One of Canada’s most versatile and busy creators, Derek Aasland has produced a substantial body of critically acclaimed works spanning theatre, opera, dance, circus, film and classical music. Derek’s storied stage and film career paved the way into directing, producing and management with some of Canada’s most celebrated organizations.
Recent independent directing credits include the full evening circus La Vie En Swing (La TOHU, Montreal) “The #1 “don’t-miss event in Montreal this weekend. The show has it all: acrobatics, aerial disciplines, juggling and jaw-dropping feats.” – CBC arts reporter Pierre Landry. The double Dora Award nominated The Great Farini Project (Harbourfront Centre, Toronto) “Their energetic, flawless and focused performances literally had audience members drawing in surprised and delighted breaths at times.” –EVI-Dance Radio; Le Livre Des Souhaits (l’ecole national de cirque/TOHU/Auch, France); for the Canadian Opera Company: Don Giovanni (Assistant Dir), Renard (Assistant Dir), Eugene Onegin (Assistant Dir) & Pelléas et Mélisande (Intern Dir), a one hour adaptation of Don Giovanni for the Centre for Opera Studies in Sulmona, Italy.
A respected arts administrator and artistic director, Derek’s most recent posting was as Executive Producer (Artistic Director and General Manager) of the $2.8 million/year Manitoba Theatre for Young People in Winnipeg leading the company through a critical turn-around “…away from a financial cliff….” –(Winnipeg Free Press), with a significant surplus (over $100K) for that season and the following while clearing hundreds of thousands in accumulated payables from the pre-turn around period.
After that project, Derek returned to his role as Artistic Producer with Cinetic Creations to take on the challenge of co-creating/directing and producing The Thirst for Love and Water with Choreographer Sharon B. Moore for the Pan American games in 2015. This project features Cinetic’s signature fusion of circus, dance, and theatre, tailored to the site specific downtown Toronto of the Nathan Phillips Square’s Reflecting Pond. 15,000 spectators are expected per performance. Previous Cinetic Creations projects include picture wide movement design and direction for the $50 million blockbuster Resident Evil: Apocalypse “Undead” a range of television, theatre, dance and circus productions, including Descension: “What follows is an ingenious journey through five Fellini-esque stages of hell. Wyatt descends by ladders from the ceiling into each of them, where he encounters a panoply of horrors, wonders and enticements in what amounts to a fun-filled yet horrifying fever dream that lasts almost an hour.” -John Kendle, Uptown Magazine
As a Composer, Derek has scored works for stage/screen, including premiers by The Brandenburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Theatre Brandenburg Opera (Germany), Youtheatre, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, l’ecole national de cirque, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, & the internationally acclaimed film The Hunt which earned jury nominations at the Dance on Camera Fest at the Lincoln Centre, & Prix à la Création Artistique du Conseil et Arts et des Lettres du Québec. “Stunning.” -Susan Walker, Toronto Star. “Riveting…stunning. The perfect balance of dance, music and film.” -De Telegraaf, Amsterdam
His relationship with dance began as accompanist for companies including The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Contemporary Dancers (Wpg), Ruth Cansfield Dance, & the N. York School Board. He has toured as pianist, playing for some exceptional artists like Maxine Nightingale, jazz great Cathy Segal-Garcia, & violinist Eden Vanning-Rosen (Victor Borge Orch). Derek has composed over 70 pieces for dance, theatre, and concert stage Recent music adaptations include Alberto Iglesias’ Hable con ella into piano concerto for Farfadet’s Last Round (Quebec, Montreal, Winnipeg) and the Balanescu Quartet’s Lullaby Dream.