Stage Door News

Toronto: Canadian Stage announces its 2020/21 season

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Canadian Stage today announced its 20.21 season. Featuring 13 works, nine Canadian productions, three international hits and a perennial outdoor summer favourite  ̶ from some of the most exciting Canadian and international artists working today, this season of breathtaking stories will entertain, move and surprise.

“Our upcoming season speaks to the values that define us: empathy, curiosity, inventiveness and hope,” says Artistic Director Brendan Healy. “The artists in our 20.21 season are doing just that with heart, imagination, and even humour.”

The 20.21 season brings together the wide range of talent and forms of expression that have come to define contemporary theatre, dance and performance. A collision of disciplines and perspectives that reflect the dynamic spirit of Toronto, this season casts a focus on exceptional Canadian talent. From Paradise Lost, playwright Erin Shields’s contemporary adaptation of John Milton’s epic poem starringLouise Pitre and Eric Peterson and directed by award-winner Tanja Jacobs, the English-language premiere of Public Enemy by Siminovitch Prize-winner Olivier Choinière featuring Rosemary Dunsmore, Ben Carlson, Evan Buliung and Jenny Young, the return of Revisor by the genius creative duo of Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young, the internationally celebrated Indigenous contemporary dance company Red Sky Performance, puppet master extraordinaire Ronnie Burkett, and a new series dedicated to the most innovative and provocative creators in Canada featuring Ame Henderson, Dana Michel, Christian Lapointe and Nadia Ross, Canadian Stage is thrilled to provide a platform for contemporary Canadian artists.

In addition to the home-grown Canadian talent on our stages, this season also brings some of the world’s acclaimed creators to Toronto. Canadian Stage is proud to be partnering with Obsidian Theatre to co-produce the first Canadian production of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Fairview, directed by Kimberley Rampersad. Additionally, Canadian Stage will be presenting the U.S./Canadian production of Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling novel A Thousand Splendid Suns and the Toronto premiere of Japan’s legendary Butoh dance company Dairakudakan.

The 20.21 season also reinforces the company’s commitment of collaborating with the local community. This season includes co-productions with The Musical Stage Company, Obsidian Theatre, Red SkyPerformance, L’ACTIVITÉ and our Dance Series partnership with TO Live.

“We have produced a season that is connected to Toronto and one that supports great Canadian talent,” says Canadian Stage Executive Director Monica Esteves. “What audiences will see and experience on our stages are world leading theatre makers and choreographers from Canada and around the world and this could not have been achieved without our incredible community partners.”

Another major focus for the company is the development of new work. Led by Canadian Stage’s Associate Artistic Director, Mel Hague (Obsidian Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times), Canadian Stage is dedicated to providing an opportunity for Canadian creators to make work for the large stage and initiate international collaborations for Canadian artists. By investing in long-term development plans, Canadian Stage will offer artists the focus and support to develop work at both the physical and intellectual scale needed to make sustained impact on the Canadian and International performance landscape. Canadian Stage will continue to be a unique and vital development space for innovative artistic development. We will invest in long-term relationships with artists and projects and create collaborations with arts institutions.

“We have an important role to fulfill in the Canadian performance arts sector,” says Associate Artistic Director, Mel Hague. “Canadian artists deserve a space to dream big and realize ambitious visions. At Canadian Stage, we will continue to cultivate intricate works, we will create spaces that are as challenging as they are open and we will fight the barriers that exist within forms to bring together unique and distinctive creations.”

Also new this season is Art Explored. Inspired by the artists and themes of this season, audiences will have the opportunity to engage with the art in new and exciting ways through a series of exclusive events. Highlights of the Art Explored offerings are an intimate Cabaret with Louise Pitre and Friends, a Shakespeare Family Feast during Shakespeare in High Park, Brickworks to Gasworks Creative Walk, two Brunches with Brendan, Ornament Making in our historic Prop Shop, a Spirits & Spaces Sake Tasting and Music Performance, Arts Talks and more.

20.21 SEASON:

SHAKESPEARE IN HIGH PARK (UK/Canada) – July 4-Sept 6, High Park Amphitheatre
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Peter Pasyk
Cast: Bola Aiyeola, John Beale, Matthew G. Brown, Joella Crichton, Mazin Elsadig, John Koensgen,Davinder Malhi, Ron Pederson, Zorana Sadiq, Tyrone Savage, Anoja Vigneswaran, Tim Walker

One of the cities most magical outdoor experiences returns for its 38th years. Experience Shakespeareunder the stars with The Comedy of Errors. Considered one of Shakespeare’s most enduring and belovedcomedies, this play about two displaced twins, Antipholus and Dromio, who journey to find theirrespective brothers, is teeming with mischievous wordplay and complex mix-ups. The ultimate story ofmistaken identity.

FAIRVIEW (USA) – September 12-October 4, Berkeley Street Theatre
By Jackie Sibblies Drury
Directed by Kimberley Rampersad
Cast: Peter N. Bailey, Sascha Cole, Jennifer Dzialoszynski, Jeff Lillico, Alex McCooeye, Chelsea Russell,Ordena Stephens-Thompson, Sophia Walker

A Canadian Stage and Obsidian Theatre Co-Production

After its stunning sold-out NYC debut, this Canadian premiere of Jackie Sibblies Jury’s electrifying 2019Pulitzer Prize-winning drama confronts notions of both theatre and race. Fairview is a radicalexamination of power, an interrogation of our subtly destructive preconceptions and asks questions thatchallenge modern white liberalism.

A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS (Canada/USA) – October 18-31, Bluma Appel Theatre

By Ursula Rani Sarma
Based on the book by Khaled Hosseini
Directed by Haysam Kadri

Cast Anita Majumdar and more
A Canadian Stage Production in Association with The Citadel Theatre

Based on the bestselling novel by Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner) comes a powerful story of two wiveswho form an unlikely and dangerous friendship on their journey to freedom. Two generations ofwomen, forced together by circumstance, face a violent war and a new reality of Taliban-ruledAfghanistan. Filled with peril, sacrifice and, ultimately hope, this riveting story captures a time and placefew have experienced.

LITTLE DICKENS (Canada) – November 25-December 20, Berkeley Street Theatre
A Production of Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes
A Canadian Stage Presentation

Have yourself a naughty little Christmas! The Charles Dickens holidays classic, A Christmas Carol, gets araunchy reimagining by Toronto puppet master, Ronnie Burkett, and his Theatre of Marionettes. Hismotely crew of lovely characters, including the diva Esmé Massengill as Emsé Scrooge, encounters withthe Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come to lead her on a journey of redemption.

PUBLIC ENEMY (Canada) – January 9-31, Berkeley Street TheatreBy Olivier Choinière
Trans-adaptation by Bobby Theodore
Directed by Brendan Healy

Cast: Evan Buliung, Ben Carlson, Rosemary Dunsmore, Jenny Young and more
A Canadian Stage Production in Association with L’ACTIVITÉ

Elizabeth, the frail but stubborn matriarch is hosting dinner for her three children and twograndchildren. In this blistering take on a family dinner, the always subversive Siminovitch Prize-winner,Olivier Choinière invites you to a dinner unlike any you’ve attended before. Rapid-fire dialogue ispainstakingly choreographed, as we chart through moments that are both eerily recognizable andpiercingly insightful.

MIIGIS (Canada) – February 14-21, Berkeley Street TheatreDirection and Concept by Sandra Laronde
Choreographed by Jera Wolfe
A Red Sky Performance Production Presented by Canadian StageA Berkeley Street Company-in-Residence

At the forefront of Indigenous performance in Canada and around the world, Red Sky Performancedelivers an explosive original work that expands and elevates the ecology of contemporary Indigenousarts and culture. Revealing the power of nature and Indigenous prophecy by fusing contemporaryIndigenous dance with athleticism, Miigis explores that catalysts for movement, memory, water traderoutes, ancestral forces and the cycle of life.

CRAZY CAMEL (Japan) – March 5 & 6, Bluma Appel Theatre
Choreography and Artistic Direction by Akaji Maro and Dairakudakan
Cast: Akaji Maro and Dairakudakan
A Dairakudakan Production
A Canadian Stage and TO Live Co-Presentation

In this exhilarating Butoh-style dance performance, the brilliant Dairakudakan ensemble make theirToronto debut. The defiant Butoh dance style (meaning dance of darkness) emerged in post-World WarII Japan in response to the country’s overtly Western-inspired dance scene. Founded in 1972 by ground-breaking Japanese choreographer, Akaji Maro, this is a show that is not to be missed!

REVISOR (Canada) – March 25-28, Bluma Appel TheatreKidd Pivot
Created by Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young
A Kidd Pivot Production

A Canadian Stage and TO Live Presentation

After a sold-out run in our 19.20 season, Revisor returns. Choreographer Crystal Pite and writer-actorJonathon Young, the creative team behind the acclaimed and heartbreaking Bettroffenheit, have struckgold again with Revisor! Inspired by Nikolai Gogol’s 1836 play The Inspector General, Revisor is part riskysatire, part choreographed lip-synch and all urgent warning of unchecked power.

PARADISE LOST (Canada) – April 9-18, Bluma Appel TheatreBy Erin Shields
Directed by Tanja Jacobs
Cast: Louise Pitre as Satan, Eric Peterson and more

A Canadian Stage Production

In the depths of Hell, the recently, embarrassingly defeated Satan, played by Canadian theatrical great LouisePitre, is plotting her revenge on the cocky God, the father. The plan: to defile his precious new creations – thenaïve, idealistic, perhaps dimwitted – Adam and Eve, while disguised as a serpent. The classic story of thebattle between Heaven and Hell gets an irreverent retelling in Erin Shield’s witty and contemporaryadaptation of John Milton’s epic 17th century poem.

BLACKOUT (Canada) – May 14-June 6, Berkeley Street TheatreBook by Steven Gallagher
Music & Lyrics by Anton Lipovetsky
Directed by Ann Hodges

Music Supervision by Wayne Gwillim
A Musical Stage Company Production in Association with Canadian Stage

Blackout is the latest project of our ongoing partnership with The Musical Stage Company to support thecreation of new Canadian musicals. On August 14, 2003, Toronto was sent into chaos when the largestblackout in Canadian history left millions in the dark unable to reach or connect with their loved ones.Inspired by real events, Blackout depicts three stories of connection that unfolded when the city wasdark, and strangers banded together to find the light. Created by two of Canada’s most exciting voices,this new Canadian musical is a story of hope, resilience and community.

CS PLATFORM: A Vanguard Performance Series, Berkeley Street Upstairs Theatre

Over three weekends in November, four of Canada’s most provocative creators present new works thatredefine the boundaries of performance. This special series invites audiences to explore the future ofperformance.


Choreographer Ame Henderson’s harbinger conjures unapologetic feminine splendour, with astartling exploration of intimacy and physical interdependence.


Mercurial George, choreographer Dana Michel’s (first Canadian winner of the Venice BiennaleSilver Lion Award) destabilizing solo show, sifts through the heaps of dusty clues left over in thewake of initializing a cultural excavation.


In Siminovitch Prize-winner Nadia Ross and Christian Lapointe’s P.O.R.N. (Portrait of RestlessNarcissism), the internet connects two people attempting to escape the loneliness of our time.

20.21 subscriptions are on sale now with four-show packages starting at $100, six-show packagesstarting at $132, a dance package starting at $109, a theatre package starting at $132 and a full seasonpackage starting at $208. Subscriptions can be purchased online at, by phone at 416-368-3110 or in person at the Berkeley Street Box Office, located at 26 Berkeley Street.

At Canadian Stage we are committed to making our productions accessible and have a wide range ofticket access programs available: C-Stage $20 or $30 tickets for patrons under 30, Pay-What-You-CanTuesdays, $20 or $30 Rush tickets, $29 tickers for Arts Workers and Group Discounts for groups of six ormore. Single tickets go on sale on April 28, with tickets starting at $29 for most shows.

Performances take place at the company’s three historic venues: The Bluma Appel Theatre at the St.Lawrence Centre; The Berkeley Street Theatre (which houses the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre andthe Berkeley Upstairs Theatre); and the High Park Amphitheatre.

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