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Necessary Angel Announces Most Ambitious Season to Date

The 2010-2011 Necessary Angel season is the company's most ambitious to date. The season offers two shows premiering in June 2011 at Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity; a new multi-disciplinary collaboration between two seminal Canadian artists; a tour to Ottawa; and the debut of Michael Ondaatje's first play in over two decades.

Artistic Director Daniel Brooks, along with Associate Artists Brigitte Haentjens and Graham McLaren, collaborate with some of Canada's finest writers and creators - Peggy Baker, Evie Christie, Louise Dupré, Michael Healey, Daniel MacIvor, and Michael Ondaatje - to continue to create astonishing and thought-provoking theatre.

Divisadero: a performance, a new collaboration between Daniel Brooks and Michael Ondaatje, debuts this winter. Brooks then teams up with recent Walter Carsen Prize winner Peggy Baker and Governor General's Award winner Michael Healey for Are You Okay, produced by Peggy Baker Dance Projects in association with Necessary Angel. In June, the company's two Associate Artists, Graham McLaren (director of last season's multiple-Dora-nominated Hamlet) and Brigitte Haentjens (incoming artistic director of the National Arts Centre's French Theatre) premiere two new works commissioned by Luminato: McLaren directs a daring new adaptation of Racine's Andromache, written by Canadian poet and novelist Evie Christie, while Haentjens brings to Toronto the English-language premiere of her acclaimed creation Tout Comme Elle, featuring a diverse cast of 50 women. Finally, completing the season is a tour of Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks' This Is What Happens Next to Ottawa's Great Canadian Theatre Company in May/June where it will be part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival.

Divisadero: a performance
Text: Michael Ondaatje
Direction: Daniel Brooks, Necessary Angel Artistic Director
Performers: Liane Balaban, Maggie Huculak, Tom McCamus, Amy Rutherford and Justin Rutledge
Songs: Justin Rutledge
Produced in association with The Film Farm
February 8-20, 2011, opening date to be determined
Theatre Passe Muraille's Mainspace, 16 Ryerson Avenue, Toronto.
For tickets, call 416-504-7529
Michael Ondaatje's adaptation of his novel Divisadero marks the author's return to Necessary Angel after a lengthy absence. Following sold-out workshop presentations last fall (with the Working Title When My Name Was Anna), Ondaatje teams with director Daniel Brooks for Divisadero: a performance. Ondaatje's story explores themes of memory, identity, love and the grip of the past on the present; and tells of how a single event powerfully shapes the lives of two sisters. The production features original music written for the piece and performed by singer/songwriter Justin Rutledge. The ensemble cast also features Liane Balaban, Maggie Huculak, Tom McCamus and Amy Rutherford. Divisadero: a performance is designed by Andrea Lundy, Alexander MacSween, and John Thompson, and is stage managed by Crystal Salverda.

Are You Okay
Written by Michael Healey
Choreographed by Peggy Baker
Directed by Daniel Brooks
Featuring Peggy Baker and Michael Healey
Produced by Peggy Baker Dance Projects in association with Necessary Angel
Previews March 1-3, 2011, opens March 4, 2011, and runs until March 13, 2011
Factory Studio Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street, Toronto.
For tickets, call 416-504-9971
A new creative partnership for Necessary Angel: the company teams up with Peggy Baker Dance Projects for Are You Okay, created and performed by Peggy Baker and Michael Healey, and directed by Daniel Brooks. Born out of Baker and Healey's attraction to - and curiosity about - each other's work, Are You Okay is a "mutual autobiography" that asks, "Is there enough room on a small stage for a solo dance concert and an actor's monologue to be performed simultaneously?" It explores themes of physical mastery, physical innocence, creation, destruction, re-creation, recreation, and the brutal humour of time. Are You Okay features lighting design by Rebecca Picherak and composition and percussion by Debashis Sinha.

By Jean Racine, Adapted by Evie Christie
Directed by Graham McLaren, Necessary Angel Associate Artist
Featuring Christine Horne, Arsinée Khanjian, Steven McCarthy and Christopher Morris
Commissioned and presented by Luminato
Previews June 10, 2011, opens June 11, 2011, and runs until June 19, 2011
The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen Street West, Toronto.
For tickets, TBA

Graham McLaren brings his visceral, action-based approach to Andromache, a new version of the rarely produced Racine play, written by poet and author Evie Christie. McLaren describes Christie's bold, provocative poetry as having the ability to "thrill us in the way the 17th Century French might have felt about Racine's 'diamond-edged' language." Christie's Andromache is a modern adaptation set in a war-torn land where obsessive love and lust lead people to do unspeakable acts. Andrea Lundy, whose lighting design for last year's Hamlet won the Dora Mavor Moore Award, teams with McLaren again for this production. Andromache features Christine Horne, Steven McCarthy, Christopher Morris, and Arsinée Khanjian in the title role. Crystal Salverda is the stage manager.
Tout Comme Elle
Written by Louise Dupré, Translated by Erín Moure
Directed by Brigitte Haentjens, Necessary Angel Associate Artist
Featuring a diverse cast of 50 women
Produced in association with Sibyllines
Commissioned and presented by Luminato
Previews June 13, 2011, opens June 14, 2011, and runs until June 18, 2011
Bluma Appel Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front Street East, Toronto.
For tickets, TBA

The English-language premiere of Siminovitch Prize-winning director Brigitte Haentjens' Tout Comme Elle is the largest production of Necessary Angel's season as well as in its thirty-two year history. Tout Comme Elle is an exploration of the painful separation, and yet inextricable connection, between mother and daughter. Mirroring the cultural diversity of the city of Toronto, a cast of 50 actresses - representing all backgrounds, ages, and types - perform the piece that combines song and movement with a rich poetic text in a powerful expression of the female voice. A daring piece of theatre about the inevitability of loss and the eternal nature of love, Tout Comme Elle is written by acclaimed Québecoise poet Louise Dupré and translated by Governor General's Award-winning poet and translator, and Griffin Prize nominee, Erín Moure. Kate Porter is the stage manager.
This Is What Happens Next
Created by Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks
Written and Performed by Daniel MacIvor
Directed and Dramaturged by Daniel Brooks
Previews May 24, 2011, opens May 26, 2011, runs until June 12, 2011
Great Canadian Theatre Company, 1233 Wellington Street West, Ottawa.
To purchase tickets, call 1-613-236-5196
After a successful run at the prestigious Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina this past summer, Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks' This Is What Happens Next tours to Ottawa's Great Canadian Theatre Company where it will be part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. The show is the most recent collaboration between one of the most potent and influential partnerships in Canadian theatre. It has been called "a genius... high-octane blend of autobiography, anecdote, philosophical musing and fairy-tale fantasy," by the Montreal Gazette, while the Toronto Star calls it "a very rich piece of theatre that will keep you guessing till the last secondŠMacIvor is going into new and uncharted territory." Rob Harding is the stage manager.

About Necessary Angel:
Founded in 1978 and based in Toronto, Canada, Necessary Angel has been an influential and original presence on the national and interNational Theatre scene for over 30 years. Having produced over 50 productions, including 27 world premieres and 10 North American premieres, the company is considered to be one of English Canada's most important original creation and touring organizations. Necessary Angel tours its work to prominent theatres and festivals across Canada and internationally. The company's plays have been nominated for and have won numerous Governor General's Awards for Drama, Chalmers Awards for Outstanding New Play, and countless Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Over the years, Necessary Angel has welcomed the participation of outstanding literary icons, including Michael Ondaatje and Timothy Findley, while also developing new work with some of Canada's leading playwrights, including Daniel MacIvor, John Mighton, Colleen Murphy, Jason Sherman, Colleen Wagner and David Young, whose works have become acclaimed on stages around the globe.

Daniel Brooks, Artistic Director of Necessary Angel since 2003, is a prolific and versatile artist whose innovation and risk-taking have made him a leader within the Canadian cultural landscape. He has been recognized with accolades and awards throughout Canada and around the world including the inaugural Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre.

For more information, visit the Necessary Angel website at

About Luminato: For 10 extraordinary days in June, Toronto's stages, streets, and public spaces are illuminated with arts and creativity. Luminato is an annual multi-disciplinary celebration of theatre, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts, fashion, film, and more. The fifth anniversary edition of Luminato will take place from June 10-19, 2011. Programming announcements will be made in early 2011. For details, please visit

About Peggy Baker Dance Projects: Led by one of Canada's foremost modern dancers, Peggy Baker Dance Projects is dedicated to the partnership of movement and live music to enrich the art of dance, and has performed with many outstanding musicians. Peggy Baker Dance Projects' objective in creating, producing and touring its repertoire is to reach a broad public, offering audiences a deeper appreciation of the unique beauty and power of modern dance. For details, please visit


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