Thom Sokoloski


Since his training in dance and theatre at LaMama Theatre in New York City, L'Ecole Jacques Lecoq and the Polish Laboratory Theatre in Paris in the early seventies, Thom Sokoloski has gone on to create, direct and produce over one-hundred works in New York City, Paris, Edinburgh, Brussels, Liege, Toronto, Buffalo, Avignon, Strasbourg, Lyon, Amsterdam, Munich, Nancy, Montreal, Vancouver and Glasgow's Barlinnie Prison.

He was one of the founding members of Toronto's The Theatre Centre in 1981, which continues to provide opportunities for young adventurous avant-garde talent, the Native Theatre School and Autumn Leaf Performance. In the eighties he created the acclaimed punk-musical SID’S KIDS and video-dance work KAMIKAZE, then directed five operatic works of R. Murray Schafer, including RA inside the Ontario Science Centre and the 1985 Holland Festival. For Belgium's Ars Musica he staged HERMES TRISMEGISTOS inside an abandoned cirque d'hiver and the 92 World Stage Festival inside Toronto's Union Station at midnight. The GREATEST SHOW, a carnival-opera was set in a public park with over 50 acts and 150 performers. Finally in 1993 he collaborated with media artists David Rokeby and Garine Torossian to create an interactive multi-media adaptation of Schafer’s REQUIEMS FOR THE PARTY GIRL.

He produced Michael Nyman and his Band, composer for Jane Campion's 'Piano' and Ahmed Hassan's dance requiem 14 REMEMBERED, based on the tragic slaying of 14 young women at Montreal's L'École Polytéchnique, at Massey Hall and the famed Master Musicians of Jajouka at Convocation Hall. These works were part of an annual series, Sonic Boom, that commissioned and presented cutting-edge events, including the Banff Centre, Montreal's Chants Libres and Vancouver’s New Music Society, as well as works by John Oswald, and film-music events with Atom Egoyan/Nexus and Peter Mettler/Evergreen Gamelan.

Thom’s artistry explores multi-disciplinary performance experiences. THE ANXIETY OF IMMORTALITY, part installation part performance, inspired by Borges and the Ukrainian Holocaust, was staged throughout the lower floors of the Royal Ontario Museum. The DEATH OF VIRGIL was an immersive opera inspired by novelist Hermann Broch and composer Jean Barraqué with surround sound and video imagery. His electro-acoustic chambre opera ELECTRIC FLESH with music by Wende Bartley premiered at the Opéra de Lyon for the Musique-en-scène Festival 2000 and for the 2003 World Stage Festival, he created KAFKA IN LOVE a multi-media work staged inside the Hart House swimming pool with synchronized swimmers, video projections and water puppets.

"It is fitting that the final opening in what well could be the final edition of the World Stage Festival that Sokoloski steps up to the plate with another of his inventive offerings. This time around, the site is the Hart House Pool. By moving his story outside the confines of the theatre, Sokoloski is able not only to tackle a story that would be all but impossible to tell in a theatre, but to create images of great, if fleeting, beauty." John Coulbourn, The Toronto Sun (April 28, 2003)

In 2000, he produced an unprecedented international tour of Claude Vivier's KOPERNIKUS, an international co-production between the Banff Centre, Opéra de Montréal and the France’s Cultural Department AFAA. The tour included the 2000 Banff Summer Festival, the Musica Festival in Strasbourg, the Huddersfield Festival in England, the Opéra de Montréal and finally Toronto's MacMillan Theatre.

"(Kopernikus is)...a reminder of everything that is brilliant.
" The London Times, November 2000
“A stunning production."
La Presse, April 28, 2001

His film works include a short-film about Tomson Highway for the 1991 Toronto Arts Awards, followed by an opera-film DOWN HERE ON EARTH for Moving Pictures Festival and KAFKA IN LOVE adapted from the performance for BravoFACT! He has consulted for International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPSA) annual conferences in Toronto and Vancouver, designed and organized The 21st Century Music-Theatre & Opera Symposium in 1993 and NEW-OP (The 4th International Meeting of Contemporary Music Theatre and Opera) in 1995. He acted as a consulting producer for Montreal's Coleman & Lemieux Cie latest work with choreography by James Kudelka and counter tenor Daniel Taylor for its world premiere at Danse Danse 05-06 in Montreal and the 2006 Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa.

After garnering a reputation for innovative theatre practices within architectural and public spaces Thom now focuses on conceiving large-scale interactive public artworks. In 2004, he worked with Executive Director Bill Marshall, founder of the Toronto International Film Festival, as Creative Director to launch the McLuhan International Festival of the Future in October 04. He then designed NOMAD, a Desert Music Festival for outside of Dubai. He then produced INTERACTIVE 2005 for the Toronto International Art Fair 2005 that presented fifteen practitioners from Montreal, Toronto and London, England, co-curated with Clara Hargittay.

“Interactive 05 is the brainchild of Thom Sokoloski , a master at blending theatre, architecture and multimedia into a singular experience. Installed in the Convention Centre with the help of an impressive array of galleries and organizations, it features contemporary interactive art and sensory interventions.” Kevin Temple, NOW Magazine,(November 3, 2005)

In 2006 he spoke at Berlin’s Transmediale Festival of Digital and Media Culture (2006) on new public interactive media art and completed a residency at Montreal's La Société des arts technologiques [SAT], through a commission by the National Capital Commission in Ottawa, to design and realize the prototype and plans for THE BALLOONS, his web-based interactive public art work of 150 27-foot wrapped balloon structures for the Rideau Canal. This followed with CONFINEMENT OF THE INTELLECT, a large-scale public participatory installation for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, an homage to the mental health history of Queen Street West, curated by Clara Hargittay. In 2007 he curated for Le Labo d'Art for CONTACT 06 and presented THE ENCAMPMENT (formally Confinement fo the Intellect) in New York City on Roosevelt Island.

Upcoming, is a new large-scale public participatory art work for Westchester Parks’ Art in the Parks entitled The Weeping Boulders.

Since 2006, Thom has worked with Jenny McCowan as his creative and business partner.