Shane Koyczan to present in speaker series on June 1

Regional library will mark its inaugural Centre Stage at Keyano Theatre

By Dawn Booth, Connect Weekly

Canadian spoken word poet and writer Shane Koyczan will be the first presenter of the Wood Buffalo Regional Library’s Centre Stage speaker series at Keyano Theatre on June 1. Supplied photo

Canadian spoken word poet and writer Shane Koyczan will be the first presenter of the Wood Buffalo Regional Library’s Centre Stage speaker series at Keyano Theatre on June 1. Supplied photo

The Wood Buffalo Regional Library (WBRL) is bringing internationally recognized author, poet and spoken word artist to Keyano Theatre for its first ‘Centre Stage’ speaker series on June 1.

With last year’s 50th anniversary celebration and rebrand of the WBRL taking place, the staff changed the name for the well-known Northern Insights Speaker Series to better reflect the library’s new branding.

“We surveyed our staff to come up with another name… Centre Stage was also a logical choice as we will now be hosting our series at Keyano Theatre to provide a more intimate setting,” said WBRL’s Manager of Marketing & Fund Development Dawn Sidoroff.

The past successful speaker series was housed at MacDonald Island Park and brought in iconic and controversial celebrities; including Malcolm Gladwell, Bill Cosby, Arlene Dickson, Martha Stewart and Chris Hadfield. The series ended on October 1, 2014 with award-winning Canadian journalist Peter Mansbridge of CBC News’ The National.

Sidoroff shared how the idea to bring Shane Koyczan to mark the upcoming inaugural event was inspired by Alan Roberts, director of Keyano Theatre & Arts Centre.

 

“Alan recommended Shane to us,” she said. “He had seen him perform at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He said he, and the entire audience, were mesmerized by him.”

Shortly after, Sidoroff and WBRL’s Acting Director Melissa Flett watched Koyczan’s TED Talk and other YouTube videos. She said they “laughed and cried watching them” and believes “he will be a great inspiration to our audience.”

According to a release, Koyczan is “powerfully engaging and authentic in attitude.” The release further stated his explorations “are relevant to our time in the way that Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Downie and Leonard Cohen are to theirs.”

Koyczan first published collection titled Visiting Hours was selected by both The Guardian and the Globe and Mail in the ‘Best Book’ lists for 2005. The collection is now in its third edition. In 2013, Koyczan caught the world’s attention with his influential, anti-bullying video: ‘To This Day Project’, which has over 18 million views on YouTube.

The June 1 show will run from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with doors opening at 7 p.m. Guests will have the chance to see a special presentation from Koyczan, ask him questions in a Q&A session, and have their books signed from the artist himself after.

Tickets are available at the Keyano Theatre Box Office or online at keyano.ca/theatre. Tickets cost $40 per person. To learn more visit www.wbrl.ca.

-Connect Weekly-