Stage Door News

Toronto: Young People’s Theatre premieres “SensoryBox TYA” – a one-of-kind theatre experience

Monday, November 22, 2021

Young People’s Theatre (YPT) is excited to debut the sens-ational SensoryBox TYA just in time for the holidays! Co-developed with Calgary’s Ghost River Theatre, this one-of-a- kind tactile theatre experience – that includes both the delivery of a wrapped box and a live-streamed adventure – explores the electric connection between our senses and the imagination.

SensoryBox TYA streams live into classrooms beginning November 29, and into homes December 4-30, 2021.

“For almost two years, young people have been constantly cautioned not to put their hands on anything,” says new Artistic Director Herbie Barnes. “With SensoryBox TYA we not only reintroduce the feeling of touch, but stimulate all the senses. Blindfolded, audiences are gently led through the show, reawakening them to the environment around them in a playful way. For me this seems like a wonderful way to bring young people back into our world."

The adventure begins with the delivery of a wrapped box to participants. On the day of their performance, they’ll tune into a livestream hosted by Dora Award-winning theatre artist Richard Lee, pop on a blindfold, and begin their tactile trek along with an online audience. In the comfort of their own home or classroom, audience members will discover the mysterious contents of their box – and the pure fun of play.

Says Eric Rose, Ghost River Theatre Artistic Director, “It is our intention to celebrate and examine our relationship to touch at this particular moment in time. We are experimenting with how visceral touch can be in a live performance and through an online medium.”

A pre-recorded Deaf-friendly performance of SensoryBox TYA was created in consultation with Deaf Spectrum and will be available from December 8-18.

Says Barnes, "This show will have an ASL version that is unlike any other show that employs it. Since these performances were originally designed for an audience that is blindfolded, a special workshop took place to explore how this could work using a modified box that keeps the contents hidden while the audience can still see the ASL interpretation of the performer.”

SensoryBox TYA is recommended for ages 6-12 (grades 1-6) and is $39.99 plus shipping and tax for the public (for one class - max. of 30 students - the performance is $300 plus $20 shipping and taxes, and includes a box for each participating student). The full performance schedule and booking information can be found here.

SensoryBox TYA

Co-written by Eric Rose and Christopher Duthie

Directed by Eric Rose

Featuring Richard Lee and Gaitrie Persaud (ASL-English interpreter) Designer: Emily Promise Allison

Stage Manager: Michaela Steven

Dramaturg: Stephen Colella

Developed in association with Ghost River Theatre

Eric Rose, Director and Co-Playwright

Eric Rose is an award-winning director, deviser, playwright, educator and the Artistic Director of Calgary’s acclaimed Ghost River Theatre (GRT). His work is characterized by a striking audio-visual aesthetic that embraces the impossible; constantly reframing and rediscovering what theatre is and is capable of. Mr. Rose’s passion for the creative process has inspired the diversity of his theatrical experience spanning: large scale contemporary and classical theatre, site-specific and immersive performance, experiential design, installation, performance creation, devising theatre, new play development, physical theatre and dance. Mr. Rose has been honoured to be the Playwright in Residence at Alberta Theatre Projects, to be named to Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 and to have received the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Artist Award for his body of work as a theatrical innovator.

Christopher Duthie, Co-Playwright

Christopher Duthie is an actor, playwright, theatre creator and co-founder of Bad Knaps Theatre Collective. His plays and creations include SensoryBox with Eric Rose (Ghost River Theatre); A Dinner Party (Bad Knaps Theatre Collective – Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama Shortlist, 2020 Calgary Critics Award Best Original Play); Of Fighting Age with Col Cseke and David van Belle (High Performance Rodeo/Verb Theatre/Glenbow Museum) and n00b (Y-Stage Vertigo Theatre), which appeared at YPT in 2014.

Visit to learn more.