FACTORY Announces 2019-2020 50th Anniversary Season
Artistic Director Nina Lee Aquino and Managing Director Jonathan Heppner proudly present Factory's 2019-2020 50th Anniversary Season, 50 Seasons and Still Fiercely Canadian!
For fifty years Factory Theatre has been resolute in its commitment to developing Canadian artists and to producing new Canadian plays. Factory's 50th Anniversary season will celebrate its illustrious and resilient history with an exhilarating world premiere, the return of two iconic Canadian classics that premiered at Factory, and the continuation of CrossCurrents Canada presentation series which will bring three thrilling and captivating stories from Newfoundland, Calgary, and British Columbia to Toronto audiences.
The plays in our 50th Anniversary Season are all about honouring and celebrating Factory's remarkable past as we push into the future, says Factory's Artistic Director Nina Lee Aquino. Each of the plays in this season represents a connection to all that Factory has done and accomplished under past Artistic Directors, and the impact we have had on Canadian theatre. Whether through visionary programming, such as when Jackie Maxwell programmed Daniel MacIvor's groundbreaking HOUSE; or when Ken Gass brought Claudia Dey's brilliant poetics to the Factory stage with TROUT STANLEY; or through personal connections, such as Brian Quirt's past as Factory's dramaturge, or my long association with Marjorie Chan, this season tells a story of who we are, and where we are going.
The season kicks off with the Toronto premiere of Carmen Aguirre's BROKEN TAILBONE, a Latinx dance party performance flowing with hilarious and moving stories of intimacy, politics, culture, the origins of the salsa, and the world of dance halls in Canada. Led by Carmen and DJ Don Pedro, BROKEN TAILBONE, commissioned and produced by Toronto's Nightswimming, demonstrates the power of radical resistance through dance, music, and a deeper connection to our bodies. Carmen Aguirre is a Vancouver-based actress and writer, and Core Artist of Electric Company Theatre, which will produce the world premiere of her new play Anywhere But Here in February 2020 at The Vancouver Playhouse. She has written over 20 plays including Blue Box and The Refugee Hotel, and two best-selling memoirs: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (winner of CBC Canada Reads 2012), and Mexican Hooker #1 and My Other Roles Since the Revolution.
Dubbed Canadian Gothic by The New York Times, Claudia Dey's TROUT STANLEY is a dark and funny exploration of love, loss, and co-dependency in Canada's North. On the eve of twin sisters Sugar and Grace Ducharme's 30th birthday, which also happens to be the anniversary of their parents' death, they are visited by a mysterious stranger on the lookout for love... and a lake. TROUT STANLEY is a surreal and seductive love story of Northern proportions. Claudia Dey is novelist, playwright, and columnist. She was the playwright-in-residence at Factory for five years during which time she wrote three hit plays that have now been produced internationally; Beaver, The Gwendolyn Poems, and Trout Stanley. Claudia has been nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama (The Gwendolyn Poems), a Dora Award for Outstanding New Play (Trout Stanley), the Amazon First Novel Award (Stunt) and nominated twice for the Trillium Book Award (The Gwendolyn Poems/Heartbreaker). Called one of the city's most cherished writers by VOGUE, Dey lives in Toronto.
The Toronto premiere of Robert Chafe's BETWEEN BREATHS, produced by Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, is inspired by the true story of Memorial University professor Jon Lien's life dedicated to the dangerous and death-defying work of saving whales trapped in fishing nets off Canada's coast. Lien saved over 500 whales in his long career, earning him the hard-won respect of the island's fishermen, but his biggest fight came at the end of his life as dementia and immobility progressively conquered his body and mind. Featuring an evocative live score by The Once, BETWEEN BREATHS is a beautiful and poignant play about the parts of ourselves we hold on to after everything else has gone. Robert Chafe, current artistic director of Artistic Fraud, and director Jillian Keiley, founding artistic director of Artistic Fraud, have been collaborating for over 20 years. Robert Chafe works in theatre, dance, opera, radio, fiction and film and his stage plays have been produced internationally. He has been shortlisted twice for the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama, winning in 2010 for Afterimage.
Factory begins the new year with the world premiere of the powerful and scathing new drama, LADY SUNRISE by multi-award-winning playwright Marjorie Chan. Inspired by Chinese modernist playwright Cao Yu's Sunrise, LADY SUNRISE is set among the wealthy and hangers-on in Vancouver's Asian Canadian community. A hard-hitting new play about the effects of hyper-capitalism set in Canada's condo and casino playground of Vancouver, LADY SUNRISE is a tale of social climbing, social decay, and the human cost of capitalism's excess. Marjorie Chan is a writer, director, and artistic director recently named the incoming artistic director at Theatre Passe Muraille after serving as artistic director of Cahoots Theatre from 2013-2019 and recipient of four Dora Awards, including three for Outstanding New Opera Sanctuary Song, The Lesson of Da Ji,and M'dea Undone. Her first play, China Doll, was nominated for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Production as well as the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama.
The final CrossCurrents Canada presentation is ONE, written by Jason Carnew and produced by Ghost River Theatre. Philistine is an impassioned librarian searching for George, the love of her life and an astronomer lost at sea. Her devotion takes her beyond the realm of the living and into the strange and all-consuming world of the dead to create a moving sensory experience inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Winner of three Betty Mitchell Awards including Outstanding Production, the show's design by Snezana Pesic was chosen to represent Canada at the 2015 Prague Quadrennial of Performance and Design, and director Eric Rose won the Canadian Stage Award for Direction at Summerworks 2011 when the play made it's Toronto premiere in the Factory Mainspace. Jason Carnew is a graduate of the University of Alberta acting program and has performed across Canada including Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, Ghost River Theatre and the Citadel Theatre. Jason also writes short stories and plays and currently works in advertising.
HOUSE, the groundbreaking stand-up-sit-down-comedy-nightmare by Daniel MacIvor, is the Factory production that will close the 50th season. HOUSE, which made its world premiere at Factory in 1992, is a one man show about Victor. His mother is possessed by the devil. His father is the saddest man in the world. His sister is in love with the dog. The one he loves does not love him ... and he's got nowhere to live. A man on the precipice of a nervous breakdown, Victor searches for answers in Daniel MacIvor's grand epic. Recipient of the Governor General's Award for Drama, two Chalmers New Play Awards, an Obie Award, a GLADD Award, the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, and countless theatre awards across the country, Daniel MacIvor is one of Canada's greatest living playwrights. A partial list of plays includes Never Swim Alone, Monster, Marion Bridge, Cul-de-sac, Here Lies Henry, A Beautiful View, His Greatness, Communion, The Best Brothers, and New Magic Valley Fun Town.
As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, Factory is touring Ka Kei Jeffrey Ho's spellbinding one-man-two-piano-play, trace, which premiered at Factory in 2017 directed by Nina Lee Aquino, and will be published this fall just prior to its first stop at the National Arts Centre in November. As well, Factory pays tribute to former artistic director Bob White's visionary Brave New Works series (1980-1987) with Brave New Works Retrospective, a week-long reading series of seven plays developed at Factory over the last 50 years.
From the transformative power of ONE, which opened my eyes to the possibilities of our Mainspace when I saw it in 2011, to the stunning and life-affirming work of our friends and collaborators at Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland with BETWEEN BREATHS, Factory's 50th Anniversary Season is a celebration of where we've been, where we might be headed, and where we want to be, all the while remaining fiercely Canadian.