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Holladay Journal

Curbside Theater production ‘Tarotville’ offers unique performance

Oct 12, 2023 11:23AM ● By Collette Hayes

“Tarotville” is a one-of-a-kind pop-up theater experience. The interactive production allows the audience to select tarot cards to determine the direction of the contemporary dance and live music performance. (Photo credit SB Dance Curbside Theater)

The SB Dance Curbside Theater pulled up at Holladay City Hall Park Sept. 16 for an innovative, multi-dimensional evening performance under the stars. “Tarotville,” a one-of-a-kind pop-up theater production, provided an interactive opportunity for the audience to select tarot cards to determine the direction of the contemporary dance and live music performance.

Stephen Brown, artistic and executive director of the SB Dance troupe, opened the curbside theater performance with acknowledgement and appreciation to the Holladay Arts Council for sponsoring the event and to Utah Arts and Museums, National Endowment for the Arts, and Zoo, Arts & Parks for their funding of the performance. 

Curbside theater’s mobile traveling performance troupe pulls a small trailer up to the location of the viewer and within minutes assembles a portable, outdoor stage to offer high- quality, short-piece dance performance to be experienced from the convenience of a lawn chair.  

“There are many qualities that make curbside theater good, professional art,” Brown said.  “But what makes Curbside Theater a singular product is how it miniaturizes spectacle into a mobile, affordable package. In terms of the number of artists, duration, and technical complexity, Curbside is roughly equivalent to what audiences see at the Rose Wagner or Capitol Theatre. But we pack all that into something that can pop up in a park, on a rooftop, or under sandstone cliffs.”

Ischa Bee and Raffi Shahinian, an electro-pop duo, wrote three original songs for the “Tarotville” production. Bee’s vocal performance included songs in French, Armenian, German and Portuguese accompanied by Shahinian, guitarist extraordinaire.  

“We’ve been working with Stephen Brown since 2015,” Bee said. “In 2020, we were getting ready to perform at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, and due to the pandemic, they shut down the theater. Stephen came up with the idea of doing pop-up performances since we could no longer perform at Rose Wagner. The plan was for people to sign up for a performance, and then we would go and perform in front of their house. That first summer, we went to over 100 locations and performed for over 1,000 people. All of us enjoy the experience of performing outside.”

Holladay Arts Council Executive Director Sheryl Gillilan said she enjoys bringing art events to Holladay that are unique and out of the box—it provides opportunity to broaden a person’s perception by influencing critical thinking.

 “It was a perfect night to ‘hear our cards read,’” Gillilan said. “‘Tarotville’ is predicting we will have many hopeful and loving experiences ahead in our lives, as well as some challenging times—and I’m sure they’re right.” 

 For more information about SB Dance Curbside Theater performance and suggested audience guidelines visit:λ