Stage Door News

Toronto: Against the Grain’s “Messiah/Complex” is in cinemas, streaming and downloadable

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Hailed by The New York Times as “a rousing and decidedly Canadian version of Handel’s Messiah,” Against the Grain Theatre’s (AtG) critically acclaimed feature film Messiah/Complex returns this holiday season — streaming free on-demand from December 12, 2021, to January 9, 2022, and playing in select theatres across the country, for audiences in need of a musical lift at the close of another challenging year.

A made-in-Canada film that captured hearts worldwide, Messiah/Complex premiered online during last December’s COVID lockdown — a holiday season like no other — and was presented in partnership by AtG and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO). The independent production became an international hit and was viewed by audiences in more than forty countries, resulting in AtG receiving thousands of thankful messages from international fans.

Messiah/Complex garnered international critical acclaim, and was featured by The New York Times, BBC World Service, BBC Today Programme, France Musique, The Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and Opera Wire, which called it “A Revolutionary Approach to Handel’s Masterpiece.” In Canada, it was showcased by CBC’s The National, CBC q, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Xtra, Broadview, Opera Canada, Maclean’s and


With the return of Messiah/Complex to on-demand streaming, AtG is also offering a new way for Canadians to experience the film in-person, with screenings in select movie theatres throughout December — from Charlottetown to Vancouver. For more information on specific showings, please see the full list of showtimes below.

Charlottetown, PE — December 12th (matinee) — City Cinema

Charlottetown, PE — December 13th (evening) — City Cinema

Vancouver, BC — December 14th — The Cinematheque

Edmonton, AB – December 14th — Metro Cinema

Montreal, QC — December 14th — Cinema Du Parc

Toronto, ON — December 18th (Socially-Distanced Matinee) — TIFF Lightbox Theatre

Toronto, ON — December 18th — TIFF Lightbox Theatre


In response to numerous requests for the film’s soundtrack, AtG has released the digital album of Messiah/Complex on AtG Records. The album is available on Bandcamp, where it is now available to stream and download.


In addition, this year, AtG and Opera InReach have partnered with two high school choirs — the Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna, Manitoba and Agincourt Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, Ontario — as part of an educational outreach initiative. The Messiah Project provided these school choirs with the opportunity to star in a professional music video for the Hallelujah chorus, set to premiere alongside the return of Messiah/Complex. The project seeks to inspire young musicians to think about art’s civic impact on their community while also giving them a taste of what it is like being a professional musician in the digital era.

“On behalf of the AtG family, we extend our gratitude to the artists, audiences, partners and media, here in Canada and beyond, for their tremendous generosity and enthusiasm in helping connect this special film to so many people, from so many lands,” said AtG Artistic Director Joel Ivany. “After another unpredictable year, we wish you joy this holiday season, and we’re ever thankful for your continued support.”

To register for tickets to stream Messiah/Complex on-demand, please visit:


An epic visual trek across a vast country, and performed in multiple languages, Messiah/Complex is co-directed by AtG Artistic Director Joel Ivany and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s Director of Indigenous Arts, Reneltta Arluk. It is filmed against iconic Canadian landscapes featuring singers representing every province and territory in Canada. This “complex” interpretation of Handel’s Messiah includes six languages, twelve soloists, four choirs, and is lifted by the mighty sounds of the TSO under the baton of Johannes Debus (Canadian Opera Company).

Messiah/Complex features an array of incredible Canadian voices, including Jonathon Adams (AB), Looee Arreak (NU), Spencer Britten (BC), Rihab Chaieb (QC), Catherine Daniel (AB), Deantha Edmunds (NL), Leela Gilday (NT), Miriam Khalil (ON), Andrea Lett (SK), Diyet (YT), Julie Lumsden (MB), and Elliot Madore (ON); featured choirs include Le Choeur Louisbourg (NB), the Halifax Camerata Singers (NS), the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (ON), and the University of Prince Edward Island Chamber Chorus (PEI).

For more information, please visit AtG online at,

Illustration: Cover of Messiah/Complex album. © 2021 AtG Records.