Stage Door News

Toronto: Tarragon Theatre announces its 2019/20 season

Monday, March 25, 2019

Artistic Director Richard Rose and Managing Director Andrea Vagianos today announced Tarragon Theatre’s 2019-20 season: a jam packed nine-month calendar with nine World Premiere performances, with shows that offer hilarious and biting satire, compelling and heartbreaking drama, and cutting-edge social commentary from the finest award-winning Canadian playwrights.

“For 19/20 we embark on our most ambitious season ever, with new work from voices familiar to Tarragon audiences and fresh ideas from up-and-coming playwrights not seen on our stage before. We’re excited to share and continue to pursue our goal of telling stories that reflect, enlighten, and inspire Canadians,” said Rose. “Our 2019/20 season will present a culturally rich season of plays that reflects our country’s history, engages with contemporary Canada and looks to our future."

The season opens in September with YAGA a new play from Dora Award-winner Kat Sandler. A take on the tale of Baba Yaga, the old witch who grinds the bones of the wicked, with all the dark wit and comedy that can only come from the mind that brought you Mustard. Sandler will also direct the piece.

Our Extraspace season opens with THE JUNGLE from Anthony MacMahon and Thomas McKechnie. The Jungle is an impossible love story between a first generation Chinese-Canadian cab driver and a recent Romanian immigrant. They try to survive impoverished wages, daily double work-shifts, incompatible cultures and divergent left/right politics. This evocative story of Toronto’s underclass is humanely but bluntly told. Directed by Guillermo Verdecchia.

Following in the Mainspace is COPY THAT a world premiere from Tarragon’s Bill Glassco Playwright-in-Residence and Governor General’s Literary Award-winner Jason Sherman. A biting and witty look at TV writing rooms where systemic racism and censorship are pervasive in the most lucrative, influential art form of our times. Sherman takes the microcosm of the TV writing room and turns it into a metaphor about Canada. Directed by Jamie Robinson.

Next in our Extraspace the one-man BUFFOON by Anosh Irani. Set in the mind of a circus clown, who takes us on a history of folly, mistakes, accidents and pratfalls. An autobiography of how to “get it wrong!” BUFFOON is a heartbreaking, tragic and hilarious tale of a clown finding love at the circus. Directed by Richard Rose.

To ring in the New Year, Tarragon favourite Hannah Moscovitch brings the World Premiere of SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OF THE MIDDLE CLASSES. Once again, Moscovitch takes on a provocative and timely topic in a play will have everyone in the theatre taking sides.  It begins with a lecture/confession by a renowned author/university professor concerning his affair with a first year student. He knows it’s wrong but he tells himself it is ‘capital L’ Love. We see their relationship evolve over time and what begins as a seemingly sympathetic look at the professor’s motives quickly darkens. In the wake of the #MeToo movement Hannah Moscovitch takes an archetypal scenario, the ‘student-teacher romance’, and turns it on its head. Directed by Sarah Garton Stanley.

Up next in the Extraspace is THIS WAS THE WORLD by Bulmash-Seigel Award Winner Ellie Moon(Asking For It, What I Call Her) THIS WAS THE WORLD is a provocation about appropriate teaching in the new academia, of inherent but hidden racism in human behavior, of self-interest in identity politics and about the freedom of speech concurrently repressed and liberated. Directed by Richard Rose.

Our Mainspace season continues with THE HERD by playwright-in-residence Kenneth T Williams. When a First Nations buffalo herd has birthed two white buffalos revered for their spiritual significance a media circus ensues, creating a tourist destination for spiritualists of every ilk and a gene-purity investigation by the European Union Agriculture. The Chief (arguing the economy) and his geneticist sister (arguing science) battle for ethical high-ground. Co-commissioned by Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon). Directed by Kevin Loring.

Closing our Extraspace Season is THREE WOMEN of SWATOW by Chloé Hung (2017-18 RBC Emerging Playwright) which has a grandmother, mother, and daughter caught up in a generational cycle of violence by abusive husbands/boyfriends. A Grand Guignol of a history, chopping bodies and flushing husbands down the drain, the women of Swatow take ownership of their lives. Directed by Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster.

Finishing our season will be ORPHAN SONG in our Mainspace by Sean Morley Dixon, a surprisingly personal account of parenting. In Orphan Song an Early Modern couple are burying their baby. In this graveyard, a Neanderthal child appears, grieving a “plague-like” wave of death devastating her tribe. Alone and abandoned due to illness, the couple struggles as they try to adopt this child, a struggle further complicated by their separation of languages. Their love is rejected by the child and it is only when they risk everything to meet the Neanderthals is a new kind of family born. Directed by Richard Rose.

Beyond our stages, Tarragon Theatre’s production of Drew Hayden Taylor’s smash-hit COTTAGERS AND INDIANS will tour to the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa, Magnus Theatre in Thunder Bay and Saint John Theatre Company in Saint John (NB) bringing Drew’s compelling, heartwarming and humorous microcosm for reconciliation to new audiences throughout the country.

In addition to its work on the stage, Tarragon continues to foster a home for playwrights to create and develop their work. The theatre remains dedicated to growing its extensive youth programs, and continues its collaboration with Scarborough Arts, three Scarborough secondary schools and the University of Toronto Scarborough for a third year. Tarragon continues to develop the country’s most successful new play development program, as well as its Beyond the Stage programming which includes Talkback Weeks, Lecture-Conversations and Tarragon Tasting Nights. The Workspace program continues to offer free development and performance space, as well as administrative support, to emerging artists and companies in the community. The theatre also continues to grow its initiatives to welcome underserved communities into the theatre, including subsidized student matinees, and its First Preview program offering complimentary tickets to community partners. As well, Tarragon offers a Rush Ticket policy of $20 a ticket for almost every performance throughout the season.

The 2019-20 season is generously sponsored by BMO Financial Group.

 Tarragon Theatre 2019-20 Season Details

World premiere
Written & Directed by Kat Sandler
September 17 – October 20, 2019

“Bad children are the softest, and the easiest to eat; but a bad man’s bones hold power, power tastes like salt, and we love salt more than anything.” 

From the mind that brought you Mustard, a genre-bending fairy tale meets whodunit inspired by the notorious figure of Baba Yaga, the hideous old witch who lives alone in the woods grinding the bones of the wicked.

A gruesome murder in a small town leads a local sheriff, a young detective and a university professor with a taste for younger men into a labyrinth of secret lives, ancient magic and multiple suspects.

A play that gives voice to the wicked old witch, Yaga is part thriller, part revenge play and lots of comedy.

The Jungle
World premiere
Written by Anthony MacMahon and Thomas McKechnie
Directed by Guillermo Verdecchia
October 1 – November 3, 2019

“I worked ‘til I was ready to die. I made it. I belong here. I have carved myself into this country.”

She’s from Moldova, he’s the son of Chinese immigrants. She’s a factory worker by day and a waitress by night. He’s a cab driver. 

One night he picks her up running from job to job and their relationship starts.

A typical Toronto love story, stolen in the moments between shifts. But can their love survive a city in late capitalism?

Copy That
World premiere
Written by Jason Sherman
Directed by Jamie Robinson
November 6 – December 8, 2019

“So what people watch on TV, it’s got nothing to do with the real world?”

Renowned playwright Jason Sherman’s caustic look at the entertainment industry, Copy That takes us behind the scenes of network television. Four writers struggle to get their new cop show approved for production. When the team’s only Black writer is roughed up by an actual cop, the fallout threatens to not only kill the show, but expose the systemic racism at the heart of popular entertainment itself.

From the author of last season’s moving account of the life of Marshall McLuhan (The Message).

Jason Sherman is Tarragon’s Bill Glassco Playwright-in-Residence and is the winner of the Governor General's Literary Award winner for Drama.
World premiere
Written by Anosh Irani
Directed by Richard Rose
November 12 – December 15, 2019

“Mothers, what makes it so hard to accept they might not love us?”

A Clown, a Trapeze Artist, a love triangle, a one-man tour-de-force performance.

WATCH as Felix, the clown takes you on a journey from cradle to grave.

WITNESS a life of chance haunted by inevitable fate.

MARVEL at Buffoon, a heartbreaking, tragic, and hilarious tale of a clown finding love at the circus.
Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes
World Premiere
Written by Hannah Moscovitch
Directed by Sarah Garton Stanley
December 31, 2019 – February 2nd, 2020

“Do you know you’re coming on to me?”

An author and star professor, wracked with self-loathing after a third divorce, catches himself admiring a student – a girl in a red coat. Turns out the girl is a huge fan of his work. She also lives just down the street and gets locked out one afternoon…

Governor General’s Award winner Hannah Moscovitch takes an archetypal scenario, the ‘student-teacher romance’, and turns it on its head, re-envisioning it for our post-#MeToo era.

This Was the World
World Premiere
Written by Ellie Moon
Directed by Richard Rose
January 28 – March 1, 2020

“I’m no longer sure what’s allowed.”

John, a 60-something white professor of Constitutional Law and Indigenous Rights is unhappy with a new faculty hire.  He seeks to draw a student into his conflict with the Dean’s office, which leads to a complaint, which leads to a reprimand, which leads to a breakdown of the man, his daughter, and their understanding of the world.

A play about old power and new ideas, academia and decolonization, language and authority.  

Warning: White Fragility.

The Herd
World Premiere
Written by Kenneth Williams
Directed by Kevin Loring
February 25 – March 29, 2020

“That’s the way with prophecies though, it’s how you interpret the story.”

When twin White Bisons are born to a First Nation ranch, an ambitious blog reporter posts it and the story goes viral. Is this a miracle in the spiritual life of a Saskatchewan First Nation or a one in a billion scientific event?

Culture, science and politics collide as the world descends on the herd to witness the sacred prophecy of the White Bison while one Indigenous scientist fights to keep her ethics intact and her herd alive.

Three Women of Swatow
World Premiere
Written by Chloé Hung
Directed by Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster
March 17 – April 19, 2020

“Swatow women are supposed to be fierce.”

That’s what Grandmother tells her daughter. Grandmother’s a butcher and to her disappointment, her daughter’s a vegetarian. But to her satisfaction, her granddaughter killed her first chicken at the age of three. In this ferocious comedy, the three generations of women grapple with their dark history, emotional inheritance and the legacy of mothers’ life lessons and daughters’ love lives.

And there’s blood. Lots of blood.

Orphan Song
World Premiere
Written by Sean Morley Dixon
Directed by Richard Rose
April 21 – May 24, 2020

“In a lightning strike of inspiration, I claimed another child”

40,027 BCE (when the average human could count to five), a grief stricken Homo-Sapien couple adopts a Neanderthal child.  But language separates parents and child only to then separate mother and father - how do we love when we can’t communicate?  

With that, a mythic journey of danger and sacrifice ensues to connect to the Neanderthals and to protect the child at all costs.

A heroic tale of clashing cultures and how the bonds of family are truly formed.


Subscriptions and tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 416-531-1827or in person at the Tarragon Theatre Box Office at 30 Bridgman Avenue.

SUBSCRIPTIONS: Tarragon Theatre continues to offer the most flexible subscription packages in the city, allowing patrons to choose their productions and change their dates free of charge, and offering many different price points to suit all schedules and budgets.

NEW FOR THE 2019/20 SEASON: Tarragon Theatre will be moving to assigned seating! We’ve heard the feedback from subscribers and single ticket buyers alike and will move to implement assigned seating beginning with our Mainspace productions for the upcoming season.

2018-19 Earlybird Subscriptions
Full Season and 5-Play subscriptions are currently on sale starting at just $22/ticket (a potential savings of more than 50% off of regular ticket prices). Earlybird pricing ends on May 31, 2019.

2018-19 Single Tickets
Single tickets will go on sale May 31, 2019. 

Photo: Tarragon Theatre. © 2018 Peter Harte.