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Editors' Choice

DDB Canada's Monster Shadows Depict the Bully in All of Us

DDB North America, 2 years, 11 months ago

Editors' Choice: Vancouver Opera & DDB Canada revitalize opera with street art & theatre production

DDB Canada's Monster Shadows Depict the Bully in All of Us

Vancouver Opera and DDB Canada collaborate with street artists to bring a revolutionary new opera to a younger, more modern audience.

Addressing the flashpoint topic of bullying, Vancouver Opera’s production of Stickboy aims to take opera back to its roots as a place for discussion and realization.  Composed by Neil Weisensel with libretto by spoken-word artist Shane Koyczan, Stickboy is a courageous and visually stunning opera, which explores the inner life of a young boy transformed by bullying.  To promote the show to a younger audience, Vancouver Opera and DDB Canada have created a powerful street art initiative.

“Since its inception, opera has served as a platform for discourse on many aspects of life and society, including topical issues, and we’re proud to continue this tradition by taking on one of the most important issues facing society today:  bullying,” says James Wright, General Director, Vancouver Opera.  “Everyone has met a monstrous bully, or has been a monstrous bully, or has witnessed acts of bullying.  Vancouver Opera’s production of Stickboy and its innovative street art campaign aim to spark dialogue and inspire people to share their stories to shine a light on the monster of bullying.


To draw a younger, more modern audience to the production, Vancouver Opera partnered with DDB Canada to create an awareness campaign that profiles the work of four Vancouver artists: Nick Gregson, Carson Ting, Ben Tour and Ola Volo.  Commissioned to create murals that interpret their own inner bullies as monstrous graffiti shadows, the artists’ work are placed to surprise new audiences in their community around the city of Vancouver

“To reinvent opera, we wanted to emphasize its role in expressing issues that are important to people and to their communities. That’s when we realized that street art might be the perfect medium to talk about this production.  Merging street art with opera may at first feel dichotomous but it is actually giving Vancouverites an entirely new perspective from which to be inspired,” explains Cosmo Campbell, chief creative officer, DDB Canada. “Vancouver’s creative community were eager to jump on board and experiment with these two genres to demonstrate that we all have the potential to be a bully.”

Each mural is tagged, “There’s a monster in all of us,” and encourages people to visit www.stickboyopera.ca to learn more about each monster and Stickboy.  Once on the site, people can explore sketches from each piece, read the artist’s statements and purchase tickets.  Users may also share their own stories about bullying and contribute their own monster interpretations to the gallery.

The awareness initiative also includes a series of provocative posters that confront passers-by with aggressive statements to inspire reflection and empathy for those who are bullied.

Category: Associations , Corporate and social

Genre: Experiential