Stage Door News

Toronto: Canadian Stage announces a return to indoor theatre starting in January 2022

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Following an unforgettable summer in which Canadian Stage brought the beloved High Park Amphitheatre back to life with a robust program of live theatre, music, dance, and film, the company is thrilled to today unveil their first indoor season since the onset of the pandemic, as they now prepare to throw open the doors of their theatres and welcome their audiences home.


After closing their venues in March of 2020 and the subsequent cancellation of the remaining 2019.2020 and entirety of the 2020.2021 indoor seasons, the compastageny began the process of bringing audiences back this summer. The re-imagined 2021 Dream in High Park program welcomed nineteen partner organizations to share in the use of the beloved outdoor amphitheatre, presenting an extended summer program of live performance that included twenty-one productions and events rolled out over seventy-three performances in ninety-two days, engaging over 150 artists and welcoming over 13,000 audience members – all re-connecting communities around the dream of live performance.


Canadian Stage now continues the process of building back, with an emboldened season of performance that presents large-scale, unabashedly theatrical work in tandem with intimate, revealing stories of profound humanity. Style and form collide, ranging from an ambitiously scaled sci-fi mystery, to a Tarantino-esque revenge play, to a meditation on the simple beauty of being alive.


“There aren’t enough words to express how it feels to have our city’s theatres re-open,” says Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy. “While the artistic community navigated the pandemic with amazing resilience and creativity – finding ways to make art through any means available –the energy, synergy, and community that happens between the walls and on the stages of live theatres is irreplaceable. This promises to be a homecoming like no other.”


“The 21.22 season is a true reflection of what we strive for at Canadian Stage,” adds Executive Director Monica Esteves. “The program is bold and adventurous - it reflects a wide-range of disciplines and cultures – and while presenting some of the most exciting new plays from the global stage, this programming really foregrounds leading Canadian artists and innovators.”


The season begins in January 2022 at the Bluma Appel Theatre, with an ambitiously scaled sci-fi mystery – SOLARIS – by acclaimed playwright David Greig, known for his work with the National Theatre of Scotland. Adapted from the classic 1961 novel from Polish author Stanislaw Lem – previously adapted by legendary filmmakers Andrei Tarkovsky and Steven Soderberg – SOLARIS is an exhilaratingly theatrical and timeless story of love, loneliness, and our fascination with the unknown. This North American premiere will be directed by Brendan Healy in his first production for the Bluma stage and promises to be a spectacular return to the company’s largest venue.


“I wanted to open the season with something a little audacious that really leans into a big theatrical experience and SOLARIS is a truly ambitious piece,” comments Healy. “SOLARIS places its characters at the crossroads between known and unknown worlds. This speaks so directly to where we are at in the world right now. And it’s a great night at the theatre!”


“Science fiction is beloved on film and in literature, for its exploration of brave new worlds and possibilities, yet is less often seen on stage,” adds Executive Director Monica Esteves. “With SOLARIS, we are excited for our audiences to have their imaginations ignited.”


In March, one of the most impactful Canadian theatre artists of the last thirty years – Daniel Brooks – returns to Canadian Stage with OTHER PEOPLE. Written by and starring Brooks in his first stage performance in 16 years, OTHER PEOPLE is a bracingly honest account of Brooks’ time at a silent retreat following a terminal cancer diagnosis. By turns insightful, poignant, and laugh-out-loud funny, OTHER PEOPLE is Brooks’ take on the universal problem of being alive and a rare opportunity to commune with one of this country’s greatest storytellers. Presented at the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre on Berkeley Street, this world premiere production is also directed by Healy.


“It is an honour to work in this capacity with Daniel, an artist who has been my mentor for almost twenty years,” says Healy. “With OTHER PEOPLE, audiences can expect the same intelligence, wit, and heart that have characterized Daniel’s works throughout the decades. This time though, the subject of his art is himself.”


In May, Canadian Stage partners with Obsidian Theatre Company and Necessary Angel Theatre Company for the Canadian premiere of the genre-smashing award-winner IS GOD IS written by Aleshea Harris, to be directed by Obsidian’s Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu. An explosive new contribution to the American canon that premiered in 2018 to critical acclaim and multiple award-wins, IS GOD IS is a Tarantino-esque contemporary tragedy fusing the Spaghetti Western and Afropunk in a story of two sisters on a journey of righteous revenge.


“Aleshea Harris is a force of nature and one of the most exciting contemporary Black female playwrights right now,” comments Obsidian Theatre Company Artistic Director Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu. “IS GOD IS challenges the narrative of who a Black heroine is and what they are allowed to do on stage. I find it really freeing in both its form and narrative. It is a bold theatrical adventure and an exciting way to dive back into live theatre.”


Dance programming also figures prominently in the 21.22 program, beginning with the return of Red Sky Performance for their fourth collaboration with Canadian Stage. Created by Red Sky’s Executive and Artistic Director Sandra Lalonde, MIIGIS (originally scheduled for 2021) reveals the power of nature and Indigenous prophecy, fusing contemporary Indigenous dance with extraordinary athleticism. A striking work from one of Canada’s leading contemporary Indigenous performance companies.


Canadian Stage is thrilled to come together in partnership with TO Live for two big-stage dance presentations at the Bluma Appel Theatre. In March, Canadian Stage, dance Immersion, and TO Live will co-present IN MY BODY, from one of Canada’s top street dancers, performers, choreographers, instructors, judges, and community leaders, Crazy Smooth. Bringing together an intergenerational group of exceptional dancers and an international creative team, IN MY BODY is a virtuosic investigation of the evolution of the self and the experience of aging in the street dance community.


“Crazy Smooth is one of this country’s greatest artistic leaders, whose contributions to dance and community are immeasurable,” says Timea Wharton-Suri, Curator & Program Director at dance Immersion. “IN MY BODY continues his legacy of deep intellectual reflection and cultural evolution, pushing the boundaries of hip-hop discourse by considering aging in this exacting artform. We often consider the beauty of the youthful dancing body, but many do not consider the exquisiteness of a more senior dance artist, whose every movement embodies wisdom and power earned over a lifetime of joy, pain, practice, and survival. This work speaks to all, and dance Immersion is excited to partner with Canadian Stage and TO Live in bringing it to Toronto audiences.”


Concluding the season, May also marks the return of the previously scheduled CRYPTO from one of Canada’s most remarkable and beloved dance artists, National Ballet of Canada Principal dancer and Choreographic Associate Guillaume Côté. Originally scheduled in the 2019.2020 season, now co-presented with TO Live, CRYPTO is an electric contemporary dance creation featuring the music of Swedish composer Mikael Karlsson and projection and set design by Montréal’s acclaimed mirari. Created by and performed by Côté, CRYPTO also features his longtime collaborator Greta Hodgkinson.


A SAFE RETURN TO THE THEATRE


Canadian Stage is committed to meeting and exceeding public health guidelines. As staff, artists, and audiences return to the theatre, health and safety continues to be of the utmost importance. At the time of publication, face masks will be mandatory for all indoor performances. Additionally, mandatory proof of vaccination (completed at least 14 days prior to entering a venue) is required for all staff, artists, and audiences entering Canadian Stage venues. Canadian Stage will continue to monitor and respond to governmental policy changes and advice from health authorities to ensure we are always up-to-date and offering the safest experience possible. Any changes to Canadian Stage policies in response to changes in public health guidelines will be updated online and communicated to all ticket holders in advance of their performance.


Tickets for the 21.22 Season will go on sale to Canadian Stage subscribers on November 2, 2021. Single tickets will go on sale on December 7, 2021.


Facebook: @cdnstage

Twitter: @canadianstage

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Media contact:

Suzanne Cheriton, Red Eye Media, suzanne@redeyemedia.ca, 416-805-6744




Canadian Stage 21.22 Season


SOLARIS (Canadian Premiere)

A Canadian Stage production

January 25 – February 5, 2022 at the Bluma Appel Theatre


A new play by David Greig

Adapted from Stanislaw Lem’s novel

Directed by Brendan Healy


Solaris Station orbits a seemingly impossible planet covered by an ocean that feels alive…even plotting. Dr. Kris Kelvin has arrived amidst unexplained encounters the crew has been having—and after the suspicious death of their commander. But it’s not too long before she experiences an unexpected visitor of her own.


An enduring exploration of loneliness, rationality, and how we hang on to those we’ve lost, Solaris demonstrates that a great story can work across any format—from Soviet-era television, then Stanislaw Lem’s iconic 1961 novel, two acclaimed feature film adaptations, an opera, radio drama, and a ballet.


It now comes to Canadian Stage directed by Artistic Director, Brendan Healy in the thrilling adaption by acclaimed playwright, David Greig (The Events).


"Stunning, intelligent and haunting... a breath-taking adaptation" - Starburst Magazine



MIIGIS

A Red Sky Performance production presented by Canadian Stage

January 29 – February 6, 2022 at the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre


Created by Sandra Laronde


At the forefront of Indigenous performance in Canada and worldwide, Red Sky Performance delivers explosive original work that expands and elevates the ecology of contemporary Indigenous arts and culture.


Miigis reveals the power of nature and Indigenous prophecy. In Anishnaabe culture, the miigis shell represents the “the perfect breath” of life that informs the origin story of our passage from the Atlantic Coast to the Great Lakes. Fusing contemporary Indigenous dance with athleticism in an extraordinary form, Miigis explores the catalysts for movement, memory, water trade routes, ancestral forces, and the cycle of life.


“You can’t do better than Red Sky Performance, exemplary and magical.” – Now Magazine



IN MY BODY

Co-presented by Canadian Stage, dance Immersion, and TO Live

March 17 - 19, 2022 at the Bluma Appel Theatre


Created by Crazy Smooth of bboyizm


With: Julie Benoît (Julie Rock), Arnaldo Betancourt (Effect), Jerick Collantes (Anyo), Jayson Collantes, David Dundas (DKC), Mélissa Flérangile (Melly Mel), Natasha Jean-Bart (Tash), Guy-Emmanuel Septier (Bourrik), Yvon Soglo (Crazy Smooth), Nadine Sylvestre (Nubian Néné), Tiffany Leung


It is said that the bravest thing a dancer can do is grow old – for a b-boy/b-girl, the experience is approaching heroic. In keeping with hip-hop culture, b-boys/b-girls present a façade of confidence and invincibility as they engage in battles to prove their value and establish their dominance. The resulting vocabulary is one of the most physically demanding and visually impressive of the dance genres and leaves no room for the expression of vulnerability.


For In My Body, Crazy Smooth – one of Canada’s top street dancers, performers, choreographers, instructors, judges, and community leaders – brings together an intergenerational group of dancers and an international creative team for an intensely athletic investigation of the evolution of self and the effects of aging on street dancers.


“Bboyizm’s breakdancing makes amazing hip-hopism” - The Globe and Mail



OTHER PEOPLE (World Premiere)

A Canadian Stage production

March 20 – April 3, 2022 at the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre


Written and Performed by Daniel Brooks

Directed by Brendan Healy


Fast Walker. Red Crocs. The Regurgitator. These are a few of the nicknames our protagonist assigns to the other meditators during a 10-day silent retreat in Montebello, Quebec.


The ground rules? “We’re not supposed to talk to anyone, we’re not supposed to look anyone in the eye, we’re not supposed to gesture, communicate in any way,” he explains


Recently diagnosed with a disease deemed terminal, he becomes acutely aware of every part of his mind and body. Marking a funny, poignant, and insightful return to the stage, beloved director, playwright, and actor Daniel Books invites us to eavesdrop on the anxieties, joys, obsessions, and fantasies that lurk in the corners of our minds, while tapping into our shared need to be heard and understood.


“The list of works with which [Daniel] Brooks has been connected to reads like a guide to some of the best productions of the past twenty years.” The Walrus


OTHER PEOPLE’s development is funded with the generous support of Why Not Theatre



IS GOD IS (Canadian Premiere)

An Obsidian Theatre Company, Necessary Angel Theatre Company, and Canadian Stage co-production

May 3 – 22, 2022 at the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre


By Aleshea Harris

Directed by Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu


“Make your daddy dead,” A mother demands of her twin daughters from her deathbed, in this electrifying 2016 Obie and Relentless Award recipient from Aleshea Harris.


Their mother’s words set Racine and Anaia off on an epic journey for righteous revenge, from the Dirty South to the Hollywood Hills. Letting no one stand in their way, they uncover the secrets of the mysterious fire that tore their family apart decades earlier. “I wanna step on somethin for once. See what it feel like. Must feel good,” says an unleashed Racine.


Equal parts ancient and modern, Spaghetti Western and Afropunk, this gripping thriller hurtles toward a conclusion that’s as inevitable as it is shocking.


'Step aside, Quentin Tarantino and Martin McDonagh... A snarly new master of high-octane carnage has risen into view. And she—yes, she—is putting her own audacious stamp on that most venerable of pop genres…Is God Is sees fit to bring down the house.' - New York Times



CRYPTO

Co-presented by Canadian Stage and TO Live

An Anymotion Production, in association with the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund.

May 5 - 7, 2022 at the Bluma Appel


By Côté Danse

Created by Guillaume Côté

Story & Text by Royce Vavrek

Music by Mikael Karlsson

Projection & Set Design by mirari


With: Guillaume Côté, Greta Hodgkinson, Natasha Poon Woo, Casia Vengoechea


Guillaume Côté, Principal Dancer and Choreographic Associate at The National Ballet of Canada, is one of the most electrifying and in-demand dancers of his generation. Côté is also an incisive multidisciplinary artist, celebrated for his choreographic talent displayed in the riveting and complex creations, Frame by Frame and Le Petit Prince.


Featuring the music of Swedish composer Mikael Karlsson and infused with theatre and technology, Côté’s latest cutting-edge contemporary dance creation is a ground-breaking work that explores forced displacement and the human need to control and transform beauty.


“One of the finest male dancers in the world." – The London Times