Aryo Khakpour is a Vancouver based multidisciplinary performer and theatre-maker. He holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Simon Fraser University where Penelope Stella, DD Kugler and Steven Hill mentored him. Aryo has been involved in multiple theatre, dance, and film productions in Vancouver. He has had the pleasure and honour of working with Cheryl Prophet, Lois Anderson, Judy Radul, Rob Kitsos, David Raymond (Out Innerspace Dance Theatre), Billy Marchenski (Radix Theatre Society), Flick Harrison, Tim Carlson (Theatre Conspiracy), Justine A. Chambers, and David McIntosh (Battery Opera) among many others.
His most recent performances were in battery opera’s M/Hotel, Justine Chambers’ Family Dinner (Canada Dance Festival), and Theatre Conspiracy’s Foreign Radical. Aryo cofounded The Biting School, which has been presented at Dancing on the Edge Festival, Dance Days Victoria, rEvolver Festival and Dance in Vancouver over the past two years.
Aryo is strongly rooted in both physical devised theatre-making that defies the text and the extraordinarily powerful plays that have inspired him since the beginning of his practice. Aryo is interested in the dynamics of power, implications of ideologies, repetition of mythologies, and cultural adaptation, which were reflected in Silk Road, his research project produced by and created with Hong Kong Exile, on Iranian passion plays in a Canadian context.
Originally from Tehran and based in Vancouver, Arash Khakpour is privileged to be a dance artist on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. He is a graduate of Out Innerspace’s Modus Operandi training program, has completed the Cultch’s Youth Mentorship program, and is a recipient of the contact improvisation scholarship at EDAM under the direction of Peter Bingham. Arash has had the privilege of working with Wen Wei Dance, Out Innerspace Dance Theatre, Kinesis Dance Somatheatro, Company 605, Constance Cooke, and David McIntosh (Battery Opera) among many others.
Arash’s choreography has been presented at Dancing on the Edge, Art for Impact, Dance Days Festival (Victoria BC), Dance In Vancouver, rEvolver Festival and Vines Art Festival. Arash’s desire is to see whether the theatre can be a place to interrogate the body and to investigate the alternate ways of being. He is interested in dance as a language to research human conditions through historical, social, political and existential interpretations. Arash is the cofounder of Vancouver’s guerrilla performance group Pressed Paradise, cofounder of the dance-theatre company The Biting School (alongside his brother Aryo Khakpour), and the founder and co-host of How About A Time Machine, a podcast on the history of Canadian performance.
Parjad Sharifi is a theatre scenographer, director and new media creator. He is the recipient of 2012 Jessie Richardson Award and 2014 Jessie nominee for outstanding lighting design. Parjad’s research interest is exploring designing techniques of expressive scenography in performing arts and urban design within the context of digital and interactive technologies. His latest essay with the title of “Bioscenography: Towards the Scenography of Affection” has been published along with other essays by international scenographers and performance theorists in print with title of “Presence and Absence: The Performing Body”. He is the assistant professor of stage design and technical theatre at the University of The Fraser Valley.
Alex Mah is a composer and interdisciplinary performer based in the Vancouver area. His interests include improvisation, perspective, and indeterminacy in form. He regularly engages dance and theatre artists in collaboration, which informs his process as a composer.
Artistically, he is interested in the balance between fragility and chaos and the human element in performance.