A Year of Blessings: Band of Dragons: Sink, Oar, Swim
Available starting June 22
Star athlete Faye, a 5th-generation dragon boat drummer, has a secret passion for playing music in the band, Skyhorns. When the Skyhorn’s biggest gig yet–opening for Manta Del Rey–falls on race day of the Dragon Boat Festival, our hero is faced with an impossible decision: fulfill traditions, or forge a new path. Faye seeks wisdom from the immortalized Chinese poet, 屈原 (Qu Yuan). With so much on the line, how will our young dragon choose? Will they sync, oar, swim?
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‘Band of Dragons: Sync, Oar, Swim’ is devised and co-written by Derek Chan, Jasmine Chen, Howard Dai, Amanda Sum, and Nancy Tam
With performances by
Faye – Heidi Damayo
Devon – Aidan Chan
Aria – Katrina Teitz
Coach – Amy Amantea
Qu Yuan – Derek Chan
Jellybelly – Robyn Jacob
Logan Longan – Conor Wylie
Dimsum Auntie Cat – Nancy Tam
Noodle Guy – Howard Dai
Additional voice acting by: Cindy Kao, Stephanie Wong, Kimberly Ho, and Jasmine Chen
‘The Dragon’s Heart’, ‘We are the Skyhorns’, ‘why???’, composed and performed by Robyn Jacob
Sound Design and additional composition by Nancy Tam
Mixed and mastered by Ira Jordison
Illustrations by Cherry Lu
A Year of Blessings is co-produced by Five Blessings Collective, Gateway Theatre, and Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre
A Year of Blessings is devised and co-written by Five Blessings, and Amanda Sum
Nancy Tam, Derek Chan, Robyn Jacob, Jasmine Chen, Howard Dai
Charlie Cooper – Associate Producer
A Year of Blessings is supported by Canada Council for the Arts, and British Columbia Arts Council
Five Blessings Collective
Derek Chan (陳嘉昊) grew up in colonial Hong Kong and currently lives and works on the stolen and ancestral lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, colonially known as Vancouver. An award-winning multilingual playwright, director, translator, and performer, he is the Managing Artistic Director of Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre. Derek was an artist in residence at the National Arts Centre English Theatre Department in the 2019/20 season, developing yellow objects, an installation-exhibition in support of the ongoing pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. He was the co-recipient of the 2021 Simon Fraser University FCAT Young Alumni Award for his work at rice & beans theatre.
Jasmine is a second-generation Taiwanese-Singaporean immigrant artist based in the unceded lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaɬ Nations and T’karonto.
Jasmine’s work as a director, performer, educator and creator has engaged with communities from coast to coast in repertory festivals, indie theatres, regional and outdoor theatres. She creates multilingual interdisciplinary work that pushes for linguistic and formal diversity.
Jasmine is a recipient of the Gina Wilkinson Award, the Jon Kaplan Canadian Stage Performer Award, and the Stratford Festival Jean Gascon Award. She has been featured in CBC Arts, The Georgia Straight, NOW Magazine, and the Vancouver Sun. msjasminechen.com.
Howard Dai is a Taiwanese actor and theatre artist based in so-called Vancouver whose work has been seen across Canada. His performances and creations have existed in theatre, films, public spaces, Zoom screens, Google Sheets, automated phone calls, interactive websites, and virtual reality. Howard was the Assistant Director and a swing performer for the world premiere of Forgiveness (Arts Club Theatre & Theatre Calgary). He was the 2022 digital-artist-in-residence with PuSh Festival and Royal Court Theatre with his new play 菠蘿麵包Pineapple Bun. Howard is an Associate Artist with rice & beans theatre, and holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from SFU School for the Contemporary Arts. www.howarddai.com
Robyn Jacob is a pianist, singer, composer and educator living in and working from the unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm and Səl’il’wətaʔ Nations. She has toured Canada and internationally with her avant-pop project Only A Visitor, who have been recently brought on to the Mint Records label. Her compositions include commissions by Third Coast Percussion, Architek Percussion, So Percussion, and Little Chamber Music, and collaborations with visual artists and instrument makers. In 2020 she celebrated the release of Earth Leaps Up on the label elsewhere music with her duo The Giving Shapes in collaboration with harpist Elisa Thorn. Since 2012 she has been part of the multi-disciplinary collective Publik Secrets, currently artists in residence at the Hadden Park Field House with the City of Vancouver. In 2013 she toured Bali with Gamelan Gita Asmara, and has since been co-leading Gamelan Bike Bike.
Sound Artist, 譚亦斯 (Nancy Tam), works and lives on the unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Her practice is collaborative, often models after devised theatrical processes. Nancy works transdisciplinarily fusing sound and performance as primary media with a specialization in spatialized multi-channel sound performance for live and fixed media. Her current research triangulates between sound, space, and body to investigate notions of horizontality and peripherality in the context of immersive spatial and sonic designs. Nancy has a penchant toward listening to quiet sounds and observing quotidian performances. Her work is form-bending and dramaturgically rigorous. Nancy is a founding member of the Vancouver-based interdisciplinary performance collective A Wake of Vultures as well as the Toronto-based Toy Piano Composers collective. She is an award-winning composer. Her compositions, audio walks, performances, and collaborations have toured in Germany, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Hong Kong, the U.S. and throughout Canada.
ABOUT FIVE BLESSINGS COLLECTIVE
Five Blessings is composed of five Chinese Canadian artists from disciplines spanning theatre, sound and music, movement and performance. We are Nancy Tam, Derek Chan, Robyn Jacob, Jasmine Chen, and Howard Dai–five first and second-generation Hong Kong and Taiwanese settlers to Turtle Island. Our work celebrates the complexities found within stories and traditions from the Chinese diaspora through songs, audio plays, film, and stageworks. We are the creators of Double Happiness which includes the multimedia song cycle “Detour This Way”, and its companion short film A Little Detour. www.happinesshappiness.ca