Happy New Year's Eve Eve! (2021 in Review)
We did it! We survived 2021 and some of us may have thrived in 2021. Whichever is the case for you, thank you for joining me for another journey around the sun. Whether you're a long-time reader of my blog or you've newly signed up for my newsletter, I want to say Merry Midwinter and Happy New Year to you! Even though it's the darkest time of year, each day is getting brighter now. I hope your holiday season is filled with light and love.
I'll be writing my annual review of theatre this upcoming week to round out 2021. Like last year, theatres have been closed on and off so I haven't seen as many live performing arts productions as usual. I did see some really wonderful shows though. While you wait for that post, you can still read the top five shows I saw last year.
2021 has been a really spectacular year for me and I'm so grateful for all the amazing people I've been able to meet, make art with, and work with. I started my year by jumping into a new writing project. What a way to begin any year! I was commissioned through Verb Theatre's New Play Commission Program to write a new played I'm calling Advent & Asunder. I also did not one but two Craft Bites readings through Playwrights Guild of Canada. In the spring, I read from my adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and then earlier in December, I read from the first full draft of Advent and Asunder. I'm also going to be doing a third Craft Bites in 2022! I'll be reading from my work-in-progress musical, so stay tuned for that!
This summer, (exp)lore (the fiction anthology podcast I created with Jupiter Theatre) was screened at the New Jersey Web Festival and was nominated for three awards. These included Outstanding Sci-Fi, Outstanding Anthology, and Best Leading Performance (for Kiana Woo). I'm so proud this project is still being recognized by the international community and is still gaining new listeners. Since the holiday season isn't over yet, I'd recommend listening to the holiday episode that I wrote for (exp)lore last year: A Krampus Carol.
In 2021, I also ran my first ever marathon! It was grueling, but it taught me that if I can push through 42.2 kilometers, I can probably push through just about anything. And I can certainly push through a worldwide pandemic and the impending existential threat of the climate crisis! Throughout the whole year I've also been working steadily with Ghost River Theatre on the company's many projects including Makambe Speaks and STRUCK. I'm eager to continue developing these projects next year as well!
Photos by Tim Nguyen for Jupiter Theatre's workshop production of Frankenstein
I also had the pleasure of directing a workshop production of my stage adaptation of Frankenstein in October. We made a lot of fantastic progress on the script and direction of the show and now I'm eagerly gearing up for a full production—hopefully in 2022! On top of this, I was fortunate to work with a new company over the final quarter of the year. I had the delight of directing two shows with Youth Theatre Canada with fabulous casts of youth performers. I adapted and directed The Little Prince and directed and devised Matilda. It was very rewarding working with young people again in this capacity.
Finally, and biggest news of all, I was incredibly fortunate to have the chance to work with The Jim Henson Company on the new reboot series Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock! I spent February to June this year down in Fraggle Rock singing and dancing and telling some truly wonderful stories with the Fraggles. It was literally a dream come true! The series premieres on Apple TV+ on January 21 (in three weeks!) and I can't wait for the world to see this amazing reboot of such a beloved show.
You can read all about my thoughts on the marvelous magic of puppetry in my post from last month: https://www.andrewgcooper.com/post/the-marvelous-magic-of-puppetry
New Year's Eve (and Day) is my favourite holiday of the year. I love looking back at the year that I've just gone through. I love new beginnings, fresh starts, and goal setting. It really is the most wonderful time of the year for me. I'm going to be writing an entire post about goal setting to help start the new year off right, so look forward to seeing that very soon...
I also have a really amazing project coming up with Jupiter Theatre and a group of amazingly talented local artists next year! I'm diving in head first, full steam ahead, in January ! I'll be sharing details soon and I can hardly wait to share this new project!
I'm excited about how well this year went and I'm even more excited to see what 2022 has in store. If you're not already, make sure you follow me on Twitter and Instagram so you can come along with my journey for another year. I hope that 2022 brings you magic and that next year everything you want it to be and more.