Artist profile: Josh McIlvain.

Josh McIlvain is presenting SLIDESHOW as part of our Cold Hard Love series, next weekend February 10th and 11th. He is the artistic director of Automatic Arts (, formerly SmokeyScout Productions), an independent performing arts company cofounded in 2008. The company creates and collaborates on original theater, live art installations, performance art and dance with a particular eye on the absurdity of contemporary life, and a directorial emphasis on brilliant acting, bold humor, inventive staging, and a respect for audience intelligence. McIlvain is the curator/creator of (and a contributor to) the Nice and Fresh performing series, which showcases new works of theater, dance and other performing arts (now in its 4th season). In August 2016, the company presented Home Entertainment, an outdoor and indoor live arts extravaganza at the historical Cliveden grounds in Germantown. 

We asked Josh about SLIDESHOW:

Where did you get the idea that gave rise to your show?

I found some old slides at my grandmother's house after she had passed away. They had people I did not know in them at a vacation spot on a lake I did not recognize--but were from a time I would have been a child. That planted the seed about fictionalizing a family story--I later ended up with slides I purchased off of eBay, but that was the inspiration.

What is it about White Pines that made you submit your show to the series Cold Hard Love?

Well, without giving away too much of what happens in the piece, there is a lot about the difficulty of relationships, of all kinds, as well as the disconnection between people, particularly relations.

Do you have a funny love story to share?

A long time ago, I was on a bus with the person I was seeing at the time, kind of a casual rebound relationship, and one I was not feeling all that positive about and a stranger made a comment about how we were a beautiful couple and she could tell it was true love.

What's something special our audience should look for in your show?

If you pay attention to the slides I don't say anything about, you will find that they work as background for a later story. Also, perhaps the most fun thing to do is always look at people's hair and clothes.

Has something funny/surprising occurred as you have been preparing for Cold Hard Love?

Luckily when I was first putting this show together, and had finally memorized the words, and gotten "into character" and attempted to do as showboating character performance, I realized that I had made a huge mistake as to my "character" and began to act much more naturally.

Tickets for SLIDESHOW can be reserved here!

Learn more about Automatic Arts here!