C-Space (Vancouver Creative Space Society) is a collective of theatre and dance companies operating out of a single building on Vancouver’s Eastside.
C-Space’s home is Progress Lab 1422 (PL1422) – a dedicated creation space for production, rehearsal, and development, allowing resident companies to develop their works at scale, over dedicated periods of time, and with the physical and technological resources necessary to experiment and push limits—all within their administrative home.
Both C-Space and PL1422 were founded in a spirit of collaboration with a values-based approach to space management and development. These values include care (for community and the individuals who are a part of it), active and engaged participation, transparency, accountability, collaborative decision making and love of performance.
In 2010, a dream between four kindred theatre organizations was realized: Boca Del Lupo, Electric Company, Neworld Theatre and Rumble Productions opened Progress Lab 1422 (PL1422), a 7,000 square foot centre for theatre creation in East Vancouver.
The purpose of PL1422 is to provide exceptional, readily available, low-cost creative space to the theatre industry and wider arts sector, and to serve as a full-time base for the four partner companies. A long-term, dedicated home for our organizations is an important facet of increasing stability and longevity – essential to our operations and BC’s wider artistic practice.
With a deeply-felt spirit of collaboration, community, and resource-sharing, an innovative and co-operative joint venture was forged. The initiative has quickly drawn keen interest from trade associations, educational and financial institutions, and other “creative hub” enterprises around North America. All of the PL1422 planning documents are shared freely, and while our focus remains on developing our capacity to manage the property, we also aspire to see a set of other “Progress Labs” spring up in BC – however that might happen. The name is a nod to BC’s Progress Lab, an informal network of independent theatre companies, whose energy helped launch the initiative. Another influence was the PS122 performance space in New York City, built out of an abandoned public school.
The building, at 1422 William Street in Vancouver’s Grandview-Woodlands/Commercial Drive neighbourhood, contains a technically equipped 42’ square studio with mezzanine and sprung floor, common assembly space, media/reading room, small scale workshop space, production storage, and kitchen facilities, plus administrative centres for the resident companies and associates. Studio use is determined on a priority basis, with the top priority being show creation, rehearsal, and workshop/development, down to the lowest priorities: performances and parties.
Each tenant company and their staff have brought their individual talents to developing and managing PL1422, from construction design and fundraising, to agreements and policy. PL1422 has provided a great boost to our collective capacity, and it is an achievement that directly benefits the wider community through programming partnerships and affordable rentals.