Stage Door News
Toronto: Soulpepper announces new 2023 programming
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Soulpepper Theatre Company is thrilled to share a bold new programming approach for 2023 and announce our first four productions of the year.
The 2023 Season will feature four distinct “Acts” that explore local and global perspectives through stories both well-known and brand new to Soulpepper audiences. With a renewed focus on accessibility and the audience experience, each Act comes with its own unique programming and Soulpepper flavour.
Act I kicks off with four mainstage productions at the Young Centre that offer us a passport to stories from around the world, taking us from a classroom in Iran, to the jazz clubs of the 50s, over to the Russian countryside and all the way to South Africa.
Over the summer months, Act II is a celebration of summer and community with the newly launched Soulpepper Summer Series. We invite you to fill your summer nights with a soon to be announced mainstage production, and a series of shows that will bring music to the alleys of the Distillery Historic District
In fall 2023, Act III puts female creators centre stage with the expanded return of the Her Words Festival supported by The Hilary & Galen Weston Foundation. The festival will feature world premieres by Canadian female playwrights, and a wide program of conversations, readings, concerts and more, all created by female identifying artists.
Act IV in the winter of 2023 features seasonal and holiday related programming with works for the entire family to enjoy. It will be the perfect way to create new holiday traditions and spend valuable time with loved ones.
ACT I PROGRAMMING
Today Soulpepper is announcing Act I, comprised of four productions supported by Soulpepper’s Major Sponsor and Community Access Partner, Scotia Wealth Management:
Opening the season is the Canadian premiere of English by Sanaz Toossi. Set in an English language class in Iran, it is a heartfelt and humourous look at what can get lost in translation. English is co-directed by Anahita Dehbonehie and Guillermo Verdecchia and is a co-production with The Segal Centre for Performing Arts.
Anton Chekhov’s masterpiece The Seagull continues the season in a bold new production directed by Siminovitch Prize winner Daniel Brooks. This new version by Simon Stephens, originally slated for the 2020 season, will feature an extraordinary cast of actors familiar to Soulpepper audiences in a visually stunning production.
The last play in Act I is the Tony nominated Sizwe Banzi is Dead by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, directed by Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu. This classic play from South Africa is a unique blend of comedy and tragedy and asks the question ‘what is a name worth’?
Complimenting each of these productions will be the ongoing Community Conversation series exploring the ideas presented in each play with a panel of civic and artist leaders. The Community Conversation series is supported by the TD Ready Commitment.
Alongside these three plays will be a brand new Soulpepper Concert Billie, Sarah, and Ella: Revolutionary Women of Jazz. Written by, and starring, Soulpepper Slaight Music Associate Divine Brown, this concert is a tribute to three of the most influential singers of all time.
All programming details can be found at soulpepper.ca.
Soulpepper wants to help bring people back together and help them imagine a brighter future collectively. As audiences return to the theatre, Soulpepper is doing everything it can to remove any barriers to coming to the theatre. To do so, Soulpepper is proud to announce three new initiatives to ensure everyone has access to its season:
• A new, more affordable pricing model that offers a greater number of seats at affordable rates;
• Pay-What-You-Choose pricing for every Tuesday performance for all mainstage productions;
• An expansion of the Sun Life Financial Free 25 & Under program, allowing for advance booking and continuation of the Production Deconstruction talkbacks.
For further details please visit soulpepper.ca.
For patrons who are not comfortable returning to a full theatre, Soulpepper will continue with ‘Covid Conscious’ performances for each of the above presentations in Act I. These performances will be limited to 50% capacity and all guests will be required to wear a mask.
In addition to all of the exciting programming, Soulpepper’s Education & Community Engagement department will continue to expand their offerings throughout the year. 2023 will welcome a new class of the Soulpepper Academy, one of Canada’s leading training programs for emerging artists, and our free youth and community programs will invite young people from across the city to engage with the performing arts.
“In programming our first selection of plays I wanted to celebrate global voices and perspectives and explore what it means to be part of a community, to find your place, a home," said Weyni Mengesha, Artistic Director. “I can’t wait to share more in the coming months about our plans for the remainder of the year. We look forward to celebrating our community of artists and audiences throughout the four Acts of 2023.”
“Our team has spent the past year rebuilding and we are now fully energized and looking forward to helping Toronto imagine a brighter future," said Gideon Arthurs, Executive Director. “And while Soulpepper will never cease evolving, 2023 will continue our proud tradition of artistic excellence and uplifting our community. We look forward to welcoming you into our space.”
Single tickets and packages for the first three plays in Act I of the 2023 season are available for sale today at soulpepper.ca. Packages are the best way to save and are only available until January 15, 2023.
Dates and the ticket on-sale date for Billie, Sarah and Ella: Revolutionary Women of Jazz will be announced soon.
For more details, visit soulpepper.ca or call the Young Centre Box Office at 416.866.8666.
FEBRUARY – JUNE 2023 MAINSTAGE
By Sanaz Toossi
Directed by Anahita Dehbonehie and Guillermo Verdecchia
Co-production with The Segal Centre for Performing Arts
Production Sponsor: Polar Asset Management Partners
What gets lost - and found - in translation?
English Only! That is the class rule in Iran as four adult students prepare for the language exam that will unlock their futures. As the class devolves into a linguistic mess, the students navigate a maze of prepositions and word games, while questioning how they can be funny in another language. Mastery of the English language promises to make them whole – but it might be splitting them in half. A heartfelt and humorous look at what gets lost in translation.
English runs from February 9 to March 5, 2023. Opening Night is February 16, 2023.
By Anton Chekhov
A New Version By Simon Stephens
Directed by Daniel Brooks
Production Sponsor: Sylvia Soyka
The stage is set for a little family drama.
Unrequited love. Creative jealousy. Guns. Vodka. A summer weekend at a lakeside estate falls apart when a famous writer comes to visit. Switching effortlessly between the ridiculous and the profound, Chekhov’s masterpiece examines the burning need to create art and the destructive power of love.
The Seagull runs from April 6 to April 30, 2023. Opening Night is April 13, 2023.
SIZWE BANZI IS DEAD
By Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona
Directed by Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu
What is your name worth?
In apartheid-era South Africa, the only way for Banzi to survive is to fake his own death. From one of the world’s great playwrights Athol Fugard (‘Master Harold’…and the Boys), comes a soaring and personal comedy of identity, memory, and the resilience of the human spirit.
Sizwe Banzi is Dead runs from May 25 to June 18, 2023. Opening Night is June 1, 2023.
Tickets are available at soulpepper.ca. All ticket prices include a Young Centre facility fee, service charge and HST. Pricing is subject to change.