Nightwood Theatre's New Groundswell Festival to Return 9/8-14

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Nightwood Theatre's New Groundswell Festival to Return 9/8-14

Nightwood Theatre launches its 2014/15 season with the return of our popular festival of new works, the New Groundswell Festival, in The Historic Distillery District from September 8 to 14, 2014. Featuring workshop productions of Obeah Opera by Nicole Brooks and With Individual Desire by Susanna Fournier from an original idea by Kelli Fox and Sarah Kitz, the festival also features a National Play Reading Series, and late-night Saloon Salons on topical themes. The talents of more than 50 women artists will be showcased over the seven days of the festival.

Obeah Opera, directed by Weyni Mengesha with music direction by Andrew Craig, was commissioned by PANAMANIA presented by CIBC, the arts culture program of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan AmGames, and is presented by Nightwood Theatre and Culchahworks Arts Collective. In this unprecedented a cappella theatrical epic, an all-female cast animates the story of the legendary Salem Witch Trials from the unique perspective of enslaved African women. Following the play's successful outing in 2012 (produced by bcurrent and Theatre Archipelago), Brooks went back to the drawing board, developing a deeper narrative as well as new music. The New Groundswell Festival marks the first opportunity for audiences to get apeek at the show's brand new libretto, music, and staging.

Directed by Kelli Fox, and presented by LadyParts Theatre, With Individual Desire is a lush theatrical imagining of the relationship between famed bad-girl American poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and her mother Cora. Fournier's play centres around the two months they spent together in a secluded farmhouse near Dorset after Millay fled Paris with asecret. The two workshop productions are presented in the Dancemakers and Nightwood studios, respectively.

The National Play Reading Series in the Michael J. Baker Studio features plays from coast to coast on topics ranging from technology and violence, to the politics behind 'Mammy' culture, to the powerful experiences of the children of the Japanese internment. The seriesincludes Well Born by Celeste Percy-Beauregard (Toronto), The Tashme Project by Julie Tamiko Manning (Montreal) and Matt Miwa (Ottawa), LeavingWonderland by Shelley Thompson (Dartmouth), Calpurnia by Audrey Dwyer (Toronto), The Mothers by Nicole Moeller (Edmonton), and Centurions by Sally Stubbs (Vancouver).

A late-night post-show bar, also in the Michael J. Baker Studio, will be on hand to continue the festivities. The Saloon Salons feature a series of impromptu discussions led by a different special guest every night. Salons include Actors in the Driver's Seat, The Rise of the Indie Producers, and A Debate: Disparity for Female Practitioners in Canadian Theatre is a Myth.

Says Artistic Director Kelly Thornton, "Nightwood is extremely proud to unleash our 35th season's celebrations with this bevy of hot new work by the uncompromising women of the New Groundswell Festival. Sometimesshocking, often hilarious, and always fearless, the Festival promises to be an action-packed week of great theatre!"

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