Nightwood Theatre's 2015-16 Season to Feature NIRBHAYA, REFUGE & More

Artistic Director Kelly Thornton and Managing Director Beth Brown have announced Nightwood Theatre's 2015/2016 Season. In our 36th season we continue to produce work that confronts some of the most relevant issues of our times. From shattering the culture of shame in gender-based violence (Nirbhaya), to exposing the pitfalls of Canada's refugee system (Refuge), from unearthing the buried history of slaves in Salem (Obeah Opera), to the clash of idealism and bureaucracy (The Public Servant), the issues raised in these plays will ignite a compelling dialogue with our audience.

Nightwood launches the season by proudly supporting Obeah Opera, produced by Culchahworks Arts Collective in PANAMANIA, the Cultural Festival of the Pan Am Games in August 2015. Conceived, composed and written by Nicole Brooks, directed by Drama Desk Award-nominated Kim Weild (Soot and Spit), Obeah Opera is a musical sensation like no other. Sung entirely a cappella by a powerful all-female cast, Obeah Opera reveals the legendary Salem witch trials from the fascinating perspective of the Caribbean slave Tituba, historically the first to be accused of witchcraft.

In November 2015, Nightwood presents the internationally acclaimed Nirbhaya at Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Written and directed by Yae?l Farber (Mies Julie, The Crucible) and based on testimonials from its extraordinary cast from India, Nirbhaya (Hindi for "fearless") is inspired by the true events that occurred in 2012 when a young woman boarded a Delhi bus heading for home. A galvanizing cry against sexual violence, Nirbhaya has been called "one of the most powerful and urgent pieces of human rights theatre ever made" (The Herald). Nirbhaya premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013 and won the coveted Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, the Scotsman Fringe First Award and the Herald Angel Award for Outstanding New Play. Recently named Critic's Pick in the New York Times; in Nirbhaya "we are not just watching; we are bearing witness" (The Guardian).

The Public Servant is a comic-tragedy written by Jennifer Brewin, Haley McGee, Sarah McVie, and Amy Rutherford based on interviews with some twenty civil servants who shared tales of navigating the fuzzy divide between individual need and public good. Directed by Jennifer Brewin, The Public Servant is produced by Common Boots Theatre (formerly Theatre Columbus) in association with Nightwood Theatre at the Berkeley Street Theatre in March 2016.

Nightwood co-founder and past Artistic Director Mary Vingoe's play Refuge will have its Toronto premiere at the Tarragon Extraspace in April 2016. Inspired by the award-winning CBC Radio documentary Habtom's Path by Mary Lynk, this piece offers a penetrating look at Canada's refugee system and confronts the post- 9/11 paranoia that can so tragically disrupt our capacity for trust. Directed by Kelly Thornton, Refuge was developed through The Collaborations at the National Arts Centre.

Committed to launching and supporting the powerful voice of female playwrights, Nightwood will also present Groundswell Unplugged: A Festival of Contemporary Women's Theatre. Kelly Thornton directs a workshop production of Diane Flack's Unholy. This provocative new script confronts and debates the topic: "should women abandon religion?" Groundswell Unplugged also features a reading of Anusree Roy's new play Trident Moon and readings from our 2014/15 Write from the Hip, Nightwood's play development program for new writers.

Says Nightwood Theatre's Artistic Director Kelly Thornton, "Nightwood's mandate continues to inspire us to focus on the pertinent issues in women's lives. Our 2015/16 season is one we are immensely proud of. It is fearless, brave and uncompromising theatre and an invitation to engage in a profound conversation about our world."


NIGHTWOOD THEATRE'S 2015/2016 SEASON

Obeah Opera
Conceived, composed and written by Nicole Brooks
August 4-8, 2015, Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre, Young Centre for the Performing Arts

Obeah Opera reveals the story of the legendary Salem witch trails from the fascinating perspective of Caribbean slave women. The piece centres around the young slave Tituba, who was historically the first to be accused of witchcraft, as portrayed in Arthur Miller's The Crucible. Determined to remain true to her craft as an African healer, Tituba becomes ensnared in the dehumanizing hysteria of the puritans, but hers is a voice that cannot be silenced.

Directed by Kim Weild
Musical Direction by Andrew Craig


Groundswell Unplugged: A Festival of Contemporary Women's Theatre
October 29-November 1, 2015, Buddies in Bad Times Mainspace
including:

Unholy by Diane Flacks
A Workshop Production
Set in a fictional live public debate, that asks, "should women abandon religion", four female panelists face off in a provocative and hilarious battle of wits. A smart, funny look at personal politics and the power of love.

Directed by Kelly Thornton
Featuring Patricia Hamilton, Linda Kash, Niki Landau, and Bahareh Yaraghi

Trident Moon by Anusree Roy
A Public Reading from our Playwright in Residence

Write from the Hip - New Work by Heather Debling, Hillary Rexe, Pearl Chan and Rose Napoli
Readings from our 2014/15 Emerging Playwrights program, Facilitated by Andrea Donaldson

See full schedule of Groundswell Unplugged in September, 2015. Visit nightwoodtheatre.net for details.


Nirbhaya

Written and Directed by Yae?l Farber
November 18-29, 2015, Harbourfront Centre Theatre

Based on the infamous events that occurred when a woman and her friend boarded a Delhi bus in December 2012, Nirbhaya (Hindi for "fearless") is a tapestry of personal testimonies, which tears away the shame that keeps survivors of sexual abuse silent. Called "one of the most urgent pieces of human rights theatre ever made" (The Herald), Nirbhaya premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013 and won the coveted Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, the Scotsman Fringe First Award and the Herald Angel Award for Outstanding New Play. It is an unforgettable work that moves and inspires audiences with the sheer capacity of the human spirit to rise, bear witness, survive and turn the tide.

Featuring Priyanka Bose, Poorna Jagannathan, Sneha Jawale, Rukhsar Kabir, Japjit Kaur, Pamela Sinha and Ankur Vikal


The Public Servant

Written by Jennifer Brewin, Haley McGee, Sarah McVie, and Amy Rutherford
March 11-April 3, 2016, Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs

Step inside the halls of power as Madge, a young, idealistic and enthusiastic civil servant, prepares to write her first official memo. The Public Servant reveals the journey of heroic dedication and professional betrayal, of overcoming cutbacks, bad managers and incompetent ministers. And how in the end, the demands of "accountability and transparency" defeat even the best bureaucratic soldiers.

Directed by Jennifer Brewin
Featuring Haley McGee, Sarah McVie, and Amy Rutherford


Refuge

Written by Mary Vingoe
April 19-May 8, 2016, Tarragon Theatre Extraspace

Based on the award winning CBC Radio Documentary Habtom's Path by Mary Lynk, Refuge tells the story of Eritrean army deserter Ayinom Zerisenai who has landed in Nova Scotia, where his mother already has refugee status. But even as Ayinom's plight wins the support of immigration lawyer Saul Ackman, questions about his past actions-and his current enigmatic behaviour-begin to haunt Pamel who has taken him under her roof. Are she and her husband harbouring a legitimate refugee-or a terrorist? A provocative story of the pitfalls of seeking sanctuary in today's suspicious world.

Directed by Kelly Thornton
Featuring Pamela Sinha, Sarah Orenstein, Ryan Hollyman, and TBA

2015/2016 Season Passes go on sale May 12, 2015. Call Nightwood Theatre at 416-944-1740 ext. 4, or purchase online at www.nightwoodtheatre.net

Single tickets range from $25.00 to $55.00. For more information on when single tickets go on sale and how to purchase visit www.nightwoodtheatre.net.



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