Stage Door News
Toronto: Lighthouse Immersive brings Robert Lepage’s “The Library at Night” to Toronto starting March 10
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
Lighthouse Immersive, North America’s leading producer of ground-breaking experiential art exhibits, in association with Luminato Festival Toronto, today announces that the next work to inhabit their Toronto Lighthouse Artspace at 1 Yonge Street will be the Toronto premiere of an immersive experience from internationally acclaimed Canadian theatre artist Robert Lepage and his company Ex Machina, THE LIBRARY AT NIGHT. The unique, enveloping experience will open March 10th running to April 18th.
This news comes on the heels of a thrilling fall 2021 season which saw the company actualize their vision for a dynamic multi-venue facility with programming that included the Canadian premiere of a photography exhibit by Mikhail Baryshnikov, an immersive multi-media dance piece created by beloved dancer Guillaume Côté, and their first family offering with Immersive Nutcracker.
Inspired by Argentinian Canadian writer Alberto Manguel’s acclaimed 2006 book The Library at Night – which explores the theoretical, architectural, and social dimensions that underlie any library’s existence– the exhibit was initially designed by Lepage and his production company Ex Machina to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Montreal’s Grande Bibliothèque in 2015. THE LIBRARY AT NIGHT has since toured internationally including stops in Brazil and Paris, as well as an engagement in Quebec City, now arriving in Toronto, the city Manguel made his Canadian home from 1982-2000.
An immersive scenographic and virtual experience, THE LIBRARY AT NIGHT is dedicated to the poetic, artistic, historical, and philosophical universe of libraries. Employing VR headsets and 360 video immersion technology, the exhibit takes you inside reconstructed or fictional libraries from different historical moments and corners of the world.
“I’m very happy this project is finally coming to Toronto,” comments Robert Lepage. “The initial inspiration for this experience is the work of Alberto Manguel, who lived in Toronto for almost twenty years, during which time he was an important literary life force in the city. It’s exciting for me to think that Alberto’s work is finally going to be celebrated in the Canadian city that he made his home.”
Speaking to his enthusiasm to partner with Lighthouse Immersive Lepage adds, “A company devoted to immersive art is a necessity. It’s a meeting point for so many other art forms. It’s brilliant that you have a place in Toronto, where you don’t just come to see paintings or dance but have an experience at a whole other level.”
“It is an incredible honour for us to present the Toronto premiere of this poetic and moving experience by one of not just Canada’s but one of the world’s most innovative artists, Mr. Robert Lepage,” says Lighthouse Immersive producer Svetlana Dvoretsky. “This work both takes visitors inside the incredible imagination of author and thinker Alberto Manguel and into the mythic history and symbolism of libraries. At a time when we have been isolated and largely tethered to our homes, the experience is a journey through words, imagination, and across the world.”
Lighthouse Immersive producer Corey Ross adds, “Something else that really excites us about bringing this experience to our Toronto facility is that it yet again offers another completely different take on what immersive and new media art experiences can be. I am very proud of the range of experiences we have been able to share with patrons in the last year and half – from IMMERSIVE VAN GOGH, to IMMERSIVE NUTCRACKER, to GuillaumeCôté’s immersive and live dance work TOUCH – we are presenting work for a range of audiences and from a wide array of artists.”
“Luminato is once again happy to work with Svetlana Dvoretsky, along with her Lighthouse Immersive partners, to bring their always consistently excellent programming to our audience,” comments Luminato Festival Toronto Artistic Director Naomi Campbell.
The experience begins in an antechamber, a reproduction of Alberto Manguel’s personal library, bringing the visitor into the author’s universe and introducing them to the library of his imagination. Participants then transition into a second environment – a large mythical forest. Here, the most significant sensorial experiences take place, as visitors explore a mysterious and otherworldly environment teeming with trees that contrasts with the order and rigour that characterize libraries. At stations in the forest, visitors are then transported by means of virtual reality, through time, and around the world, to 10 mythic libraries – and on an immersive and sensory adventure engaging the heart, intellect, and memory.
In keeping with the best-in-class COVID safety protocols that have defined Lighthouse Immersive’s productions for the last two years, the experience is designed for small, physically distanced audiences of a maximum of 20 people per time slot. High touch surfaces will be regularly sanitized, and the VR headsets used in the exhibit also thoroughly sanitized between uses.
In Toronto, Lighthouse Immersive occupies the vacant five-stories of the 1 Yonge Street building that previously housed the Toronto Star printing presses. The main gallery encompasses 600,000 cu. ft. and the facility features three additional gallery spaces alongside offices, a gift shop, and a café. IMMERSIVE VAN GOGH and IMMERSIVE KLIMT: REVOLUTION are also currently running in the facility.
In the last year, the Canadian company has opened or announced galleries in 19 U.S. cities including Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. To date Lighthouse Immersive has sold well over 4.5-million tickets to IMMERSIVE VAN GOGH across North America, with Art Net recently commenting on the wave of immersive galleries, that it is “one of the largest coordinated art phenomena of all time.”
Tickets for THE LIBRARY AT NIGHT go on sale to the public February 11th at 10:00am. For more information visi, lighthouseimmersive.com.
Illustration: Captain Nemo’s library.