Heidi Van, Actor/Creator
Co-Founder/Curator of Fishtank Performance Studio, Producing Artistic Director of HYBRID: a theatre collective,
dubbed The Queen of Dead Art Forms by Alan Schuerstel is best known for performing and creating pieces in the red nose clown style. Van is a 2010 recipient of the MASTERMIND AWARD, a Charlotte Street Outstanding Generative Performing Artist Finalist and an KC Arts Fund Inspiration Grant recipient. Van’s most widely produced original clown play is The Coppelia Project: a clown ballet in three acts that debuted at the 2008 Kansas City Fringe Festival.
THE COPPELIA PROJECT
With critical acclaim and packed houses COPPELIA extended it’s run to the Off Center Theatre, Lawrence Arts Center in 2008, and held a run in the Charlotte Street Urban Project Space, La Esquina, partnering the piece with a video installation by Susan White. Kansas City Star Robert Trussell remarked THE COPPELIA PROJECT is, “undeniably poignant, served in high style and filled with inventive performances.”
In January of 2010 THE COPPELIA PROJECT company toured to the Broward Center of the Performing Arts in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with a newly revised version of the piece. Heidi Van & COPPELIA PROJECT is the recipiant of an Arts KC Fund Inspiration Grant, as well as a showcase slot at the International Performing Arts for Youth Showcase in Pittsburgh, PA.
HYBRID: a theatre collective
From the creative spirit surrounding the creation and development of THE COPPELIA PROJECT, Heidi Van founded HYBRID: A THEATRE COLLECTIVE and set up residency in the Fishtank Performance Studio, to continue generating theatrical works with artists of multiple disciplines. HYBRID is committed to physical theatre, accessibility to audience and the creative, collaborative spirit.
Van defines physical theatre as spatially instigated emotion as opposed to anecdotal instigated emotion, i.e. pantomime. Physical theatre is not mime. Physical theatre is bodies in space, and bodies in motion. Physical theatre utilizes the architectural rhythms of a space, the actors and objects within a space to obtain a visceral reaction from the audience.
While Van has created many different pieces throughout the years, she is most inspired to present pieces in red nose clown style. This style stems back to the European tradition of theatrical clowns as opposed to the American Circus Clown. The style is based on character development and truth in the moment. At a recent clown intensive workshop Van attended, the instructor said, “the clown doesn’t rehearse, he can only prepare.” The clown is a virtuoso of presence and emotion, straddling the border between tragedy and comedy. This style of theatre pushes acting and abandon to their limits and sets the established order on its head. The clown evokes an ageless universe and invokes inspiration. Clowns carry their world with them, and live in one of laughter, catastrophe and lunacy using only invention as their guide.
HYBRID: the interaction of unlike things, was created and performed by Van and Ingrid Andrea Guersten in the winter of 2006 and performed at the Just Off Broadway Theatre. This original show was a bold presentation of the red nose style in which Van would continue on to create and perform. Other original red nose pieces by Van include THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, a solo performance piece presented at the first annual Movment Artist Showcase presented by Byrd Productions, and BEING A CLOWN.
From her Dell’ Arte training, Heidi carries with her the collaborative spirit and desire to create theatre relevant to community in which she is a contributing member. Heidi has collaborated with other theatre artists in generating FURIES and CRASH, original productions produced by Princess Squid Productions. Heidi seeks to inspire other artists to generate material to advance their careers as was evident in HYBRID: A THEATRE COLLECTIVE’s 2009 Kansas City Fringe Festival submission, ADVICE FROM A SPIDER.
HYBRID OUTREACH PROGRAMS
Heidi has also facilitated the creation of original plays by juveniles in detention centers and residential treatment centers as well as adults in prison in Kansas and Missouri. HOW IT IS IN THE HOOD, and LH THROWDOWN were presented at the Just Off Broadway in 2008. INCARCERATED MINDS GONNA MAKE AN ESCAPE was presented at the Fishtank Performance Studio in the 2009 Fringe Festival, and I. AM. NOT. FREE. was presented at the Fishtank in December. HYBRID: A THEATRE COLLECTIVE facilitates these classes through a partnership with Sentenced to the Arts.
Heidi can be found most days working in the FISHTANK, developing and practicing her craft, as well as forging connections in the artistic community. Currently Heidi is developing a red nose private detective play and generating material for her solo show. Heidi has enjoyed a career working as a professional actor at every professional theatre in Kansas City. Those experiences have shaped Heidi as an actor, a creator and arts administrator. Van is a committed theatre artist and is thankful for the opportunities that Kansas City has provided to her and is committed to contributing to the theatrical landscape of Kansas City by generating new material to share with the community.