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Wilderness Canada

Theatre Apprentice at Buck Lake [June and July]
Wilderness Wending in the
James Bay Frontier [August]

Wilderness Canada 2008
Project Fees:
All fees can be paid either in dollars or in Euros; for our European participants Euro exchange rates will be determined in June. Payments can also be made in installments. No Euro cheques however.

At Buck Lake

1. Theatre Research June 11 – 19
Fee: $300
2. Theatre Apprentice June 20 – July 22-24
Regular: $450 x 4 weeks $ 1800
Students: $360 x 4 weeks $ 1440

Further information for the BuckLake projects:
Participants can select the amount of time they wish to participate; from one to four weeks; special weekend rates are available for those wishing to do so. All fees include the costs of food and equipment at Buck Lake; participants should read the enclosed material.

Wilderness Wendings {WW} on the Montreal River

WW # 1 {August 5 – 14} or WW # 2 {August 15 – 24}
Fees: Regular $1500
Students $1200

WW # 1 & 2
Fees: Regular $2600
Students $1800

For further details for either Theatre Apprentice or Wilderness Canada see the enclosed descriptions.


As above
So below
As outside
So inside…

Ancient Alchemical Saying

An extension of the Soundings has been the development of a path of work called Wilderness Canada a two-pronged programme: Theatre Apprentice a 4 week project each summer at Buck Lake, and Wilderness Wending which takes place in the James Bay Frontier area of Northern Ontario. Participants have come from Europe, South America, USA and Asia to take part in these extraordinary wilderness experiences: a return to sources & primal rhythms; a search for depth; renewal of spirit and soul; immersion in silence stillness, and solitude.

Buck Lake


Each summer - since 1984 - the Ensemble of LeTHAL & Le Contre Courant arrive at Buck Lake to further develop their on-going theatre research projects. Candidates from Europe, Canada and Asia are incorporated into the work / play / training for an intense 4 week apprenticeship with the Ensemble. The programs are designed primarily for people in the performing arts - actors, dancers, singers, directors, dramaturges etc. but complete novices are often included.

The Barn

The theatre apprentice project is circumscribed by the environment - in this case the rural conditions of Buck Lake Ontario Canada; the work /play involves creating and/or invoking the Eco-rhythm determined by the context at Buck Lake: the water - canoeing, swimming, doing nothing - ; the forest, the animals; day and night; sun and moon: the elements of nature




The Buck Lake Context

The theatre apprentice project is circumscribed by the environment - in this case the rural conditions of Buck Lake Ontario Canada; the work /play is rooted in respect for the eco-system of Buck Lake and rediscovering the primal & playful rhythms in the elements of nature: the water - canoeing, swimming, - the forest, the animals; day and night; sun and moon. And, most importantly, learning to do nothing.

All participants are required to assist in running the Space including shopping, cleaning, making meals, keeping the fire and in the preparation of individual projects; i.e. everyone is responsible for creating the right eco-logical context for the work/play at Buck Lake. The Space at Buck Lake is about 120 acres of wooded land with a small lake, a large barn with wooden floors, no running water - only a well which must be pumped - no electricity, and no telephones. The primitive conditions are part of the work process.

The Conditions Of Work: There are no observers, everyone is a participant. No cameras, cell phones, video cameras, novels, radios, recording equipment are permitted; only those objects which are strictly necessary for one’s project. Several changes of work clothes are necessary for the work/play; pants, short and long sleeved shirts, but no dance tights, only loose fitting, comfortable and colourful clothes. Living conditions require participants to bring a tent, sleeping bag, rain clothes including rubber boots, at least one warm sweater, and personal hygiene necessities. Keep It Simple

Dawn Obokata

The Training Process is framed by one central concept which is called Sounding the depths of the Imaginal. All the work / play is rooted in an exploration process to sound the depths of the images contained within the human body which includes all the energy centres of movement , the voice, the heart, the sex, and the fantasies of imagination.

Jane O’Reilly


Nicole Champagne

The Training Process:
All training is unlearning. To go forward, one must first go back. Training to develop craft is the constant repetition of meeting, confronting and overcoming oneself: laziness, automatisms in actions, false reliance on habits and techniques. Learning is a process of returning to the beginnings, the origins, the sources. Craft is not a linear process. It is cyclic. The work/play on craft and oneself is a continual process and is never a finished product. To work on craft is not to search for perfection but for wholeness and the ability to balance the polarities and extremes uncovered within the creative act.

Wilderness Canada


Wildernes Wemding begun in 1979 - are conducted annually during August in the James Bay Frontier of Northern Ontario Canada. The journeys happen on and along the Montreal River System between Gowganda and Matachewan. The system includes many tributaries, lakes and islands. In former times, this river was used by the old fur traders who paddled their canoes from Montreal to Moose Factory and later by the lumberjacks who used the system to float their logs down from Northern Ontario to the sawmills of Ottawa and Hull. The Montreal River System runs through the Precambrian Shield, parts of which are over four billion years old.



Wendings are structured as personal quest journeys and are tailored to the specific needs of participants Leaving: to leave one’s conventional and habitual life behind for awhile; to suspend old patterns; to allow a few masks to dissolve; to leave the kitchen, the children, the husband, the wife, the job Coming: to meet with the one who was before the masks grew into fossils; to reconnect with mystery, the unknown, new beginnings; to reawaken the eyes. The projects are open to everyone, young and old; special projects have been developed for seniors. Before any journey occurs, all participants are first trained in basic wilderness survival skills. We encourage participants to come alone and not with one’s spouse. The quest is solitary. The programme is not designed to develop or deepen personal relationships. Interviews with all candidates are a prerequisite for acceptance to these projects.

Correspondences / Analogues

As above, so below; as inside so outside...”,

so goes an ancient alchemical saying. Much of the work / play in the wilderness is concerned to establish the context for participants to experience in practice, correspondences between wilderness and human being: with the wind, the rain, the sun, the rock, the water, the fire; to discover balance and to see the wilderness not as a foe to be conquered but as an essential landscape of one’s soul to be cultivated: to play in wilderness is to play with the images of one’s own Soulscape. Not only analogously but also materially, it is a return home to the original Soulscape: four billion years old.


The Practicalities

Repeat Participants

Because we have many repeat participants for the projects, we now ask that they assist us in designing their own activities. In addition to their own projects, we require that they also become involved in organising the logistics of preparing for the journeys: to assist the Companions in pre-planning, arrange food purchases, and enlarging the scope of individual projects.

First Time Participants

For first timers, there is an immersion into basic wilderness survival training which includes: canoeing, choosing campsites, building fires, cooking, trekking, portaging, etc. However, focus on other aspects of the wilderness is also emphasized: the silence, the solitude, the stillness; the elements of nature; respect for the landscape; an attunement to the original rhythm vibrating within the wilderness soul. Personal quests are tailored to specific individual needs, and may culminate in a 3-days-and-nights solitary vigil on an island, selected by the participant, who determines the nature and structure of his/her vigil. No one is forced to do anything beyond his / her capabilities.

The Companions Lethal - Dawn Obokata, Sheela Shakespeare, Ryszard Nieoczym Le Contre-Courant Jane O’Reilly, Nicole Champagne



1/ Knapsacks: since part of the journey involves portaging, it is essential to keep one’s equipment to a minimum and in knapsacks which can be carried over rough terrain; no shopping bags or small bags. Limit yourself to 3 knapsacks of varying sizes, which contain all your gear and food, plus one day pack for small journeys.

2/ Tent: with rain cover; extra plastic bags; plastic sheets or tarpaulin to cover firewood and personal gear in the rain; sleeping bag for northern climate; foam mats to put under the sleeping bag.

3/ Food & food containers: the diet is formulated on a ten day cycle; fresh fruit & vegetables for the first part of the journey and dry goods and cans for the remainder; please bring plastic containers with secure tops for nuts and grains.

4/ Personal kit: toothbrush, paste, towel, etc.

5/ Clothes: running shoes and/or hiking boots; rubber boots for rain; raincoat/pants; at least 3 pr of socks, 2 pr of pants, 2 shirts; a variety of undershirts; warm sweater; heavy duty warm jacket or coat for the cold nights; sun hat. Nights can be cold!!!

6/ Cooking utensils: matches (water-proof); lighter; frying pan; mess kit; secure pot for boiling water; strong, sharp knife; cutlery; canteen/water container; sealable plastic containers.

7/ Flashlight: waterproof; extra batteries; extra light bulb/s; mosquito repellent [ they can be ferocious]; sun-screen lotion (minimum #l5) olive oil; first aid kit (bandages, hydrogen peroxide, lotions/creams for scrapes & bruises). The days can get very hot.

8/ Survival kit: nylon rope; rubber cement and patching for tent and clothes; sewing kit. Fishing equipment is not essential. Fishing rod, reel, lures are therefore optional.

9/ Soaps: and detergents must be bio-degradable.

10/ A small saw and either an axe or sharp hatchet is essential. However, both should be bought in Canada to avoid Customs difficulties.

11/ Special dietary requirements such as pills and food and specific medicines are the responsibility of the participants. Any physical ailments must be reported to Organizers: e.g. heart, spine or respiratory problems.

12/ All clothing and sleeping bags should be well wrapped in large plastic bags.

Nota Bene: We strongly recommend participants buy good quality equipment, especially cooking utensils, to avoid accidents around the fire. Canadian camping equipment can be purchased more cheaply than in Europe.

Travel Information

1. Plane: arrives either in Toronto or Montreal.

2. Destination by train or bus is SWASTIKA in Northern Ontario. Approx. 600 km from Toronto and 550 km from Montreal. [Bus & train schedules provided upon registration]

3. Overnight accommodations in Toronto: Toronto International Hostel 223 Church Street Toronto, Ont. Canada Tel. 416-358-1848 (it is very close to Union Station.)

4. Contact PERSON in Northern Ontario: (Richard’s Father) Mr. Stan Klich 53 Main St, Kirkland Lake, Ontario Canada P2N 3E2 Tel: 705-567-6351 [From July 20 to Aug 23]

5. On arriving in Canada telephone Mr. Stan Klich to inform us when you are arriving in Swastika. Please arrive either one day prior to or on the first day of Wilderness Wending . Exact dates will be sent to you upon receipt of registration form. All participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from Swastika, either by bus or train or automobile..

6. In Transit: Participants will be picked up either from Swastika or Matachewan. Buses are available at a low price from Swastika to Matachewan.

7. Hidden Costs: for participants in other programmes at Buck Lake be aware that you are fully responsible for transportation costs to and from the Wilderness Wending projects; this includes food on the journey and in emergency situations the costs of accommodations. The Organisers cannot guarantee transportation for everyone to and from the James Bay Frontier. Similarly, we encourage everyone to have adequate health insurance to cover emergency situations.

8. TRAIN & BUS SCHEDULES & MAPS of how to reach the James Bay Frontier will be provided to all registered participants well in advance of your arrivals.

FEES & PERSONAL INFORMATION: See registration forms. Also, every participant must fill out an arrival and departure form which asks you to list any medical or dietary requirements. Unless otherwise arranged registration forms with a 50% deposit must be made by May 15.



Ryszard Nieoczym 9 Inkerman St 3
Toronto Ontario Canada M4Y 1M5
Tel: 416 923 6832

Le Contre-Courant
Nicole Champagne
125 rue Chevriere Quebec Quebec Canada G1K 1G6
T&F: 418 640 0794




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