Stage Door News

Toronto: Canadian Stage announces programming cancellations

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The fight to contain the spread of COVID-19 has created an unprecedented challenge to the performing arts. It is with regret that Canadian Stage announces the suspension of its Fall 2020 productions of Fairview by Jackie Sibblies Drury (a Canadian Stage and Obsidian Theatre co-production), A Thousand Splendid Suns by Ursula Rani Sarma, based on the book by Khaled Hosseini (a Canadian Stage productionin association with The Citadel Theatre), Little Dickens by Ronnie Burkett, and the CS Platform series. We wish to thank our artists, partners, and audiences for their understanding, and we look forward to the moment when we can bring these shows back to our stages.

In mid-August we will release the details of our alternative season programming which will uphold our mission of developing and presenting local, national, and international contemporary performance, but in formats that do not compromise the health and safety of our artists, patrons, and staff. Furthermore, we will be announcing additional programs that are responsive to the current pandemic and the social, economic and political changes that it is precipitating. In advance of this announcement, ArtisticDirector, Brendan Healy, shared the organizational guiding principles that are shaping how CanadianStage is prioritizing its use of resources in the coming months.

The continuity and survival of arts organizations through the COVID-19 pandemic must occur in lockstep with the continuity and survival of Canadian artists. Although our physical theatres are closed, Canadian Stage has been navigating the pandemic by engaging in this work by heavily investing in artists and our local community. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, Canadian Stage has involved more than 85 artists through newly commissioned work, experiments with new forms of performance and partnerships.

Our mid-August announcement will contain details about the significant investments that the organization will continue to make into supporting Canadian performing artists and arts workers as they adapt their artistic approaches to the realities of the pandemic. In the meantime, we remain energized and very active with a summer of programming that highlights some of the inspirations of our artists and community members during the pandemic.

“The need for stories, for artists and for live encounters continues despite COVID-19 and Canadian Stage will continue to meaningfully support these artists, stories, and encounters,” says Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy. “I hope you will enjoy our summer programming and I look forward to sharing more of the exciting work we have coming up with you soon.”


From a meditative audio experience, a film that reflects how the lockdown is impacting our community, a multi-disciplinary anthology series that examines our past, present and future, to a roaming neighbourhood based theatre experience, the diverse range of voices heard in these stories reaffirms Canadian Stage’s ongoing commitment in local artists and community.

What Happens to You, Happens to Me (July 20 – August 1)
The previously announced What Happens to You, Happens to Me by award-winning playwright Susanna Fournier is a unique participatory storytelling experience that captures responses to how people are feeling after months of isolation. Voiced by award-winning actor and playwright Kristen Thomson, this meditative audio experience asks the listener to respond to a set of questions.

The work will be available, for free, on until August 1.

Unlocked (July 24-25)
Canadian Stage is proud to be a frequent partner with Jamii Esplanade, a St. Lawrence Neighborhood-based arts organization focused on building community and nurturing young women in leadership. With the support of Canadian Stage, the Kisanii Hub, a mobile theatre on wheels, has travelled the residential streets of the St. Lawrence Neighborhood for a series of free live performances. We are thrilled to partner with Jamii once again to present Unlocked: A Flow of Colourful Connections in Lockdown, a film/art video that captures eleven St. Lawrence Neighborhood residents’ personal journeys through the COVID-19 pandemic. Filmed entirely in the neighbourhood, Unlocked is an abstract symphony of thoughts, emotions, and reflection, that interweaves stories through poetry, song, dance, sculpture, painting and photography. The film will be streamed online for two nights only: July 24 and 25 at 9 PMat until August 1.

We Were, We Are, We Will Be (August 18-23)
Canadian Stage is also excited to partner with SummerWorks to co-present We Were, We Are, We Will Be. Contemplating what performance can be in this time of crisis, We Are, We Were, We Will Be is ananthology of 10 artistic responses to our past, present and possible futures, through the lens of the pandemic. Co-curated by Daniele Bartolini (Dopolavoro Teatrale) and Luke Reece (Obsidian Theatre, Little Black Afro) the anthology will unfold over the course one week, beginning August 18, with digital and analogue projects that take audiences from their living rooms to hidden parts of the city for safe encounters with others. Each project is designed to be experienced on its own or as part of the larger anthology and will reflect a variety of disciplines. The anthology artists and projects will be announced and tickets will be available to book on July 30.