Stage Door News

Toronto: Tarragon Theatre plans to return to live in-person shows in 2022

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve balanced our desire to return to the theatre with our prioritization of the safety, health and well-being of the entire Tarragon community. Over a year ago, we pondered the uncertainty of when we’d gather together again. Then, we were excited to share Tarragon Acoustic, a way to enjoy theatre together, apart. As we look to the future, Artistic Director Richard Rose and Managing Director Andrea Vagianos today announce Tarragon Theatre’s plan for the 2021-22 season, first featuring Tarragon Acoustic Reboot. This will be followed in 2022, public health permitting, by the live performances of six Tarragon and World Premiere plays originally delayed by the closures of 2020 - offering compelling, heartbreaking drama and social commentary from award-winning Canadian playwrights.

Reuniting artists and audiences under one roof, Tarragon should be accessible to everyone. So, in the tradition of our founding Artistic Director Bill Glassco who introduced pay-what-you-can Sundays to Toronto, we are inviting patrons to dream and devise their personal lineup and decide what they pay. This will be a pay-what-you-can subscription season. 

What a year my last year at Tarragon has been,” notes Artistic Director Richard Rose. “Not performing has shown me how valuable the theatre is...The theatre fills our lives with meaning and emotion. Catharsis is so necessary to what makes humans human - this congregating in a dark room to feel the unpredictable, the inexplicable but the necessary. And I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of doing this for 20 years with the Tarragon audience. I truly hope the upcoming season can offer a return of the gift of theatre for us all.

Tarragon’s audience has always been open to exploring new stories; and now, new forms like the 2020-21 Tarragon Acoustic series. This fall, as we embark on the next 50 years at Tarragon we look forward to sharing more Tarragon Acoustic, reconnecting at in-person performances beginning in January 2022, programmed by Richard Rose, and welcoming new Artistic Director, Mike Payette. 

Tarragon Acoustic Reboot is a series of select audio plays from Tarragon's canon, streaming anytime, anywhere, performed by Canada’s finest artists from across the country, produced with the expertise of Chris Tolley and Laura Mullin of CBC’s PlayME. Reboot includes exclusive “behind the curtain” conversations with your favourite artists. 

In early 2022, Tarragon aims to present long awaited works interrupted by the closure of in-person theatre. The Runner by Christopher Morris will re-open our Mainspace, followed by the World Premiere of Three Women of Swatow by Chloé Hung in the Extraspace. Theatregoers can expect more World Premieres to include Light by Rosa Labordé, Orphan Song by Sean Morley Dixon, The Herd by Kenneth T. Williams, in association with The Citadel Theatre and NAC Indigenous Theatre, and Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers by Makambe K. Simamba, a Tarragon Theatre and Black Theatre Workshop co-production, based on the world premiere production produced by b current.

The health and safety of our patrons, staff, artists and volunteers remains a primary concern. Though we intend to return to the theatre in 2022, Tarragon will follow Toronto Public Health and Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines and join our colleagues from cultural organizations in Toronto and across North America taking similar steps. Our goal is to reignite live and in-person theatre for our artists, our audience and our community.

Tarragon Theatre 2021-22 Season Details

TARRAGON ACOUSTIC REBOOT (September 2021 - June 2022)
Plays being made available to stream include but are not limited to:

Leaving Home by David French
This is War by Hannah Moscovitch
7 Stories by Morris Panych
Sibs by Diane Flacks and Richard Greenblatt
It’s All True by Jason Sherman
Democracy by John Murrell
Lion in the Streets by Judith Thompson
The Shape of a Girl by Joan MacLeod
Half Life by John Mighton
Fronteras Americanas by Guillermo Verdecchia
Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad

LIVE PERFORMANCES (January - June 2022)

The Runner (January 2022)
A Human Cargo Production
written by Christopher Morris

Z.A.K.A is an Orthodox Jewish volunteer force in Israel. They collect the remains of Jews killed in accidents. When Jacob, a Z.A.K.A volunteer, makes the split-second decision to treat a young woman, instead of the soldier she may have killed, his world is changed forever.

A powerful thriller from Toronto’s Human Cargo and winner of the 2019 Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding Production, Outstanding Direction and Outstanding New Play.

Light (February - March 2022)
World Premiere
written by Rosa Labordé

Seekers come from far and wide to discover ‘the truth’ of their existence at an ashram devoted to meditation, contemplation and relinquishing thought. But a new student threatens to undermine the whole endeavor while simultaneously, and unexpectedly, becoming undone. A play about who we think we are versus the thoughts that make us what we think.

Orphan Song (March - April 2022)
World Premiere
written by Sean Morley Dixon

In a lightning strike of inspiration, I claimed another child

40,027 BCE (a time when the average human could only count to five), a grief stricken Homo sapiens couple adopts a Neanderthal child.  But language separates parents and child only to then separate mother and father - how do we love when we can’t communicate?

With that, a mythic journey of danger and sacrifice ensues to connect to the Neanderthals and to protect the child at all costs.

A heroic tale of clashing cultures and how the bonds of family are truly formed.

The Herd (May - June 2022)
World Premiere
written by Kenneth T. Williams
A Tarragon Theatre presentation, in association with The Citadel Theatre and NAC Indigenous Theatre
A Tarragon Theatre/Persephone Theatre Commission

When twin white bison are born into a First Nation herd, an ambitious blog reporter posts it and the story goes viral. Is this a miracle in the spiritual life of a Saskatchewan First Nation or a one in a billion scientific event? Is this a prophecy coming true or laboratory gene doctoring?

Culture, science and politics collide when a media circus and a ‘new age mob’ descend on the herd to witness a sacred prophecy and the scientific goal to achieve 100% pure-bred Bison. Torn between honouring Indigenous traditions, scientific truth and economic necessity, one Indigenous scientist battles to keep her ethics intact and her herd alive.

Three Women of Swatow (January - February 2022)
World Premiere
written by Chloé Hung

Generously supported by the Stavro Family Foundation and the Wuchien Michael Than Foundation.

Swatow women are supposed to be fierce.” That’s what Grandmother tells her daughter. Grandmother’s a butcher and to her disappointment, her daughter’s a vegetarian. But to her satisfaction, her granddaughter killed her first chicken at the age of three. In this ferocious comedy, the three generations of women grapple with their dark history, emotional inheritance and the legacy of mothers’ life lessons and daughters’ love lives.

And there is blood. Lots of blood.

Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers (March-April 2022)
written by Makambe K. Simamba
A Tarragon Theatre and Black Theatre Workshop co-production
Based on the world premiere production produced by b current

Makambe is the 2020-21 Urjo Kareda Award recipient as well as the Dora Award winning playwright and actor for her most recent solo work Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers (b current performing arts).

Slimm, a seventeen-year-old Black boy in a hoodie suddenly finds himself in the first moments of his afterlife. He calls out for God. God does not respond. What happens next is a sacred journey through the unknown, as Slimm grapples with the truth of the life he lived and the death he didn’t choose.

Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers is a protest for all Black life beyond headlines and hashtags, a prayer for all families left behind, and a promise to the community that all Black lives matter.