Stage Door News

Barrie: Talk Is Free Theatre announces its expanded 2019/20 season

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Today Artistic Producer Arkady Spivak announced TIFT’s expanded 2019-2020 Season. It includes Tower of Babylon, a globe spanning development project; mini-festival of unique works created by an all-female collective; a five-play subscription season in Barrie, touring activities, another season of Illuminating Coversations and the two-city International Immersive Festival.

As part of the subscription season in Barrie, TIFT will present a wildly slick Broadway classic (Pal Joey); a dark intertwining of classic fairy tale characters (Into the Woods); a gripping North American debut from the UK (Gypsy Queen); a double-bill of masterful storytelling that spans across decades (Herringbone and The Yalta Game); and six site- specific works from an all female collective of artists (Plural of She).

As part of a massive development project, TIFT will also be reaching out to Indigenous artists from across the world to communally tell, in their own languages, the story we know.  Headed by Director Herbie Barnes, Tower of Babylon explores how important words are and, in turn, how unimportant they are to meaning.

Details for the Barrie subscription season are as follows:

October 10 – 19, 2019

Justin Stadnyk

Book by John O’Hara
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Music by Richard Rodgers
Directed by Esther Jun
Set and Lighting Designed by Joe Pagnan
Costumes Designed by Michelle Bohn

Pal Joey follows the wily Joey Evans, a cunning small-time nightclub owner whose ambition knows no bounds. Driven by dreams of glamour and power, his schemes are laced with deception and entanglements with the wealthy and already married Vera Simpson.
Featuring songs that have become Broadway standards including “I Could Write a Book” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”, Pal Joey is a fiendish classic that has had several revivals and a film adaptation staring Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth.

November 14, 15 and 16, 2019
Aidan De Salaiz, Alana Hibbert, Richard Lam and Kimberly-Ann Truong
Book by James Lapine
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Michael Torontow
Musical Direction by Giustin MacLean
Designed by Joe Pagnan

In partnership with members of TIFT’s youth mentorship program, an eclectic cast will present a lightly-staged production of intertwining of stories, starring the well-known Brothers Grimm characters as they discover the price of 'happily ever after'. This is a limited-time event to enjoy the masterful songs of Stephen Sondheim, one of Broadway's most celebrated talents.

November 27 – 30 2019
Written by Rob Ward
Directed by Chris Lawson
Starring John Askew and Rob Ward
Emmerson & Ward production, UK

Fresh from sold-out engagements all over the UK, Gypsy Queen makes its North American Debut. This is the story of Gorgeous George O’Connell, bare‐knuckle fighter and traveler, who enters the world of professional boxing which puts him on a collision course with his roots, his identity and his greatest fear. In the opposite corner, gay boxer Dane ‘The Pain’ Samson is fighting his own battles that lead to an outcome that neither could predict.

Can two men raised to fight ever learn to love?

“Heartbreaking, raw and emotional; this really is not one to miss” (Broadway Baby)

“Laugh-out-loud lines... a touching romance” (The Independent)

Audience Advisory: Gypsy Queen contains instances of nudity and coarse language

January 23 – February 1 2019

Mike Nadajewski
in a

Book by Tom Cone
Music by Skip Kennon
Lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh
Based on the one-act play by Tom Cone

Herringbone is a delicious musical blend of genres that transport the audience to the early days of the Great Depression.

This darkly twisted vaudevillian journey is centered on our protagonist, George, who finds opportunity in performance to provide for his family with sinister consequences.


Written by Brian Friel
Based on the short story by Anton Chekhov

Inspired by "The Lady with the Lapdog", Brian Friel penned a marvelously inventive story centered on two strangers who seek adventure to end their loneliness and their humdrum lives – together they invent stories about other tourists and rewrite their own lives.

April 2 – 11 2020

Curated by Maja Ardal

Created and Developed by
Maja Ardal
Malindi Ayienga
Maddie Bautista
Nicky Guadagni
Vanessa Smythe

Performed in private homes around Barrie, Plural of She features six original solo works, developed and performed by an all-female collective.


For its sixth year, our thought-provoking and very popular conversation series returns with a new line up of renowned guests, including Jeff Monague (Oct 28, 2019), Leora Berman (November 25, 2019), Nick Saul (January 27, 2020) and Sally Armstrong (April 27, 2020).


 After celebrating its 500th performance in Brisbane, Australia, Tales of an Urban Indian by Darrell Dennis, staged on a moving city bus, is hitting the road again. Stops will include Kick and Push Festival in Kingston, ON (July 31-Aug 4, 2019) and IMPACT Festival in Kitchener, ON (Sep 26-29, 2019).

TIFT's co-production of Every Brilliant Thing with Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre will play in Winnipeg from January 23 to February 8, 2020.

Other international touring engagements will be announced at a later date.



 International Immersive Festival will be the first of its kind festival anywhere in the world. It is dedicated exclusively to experiential/participatory art practices. The Festival will be multi-disciplinary, two-city (Barrie and Toronto) event, with some projects transporting the audience between the cities as part of the narrative. It will feature eight projects, across a number of artistic disciplines: theatre, music, dance and visual arts performances, among others. It will take place from March 20 to May 15, 2020. Most of the programming will take place outside of the traditional theatre venues and will be anchored by the local remake of TIFT's intercontinental version of The Curious Voyage.  Complete programming will be announced in July.


TIFT is based in Barrie, Ontario, a smaller city of 160,000 residents located in the centre of Simcoe County. We are Central Ontario’s only professional Equity company with a full winter season. Our mission, both in our home seasons and with our touring endeavours, is to produce cutting edge theatre works, such as are typically only presented in major urban centres, and connect them with new non-urban audiences.