NEEDLES AND OPIUM to Return to Canadian Stage, May 1-10

By: Apr. 24, 2015

Canadian Stage presents an encore run of Needles and Opium by celebrated Canadian writer/director Robert Lepage. The magical mind-bending performance returns after impressing critics and audiences for a series of sold-out shows in Canadian Stage's 13.14 season, which also marked the production's English language premiere. Marc Labrèche and Wellesley Robertson III reprise their roles for an exclusive 10 show run at the Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front St. E) from May 1 to 10.

"After the triumphant success of our run of Needles and Opium in 2013, we knew we wanted to share this dazzling masterpiece of technical innovation and deep emotional story-telling with our audiences one last time," said Matthew Jocelyn, artistic & general director, Canadian Stage. "The production has now delighted audiences around the world and is back at Canadian Stage where it began its English-language life." Through highly visual staging, Needles and Opium tells a tale of art, love, addiction, and the creative drive pairing jazz musician Miles Davis, during his first stay in Paris in 1949, and French poet Jean Cocteau, as he also travels to New York for the first time to present his most recent feature film, L'Aigle à deux têts. Forty years later, a heartbroken Québécois man tries to forget his former lover while staying at the Hotel La Louisiane in Paris. His emotional torment echoes Cocteau's dependence on opium, and Davis' on heroin, resulting in a hypnotic series of fictional vignettes performed with acrobatic skill.

Originally opening in 1991, Needles and Opium was presented in French (Les Aiguilles et l'opium) with Lepage performing the solo show for its first three years. After touring throughout Canada, the U.S. and much of the U.K., Lepage handed over the lead role to Labrèche who continued to tour with the production. In addition to premiering a new English language translation, the 2013 revival introduced new scenography and acrobat, Robertson. Since its debut at Canadian Stage, the English version of Needles and Opium has mesmerised audiences worldwide.

In addition to a series of pre- and post-show chats, on May 8 Canadian Stage will host a discussion with Professor Barry Freeman from the University of Toronto to discuss the relationship between spectacle and intimacy in Needles and Opium. Attendance is free with a ticket to that evening's performance. More information about Canadian Stage's special events and additional programming can be found at

Needles and Opium will be on stage at the Bluma Appel Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts (27 Front St. E.). Performances run Tuesday through Sunday at 8 p.m., with Friday shows beginning at 7 p.m. and matinees on Wednesdays and Sundays beginning at 1 p.m. The performance is approximately 95 minutes with no intermission. Tickets from $24 to $99 are available online, by phone at 416.368.3110 or in person at the box office. For details visit, or follow on Facebook: Canadian Stage and Twitter: @CanadianStage (Hashtag: #csNeedles).

Production Team:
Assistant Director Normand Bissonnette
Set Designer Carl Fillion
Props Designer Claudia Gendreau
Music and Sound Designer Jean-Sébastien Côté
Lighting Designer Bruno Matte
Costume Designer François St-Aubin
Images Designer Lionel Arnould

About Canadian Stage: Founded in 1987, Canadian Stage is one of the country's leading not-for-profit contemporary theatre companies, with the 2015.16 season marking the organization's 28th season. Led by artistic & general director Matthew Jocelyn and Managing Director Su Hutchinson, Canadian Stage produces and showcases innovative theatre from Canada and around the world, allowing its audience to encounter daring work guided by a strong directorial vision and a 21st-century aesthetic. The company prides itself on presenting multidisciplinary pieces and work in translation that pushes the boundaries of form and style. Canadian Stage reinforces the presence of Canadian art and artists within an international context through work that mirrors the cultural diversity of Toronto. The company stages an annual season of work at three major venues (the Bluma Appel Theatre, the Berkeley Street Theatre and the High Park Amphitheatre) and runs a series of artist development and education initiatives, as well as youth and community outreach programs. For more information, visit


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