the Canadian Arctic and local Inuit population. Set on Baffin Island in the territory of Nunavut, it follows a climate scientist, an Inuit activist and her daughter, two Canadian Coast Guard officers, an Inuit elder and two polar bears as they see their values challenged and their lives become intricately intertwined. Equal parts Inuit myth and contemporary Arctic policy, Sila uses puppetry, projections, spoken word poetry and three different languages (English, French & Inuktitut).


Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian Explorer and original tough guy.

Forward: Norway, the second play, considers the question “How did we get here?” Moving backwards from present day Norway to 1895, when Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen established the record of having sailed closest to the North Pole, the play presents a series of seemingly unrelated characters confronting small, day-to-day challenges, and making choices that seemed innocent at the time but turned out to be important markers in history.

Over the course of the next few years we’ll be announcing the remaining plays and helping them make their way to the stage. For more information, at least for now, you can visit Chantal’s website here.

We’re really just starting to ramp up our communications and fundraising efforts. Although if you’re interested, The Arctic Cycle is a fiscally-sponsored project of Fractured Atlas and you can make a donation here: Donate Now. All funds we raise will go toward getting the project off the ground. Otherwise, look for more updates in the coming months and news about a NYC premiere sometime in 2014.

Sound interesting? You bet! Let me know if you have any questions.