Stage Door News

Barrie: Talk Is Free Theatre hosts live theatre at The Bees in the Bush Festival August 3-October 2, 2021

Monday, May 31, 2021

TIFT Artistic Producer Arkady Spivak announced today the programming of The Bees in the Bush Festival, featuring twelve eclectic in-person productions. Running from August 3 to October 3, 2021, all programming will be performed at outdoor locations – using parks, conservation areas, residential backyards and more, for a reduced in-person audience and with observance of current COVID-19 protocols.

The Bees in the Bush will include several productions reconfigured for an outdoors presentation, as well as boundary-pushing new works and a return of TIFT’s hit musical-in-concert in a new setting. Six world premieres will also be produced, including the musically infused cabaret based on a Greek legend; a documentary-style interactive collection of migration stories, created by DopoLavoro Teatrale (DLT); an experimental performance piece created by Simcoe Contemporary Dancers; an intimate but amplified one-person musical discussion; an immersive installation using augmented reality technology; and an explorative piece about one of history’s most divisive figures.

As previously announced, all programming will be free, and subject to TIFT’s booking policy available at Talk Is Free Theatre supporters are offered exclusive booking privileges starting on June 15, 2021. Bookings will be open to the general public starting July 5, 2021. 

Further Details of the Bees in the Bush Festival programming:

August 3-8, 2021, several engagements between 5 and 7pm
I & I
World Premiere
Written and dramaturged by
Daniele Bartolini and Anahita Dehbonehie
with personal stories of newcomer artists
Directed by
Daniele Bartolini and Danya Buonastella
A DopoLavoro Teatrale - DLT production

The confrontation of the self of the immigrant before and after leaving their motherland I & I is a poetic, documentary style collection of migration stories, memory treasures and rituals from different cultures where you are invited to get close and personal with a world of newcomers.   Created by Italian born Daniele Bartolini, Italian-Canadian Danya Buonastella and Iranian born Anahita Dehbonehie with a group of newcomer artists, I &I provides an opportunity of encounter for citizens of different cultural backgrounds, shining light on the life experience of newcomers to Canada.

Maximum audience capacity per performance: 4.
Performance duration: Approximately 60 minutes
Venue: Sunnidale Park, Barrie

August 5-8, 2021 at 6pm
Written by
Wajdi Mouawad
Translated by
Shelley Tepperman
Directed by
Alon Nashman
a Theaturtle production, in partnership with Shakespeare in Action

“A Runaway Theatrical Success” – J. Kelly Nestruck, The Globe & Mail
Alphonse is lost, walking along a country road, weaving an intricate web of stories, while everyone is searching for him: parents, friends, teachers, the police. What they find is the thing we often give up in order to grow up.

Maximum audience capacity per performance: 20
Performance duration: 70 minutes
Venue: A private residence at 801 Big Bay Point Road, Barrie, outdoors

Aug 11-14, 2021 at 6pm
Written and performed by
Maja Ardal
Directed by
Mary Francis Moore
Designed by
Julia Tribe

Maja Ardal returns this summer with You Fancy Yourself, the prequel to last season's sold-out production of Cure for Everything.
You Fancy Yourself is the story of young Elsa and her attempt to fit into a tough world after immigrating to a new country. Touring for the last 10 years across Canada and through England, the production is acclaimed for portraying the world of childhood with humour and tenderness, in a way that people of all ages can relate to.

Maximum audience capacity per performance: 20
Performance Duration: 60 minutes
Venue: The backyard of a private residence, located at 23 Theresa Street, Barrie.

August 16-29, 2021 at 6pm
Written and performed by
Katherine Cullen & Britta Johnson
Directed by Aaron Willis
An Outside the March Production

 “…riotously funny, musically charming, and emotionally resonant… a perfect blend of humour, heart, and soul.” – Kingston Theatre Reviews
A dyslexic backyard musical about not being alone.
This is a show about learning that no matter who you are, you’re not alone. After successful runs at Theatre Passe Muraille in 2017 and Kingston’s Kick & Push Festival in 2019, Talk is Free and Outside the March are teaming up with Cullen, Johnson, director Aaron Willis and designer Anahita Dehbonehie to reimagine that message for our collective isolated purgatory.

Maximum audience capacity per performance: 16
Performance Duration: 90 minutes
Venue: The backyard of a private residence, located at 1076 Winnifred Court, Innisfil

Aug 19-22, 2021 at 4pm
in Concert
Book by
James Lapine
Music and lyrics by
Stephen Sondheim
Directed by
Michael Torontow
Music direction by
Wayne Gwillim
Choreography by
Lori Watson
Set design by
Joe Pagnan
Costumes by
Laura Delchiaro

Sound Design by
Josh Doerksen
Noah Beemer, Aidan deSalaiz, Griffin Hewitt, Richard Lam, Jamie McRoberts and others

Nestled whimsically within one of Barrie’s beautiful forest parks, TIFT’s hit production of Into the Woods returns by popular demand in a new outdoor setting for a unique and magical experience.
Enjoy the masterful songs of Stephen Sondheim and become immersed in the fantastical world of these beloved Brothers Grimm characters as they search for their ‘happily ever after’.

Maximum audience capacity per performance: 50
Performance duration: 2.5 hours, including one intermission.
Venue: Springwater Provincial Park

August 25-28, 2021 at 6pm
World Premiere
Written, directed, and performed by
Griffin Hewitt
Original text by
Original music by
Juliette Jones
Assistant direction and dramaturgy by
Giovanni Spina

What happens when we allow a debaucherous and morally indifferent goat-man to take hold of one of our oldest stories of good and evil?
Cyclops: A Satyr Play takes Euripides’s only surviving Satyr comedy, and using music, dance, games, good wine, good food, and everything else you need for a good time, engages the audience in a journey to find what makes us truly free.

This production is also part of the Eternal Ego Festival
Maximum audience capacity per performance: 16
Performance Duration: Approximately 60 minutes
Venue: The backyard of a private residence, located at 16 Lougheed Road, Barrie

September 1-4, 2021 at 7:30pm
World Premiere
Written by and starring
Brendan Chandler
Dramaturged and Directed by
Maja Ardal

This new short play explores aspects that surround the legend of Rasputin, the historical figure whose life and actions are shrouded by rumour and hearsay. Was Rasputin wicked, was he good or was he neither? A divisive character in Russian history, Rasputin gained considerable influence with Tsar Nicholas II and their relationship is one of mystery and allegation.  Set in the afterlife, witness the story of Rasputin and Tzar Nicholas II as they meet for a date.

Maximum audience capacity per performance: 25
Performance Duration: Approximately 30 minutes
Venue: The Beth Foster Floating Auditorium
Located between Southshore Centre and Minet’s Point

September 8-11, 2021 at 6pm
Written and directed by, and starring
Roy Lewis
Creative Adviser
Marti Maraden

“Roy Lewis instills so much joy in the telling, makes the words sound delicious and makes us fall in love with the beguiling Nat Love.” – Lynn Slotkin, The Slotkin Letter
Poet, actor, storyteller, Roy Lewis takes us on a cattle drive with legendary African American cowboy and raconteur Nat Love. Join Roy as we explore together this forgotten history of the late 19th century, from the end of American Civil War, the freeing the African Slaves, the expansion of the Railroad and the killing of the buffalo. This is an impressionistic vision in prose song and poetry. I See The Crimson Wave is a vivid reimagining of the old west which comes to life in the captivating persona of Roy Lewis.

Maximum audience capacity per performance: 14
Performance Duration: 55 minutes
Venue: The backyard of a private residence, located at 59 Shanty Bay Road, Barrie

September 10-12 and 26 2021, various times
World Premiere
Process Facilitator
Sarah Lochhead
Jaqui Brown, Casey-lee Cooper, and Eligh Zimmerman of Simcoe Contemporary Dancers
Creative Technologist
Max Lupo
The Base - Rich Aucoin, Remixed sound samples of The Base - Rich Aucoin
Source files courtesy of Aucoin
A Simcoe Contemporary Dancers production

What happens when our live experience of performing and witnessing are mediated by technology while simultaneously dependent on our presence in the shared physical space? You are invited to be part of a performance experiment. Your presence in the space determines the sequence of events. A solo performer responds in real time to the sound cues activated by your location as read by a 360 radar. The dancer’s movements are in turn interpreted by a device that will activate a signal inviting you to find a new spot in the space — creating the next sequence of events.

Maximum audience capacity per performance: 6
Performance Duration: 25 minutes
Venue: MacLaren Arts Centre Courtyard, located at 37 Mulcaster St, Barrie.

September 15-18, 2021 at 9pm
Written by
Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht
Libretti by
Bertolt Brecht
Musical Composition by
Kurt Weill
Directed by Richard Ouzounian

Based on Mahagonny Songs, a series of five poems written by Brecht, Mahagonny-Songspiel is a small-scale scenic cantata, created by two of the 20th century’s most accomplished and versatile creative minds. This ground-breaking collection of songs set in motion the long running relationship between Weill and Brecht whose collaborations would take Germany and the world by storm.

Maximum audience capacity per performance: 25
Performance Duration: 30 minutes
Venue: The amphitheatre behind the Southshore Community Centre, located at 205 Lakeshore Dr, Barrie

September 22-25, 2021 at 8pm
World Premiere
Conceived by and starring
Michael Torontow

Michael Torontow loves a good post-show talkback. You know, that rare opportunity after a performance when artists share secrets about the show, the process, and themselves.
Torontow {After Dark} is this intimate gathering but amplified, when Michael--director of TIFT’s Into The Woods and leading actor in The Curious Voyage, Every Brilliant Thing, The Music Man, Candide and Floyd Collins—invites you in to relax, hear some stories, some great music, and indulge your curiosity.

Maximum audience capacity per performance:16
Performance Duration: Approximately 60 minutes
Venue: Five Points Theatre, located at 1 Dunlop Street West, Barrie

October 1-3, 2021 at
World Premiere
Based on the folklore written by
Alexander Afanasyev
Created and Artistically Led by
Joe Pagnan
Movement Directed by
Clarke Blair
Composition by
Richard Lam
Narrated by
Glynis Ranney

Walk into the woods to retrace steps taken by a heroine of Russian folktales. Find out What She Burned this fall in an immersive installation using mid-century bootlegging techniques fused with modern augmented-reality technology. Inspired by a children's story about a young woman facing an evil witch in the woods, this piece has dark elements and is experienced in intimate groups no more than four.

Maximum audience capacity per performance: 2 per viewing.
Multiple viewings are available throughout the day of the performance.
Running time: 30 Minutes
Venue: Location in Barrie to be announced at a later date.

For more information, visit