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Guatemalan-Canadian performance artist looks at poetic structures and migration politics in The Ballad of _______ B – April 26 #HatchTO

TORONTO, ON (March 25, 2014) – Guatemalan-born, Toronto-based artist Francisco-Fernando Granados presents a new site specific, participatory performance project at Harbourfront Centre’s HATCH on April 26 in the Studio Theatre. A striking visual piece for three performers, The Ballad of _______ B is loosely based on an interview given by Granados as a teenager to a Vancouver newspaper that was later appropriated and re-published in the Canadian Mosaic section of an ESL (English as a Second Language) workbook, without consultation or approval. Blending participatory theatre with interactive performance art, The Ballad of _______ B addresses poetic structure and migration politics through an unpredictable and highly experimental collaboration with the general public.

The Ballad of _______ B was conceived as a character study of _______ B, a once “clean-cut, fresh-faced 18-year-old” refugee with a consuming passion for poetic forms. Francisco-Fernando Granados first uncovered _______ B’s story in a vocabulary lesson in an ESL textbook. He quickly realized that the story had been repurposed from a newspaper article and was, in actuality, his own. Granados saw an opportunity to explore the character of _______ B through a performance installation for the stage, setting out to explore the queerness of one’s imagination when given a blank space to populate.

“Finding my past self appropriated and turned into an English lesson was a rare and unsettling experience,” remarks Francisco-Fernando Granados. “It’s important for me to use poetry and performance to reclaim that text, not to accuse or excuse what happened, but to make something creative and beautiful out of this experience. That’s what poetry means, poïesis, to make.”

The Ballad of _______ B involves an interactive script containing a series of open spaces, or blanks, in the narrative. The script will be available online April 18 to the general public, one week prior to the start of rehearsals. Readers are encouraged to participate in the narrative development of The Ballad of _______ B by filling in the blanks. The results of this randomized public collaboration will help shape the performance in unpredictable and exciting ways, while Granados and his team of collaborators incorporate digital media, narrative and recitation into the work.

Francisco-Fernando Granados is a multifaceted, cross-disciplinary artist. The Ballad of _______ B marks a radical departure for Granados, who typically takes an action-based, conceptual approach to his experimental performance art. Working as a writer and an educator in performance, installation, video, drawing, cultural criticism and curatorial practice, Granados has performed and exhibited both nationally and internationally in museums, galleries and artist-run centres around the world, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, Darling Foundry (Montreal), Kulturhuset (Stockholm) and the Theatre Academy at the University of the Arts (Helsinki). He was awarded the Governor General’s Silver Medal for academic achievement upon graduating from Vancouver’s Emily Carr University with a bachelor of fine arts in 2010 and following this, completed a master’s of visual studies at the University of Toronto. The artist would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and from the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.

Tickets for The Ballad of _______ B and other HATCH 2014 projects are available via Harbourfront Centre’s Box Office. Patrons can call 416-973-4000, visit 235 Queens Quay West and/or go online for all ticket inquiries.

For full company and performance information, including photos, videos and details surrounding this year’s HATCH Season, please visit Connect with the season on Facebook and Twitter using #HatchTO. For a weekly update on the progress and creative process of each 2014 HATCH project, visit

Celebrating its tenth year, HATCH is a key initiative in Harbourfront Centre’s mission to develop local artists and their unique practices. Curated by Michael Wheeler and Aislinn Rose, the 2014 HATCH residency and mentorship programme provides resources and professional assistance to a new generation of engaging and innovative contemporary artists.

Harbourfront Centre is a Canadian charity operating the 10 prime acres of Toronto's central waterfront as a free and open public site. We celebrate the multiplicities of cultures that comprise Canada and enliven the city through the creative imaginations of artists from across the country and around the globe. Harbourfront Centre attracts more than 17 million visits to its site each year to experience 4,000 diverse public events and activities. Harbourfront Centre receives operational support from the Government of Canada and the City of Toronto and program funding from all levels of government, the private sector and individual donors.


Chrissi Forte
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