Stage Door News

Toronto: Selina Thomson's “salt.” will run at the Progress Festival and at the Toronto Centre for the Arts

Monday, January 21, 2019

At the 2018 Progress Festival, The Theatre Centre presented the North American premiere of Selina Thompson’s performance installation Race Cards. The ideas and the questions that Selina posed in the work situated Toronto audiences in a global conversation about race. Building on the success of that relationship, The Theatre Centre, Why Not Theatre, and Civic Theatres Toronto, with the support of the British Council, are collaborating to present salt. salt. is the latest addition to Selina’s wider body of work looking at contemporary Black British identity, this time by exploring the transatlantic slave triangle stretching from the UK to Ghana and across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and North America.

Selina Thompson said: “In 2016, I got on a cargo ship, and with the support of 200 Crowdfunders, retraced the transatlantic slave triangle to investigate just how it has impacted our lives today: to embody the afterlife of slavery. This show is the story that I bought back from that journey. Expect a show that is haunted by the past, that takes you to the very bottom of the Atlantic, and that sees us emerge from the ocean, ready to fight for a better world.”

Combining ritual, ceremony and oratory to powerful effect, Thompson’s work is as social as it is theatrical: she works to generate discussion about the ways we might heal and change. Speaking directly to the audience, her practice is primarily intimate, political and participatory, with a strong strand of public engagement that then leads to highly visual work that seeks to connect those often marginalized through the arts.

The Theatre Centre’s Artistic Director Franco Boni is particularly excited to work with Selina again and to be building partnerships close to home. “I first encountered Selina Thompson’s work Race Cards at the 2017 IBT festival where I also had the chance to hear Selina speak. I was immediately drawn to her art—and her perspective. Salt. is an extremely personal work, but it gives audiences the space to see themselves in it. I'm thrilled to be sharing this work with Why Not Theatre and the Civic Theatres.

Mark Hammond, from Toronto Civic Theatres, had this to say; “We are extremely proud and excited that the extraordinarily powerful and deeply moving salt. is CTT’s first foray into dramatic presentation at its Uptown location, the Toronto Centre for Arts”.
Why Not Theatre’s Ravi Jain is thrilled to be able to bring Selina’s work to Toronto for Progress Festival; “I have not stopped thinking about salt. since seeing it at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017. Selina, through a very personal story, connects us all to the inheritance of the impacts of slavery, racism and colonialism.  She makes visible the lines which connect us to that past, and generously invites us to make the world a better place.  She is an incredible artist and this show couldn't be more timely and inspiring to see!"
“British Council is proud to support this provoking and inspirational production, we are excited for the profound journey it will take its audience on.” – Mariya Afzal, Country Director of British Council Canada
At The Theatre Centre (Progress Festival)                            
Curated and Presented by                                                      
The Theatre Centre and Why Not Theatre                              
1115 Queen St W.                                                                  
Thursday Jan 31, 7:30pm                                                      
Friday  Feb 1, 7:30pm                                                          
Saturday Feb 2, 7:30pm          

At the Toronto Centre for the Arts
Presented by the Toronto Centre for the Arts
5040 Yonge St.
Thursday, February 7, 8:00pm
Friday, February 8, 8:00pm
Saturday, February 9, 8:00pm
Sunday, February 10, 2:00pm
Written and performed by:                Selina Thompson
Directed by:                                          Dawn Walton
Designed by:                                         Katherina Radeva
Lighting Design by:                              Cassie Mitchell. Relights by Louise Gregory.
Sound Design by:                                 Tanuja Amarasuriya
Music composed by:                            Sleepdogs
Dramaturgical support from:             Maddy Costa, Season Butler & Bryony Kimmings
Produced by:                                         Emma Beverley
Production Managed by:                     Louise Gregory
salt. was commissioned by Yorkshire Festival, Theatre Bristol and MAYK and supported by Arts Council England, and 200 kind and generous supporters who donated towards our voyage across the Atlantic.

Photo: Selina Thompson. © 2017 Richard Davenport.