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Preview Questionnaire: Titus Andronicus – by Seven Siblings Theatre

25 Oct

titus-promo-thumbnailWith Halloween just around the corner, there is no better time to take in Shakespeare’s first, and most gruesome play; Titus Andronicus. Seven Siblings Theatre obliges with a unique and hefty production that promises to be a highlight of the fall theatre season. We had a chance to chat with director Will King about the upcoming production.

What drew you to Titus Andronicus?

I’m a huge advocate for Horror and Thrillers in the theatre. I think it’s a dynamic and visceral form that is too often left for film to explore and I love creating a palpable feeling of suspense. It’s also a tremendous challenge for the actors. We get to play in a world where the stakes are so high, and the experiences are so out of the ordinary that playing them honestly leads to fulfilling and surprising sensations. It’s always the actor’s job to experience their work for the first time, but it’s especially apparent when you must experience things as large as shock, terror, or fury. These feelings and atmospheres stem from a world that is completely detached from our naturalist day-to-day. It creates a memorable and provocative experience and keeps us on our toes.

Do you feel there are any aspects of the play that mirror today’s society? Why is it still relevant?

I think it mirrors anyone who struggles with loss, particularly in a situation that merits a response. We live in a world that values antiheroes. We champion those who stand up against injustice, but seldom question the lengths they go to balance the scales. Tragedy rarely provides an equivalent exchange, and this is what happens when there’s no one to break that cycle. My central question is “how do you honour the death of a child?” Is there retribution that can fill that hole in your heart? Parenthood is a strong theme in the play and I think that relationship grounds their revenge in something worth playing.

You’ve chosen to incorporate puppetry into this production. Tell me about that choice.

The primary reason was to unlock the use of the supernatural. Fantasy helped define our sub-genre of Horror and clarify what tropes to play with throughout the process. It required a lot of diligence from the creative and technical team, but the world we’ve created helps us manifest the themes and story of the play. We’ve steeped the show in a contemporary Roman Mythology. I’m also adamant that each production we create with Seven Siblings offers a new challenge, and puppetry certainly fits the bill!

The cast of this production is quite large by independent theatre standards. How has that facet of the production shaped the work and your vision?

I think it has been a tremendous asset. This ensemble has offered a lot to one another and the power of having this number of collaborators is continually refreshing. The main reason we have such a high number is because doubling doesn’t work as well when you’re manipulating fear and suspense. In Comedy it doesn’t shatter the world, but there’s certainly a realism that Horror demands so I’ve been very conscious about multiple roles for an actor.

There are a million macabre events this time of year; why should Titus Andronicus be at the top of everyone’s list?

Aesthetically, it’s a beautiful world. The space is mythological realm with a military bunker rammed on top of it. We’ve also saturated the play in a delightful Horror nostalgia. But the center of this piece has always been the story, the text work, and the characters. It’s such an incredible collection of flawed human beings. There are no heroes in this play, but everyone is justified in their actions. Morally, I’ll leave it up to the audience to decide who’s right, but it absolutely fascinating to watch them duel.


Titus Andronicus opens this Thursday and runs until November 6th at the Citadel (304 Parliament St). Tickets and details can be found here.

Preview Questionnaire: The Music Man

12 Sep

the-music-man-3-resizedEver wanted to literally step into a classic musical? Theatre lovers will soon have that chance with Talk Is Free Theatre‘s immersive and ambitious production of Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man, which will transform downtown Barrie, Ontario into the song & dance filled streets of River City, Iowa. With audiences being whisked from one city site to another to witness the whimsical tale amongst unsuspecting local residents, as well as a cast of more than 60, including barbershop quartet and full brass band, this promises to be a production to remember.

We had the pleasure of talking with Talk is Free’s Artistic Producer, Arkady Spivak, who conceived this bold staging:

One of your best known productions is Sondheim’s dark and brooding Assassins. The Music Man, by contrast, far more cheerful and wholesome. What drew you to this piece?

My job is to provide a pertinent platform to the company of artists. I actually think Assassins is easier to produce better than The Music Man. When you assemble a company of classically trained, singing actors of high caliber, you know they will put everything they have into a piece like Assassins for many reasons (great parts, rarely done, always pertinent). We have also done a number of esoteric plays and musicals – Anyone Can Whistle in Concert, Floyd Collins, Sunday in the Park with George, and more accessible but troublesome Napoleon in Concert, Darling of the Day as well as over 20 Canadian musicals from many major established writers. It’s easy to mobilize great talents to do those shows.

Someone dared me to do The Music Man. I thought it a major joke first. How would I invite total commitment from the artists I love? I tried to think of a way to do it that would add something new to what others did before us. And I fell in love with the show I barely tolerated in the past.

The Music Man is often celebrated and lampooned by contemporary pop-culture, including The Simpsons and Family Guy. In your opinion, what is it about this work that keeps it alive when so many other musicals from the same era have faded into obscurity?

Oh it is a good show, damn it. When something is as good and successful it is the first thing to be parodied. Let’s say it’s a good thing.

Tell me about the unique staging of this production. What prompted this idea?

Upon reading the libretto I wondered what the show was about. To me, it’s about transformation – personal and that of an entire community. I soon knew that the way to do that show was actually to transform the community. That, and the fact that most characters are running away from the things they are chasing, made me want to move the audience and the action. And because it celebrated a sense of community – we wanted to involve children, non professional adults and celebrity cameos into the story. All in all, it’s a 60 person show. It’s pretty much an entire city playing a city.

What have the greatest challenges related to this staging been? What have been the most positive surprises or discoveries?

The greatest challenge is the unknown factor for everyone. No two performances will be the same from an aesthetic point of view. When it gets dark, who is on the street, whether it rains (and we have all sorts of contingencies).  As we are performing in a living city, some people walking through the scenes will not know they are in a show.

The biggest challenge is for the cast. Acting is volatile. Singing is even more volatile. Singing around unsuspecting pedestrians, without anything to hide behind makes it even more volatile. You can imagine what kind of brave actors this required. And the creative team have been consistently superb.

The greatest surprise is about how excited people get when they hear singing even though it totally interrupts their work or passage to wherever they need to go. Commercial musicals pay thousands for a chorus like this. We just blatantly use unsuspecting pedestrians.

The size of your cast and creative team is just as notable. Tell me about the experience of working with, and the desired effect of so many “moving parts”.

We were onsite today for the first time. We all found this liberating. No one solves more challenges better than the talented artists. They should be on every corporate board.

You referred to “unsuspecting local residents”. How do you feel the citizens of Barrie will react to this production?

Who doesn’t like to be a star?

If you had to pick a favourite number from the show, what would it be?

I like how we staged and reinterpreted Marion the Librarian especially. It’s sexy and satirical, in equal measure.

Any plans/daydreams to mount other shows in a similar manner and scale?

Here you are, attending my wedding and asking me what my next one will look like.

The Music Man opens this Wednesday, September 14th. Tickets (which are expected to be in high demand) and more info can be found on the Talk is Free website here.


Preview Questionnaire: Life Records

19 Aug

tumblr_inline_oaz5x84IRf1re4fig_540Last year, writer, comedian, and story-teller Rhiannon Archer caught the attention of the many with her critically-lauded Fringe show, Life Records; a musical and biographical trip through some of Archer’s most memorable life moments. Good news for those who missed it: Archer, with the support of Pressgang Theatre, is presenting a revamped edition of the show at Bad Dog Theatre. In anticipation of this remount, we had the pleasure of asking Rhiannon a few questions about her show and the themes that inform it.

Tell me a about your show.

Life Records is a comical, heartwarming and honest solo show about the songs that make their way into our life and become the “soundtrack” to our memories. This eclectic show is filled with true stories and the songs that bring them to life. From poetic revenge for a bully to merciful theft – laugh, cry, and reminisce with these classic hits from a silly life.

Do you feel the piece has evolved since your 2015 Fringe Production?

I am not sure if it has evolved but I have. When I did Life Records in the 2015 Fringe, I was 4 months pregnant. So you can imagine I am a changed person. I feel I am more relaxed and less scripted. I have learned to embrace myself and be true to myself. However, I have swapped out some stories because I feel I have more fun telling the new ones.

Why do you feel music plays such an important part of our emotional memories?

It plays an important part because music can affect your mode or tone instantly.  A melody can make you feel something faster than words I feel. And since music is everywhere and sometimes we have no control over it, I feel its a great tool to convey the randomness and silliness of life.

What’s on your playlist right now and how is it reflective of your life?

Ha ha! I really have 2 playlists going. 1) All the music that go along with my 8 month-old’s toys and 2) My son’s night time sleepy music which is Andrew Bird, Chris Bathgate, Wilco, Ella Fitzgerald……. and Raffi.

What’s your #1 guilty pleasure song?

Ugh…… Sorry by Justin Beiber. My sister in law got me hooked and ugh I just love it.

Life Records only runs three nights (August 19th, 20th, and 21st) so catch it while you can! Details are available at


Summerworks Preview Questionnaire: 4 1/2 (ig)noble truths

2 Aug

412ignobletruths-400x500Your Name: Thomas McKechnie

Your Production: 4 1/2 (ig)noble truths

Your Role: Writer/Performer

Tell me a bit about your show: 4 1/2 (ig)nobles truths is a performance lecture on clinical depression. It’s not a educational pamphlet that your doctor gives you. It is an attempt to be something more and different than that. The language of medicine halts at the provable. In the theatre we start with the ineffable, the metaphorical, the spiritual. The show is an attempt to express depression, not how it is, but how it feels, what it’s like. It’s an attempt to take the screaming, incoherent, anger and fear inside of me and give it enough form that it can be understood. To name it. There is a belief in certain folk customs that if you know the true name of a demon you have power over it. The show is trying to “Name” depression.

What else are you excited to see at this year’s festival? Trompe la Mort; or Goriot in the 21st Century, No Fun, Plucked, Naked Ladies, This is August

One of the great challenges of the independent performing arts is arguably to reach and engage the general public. If logistics and budget weren’t a consideration, what would be the craziest scheme you could think of to attract new theatre-goers?

Free tickets for everything. Theatre that pays equity wages, that has a meaningful design budget, that has sufficient rehearsal time often doesn’t come anywhere near recouping. What’s the point in charge $20 for a ticket in order to make 10% of your budget in ticket sales. Make everything free, let folks who don’t have access otherwise see theatre. Let people who think they know what theatre is from one bad experience in high school see what theatre can be.

Summerworks pieces are often socially and politically minded. If you had to write a musical about Donald Trump but could not include any part of his name in the title, what would it be called?

I refuse to answer this questions as it will simply add one more hit to his name online which I don’t need on my conscious.

Summerworks Preview Questionnaire: Daughter

1 Aug

Daughter-400x500Your Name: Jivesh Parasram

Your Production: Daughter

Your Role: Co-Creator

Tell me a bit about your show:

You know those friends you have? Pretty nice guys… but something’s just not right. Daughter is about a guy like that. He’s done so many bad things in his life, and gotten away with it. But he loves his Daughter, and just wants to do right by her. But so what? Does that mean he’s changed?

Despite all the privilege men maintain – do they actually need to change? Where are the consequences for not changing? Boys will be boys, right?

We stopped asking the question – why is this a thing? Focusing more on how is this a reality?

What else are you excited to see at this year’s festival?

There’s a lot. Certainly I’m biased on Situational Anarchy by Graham Isador, which Pandemic is co-producing and I’m collaborating with Tom Arthur Davis on the Direction.

Gabriel Dharmoo’s Imaginary Anthropologies. Absolutely must see. I saw this at PuSh this year, and it was 100% my Jams.

Keith Barker’s This is how we got here put on by Continuum and New Harlem – Keith is a phenomenal writer when it comes to speaking with real heart.

Andrea Scott’s piece Don’t talk to Me Like I’m your Wife – A piece about Mata Hari, plus I’m always interested to see Andrea’s work.

Bleeders – This is a big collaboration including d’bi young & Waleed Abdulhamid (who both worked Emancipation of Ms. Lovely with Ngozika & Pandemic last year)

Mr Shi and His Lover, this is the first Mandarin performance at Summerworks. Super psyched for that. I’ve yet to get to see Njo Kong Kie’s composition work yet, despite the fact that we run into each other literally everywhere.

Extremophiles, Georgina Beatty’s new piece. I heard the concept. Read the concept. It’s amazing.

Two Indians by Falen Johnson – I saw an early version of the idea at Wrecking Ball a while back. It was awesome then, so as a full play I can’t wait.

The Unbelievers by LACE productions. I’ve had a chance to check out a couple early workshops and it was great then. Shadi Shahkhalili is performing in it, and I had a great time working with her while we were workshopping They Say He Fell at Canadian Stage.

Naked Ladies – again, I read the concept. I loved it. I’ve heard amazing things about this show.

4/12 ignoble truths – Great subject matter. Great team. We were joking with them that based on the promo image he should join up with us and we can have 3 shows covering every bodily fluid possible.

In UTERO OUT – I saw some of the images from these folks. It’s some stellar shadow work. And I LOVE shadow work.

And a lot of the ancillary stuff that Joe Recinos and SLIP is putting on. A lot of it is very forward thinking. The Pecha Kucha in particular.

Did I list everything? There’s a lot. Those are even just the ones off the top of my head. I’m making my full list tonight. It’s really a solid line up.

One of the great challenges of the independent performing arts is arguably to reach and engage the general public. If logistics and budget weren’t a consideration, what would be the craziest scheme you could think of to attract new theatre-goers?

Well if we wanna get full out unbridled – it would be a travelling cart and pony show. All the time. I remember when I was a kid in Trinidad, this South Asian Dance company rolled in and put on this amazing Ramayana performance with just flood lights and these massive cut outs as props. I loved it. My family very much has been in the thick of that style for a while, though not for theatre per say. More as Pandits and religious singers. I think if I could have a ton of cash I would focus on just that. The art, and the ritual of art, should ideally be free or as accessible as possible – so, I’d bring it to communities. Roll up with the necessities and do the show in a courtyard. Or backyard. Or side of the road. Wherever, really.

But if we’re talking not unlimited money, I’d dedicate a lot of the time to finding like minded organizations working on organizing around the themes we’re exploring. It’s kind of like what we’re doing with the White Ribbon Campaign on Daughter. Ultimately we were against just fundraising so we wanted a portion to go to an organization that was proactively doing the vital work that we can only touch on through the art. We’ll be continuing to collect for them throughout the show.

Further to the ideal though. We’d wanna work with them to find the right times to do it, and provide necessary transport and accessibility options. Next time hopefully, since this is still a workshop production, so I’m glad that Adam Lazarus has started the conversation.

Summerworks pieces are often socially and politically minded. If you had to write a musical about Donald Trump but could not include any part of his name in the title, what would it be called?

I’d rather not even throw that guy any more attention than he gets. But if I had to, I’d probably go with something like Xenophobic Ignorant Neoliberal Contradiction: a musical tragedy

Summerworks Preview Questionnaire: Plucked

30 Jul

Plucked-400x600Your Name: Rachel Ganz

Your Production: Plucked

Your Role: Writer

Tell me a bit about your show: Plucked is about a farm where women turn to chickens and men farm their eggs. It experiments with comedic absurdities and music balanced with a dramatic narrative riddled with truths, weaving in the audience’s involvement while keeping them a little afraid. The show questions the female relationship to fear as it toys with our minds, bodies and family lives.

What else are you excited to see at this year’s festival? 4 1/2 ignoble truths by Thomas Mchecknie and Adam Lazarus’ Daughter are my two must sees.

One of the great challenges of the independent performing arts is arguably to reach and engage the general public. If logistics and budget weren’t a consideration, what would be the craziest scheme you could think of to attract new theatre-goers?

I’d use social media to write a play throughout the city, implementing various institutions as site specific destinations for “events” or shows. It’d almost be like Pokemon Go but it’d be the entire city implemented in a fictional drama, carried by Facebook personalities. I’ve written a small Facebook play once before (Engaged, September 2015) but I often fantasize about making it bigger, drawing in young crowds who are implemented off site beforehand.

Summerworks pieces are often socially and politically minded. If you had to write a musical about Donald Trump but could not include any part of his name in the title, what would it be called?

This Ending Won’t End

Check into Chelsea Hotel

18 Jan

ChelseaHotel-photo by Mat Simpson-sm

Credit: Mat Simpson

David Bowie’s sudden passing last week serves as a stark reminder that our cherished musical legends ought not to be taken for granted. One can be thankful that Canada’s own unofficial musical poet-laureate, Leonard Cohen, is still with us – and just as influential as ever. Case in point, Firehall Arts Centre‘s production, Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen (presented by Theatre 20 with the support of Theatre Passe Muraille) which is going to be taking over the mainstage at Theatre Passe Muraille from February 3rd to 21st.

This theatrical cabaret homage to the master songwriter set in New York’s famous hotel of the same name has been selling out and picking up rave reviews everywhere it goes, so it’s fair to say Torontonians are in for a real treat. Full details in the press release after the break.

Opens February 4 and runs to February 21, 2016 (Previews February 3)
Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, 16 Ryerson Avenue, Toronto
Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30 pm; Matinees Saturday-Sunday at 2:00 pm & Feb. 18 at 1:00 pm, with an additional special show on Valentine’s Day, Sunday February 14 at 7:30pm

Regular Tickets range from $35-$55; Discounted Tickets: Artsworker with valid I.D. – $30; Under 30 with valid I.D. – $25

Tickets can be purchased by calling 416-504-7529 or by visiting or in person at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Avenue.



Theatre 20 (with the support of Theatre Passe Muraille) presents
the Toronto premiere of
Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen
A Firehall Arts Centre Production

Leonard Cohen’s powerful and inspirational music is the heartbeat of this eclectic cabaret of loves won and lost. With extraordinary arrangements, six performers play seventeen instruments in this rollicking tribute to the remarkable writer.

The central character has locked himself up in the Chelsea Hotel as he struggles to write about love – how he’s looked at it over the years, what he’s learned, who he’s hurt, who’s hurt him. Chelsea Hotel is not about Leonard Cohen, but is a celebration of his work.

Through Cohen’s transcendent songs and lyrical honesty, be transported to New York’s infamous hotel – a place full of music and enchantment, desire and passion.

Chelsea Hotel is directed and conceived by Tracey Power with musical direction and arrangements by Steven Charles. It stars Rachel Aberle, Sean Cronin, Christina Cuglietta, Benjamin Elliot, Jonathan Gould & Tracey Power.

Since premiering at Vancouver’s Firehall Arts Centre in 2012, this beautifully inventive show has made stops in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Calgary, Victoria, Vernon, Banff, Fort McMurray, and returned to Vancouver again before playing Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre until January 24. Audiences and critics have raved:

“This is a seductive evening of rediscovered treasures. Even if you are not a Cohen fan, go see this one.” – Edmonton Sun (2016)

“The production reminds us just how good these songs are…. Chelsea Hotel delivers.” – Calgary Herald (2015)

Chelsea Hotel brings together some of the most beautiful, melancholic and affecting songs in the history of recorded music. ” – Winnipeg Free Press (2014)

Chelsea Hotel is a knockout…. The harmonies are as thick as cabaret smoke and the performers exhale them with astonishing ease.” – Georgia Straight (Vancouver, 2012)


SLIP Into This

16 Jan

slipAward-winning collective Circlesnake Productions are back with SLIP, a whodunit that is more Memento than Miss Marple. With a stellar line up of talent behind it, SLIP promises to be one of the more notable indie productions this winter season.

January 22nd to February 7th. The Box, 89 Niagara, near King and Bathurst. Full details in the press release below.


Circlesnake Productions at The Box

Presents the world premiere of


Circlesnake Productions examines memory loss, identity, and storytelling in its new collaboratively created production Slip, running January 22nd to February 7th at The Box, 89 Niagara St.

WINNER: Best Independent Production for Dark Matter from My Entertainment world

“A must see… Dark Matter is more enjoyable and emotional than Heart of Darkness

without losing the damning commentary of Conrad’s classic” Kelly Bedard

Slip follows Detective Lynn Barrett as she tries to piece together a mysterious death, while trying to hold on to her fading memory. Her attempts to uncover the truth are interrupted by increasingly intrusive memories that interact with the narrative of the murder. Lynn struggles to discern reality from memory and memory from fiction and risks fading into obsolescence and mental decay.

Slip continues Circlesnake’s unique process of creating work through structured improvisation and collective writing. Previous Circlesnake collaborators return, including Mikaela Dyke, Daniel Pagett and director Alec Toller. Toller also directs the award winning troupe Sex T-Rex, winner of numerous awards including the Just For Laughs Best English Comedy award.

“A terrific production of a terrifying, unsettling play” – Lynn Slotkin on Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?


Alec Toller Director – Alec Toller is the artistic director of Circlesnake Productions, for which he directed Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?, Dark Matter, Special Constables, and Angel City. Alec also directs for Sex T-Rex, including their award winning productions of Swordplay: A Play of Swords, Watch out Wildkat, and Callaghan. Alec also directed the feature-length comedy Play the Film which won numerous awards across several continents.

Alex Paxton-Beesley Writer/performer – Alex’s work includes Festen (Company Theatre), Copper (BBC America), BURNT GRASS (TIFF Short Cuts 2014), MALODY (Canada’s Top Ten 2012) Murdoch Mysteries (CBC), and dozens of credits in film & television.

Mikaela Dyke Writer/performer – For Circlesnake, Mikaela wrote and performed in Dark Matter and Special Constables. Her solo shows, Dying Hard and Epic Pitch, have toured all across North America and won multiple critical and audience awards. She also has an extensive comedy resume and has appeared at cabarets in New York, Ottawa, Victoria, Winnipeg and Toronto. Other credits include: Jewel (Take the Shot) and Tony Ho’s Peak Falls (Bad Dog Theatre).

Daniel Pagett Writer/performer – For Circlesnake, Daniel acted in Angel City. Daniel Pagett is a Toronto-Based Actor, Director, and Playwright, most recently known for starring in Jeremy Taylor’s Big Plans at the Storefront Theatre. At the Storefront, he has also directed Claudia Dey’s Trout Stanley and Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker. Daniel is a member of Theatre Brouhaha and Red One Theatre Collective.

Anders Yates Writer/performer – Anders Yates has performed across North America and Europe with his multiple Canadian Comedy Award nominated troupe Uncalled For. With Uncalled For he has co-created and performed in such shows as Today Is All Your Birthdays, Hypnogogic Logic, and Playday Mayday. Other stage credits include Slap Shot Live! (Second City), Humans (Tableau d’Hote), Forbidden Zone (Hanakengo) and Dance Animal (Robin Henderson Productions). Anders is an alumni of the Second City National Touring Company and a current member of the Bad Dog Repertory Players. He can be seen on TV in Helix (Sony Pictures Television/Syfy), Murdoch Mysteries (Shaftesbury Films/CBC) and Saving Hope (Entertainment One/CTV). He currently teaches improv with the Bad Dog Theatre Company.

Paloma Nuñez Writer/performer – Over the past 10 years Paloma has worked extensively in theatre, film, tv and improvisation at Bad Dog Theatre and Second City. Recent credits include, Second City Touring Company, the Golden Globe Best Picture nominee Spotlight (Anonymous Content Productions), and The Strain (FX).


Run January 22nd to February 7th,

Thurs – Sun @ 8pm, and Sun @ 2pm


Thursday Jan 21 @ 8pm (Preview)

Friday Jan 22 @ 8pm (Opening)

Saturday Jan 23 @ 8pm

Sunday Jan 24 @ 2pm & 8pm

Thursday Jan 28 @ 8pm

Friday Jan 29 @ 8pm

Saturday Jan 30 @ 8pm

Sunday Jan 31 @ 2pm & 8pm

Thursday Feb 4 @ 8pm

Friday Feb 5 @ 8pm

Saturday Feb 6 @ 8pm

Sunday Feb 7 @ 2pm & 8pm


The Box, 89 Niagara, near King and Bathurst.


$20 at the door or online at

$10/PWYC Sunday matinee performances.




My Entertainment World Awards 2015:

WINNER – Dark Matter – Best Independent Production

WINNER – Kat Letwin, Dark Matter – Best Actress

NOMINEE – Mikaela Dyke, Dark Matter – Best Supporting Actress

NOMINEE – Ensemble, Dark Matter – Best Ensemble



“This is some of the most provocative, beautifully realized theatre in the city.”

– Lynn Slotkin, Slotkin Letter, on Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? and the Caryl Churchill Playwright Project

“Under the direction of Alec Toller, the pacing never lags! Never! I can’t recall even a single dull moment”

– Istvan Dugalin, Mooney on Theatre on Special Constables

“Despite the genre and subject matter, the script doesn’t rely on spaceship tech-speak or nihilistic doom-and-gloom, instead creating believable, accessible characters in an otherworldly setting”

– Carly Maga, The Grid on Dark Matter

Befriend this Enemy

8 Oct

Enemy_Final_webGood news for Toronto theatre-goers! Tarragon Theatre is bringing back one of their smash hits and multi Dora Award nominated shows, An Enemy of the People (read our review here). There have been a few tweaks to the casting since the 2014 production, most notably with Laura Condlln taking over the traditionally male lead role of Dr. Stockmann. Those who missed this brilliant work of social commentary the first time around are well advised to get tickets – especially with it so perfectly coinciding with and echoing aspects of the current federal election. In previews now and officially opens on the 14th. More details in the press release below.

Tarragon Theatre remounts last years’ huge critical and popular success – An Enemy of the People  – but with a decided twist. This years’ incarnation stars Laura Condlln in the role of Dr. Stockmann, originally written as a male character.

With the gender switch, key familial relationships change in this English-language rendition of Florian Borchmeyer’s and Thomas Ostermeier’s celebrated Schaubühne (Berlin) adaptation and production of the Henrik Ibsen classic.

Dr. Stockmann makes the shocking discovery that the town’s local baths are contaminated with industrial waste. But to go public with it will spell the end of the town’s prosperity. With reputations and relationships at stake, Dr. Stockmann must choose the right course of action. Censored scientists, environmental crises, the pitfalls of democracy and anarchist manifestos – An Enemy of the People is as alive now as it was in 1882.

When Tarragon presented its powerful version last season, it received critical and audience raves.

With other new cast members David Fox, Kyle Mac and Lyon Smith joining returning actors Tom Barnett, Tamara Podemski and Rick Roberts, it promises to be one of the most exciting productions of the theatre season once again.

An Enemy of the People

By Henrik Ibsen
Adapted by Florian Borchmeyer
Originally adapted for the Schaubühne (Berlin)
English translation by Maria Milisavljevic
Toronto staging by Richard Rose
Starring Tom Barnett, Laura Condlln, David Fox, Kyle Mac, Tamara Podemski, Rick Roberts and Lyon Smith
Set and Costume Design by Michelle Tracey
Lighting Design by Jason Hand
Sound Design by Thomas Ryder Payne

Opens October 14 and runs to November 1, 2015 (Previews from October 7)

Tarragon Theatre’s Mainspace, 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto, M5R 1X3

Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm; Saturday & Sunday at 2:30pm; Wed matinees on Oct 14, 21, 28 at 1:30pm

Tickets can be purchased by calling Tarragon Patron Services at 416.531.1827 or by visiting


Preview: Dusk Dances Festival

31 Jul

Credit: John Lauener

Credit: John Lauener

Let’s be honest, in the summer months it feels like you can’t throw a tennis ball without hitting a site specific production of Shakespeare set in one of Toronto’s public parks. Nothing against the Bard, but a little variety never hurt either. Fortunately those who may enjoy the experience of taking in the performing arts under a clear summer night’s sky and are looking for said variety might be wise to check out the Dusk Dances Festival – an evening of short contemporary dance pieces (don’t worry, no Ode to Grecian Urns here) performed in Withrow Park – just a short walk from the Pape or Chester subway stations. The festival runs from August 3rd to 9th. Tickets are pay-what-you-can ($10 suggested donation). More details in the press release below.


The 21st Dusk Dances Festival returns to Withrow Park this summer with another week of exciting and entertaining dance works from Canada’s finest dance makers including Esmeralda Enrique, Danny Grossman, Sylvie Bouchard & Marie-Josée Chartier, and Lua Shayenne.

Over the weeklong Festival, four-10 minute pieces will be presented, plus the new addition of a final 30-minute work (evenings only) by renowned choreographer Tedd Robinson for Cloud 9. Founded by Sylvie Bouchard (Dusk Dances and BoucharDanse), Karen Kaeja (Kaeja d’Dance) and Claudia Moore (MOonhORsE Dance Theatre), Cloud 9 commissions choreographers to create masterful ensemble works for dancers over 45 years of age.

Each performance, hosted by the genial Brad Brackenridge who guides the audience around the site, begins with the Cuban sounds of Guaracha Y Son and a free outdoor Salsa class with master teacher Miko Sobriera. The Dance programme includes:

Performed by: Esmeralda Enrique (dancer), Nicolás Hernández (guitarist), and Tamar Ilana (singer)

RECUERDOS speaks to the strength and fluidity of memories.  The cycle of life repeats itself and memories reoccur in the next generation.  History is providing a chance at redemption, a journey that can be heartbreaking or rewarding; a journey of discovery.  Premieres this year at Dusk Dances.

Performed by: Michael Caldwell and Meredith Thompson

BELLA was inspired by the opera music of Puccini and a mutual love of Marc Chagall.  In 1977 Danny Grossman and Judy Jarvis set out to make a duet for themselves on top of, under and around a table. When Mary Kerr arrived to design the sets and costumes, she took her inspiration from the Chagall images they had been inspired by and created a beautiful painted horse as the centerpiece for this charming love duet.  First premiered at Dusk Dances 2007.

Performed by: Sylvie Bouchard and Marie-Josée Chartier
Photinus appearance by: Michael Caldwell, Live insect-o-sonics: Philip Strong

Twin fireflies get separated at birth. After a journey apart, they find each other again, in a cluster of trees, at Withrow Park. See how they grow to become photuris versicolor, or as they like to call themselves, “femmes fatales!”  World Premiere this year at Dusk Dances.

Performed by: Miranda Liverpool, Kassi Scott, Natasha Phanor, Lua Shayenne and Shireen Ali,
Drummers: Yohan Franics, Walter MacLean

MURMURE DE FEMME | WOMAN’S WHISPER is an ode to femininity:
Born to bear the weight of ceaseless adversities
I am she
Stalled in cyclic time
I remain – a woman
Rest your back against mine
Learn the rhythm of my breath
Listen carefully to every pulse in my veins
Memorize the cadence of my heart
In the flux of tempo and beats
We rise as one soul
Lua Shayenne
Premieres this year at Dusk Dances.

Performed by: Karen Kaeja, Graham Mckelvie, Claudia Moore, Ron Stewart and Linnea Swan

MOonhORsE Dance Theatre presents a Cloud 9 commission- DISCONCERTANTE
– by award-winning choreographer Tedd Robinson, winner of the 2014 Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts. This 30-minute ensemble work to the music of Chopin is beautiful, magical, touching, comical, theatrical and captivating.
Premiered in June 2013 in partnership with Young Centre for the Performing Arts, premieres this year at Dusk Dances. *Please note: DISCONCERTANTE will not be performed at the matinée performances

South of Danforth between Logan and Carlaw (Chester Subway Station)
Nightly Performances: August 3-9, 2015
Opening Band and Salsa class start at 6:45pm
Dance Performances start at 7:30pm
Matinée Performances: Thursday, August 6 & Sunday, August 9
Opening Band and Salsa class start at 1:45pm
Dance Performances start at 2:30pm
Pay-What-You-Can: Suggested donation $10 per person
More info: or call 416.504.6429 X24
FB/DuskDances@duskdances #DuskDances2015

Panamania: Week 2!

17 Jul

We were busy covering the beautiful madness that is the Toronto Fringe Festival last week, but now that it has wrapped up we cast our attention to the other massive arts festival currently bringing the city to life; Panamania (the cultural festival associated with the ongoing Pan Am Games). With legendary Canadian artists like Rick Miller and Robert Lepage premiering new theatrical works, and international fan favourites like The Flaming Lips playing free concerts, Panamania is a gold medal performance it its own right.

Here is a handy tip sheet of everything going on over the next few days. Full details can be found on the Panamania website. Get out there and see something!




12:30pm – Rafael & Energia Dominicana

5:30pm – Tkaranto Bounce

6pm – Adonis Puentes & the Voice of Cuba Orchestra

7:30pm – Alexander Abreu y Havana D’Primera

8:15pm – Chico Trujillo

9:15pm – Greta Hodgkinson in Venom

9:45pm – Alexander Abreu y Havana D’Primera



1pm – Juan de Marcos & Afro Cuban All Stars

2:30pm – Nelson Tagoona

3pm – Dextrous One

5pm – Devin Cuddy Band

6:30pm – Colin James

8pm – The Arsenals



12:30pm – Ash & Bloom

3:30pm – Jeremy Ledbetter & CaneFire

5:30pm – Chloe Charles

7:30pm – Kytami

9:45pm – Eva Avila



OPENING NIGHT – LEO is a mind-bending, funny, surreal, and surprisingly touching work that

challenges the senses and tests perceptions of reality through a solo physical theatre piece that combines the clever interplay of acrobatics and high tech video projection.

7pm Leo Fleck Dance Theatre at Harbourfront Centre (WP) $ Runs until July 19.


THE POSTMAN follows Canada’s first African-Canadian postman, Albert Jackson, on his original route in the Annex. This site-specific presentation tells the story of Mr. Jackson’s journey to overcome racial protest and rise to his ultimate position at Canada Post.

7pm – The Postman at Harbord Street and Albert Jackson Lane in the Annex, (WP) $ Runs until July 26.


IT COMES IN WAVES is an interactive¾audience members canoe to Gibraltar Point¾site specific performance exploring communal rituals around loss and grief.

7:40pm – It Comes In Waves at Artscape Gibraltar Point at Toronto Island (WP) $ Runs until July 24.


887 explores the concept of memory in the digital age of data storage and how theatre and art is still relevant today. Created by internationally renowned director/playwright/actor Robert Lepage.

8pm – 887 at St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts (WP) $ Runs until July 19.


World premiere of THE WATERSHED by Annabel Soutar and directed by Chris Abraham, follows an artist and a country struggling to chart a sustainable course between economic growth and environmental stewardship. Co-produced by Crow’s Theatre and Porte Parole.

8pm – The Watershed at Berkeley Street Theatre (WP) $ Runs until July 19.


Upon learning of the staggering statistics of people who will be displaced because of the rising sea levels caused by climate change, theatre artist Ravi Jain found himself asking: “what can I do?” Inspired by the ancient text of the great Indian epic: the Mahabharata, GIMME SHELTER questions our responsibility to action when facing problems that seem too big to solve.

8pm – Gimme Shelter at Young Centre for the Performing Arts (WP) $ Runs until July 18.



World premiere unveiling, CHALLENGE AND TRIUMPH BY DAVID M. GENERAL – At the 1907

Boston Marathon, Canadian long distance runner Tom Longboat smashed the previous world record by a whopping five minutes. An inspiration to Aboriginal and Canadian people, sculptor David M. General has created a tribute to Longboat to his legacy as a Canadian sport icon.

10am – Challenge and Triumph by David M. General at Ontario’s Celebration Zone (WP). Runs until Saturday, August 15.



In celebration of the culture and artistry of the 41 participating Pan Am countries, the Textile Museum of Canada has brought together 41 artists from each country to create unique, captivating sails. Comprised of renowned, emerging, and mid-career artists, these carefully selected designs will animate Lake Ontario with colourful demonstrations of rich cultural diversity, honouring the Pan Am Sailing events.

5:30pm – Watercolour – Sailboats leave from the Ontario Celebration Zone at Harbourfront Centre, and head east toward Sugar Beach.


INTERNATIONS/ INTERSECTIONS BY PLANET INDIGENUS 2015, large-scale installations that depict modes of transport by contemporary First Nation artists. The exhibit will be held at the Aboriginal Pavilion at Fort York.

10am – InterNations/InterSections by Planet IndigenUS 2015 at Aboriginal Pavilion at Fort York

National Historic Site (WP) Runs until August 9.


THE POWER PLANT presents Toronto artists Nadia Belerique, Lili Huston-Herterich, and Laurie Kang and collectives Bik Van der Pol, Tecerunquito, and YES! Association/ Föreningen JA! Juxtaposing. The artists work together for the first time to investigate intrinsic playfulness and performativity of objects and photographs in their individual artistic practices, ultimately offering temporality as an instinctual means of organizing individuals non-hierarchially. The exhibit runs from June 19th to September 7th, at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.

10am – The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. Runs until Saturday, August 15.


REQUIEM OF WATER by Meaghan Ogilvie is an act of remembrance to the spirit of water that has been forgotten. Ogilvie was inspired by the Anishinaabe culture and their women’s responsibility to the maintenance and respect of water. She contends that the goal of the REQUIEM OF WATER exhibit is to heighten public awareness and encourage thoughtful responsibility towards our precious water resources and the role we play in caring for them.

10am – Requiem of Water: Underwater Photo and Video Exhibition at Brookfield Place (WP) Runs until August 14.


WATER’S EDGE, Six internationally renowned fine art photographers, each originating from a Pan Am country, come together for this world premiere, curated by No. 9, a Toronto arts organization that raises awareness for environmental concerns. The exhibition will be held at Union Station Great Hall and Pearson International Airport from July 10 – August 15, and it explores the integral yet tenuous relationship we have with our natural water supplies.

10am – W at er ’s Edg e – Union Station and Toronto International Airport (WP) Runs until Saturday, August 15.


YOUNG WORLD FACES OF PAN AM from July 10 – August 15 Commerce Court at 199 Bay Street will hold large-scale portrait photographs featuring 41 Torontonian women who have family backgrounds reflecting the diversity of the 41 participating nations and territories.

10am – YOUNG World Faces of Pan Am at Commerce Court West (WP) Runs until Saturday, August 15.



OPENING NIGHT – LIMITLESS, Starring the young and talented Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli, ILL- Abilities™ is an international breakdance crew featuring differently-abled dancers across the Americas with the goal of spreading inspiration and positivity from their message, “No Excuses, No Limits!”

7:30pm – Limitless at Young Centre for the Performing Arts $ Runs until Saturday, July 18



SMARTER. FASTER. TOUGHER. AN EXHIBITION ON SPORTS, FASHION + TECH, The diverse world of sports permeates every aspect of our lives from health, fashion and culture to technology, design and architecture. From parkas to wetsuits, this exhibition showcases the evolution of sportswear technology.

11am – Smarter. Faster. Tougher. An Exhibition on Sports, Fashion + Tech by Design Exchange

(WP) $ Runs until October 12.




2pm – The Souljazz Orchestra

3pm – Danny Michel & The Garifuna Collective

5pm – Grupo Fantasma

6pm – Torreblanca

7pm – Victory Celebrations

7:30pm – Los Amigos Invisibles

9pm – Greta Hodgkinson in Venom

9:30pm – Amon Tobin



12pm – Urban Fusion

12:35pm – Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli & Nico Archambault

1pm – Rafael & Energía Dominicana

3:30pm – Ron Davis’ Symphronica with The Lombard Twins

5:30pm – Kytami

6:30pm – Kiesza



1pm – Jay Douglas & The All Stars

3pm – Chantel Collado

5:30pm – Jackie Richardson

7:30pm – The Arsenals

9:45pm – Molly Johnson



1pm & 7pm – Leo Fleck Dance Theatre at Harbourfront Centre (WP) $ Runs until July 19.

2pm & 8pm – The Watershed at Berkeley Street Theatre (WP) $ Runs until July 19.

7pm – The Postman at Harbord Street and Albert Jackson Lane in the Annex, (WP) $ Runs until July 26.

7:40pm – It Comes In Waves at Artscape Gibraltar Point at Toronto Island (WP) $ Runs until July 24.

8pm – 887 at St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts (WP) $ Runs until July 19.

8pm – Gimme Shelter at Young Centre for the Performing Arts (WP) $ Runs until July 18.



10am – Challenge and Triumph by David M. General at Ontario’s Celebration Zone (WP). Runs until Saturday, August 15.

10am – InterNations/InterSections by Planet IndigenUS 2015 at Aboriginal Pavilion at Fort York National Historic Site (WP) Runs until August 9.

10am – The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. (WP) Runs until Saturday, August 15.

10am – Requiem of Water: Underwater Photo and Video Exhibition at Brookfield Place (WP) Runs until Aug 14.

10am – W at er ’s Edg e – Union Station and Toronto International Airport (WP) Runs until Saturday, August 15.

10am – YOUNG World Faces of Pan Am at Commerce Court West (WP) Runs until Saturday, August 15.



7:30pm – Limitless at Young Centre for the Performing Arts $ Runs until Saturday, July 18.




Experience the beauty of the Caribbean as its colours and essence come to life through fashion and design. The Cuttin’ Style Caribbean Gala is a ticketed event of Haute Couture Caribbean design and dinner, hosted by Project Runway Season 9 winner Anya Ayong-Chee.

8pm – Cut tin ’ S tyle Carib b e an G a la Fa sh ion Sh o w a n d Dinne r at Westin Harbor Castle.


11am – Smarter. Faster. Tougher. An Exhibition on Sports, Fashion + Tech by Design Exchange (WP) $ Runs until October 12.


SUNDAY, JULY 19, 2015


1pm – Metro Marine Modellers

2pm – Les Hay Babies

3pm – Electric Ukelele

5pm – La Bottine Souriante

6pm – Pupy y Los Que Son Son with Yaima Sáez

7pm – Victory Celebrations

7:30pm – Kiesza

9:30pm – The Flaming Lips



12pm – Good Vibrations featuring Nylons & The Watch

1:30pm – Urban Fusion

2pm – Chocquibtown

2:30pm – Spicy Circus

3:30pm – Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli & Nico Archambault

4pm – Good Vibrations featuring Nylons & The Watch

5:30pm – Spicy Circus

5:45pm – Dragonette

7pm – Spicy Circus



1pm – Luanda Jones

3pm – Ron Davis’ Symphronica with The Lombard Twins

6:30pm – Rafael & Energia Dominicana

8:30pm – David Rudder



1pm & 7pm Leo Fleck Dance Theatre at Harbourfront Centre (WP) $ Runs until July 19.

2pm – 887 at St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts (WP) $ Runs until July 19.

2pm & 8pm – The Watershed at Berkeley Street Theatre (WP) $ Runs until July 19.

7:40pm – It Comes In Waves at Artscape Gibraltar Point at Toronto Island (WP) $ Runs until July 24.

8pm – 887 at St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts (WP) $ Runs until July 19.



10am – Challenge and Triumph by David M. General at Ontario’s Celebration Zone (WP). Runs until Saturday August 15.

10am – InterNations/InterSections by Planet IndigenUS 2015 at Aboriginal Pavilion at Fort York National Historic Site (WP) Runs until August 9.

10am – The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. (WP) Runs until Saturday, August 15.

10am – Requiem of Water: Underwater Photo and Video Exhibition at Brookfield Place (WP) Runs until Aug 14.

10am – W at er ’s Edg e – Union Station and Toronto International Airport (WP) Runs until Saturday, August 15.

10am – YOUNG World Faces of Pan Am at Commerce Court West (WP) Runs until Saturday, August 15.



11am – Smarter. Faster. Tougher. An Exhibition on Sports, Fashion + Tech by Design Exchange (WP) $ Runs until October 12.




12pm – Retrocity

12:30pm – Lisa LeBlanc

1:30pm – Retrocity

5:30pm – Retrocity

6pm – The Dead South

7pm – Victory Celebrations

7:30pm – Amanda Martinez

8:30pm – Plena Libre

9:30pm – Spanish Harlem Orchestra



11:30am – Freestyle Soccer

12:45pm – Spicy Circus

1pm – La Bottine Souriante

2:30pm – Spicy Circus

3:30pm – Freestyle Soccer

5pm – Pupy y Los Que Son Son with Yaima Sáez

6pm – Spicy Circus

6:30pm – Half Moon Run

9:30pm – Lights



12:30pm – Colombian Cooking Demonstration featuring Natalia Martinez

1:30pm – Mexican Cooking Demonstration featuring Paola Solorzano

2:45pm – Peruvian Cooking Demonstration featuring Ivan Tarazona

6:30pm – O.I.P. Dance Centre





10am – Challenge and Triumph by David M. General at Ontario’s Celebration Zone (WP). Runs until

Saturday, August 15.

10am – InterNations/InterSections by Planet IndigenUS 2015 at Aboriginal Pavilion at Fort York

National Historic Site (WP) Runs until Sunday, August 9.

10am – The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. (WP) Runs until Saturday, August 15.

10am – Requiem of Water: Underwater Photo and Video Exhibition at Brookfield Place (WP) Runs until Friday, August 14.

10am – W ate r’s E d ge – Union Station and Toronto International Airport (WP) Runs until Saturday, August 15.

10am – YOUNG World Faces of Pan Am at Commerce Court West (WP) Runs until Saturday, August 15.



11am – Smarter. Faster. Tougher. An Exhibition on Sports, Fashion + Tech by Design Exchange (WP) $ Runs until October 12.

Preview: Twyla Tharpe 50th Anniversary Tour

24 Apr

Credit: Marc Van Borstel

Credit: Marc Van Borstel

The iconic Twyla Tharp is celebrating the 50th anniversary of her 1965 choreographic debut of Tank Dive with an American tour that includes one special stop in Toronto at the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts.  It has been over two decades since Twyla Tharp Dance last performed in Toronto.

With 12 new Tharp dancers, the choreographer will premiere a double bill of new works featuring the music of J.S. Bach, Henry Butler, Steven Bernstein, and John Zorn’s vibrant introductory FANFARE. The first new dance, PRELUDES AND FUGUES, set to J.S. Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier,” radiates with Tharp’s generous spirit and humanity. The wild and raucous humour that Tharp finds in the jazz of Henry Butler and Steve Bernstein runs rampant through YOWZIE, the second new dance.

An artist who has crossed over all dance styles and broken boundaries in the form, Twyla Tharp’s signature style is an eclectic integration of classical discipline and vocabulary with avant-garde rebellion.  She has choreographed more than 160 works for film, Broadway, Television, even the skating rink, and 129 dances for such companies as American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, The Boston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Martha Graham Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and Canada’s own Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Deuce Coupe, her ballet for The Joffrey set to the music of The Beach Boys, is widely-considered the first successful cross-over ballet and is a staple in the company’s repertoire.

In 1976 Twyla Tharp choreographed Push Comes to Shove for Mikhail Baryshnikov, with whom she went on to share a long-time artistic partnership. In 1981 Tharp commissioned David Byrne to compose the music for her first Broadway production, The Catherine Wheel. In 2003 Tharp won the Best Choreography Tony Award for Movin’ Out, which she set to the songs of Billy Joel. Tharp’s Hollywood hits include Hair, Amadeus, and Ragtime with director Milos Forman.

For 50 years Twyla Tharp’s singular imagination has been changing and shaping the American dance and entertainment canons. Today, Ms. Tharp continues to create.
Sony Centre For The Performing Arts presents
October 30- November 1, 2015
Friday & Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday @ 2pm
Sony Centre For The Performing Arts, 1 Front Street East, Toronto
Tickets prices range from $55-$95 (Ticket prices do not include service and delivery fees)
and can be can be purchased in person at the Sony Centre Box Office, 1 Front Street East,
over the phone at 1-855-872-SONY (7669) or online at

Preview: The Riser Project

30 Mar

Why is it so expensive to create a performance piece? How do independent theatre practitioners produce new work without risking financial insecurity? These are questions Why Not Theatre has asked itself repeatedly. For the past two years, Why Not has been actively trying to answer these questions with alternative producing models. Thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Toronto Arts Council’s Open Door program, The RISER Project is their latest initiative to address this issue.Small productions and independent theatre companies are often burdened with large costs for theatre rentals and production expenses, making it near impossible to have financially successful runs with their works. As part of The RISER Project, companies are given the opportunity to share resources, whether they be technical, mentorship or otherwise,  to bolster their new works. The new works are then presented in a six week series split into two parts, where production tools are offered communally by the Project.

Part of the innovation in the model lays in that The RISER Project brings together a community of senior leadership to work with emerging and indie artists to support the artistic risk necessary to create new art. 2015’s round of The RISER Project features Necessary Angel, Nightwood Theatre, fuGEN Theatre and The Theatre Centre as senior partners. These partners exist to lend support in any capacity necessary, spanning anything from mentorship to the lending of a space to partnering with the artists for future productions.

“There are a great deal of opportunities within the Toronto theatre community for mentorship and the development of artists but The RISER Project is unique in that it creates a rare opportunity for companies and artists to be mentored through production,” notes Why Not Theatre’s Artistic Director Ravi Jain, “this model empowers artists to find their voice and not rely on curation or abstract training.”

This year, The RISER Project features four Canadian theatre companies’ new works, three of which are world premieres. All performances will be held at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen St W). The RISER Project features two performances in succession every night.

The 2015 lineup in The RISER Project is:

photo credit: Brooke Wedlock

Company: Quote Unquote Collective
Created and performed by: Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava
All music composed by: Amy Nostbakken
Runtime: 60 mins
Running: April 17 – May 3The world premiere of Mouthpiece follows one woman, for one day, as she tries to find her voice. In this genre bending performnace, Nostbakken and Sadava express the inner conflict that exists within a modern woman’s head, interweaving a cappella harmony, dissonance, text and a range of physicality including dance and physical storytelling.

Mouthpiece is the first Canadian production from Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava. In addition to being co-artistic directors of Quote Unquote Collective, Nostbakken’s work includes being a core member of multi award winning international company Theatre Ad Infinitum and Sadava’s previous work includes assisting in the creation of five time Dora nominated The Double with RISER colleagues BadNewDays.

Get social on T: @QUCollective #mouthpiece #riser15 I: @qucollective F: /QUCollective & view trailer

Christopher Stanton, Little Death. Photo credit: Emily Lockhart

Little Death
Company: The Little Death Collective
Written by: Daniel Karasik
Directed by: Zachary Florence
Performed by: Shauna Black, Sarah Dodd, Kate Hennig, Christopher Stanton, Nicole Underhay and Elizabeth Tanner
Run time: 90 mins
Running: April 17 – May 3Little Death is the world premiere of Daniel Karasik’s newest dramatic work.

Alex may or may not be dying. Confronted with his mortality, he searches for sex and connection in hotel bars – with his wife Brit’s conflicted blessing. Little Death, the lyrical and spare new play by CBC Fiction Prize winner and Dora Award-nominated playwright Daniel Karasik, asks fundamental questions about marriage, fidelity, and the intimate needs of men and women.

Little Death features lighting design by Dora Award winner Andre du Toit (The Double) and choreography by Dora Award winner Monica Dottor (The Penelopiad).

Get social: #LittleDeathShow #riser15

Photo credit: Nir Bareket
Company: Pandemic Theatre
Co-written and performed by: Tara Grammy
Co-written and directed by: Tom Arthur Davis and Tara Grammy
Runtime: 60 mins
Running: May 14 – 24 (preview May 13)After award winning runs in New York City and sold out runs in LA and San Francisco, this solo performance of political theatre returns to Toronto for one final run.

Mahmoud is an exuberant Iranian engineer-cum-taxi driver who relishes the chance to regale passengers with his love of Persian culture. Emanuelos, a fabulously gay Spanish perfume salesman, can talk a mile-a-minute about his boyfriend, Behnam. And then there’s Tara, an awkwardly charming Iranian Canadian preteen who just wants to be normal. When the three strangers, all played by Tara Grammy, find themselves crossing paths in Toronto, their experiences with racism, sexism, homophobia, political structures and everything in between become intertwined in unexpected ways, taking an exacting look at the ways diasporic populations deal with instability in their country of origin and the personhood they have in their new homes.

Mahmoud’s return run will coincide with its publication with Playwrights Canada Press.

Get Social: T: @mahmoudplay @pandemictheatre #mahmoudTO #riser15 F: /pandemictheatre W:

Photo credit: Lacy Creighton
Paolozzapedia – An auto-fictional-biography
Company: Bad New Days Performing Arts
Featuring: Adam Paolozza
Written and directed by: Adam Paolozza and Daniele Bartolini
Runtime: 60 mins
Running: May 14 – 24 (preview May 13)How is it that one feels homesick for a place that was never one’s home?

In the world premiere of this one man show, Adam Paolozza attempts to assemble an autobiography  from family stories, surreal images, Italian folk songs and scraps of memory from the old country… the Italy of his father’s childhood.

Paolozzapedia is Paolozza’s first piece since his Dora Award winning show, The Double.

Get social on T: @badnewdays #paolozzapedia #riser15 F: /Bad-New-Days-performing-arts

All tickets available through The Theatre Centre box office at or416.538.0988
Tickets for Mouthpiece Little Death are on sale now, Mahmoud Paolozzapedia are on sale March 16.

Get social on T: @theatrewhynot #riser15 F: /theatrewhynot W: 

Preview: Progress Festival

28 Jan

Artistic producer of SummerWorks Michael Rubenfeld is pleased to announce the lineup of international shows, workshops and conversations coming to Toronto this February for the inaugural Progress. The festival brings together international performances to engage in a larger conversation about language, accessibility and what progress means to Toronto’s performance ecology. Progress features six international shows, six languages and five free artist workshops and talks. Programming has been curated by nine different companies.

“I am incredibly excited and proud of how many different companies have come together to make this event happen,” says Rubenfeld. “Progress is bringing together a series of essential conversations being had by some of our city’s vital thought-leaders in performance. This is a festival led by a collective desire to collaborate in how we think about performance in Toronto and the result is a staggeringly unique and diverse program of work.”

All Progress performances take place at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen St W), host venue of the festival. “As the home of Progress, The Theatre Centre will serve as that point of connection between international programming, innovative workshops, rich and diverse dialogues and the local community. We are thrilled to be partnering with SummerWorks Performance Festival to produce the inaugural Progress festival,” notes The Theatre Centre’s General and Artistic Director Franco Boni. // #ProgressTO // @SummerWorks


Marathon (Israel)
Curated by SummerWorks
Performed in English
Choreographer/director: Aharona Israel
Actors/dancers/vocals: Ilya Domanov, Merav Dagan, Gal Shamai
February 4-6, 2015
Running time: 60 mins

Three figures run in a circle, struggling to continue as they spiral into the depths of Israeli consciousness. As their journey becomes harder and more painful, their stories break down, revealing the wounds of contemporary Israeli society. Combining dance, text, theatre and grueling physicality, Marathon uses the autobiographical stories of the performers to reflect a state of constant emergency. Who will survive? And how?

Marathon premiered at the 2012 Acco Fringe Festival. This is its North American English-language premiere. Following Progress it tours Canada, visiting Public Energy (Peterborough), the undercurrents Festival (Ottawa) and the Chutzpah! Festival (Vancouver).

Marathon is co-presented with The Koffler Centre for the Arts, and generously supported by Spotlight on Israeli Culture, the Embassy of Israel and the Israeli Consulate (Toronto).

The Messiah Complex 5.0 (Canada)
Curated by Videofag
Performed in English
Created and performed by: Michael Dudeck
February 5, 2015
Running time: 60 mins, contains nudity

Performance-lecture The Messiah Complex 5.0 uses the Harlow experiments as a springboard to explore the concept of religious evolution. The Harlow experiments were used to study infant relationships by replacing newborn monkeys’ mothers with surrogates made of cloth and wire. Separated into segments, acclaimed artist Michael Dudeck first explores the evolution of faith, religious practice and iconography from a queer perspective. The multidisciplinary work culminates in the creation of hybrid images, videos, diagrams and texts from pop culture, ancient religion, Freudian psychoanalysis, archaeology, queer theory and anthropology. The work creates a hypnotic stylized ritual that’s immersive and disturbing.

The Messiah Complex (The Crowning with Horns), inkjet print on rag paper, 80″ x 80″, photo by Larry Glawson

D-Sisyphe (décisif)  (Tunisia)
Curated by Volcano Theatre
Performed in Arabic with English subtitles
Created and performed by: Meher Awachri
Directed by: Meher Awachri and Imed May
February 6 & 7, 2015
Running time: 60 mins

Khmais, a construction worker, spends a night at the construction site meditating about his life. Despised by his wife and son, rejected by society and abandoned by God, he sees nothing but wreckage: his life is in ruins. Faced with the apparent meaninglessness of existence, Khmais looks forward to a new day…

Tunisian actor, dancer and playwright Meher Awachri performs his acclaimed interpretation of the ancient myth of Sisyphus, offering insights into contemporary Arab society and the idea of what revolution entails – all through spoken word and choreography.

Progress presents the North American premiere of D-Sisyphe, with generous support from Why Not Theatre and The Goethe Institute.

Margarete (Poland)
Curated by SummerWorks
Performed in English or Polish
Created and performed by: Janek Turkowski
Video: Margarete Ruhbe, Martyna Glowacka, Adam Ptaszyński, Marcin Piatkowski, Najek Turkowski
February 11, 2015 special preview at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Rhubarb Festival
February 12-15, 2015
Running time: 55 mins

In this intimate theatre performance, 16 audience members sit down to have a coffee or tea with creator and performer Janek Turkowski. With humour and irony, Turkowski recounts his experience uncovering and constructing stories based on a set of private 8mm films he discovered at an outdoor market in Berlin. The performance is a reflection on the lost and found, through memory and the legacy of silent film.

Margarete is generously supported by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto.

Cine Monstro (Brazil)
Curated and presented by Why Not Theatre
Performed in Portuguese with English subtitles
Directed and performed by: Enrique Diaz
Written by: Daniel MacIvor
Translation: Barbara Duvivier and Enrique Diaz
February 12-14, 2014
Running time: 75 mins

Brazilian actor and director Enrique Diaz performs in a critically acclaimed adaptation of Daniel MacIvor’s Monster. Presenting this classic Canadian play in Portuguese introduces it to a new community in Toronto.

Diaz transforms himself into a series of MacIvor’s characters, from a young boy who tells the story of the neighbour who hacked up his father in the basement to quarrelling lovers or a filmmaker who never completed his epic film, these characters are separate yet eerily related.

Cine Monstro is presented by Why Not Theatre in association with Progress. It is made possible through the generous support of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Silent Dinner (Ireland/Canada)
Curated and presented by FADO Performance Art Centre
Performed in English and ASL
Created and performed by: Amanda Coogan (Ireland) and collaborators (Canada)
February 7, 2015
Running time: 8 hrs

FADO Performance Art Centre presents Silent Dinner, created with artist Amanda Coogan and in collaboration with local artists, performers and non-performers. Silent Dinner is an eight hour performance in which 10 people prepare, cook and eat a dinner in complete silence. The participants are a combination of Deaf, CODA (children of Deaf adults) and hearing artists, performers and non-performers from Toronto. Post-performance, the audience will be invited for dessert and conversation with Coogan and collaborators. ASL interpretation provided.

Silent Dinner is presented by FADO Performance Art Centre in association with Progress.

Additional programming:

Make. Make Public.
Curated by Dancemakers
February 8, 2014

Dancemakers takes over The Theatre Centre with a special Progress edition of its creation workshop Make. Make Public. The workshop is led by Dancemakers curators Emi Forster
and Benjamin Kamino. People from any artistic background, with any level of experience are invited to join in collaborative, dance-derived processes. Following the workshop, the public is invited to witness what’s been created as the seeds of initial ideas and share their thoughts with the makers.

Also during the festival, Dancemakers will curate ‘Dance as Metaphor, Language and Lens’, a conversation featuring Progress artists Aharona Israel and Meher Awachri, along with Dancemakers’ resident Zoja Smutny.

Dramatic Action – The Republic of Inclusion
Curated by Alex Bulmer and Sarah Garton Stanley
Part of The Collaborations at Canada’s National Arts Centre English Theatre
Sunday, February 15, 2014

Alex Bulmer and Sarah Garton Stanley call for a rigorous and provocative discussion about the state of inclusion in our theatre community. A conversation for theatre makers, audiences, leaders, funders, all those in the performance world, and those who are being left out. Progress: it’s about accessing the arts and about the arts being accessible. The event will be live-streamed through

Preview: Wild Women (Don’t Get The Blues)

12 Dec

lorraine_singing_newWild Women (Don’t Get The Blues) is a powerful 5-part Cabaret Series launched by the Toronto legendary singer/performer Lorraine Segato, as part of her two-year Artist-In-Residency program at Regent Park.

The series kicks off on Wednesday December 10, 8:00pm at the Paintbox Bistro (555 Dundas St. E.). This unusual and exciting cabaret-style show brings together a hugely talented Toronto group of artists: Lorraine Segato, Colleen Allen, Miku Graham, Stacie McGregor and Montreal chanteuse Lyne Tremblay. These fine singers will in turn celebrate the music and performances of the world’s most iconic women trailblazers, including Etta James, Edith Piaf, Ida Cox, Annie Lennox, Sylvia Plath and Amy Winehouse.

Artist in Residence at Soul Pepper Theatre, Colleen Allen, first opened this show to an enthusiastic response, and now teams up with Segato. Together they will not only feature these passionate female singers, but also include elements of spoken word and theatre art from diverse communities to offer an intimate look into the life of the music and moxy of Wild Women trailblazers. It will be a raucous, irreverent, and thrilling evening.

Segato is currently fulfilling a two-year term as Regent Park’s first honorary Artist-In-Residence, which is sponsored by The Daniels Corporation. Part of her mandate involves finding new ways to enrich, celebrate and draw attention to the developing neighbourhood of Regent Park, while curating cultural activities and events that further the envisioning of an international caliber artist residency program.

Segato recently hosted her first cultural event called The Legacy Salon Series (Spirited Conversations with Cultural Guardians), which featured an in-depth conversation with Garvia Bailey, the new morning show host at Jazz.FM91.

Wednesday, December 10
Paintbox Bistro in Regent Park (555 Dundas St. East, Toronto).
Doors open at 7 p.m.
Show starts at 8:00 pm.
Tickets are $20.00 in advance at
Door prices are $23.00
Reservations Encouraged: or 647-748-0555