Stage Door News

Toronto: New works at the Groundswell Festival September 23-28

Friday, September 13, 2019

Nightwood Theatre is getting ready to kick-off our 40th Anniversary Seasonwith our 34th Groundswell Festival of New Works. Groundswell has been the starting ground for Write from the Hip plays that went on to be produced as a part of Nightwood's staged season - such as Jordi Mand's Between the Lines, Rose Napoli's Lo (Or, Dear Mr. Wells), Jane Doe's Grace, and Andrea Scott and Nick Green's Every Day She Rose. It's also been the platform in which new works from established playwrights have received their first read, such as Diane Flacks' Unholy. Come out to The Ernest Balmer Studio (Studio 315, 9 Trinity Street in the Distillery District) and be the first to hear these brand new works! Read on for more details - including the stellar team of director's slated to work on each reading.

For passes, visit


The Write from the Hip Reading Series

The Meeting by Katherine Gauthier 
Directed by Diana Donnelly

Happening in real time at a Love and Sex Addicts support group, The Meetinginvestigates the sexual and relationship holds that bind us. We meet five members struggling to break out of their obsessive and debilitating sexual patterns: an editor caught sleeping with his employee, a lawyer who cannot stop texting her married ex, a student struggling to be aroused without porn, a counsellor in training who would rather focus on everybody else’s problems and a man whose secret risks to ostracize him and ultimately, destroy him.

The play explores the real human stories behind the salacious news articles and exposes the queries that we reserve for late-night googling: What does healthy love look like? What do we do with our deviant sexual desires? Can we recover from abuse? What do we do when someone discloses their desire for a child, but vows not to act upon that desire?

Tangled by Tabia Lau 
Directed by Keshia Palm

A young girl is found dead in the water. She is supposed to be in class, at the local college just four blocks away. Instead, she is found dead in the water. Tangled follows an investigator who enters a town, attempting to rebuild her last day from a series of interviews. What he finds instead is a community that is much more interested in keeping its own secrets hidden. As the residents grow increasingly less trusting, the threads between neighbours are tested, and the desperate search for the truth grows intricate. Do you remember where you were 152 hours ago?

Making Moves by Aniyka Mark
Directed by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

Making Moves delivers a day in the life of young, Black people in Toronto’s West-end. As they move through their day, it is impossible to ignore how political their social lives are, how they are all deeply connected, and that sometimes, there’s nothing more to do other than to keep making moves. Drawing inspiration from Trey Anthony’s Da Kink in My Hair and Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Making Moves stands as an embodied emotional response to the playwright’s lived experience as a young Black Canadian.

Siranoush by Lara Arabian 
Directed by Evalyn Parry

This one-woman show uncovers the life story of Siranoush, a pioneering 19th century Armenian female theatre artist who challenged a number of gender, class and ethnic barriers. As her story melds with the playwrights’s own 21st century story of immigration and identity, an exploration of the personal as political unfolds. Incorporating multimedia, heightened physicality and multilingual delivery (including English, Armenian, French, Turkish), Siranoush is a piece that examines displacement, motherhood, language and artistic drive, and how we all ‘perform’ our lives.

The Stray Sheep Cabaret 
by Catt Filippov 
Directed by Sadie Epstein-Fine

The Stray Sheep Cabaret tells the story of Moorka, a Russian-Canadian performance artist dying to be noticed both as an artist, and as a Russian. While scanning the radio waves for inspiration for her next piece, she intercepts a broadcast from Zoya – a member of a group of Russian writers who have faked their own deaths to avoid permanent muzzling by Uncle Vlad’s government. Zoya wants Moorka’s freedom of speech. Moorka wants Zoya’s notoriety. Both will stop at nothing to be heard. When Moorka travels to Russia to meet her counterpart, and the subject of what she thinks will be her breakthrough piece, her naiveté about her fatherland ultimately leads to her demise.

Children of Fire Reading

Children of Fire by Shahrzad Arshadi and Anna Chatterton 
Directed by Andrea Donaldson

“Freedom needs daring…..if you want Freedom you need to have courage to go after Freedom….” freedom fighter "Medya”

“What I see and hope for the future? Like a revolution…I might not be in that future. Our victory is if a woman like me, mothers like me, fight for girls like our daughters, our children can live in a free society.” freedom fighter “Tinda”

Children of Fire is an intimate portrayal of the Kurdish female freedom fighters that hosted Shahrzad Arshadi and Anna Chatterton in the mountains of Kurdistan. Co-created with a mix of verbatim theatre and first-person confessional, the play follows the journey and layered relationship across cultures between Shahrzad and Anna, and asks what is at the heart of living bravely as a woman and an activist.

Children of Fire was developed thanks to the generous support of the Paul Butler and Chris Black Play Development Fund. With additional thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for supporting Anna Chatterton as Nightwood Theatre's playwright-in-residence.

The Feminist Unconference

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 11:30 AM - 4:30 PM 
(with a lunch break mid-way through) 
Co-hosted by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard and Tanya Rintoul 
Ernest Balmer Studio
Studio 315, 9 Trinity St. in the Distillery District
Participants are invited to stay for a cinq-à-sept (5 - 7 pm) celebration afterwards.

Connect and collaborate on the final day of Nightwood's 2019 Groundswell Festival at our first ever Feminist Unconference! Theatre practitioners are invited to listen, lead and unpack all things feminist at this hierarchy-smashing, participant-driven event. Join us afterwards for a celebratory cinq-à-sept to launch Nightwoods 2019-20 Season!

"An unconference is a participant-driven meeting. The term 'unconference' has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid hierarchical aspects of a conventional conference, such as sponsored presentations and top-down organization....Typically at an unconference, the agenda is created by the attendees at the beginning of the meeting. Anyone who wants to initiate a discussion on a topic can claim a time and a space."

This event is free to attend. As the studio has a capacity limit, please consider reserving your spot through