Canadian Stage Celebrates 30 Seasons in 2017-18;
Matthew Jocelyn, Artistic & General Director, today announced Canadian Stage's 17.18 season celebrating the 30th anniversary of the company: a dynamic 16-show line-up featuring nine original Canadian creations (including four world premieres) that connect a sweeping range of artistic expressions. Canadian Stage continues its surge forward as Toronto's premiere destination for multidisciplinary performance with a new season that highlights cross-pollination between artists, companies and art forms:
"Canadian Stage's roots lie in collaboration, going back to its inception from the merger of the Toronto Free Theatre and the Centre Stage Company. We delight in forging surprising connections in live performance," said Artistic and General Director Matthew Jocelyn. "Building on this legacy, the 17.18 season features a tapestry of storytellers from diverging disciplines - theatre, spoken word, live music, opera, contemporary dance and circus - coming together as we pursue our mission of creating a vital cultural dialogue between our local, national and international artistic communities. We look forward to sharing their visceral, timely and deeply-human stories with our audiences on our 30th anniversary."
On the company's 30th year, audiences will have the opportunity to encounter previous homegrown Canadian Stage artist collaborators including Crystal Pite, Morris Panych, Jordan Tannahill and Marie Chouinard, alongside up-and-coming theatrical voices such as Toronto's Britta Johnson, and new partnerships with The Musical Stage Company, Tapestry Opera, Vancouver Opera, The Citadel Theatre, Red Sky Performance and more.
"We celebrate 30 with newness, and renewed reminiscences; nods to the past that pay homage to Canadian Stage's previous incarnations and serve as the groundwork for exciting new talent," said Jocelyn.
As a tribute to the company's past thirty years, Morris Panych and Wendy Gorling's internationally-acclaimed theatrical phenomenon The Overcoat will return to Canadian Stage as a world premiere opera on its 20th anniversary of creation. Panych will direct and pen the libretto based on Gogol's classic 19th century novella, with a musical score by Canadian composer James Rolfe, choreography by Wendy Gorling and Musical Direction by Leslie Dala. Nationally co-produced with Toronto's Tapestry Opera and Vancouver Opera, The Overcoat: an Opera will debut at the Bluma Appel Theatre in March 2018 before traveling to the Vancouver Playhouse - where the show originated in 1997-1998 - as part of the 2018 Vancouver Opera Festival.
In this spirit, Canadian Stage Artistic Director Matthew Jocelyn will revisit the work of English playwright Simon Stephens (Harper Regan - 14.15 season, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) with the poetic two-hander Heisenberg; while former Shaw Festival Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell, director of the 2014 Dora winner London Road, will return to the company to lead Stephen Karam's multiple Tony Award-winning family drama The Humans. Canadian Stage joins forces with Edmonton's Citadel Theatre for the first time since 2008 to bring this breakout Broadway hit to Canadian audiences.
Canadian Stage will give Toronto a last chance to catch Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young's landmark dance-theatre masterpiece Betroffenheit , back by popular demand for a third time as part of a major international tour. A Kidd Pivot and Electric Company Theatre production co-commissioned by Canadian Stage and first presented as part of the 2015 Panamania Festival, the work has since gone on to perform across the US and Europe, garnering 5 Star reviews in The Guardian and The Observer.
17.18 will kick off with the new musical Life After by rising Toronto lyricist and composer Britta Johnson (Dora nominated: REFRAMED, Jacob Two-Two), co-produced with The Musical Stage Company (formerly Acting Up Stage) and Yonge Street Theatricals (Come From Away). Expanded and re-worked following an acclaimed debut at the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival, Life After will be helmed by the original director Robert McQueen with music direction by Reza Jacobs.
Music will animate the Berkeley Street throughout the season, continuing with three unique live music experiences showcasing contemporary female voices: Polaris Prize-winning Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq will share the stage with Greenlandic mask dancer and poet Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory in a world-premiere three-night event fusing tour de force vocals with spoken word; Italian duo Musica Nuda, led by virtuosic singer Petra Magoni, perform rock, pop and classical hits in a stripped-down setting; and one of Canada's most original vocalists Fides Krucker tackles the great Canadian songbook accompanied by her musical ensemble and local dancers/choreographers: Peggy Baker, Laurence Lemieux and Heidi Strauss.
Toronto composer Njo Kong Kie, whose recent works include Infinity (Tarragon) and Mr. Shi and His Lover (SummerWorks), will bring his Macau-based Folga Gaang Project to Toronto with the North American premiere of Picnic in the Cemetery, a hybrid concert-theatre performance blending Njo's original piano compositions and an evocative journey about the passage of time.
Njo joins leading Canadian Indigenous Dance Company Red Sky Performance as Canadian Stage's two newest Berkeley Street Partner companies for the 17.18 and 18.19 seasons (former partners include Crow's Theatre, Necessary Angel and Company Theatre). The two-year residency allows select Toronto-based companies the opportunity to present and develop new work. Led by Artistic Director Sandra Laronde, Red Sky's first Canadian Stage outing will be the Toronto premiere of Backbone, an original fusion of indigenous dance, live music and raw athleticism that expresses the power, formation and spirit of our mountainous continents.
Following the success of Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom (15.16) and Concord Floral (16.17), Governor General's and Dora Award-winning playwright Jordan Tannahill will be showcased for a third season with the world premiere of Declarations. Incorporating a lyrical text and a choreographed score of physical gestures, this deeply personal hybrid creation will see Tannahill returning to the stage as director.
Canadian Stage continues to establish itself as a home for internationally-acclaimed contemporary circus and dance with two gravity-defying spectacles that push human bodies to their extremes. After presenting Australia's Circa and Québéc's Cirque Éloize, the company will welcome Québec's Les 7 Doigts de la Main (The 7 Fingers) and their dance trilogy for circus artists Triptyque. Featuring three works by invited choreographers Marie Chouinard (Québec), Victor Quijada (Qubec) and Marcos Morau (Spain), the triple bill combines acrobatic genius and contemporary dance to explore the myriad languages of the human body.
Performed to sold-out houses across Europe, He Who Falls (Celui qui tombe) will feature six performers navigating the forces of an imposing, shifting platform in celebrated acrobat/director Yoann Bourgeois' unique dance of survival, onstage at the Bluma Appel in March 2018.
Building on its landmark collaboration with York University's School of Arts Media Performance and Design, the company will mount Caryl Churchill's kaleidoscopic play Love and Information, jointly directed by 2017 graduating candidates of the York University/Canadian Stage MFA in Stage Direction Tanja Jacobs and Alistair Newton.
But first, Jacobs and Newton will make their Canadian Stage debuts under the stars this summer at Shakespeare in High Park. Jacobs will direct Shakespeare's madcap comedy of mistaken identity Twelfth Night while Newton will stage the inaugural High Park production of King Lear, re-imagined from a female perspective with Diane D'Aquila as the iconic Lear. The 35thanniversary season of the Toronto outdoor theatre mainstay runs June 29 to September 3.
On Canada's 150th anniversary and running in conjunction with Shakespeare in High Park, Canadian Stage announces Territorial Tales: Narratives of Displacement and the Recapturing of Spirit, a new initiative focused on telling stories of indigenous and newcomer youth. In partnership with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), Sketch and Kids Up Front, Canadian Stage will provide a platform for young creators from across the GTA to share their experiences of arrival and settlement in Canada through the development of new stage works to be performed at the High Park Amphitheatre this summer.
Canadian Stage continues to engage our community with a series of dynamic ancillary activities, including pre-show chats and post-show talkbacks. After being introduced in 2016, the company will extend relaxed performances for select productions throughout the 17.18 season, beginning with Life After on October 14, 2017.
As part of its year-round artist training programs, Canadian Stage announces the three incoming participants of its 2017 RBC Emerging Artist Program: Director Development Residency: Ryan Cunningham, Mikaela Davies and Jonathan Seinen. Each director will receive administrative, production and artistic support from the company to develop and workshop new works for the stage throughout the 2017 season.
17.18 subscriptions are now on sale for renewing subscribers with flexible four-show packages starting from $124.80 and a six-play or more subscription package starting from $175.50 (all +HST). Subscriptions may be purchased by phone at 416.368.3110, online at canadianstage.com or in person at the Berkeley Street Theatre Box Office (26 Berkeley Street). Single tickets will be on sale April 25, 2017. Special 30th anniversary $30 rush tickets will be available for all 17.18 season performances. Full details on the productions and subscription packages are available online at canadianstage.com. Performances take place at the company's three historic venues: the Berkeley Street Theatre, the Bluma Appel Theatre and the High Park Amphitheatre.
17.18 season sponsor: BMO Financial Group