The Theatre Centre's 2017-18 Programming to Focus on Residency Work, Community
At one of their very popular community meals yesterday, The Theatre Centre made its first programming announcement for 2017/2018 with a continued focus on Residency work, supporting artists, and filling the role of culture and community hub for the neighbourhood and beyond.
The Theatre Centre, a nationally recognized live-arts incubator, is committed to nurturing artists, investing in ideas, and championing new work and new ways of working. The company fosters a culture of innovation by embracing risk and questioning traditional notions of failure and success.
The work of The Theatre Centre falls into five distinct categories: Creating, Producing, Presenting, Moving the Work, and Sharing.
"I want to seed more projects by both emerging and established artists and I want to offer more of our space and our resources for artists to imagine new ways of working," explains Artistic Director Franco Boni.
Currently in Residency at The Theatre Centre are theatre creators Ian Kamau, Hannah Moscovitch, Maev Beaty, Ann-Marie Kerr, and neurologist-in-residence Suvendrini Lena. Also in development are: Jani Lauzon (Tracy Wright Global Archive); Playwright in Residence Alanna Mitchell (Malignant Metaphor); interdisciplinary artist DeAnna Bowen (in development with Mercer Union); Daniele Bartolini (in partnership with Istituto Italiano di Cultura); and Ahuri Theatre (This is the Point) which The Theatre Centre is re-investing in and continuing to develop for a second production in the building before setting out on tour. Over the next three years, six additional artists will be invited to join Residency.
"This Residency model The Theatre Centre has developed, and that I am so lucky to currently benefit from, gives credence to the idea that development takes time, that building a home for artists to grow and work to evolve is not about a conveyor belt of production but a ground for trying ideas, making connections, and becoming better at what we do." - Heidi Strauss, Choreographer, Dancer, The Theatre Centre Residency Artist - what it's like (2014-16)
The Theatre Centre is committed to producing the work created in residency. By relying on the artist and trusting in the process, the work is produced when it is ready, not at a pre-determined time. Other Theatre Centre productions this year will include Daughter, Adam Lazarus' controversial Summerworks hit in November 2017; 40 Days and 40 Nights, a new work stemming from the Tracy Wright Global Archive by Daniel Brooks and Kim Collier in April 2018; Liza Balkan's Out the Window, which was first developed at The Theatre Centre in 2012 and is the first co-production of The Theatre Centre's and Luminato's new partnership: The Residents Project in June 2018; and This is the Point, returning for a limited engagement in December.
"This is the Point is a very important play for the awareness and inclusion of all people of all abilities. I'm so proud of this play, it is a kind of a life's achievement for me." - Tony Diamanti, Playwright, Performer - This is the Point (2014-16)
The Theatre Centre will also be presenting a number of shows and festivals this year: in partnership with Embassy of the Imagination (an exhibition featuring works created by the youths from Kinngait in Cape Dorset, focusing on printmaking practice) in October 2017; Live Art Development Agency and British Council (to bring some of England's greatest live art makers to Toronto) in November 2017; Progress Festival, in partnership with SummerWorks in February 2018; and Theatre Direct's Wee Festival (an international arts festival dedicated to early childhood) in May 2018.
"We often present national and international works that are being made on the edge of a practice. By bringing these live art and intimate works to the city, we're able to place the work of Toronto artists within an international context, both for audiences and artists." - Aislinn Rose, General Manager, The Theatre Centre
Moving the Work
Sea Sick by Alanna Mitchell, which was developed at The Theatre Centre and opened the new building in 2014, has toured non-stop since then, across Canada and around the globe. This summer the team will take the show on tour to Australia followed by a full Ontario tour in the fall in collaboration with Ontario Presents. The Theatre Centre has begun taking a more active role in touring shows developed in Residency, especially for artists with little to no infrastructure or history of touring, by building relationships with other presenters across Canada and the world.
"The experience of touring the work has been revelatory, and an opportunity I never expected to have with audiences. It's all about the conversations on the road and how the work continues to evolve as a result. It's been an exercise in fascination." - Alanna Mitchell, Creator, Performer - Sea Sick
The Theatre Centre is convinced that resources go further when you share them, a philosophy that informs their long-term relationship with Why Not Theatre, and the continued support of their RISER Project.
"The Theatre Centre has been such an important home for me as an artist. Nowhere in the city have I been given the kind of support that The Theatre Centre has given. Alongside The Theatre Centre, my company Why Not Theatre has grown exponentially, being given the space to create experimental work as well as innovative producing models, both of which have improved the quality of art and producing in Toronto. I will always be grateful to The Theatre Centre as the first place to believe in me and instill the confidence to create bold, political and subversive work." - Ravi Jain, Artistic Director, Why Not Theatre
The following is a sampling of accomplishments by The Theatre Centre in the three short years since the doors opened at 1115 Queen Street West:
- 9 Theatre Centre productions, including 6 Residency projects have been produced
- 7 Theatre Centre presentations of national and international works
- 8 national and international tour dates for Sea Sick
- 8 hosted festivals
- 80+ hosted productions
- 8 artists have been able to explore 'burning' global question about their art through the Tracy Wright Global Archive (TWGA)
- 2,500+ hours of free space for artists and community partners
- 62,000+ transactions in our Café/Bar
- 75,000+ audience members
- 24 Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations (16 Residency and
- 7 Dora Mavor Moore Awards (6 Residency, 1 non-Residency) including Outstanding Production and Ensemble for This is the Point, co-produced with Ahuri Theatre, and Outstanding Lighting Design for The Magic Hour, co-produced with artist-in-residence Jess Dobkin, (in the Indie Theatre Division); and Outstanding Production, Ensemble and Lighting Design for what it's like, co-produced with adelheid, artistic director Heidi Strauss (in the Dance Division).
The Theatre Centre has a baker-in-residence, a neurologist-in-residence, highlights the work of local visual artists with two galleries and the Objectorium, and the café/bar now features an array of late-night programming to keep their doors open even longer. (Which open every morning at 8am to welcome the community and early-rising theatre artists). The Theatre Centre has also launched a Newcomer Initiative where they welcome people to Toronto, provide them with a community connection, and help them gain employable skills as they build their new lives in Canada. The Theatre Centre currently works with a Syrian newcomer in the Café, and have hired an accountant from Aleppo, as a financial coordinator.
The Theatre Centre is a place of questions, not answers. It is experimental, not formulaic. It is a place where city building and the arts intersect. The Theatre Centre is a catalyst for a powerful conversation about Canadian culture. "We are helping explain why art matters."
For more information, visit theatrecentre.org.