Stage Door News
Toronto: Theatre Passe Muraille announces its 2022/23 season
Thursday, July 28, 2022
Theatre Passe Muraille is thrilled to unveil its soul-stirring 22.23 season today, platforming new and compelling interdisciplinary work from a diverse range of voices. The eclectic season begins with a Festival presentation, which then gives way to a robust seven-production line-up. Additionally, the company has expanded on its Buzz in-development program, introducing a new creation unit called VUKA, led by Tsholo Khalema, an initiative aimed at further supporting Black artists.
“Over the past few years, we re-examined our relationship with the world and each other. Even as we return to in-person performances, the landscape has changed. One thing remains to be true: Theatre and art continue to fill our hearts and answer our need to connect, be seen and collectively witness.” Says Marjorie Chan, Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille. “Sharing the stories of our communities, we continue to affirm the humanity of those not often represented on our stages and do so in the most innovative and accessible ways possible. By doing so, we create space for dialogue, bridges for connection and hope for a kinder, inclusive society.”
In the first full season for the company since 2019, Theatre Passe Muraille will continue its storied roots in Canadian theatre, taking new work through the development cycle and increasing in-house and co-productions with five exciting world premieres. This 22.23 season, TPM continues to reflect the multifaceted city it calls home: presenting work that is energetic, thoughtful, and with a point-of-view that doesn’t shy away from questioning the status quo.
The 22.23 programming begins in September with the presentation of Aluna Theatre’s RUTAS Festival, presented in partnership with Theatre Passe Muraille and Factory Theatre. After a four-year hiatus, the fifth edition of the festival returns to connect the Americas through arts by featuring local, national and international artists. Hosting performances and conversations that inspire us to collectively envision a more inclusive world, RUTAS will present work in both the Mainspace and Backspace from September 22nd to October 9th.
In October, Theatre Passe Muraille and Music Picnic partner to present the world premiere of THE YEAR OF THE CELLO, co-created by Marjorie Chan and Njo Kong Kie. This imaginative and poetic piece is set in the 1920s to 30s in Hong Kong. The story is told by Wen, as her and her friend Li-an’s lives are changed forever by an encounter with the Cellist, whose music unlocks all that was left unspoken. Performed alongside a live cello performance, THE YEAR OF THE CELLO is a lament for loves lost and a Hong Kong that once was.
In November, Theatre Passe Muraille and Cahoots Theatre present the world premiere of OUR PLACE by Kanika Ambrose, originally programmed in the 20.21 season. OUR PLACE tells the story of Andrea and Niesha who work in exchange for cash under the table at Jerk Pork Castle in Scarborough. As the two scrape out a life in Canada, they must also navigate their status as undocumented women. A funny, keenly observant show and a timely story of those who are rendered invisible in a ‘welcoming’ Canada.
Through stacks of books, Theatre Passe Muraille becomes an immersive multimedia experience in MIRIAM’S WORLD by Naomi Jaye. Based on Martha Baillie’s Giller long-listed novel, The Incident Report, patrons are invited to move from screen to screen inside the library room. This world premiere production is a wry look into the life of librarian Miriam Gordon and a group of library patrons who frequent the branch where she works, and exposes the dark, and often humorous side of urban life and issues. The voyage into librarian Miriam Gordon’s life takes place in December in the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace.
Emerging from Theatre Passe Muraille’s Buzz in-development program, OKAY, YOU CAN STOP NOW, has its world premiere in February both in the Mainspace and in a digital format. This production, choreographed by Shakeil Rollock, has been in development with Theatre Passe Muraille since 2019. Four performers are invited into a landscape full of newspapers. Over time, the weight of the news gets the better of each individual. How do we move forward once history has indelibly been changed forever? When does it become our own lived history? Through physical exploration, personal accounts and collective experience, each performer navigates their relationship to privilege and power.
In February, Theatre Passe Muraille and Aluna Theatre present the world premiere of RUBBLE by Suvendrini Lena in the Mainspace, which was also developed in Passe Muraille’s BUZZ program and with support from Pandemic Theatre. In RUBBLE, a mother and her family receive a courtesy call, “you have 58 seconds to leave home before an explosion. Run.” From this point on, we travel backwards through time. In an abandoned theatre (a space created between actors and audience), we are invited to examine the question: what is the meaning of poetry in the midst of war?
In April, Theatre Passe Muraille presents the Toronto premiere of Delinquent Theatre’s award-winning production of Molly MacKinnon and Christine Quintana’s play NEVER THE LAST. Nominated for five Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards and the winner of Significant Artistic Achievement: Outstanding Interdisciplinary Collaboration, NEVER THE LAST follows Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté and her passionate relationship with the expressionist painter Walter Grammatté. The couple’s 10 years of marriage are marked by adventure, poverty, artistic strife and tragedy. Woven with violin solo and original text, we are invited to witness the two artists in love and the increasing space between them.
Closing out the 22.23 season in April, Theatre Passe Muraille and ReDefine Arts present TRACE by Tristan R. Whiston and Moynan King. TRACE is an interactive and interdisciplinary performance piece that focuses on the ongoing nature of “queer-becoming.” Beginning with the literal and metaphorical exploration of Whiston’s singing voice during gender transition, trace integrates sound art, music, video, and live performance. Original compositions made from archival recordings of Whiston’s singing and speaking voice at different stages of his gender transition are mixed live into a multi-track soundscape to create an immersive and interactive experience.
The 22.23 season also sees the expansion of Passe Muraille’s Buzz in-development program with the introduction of a new creation unit facilitated by Tsholo Khalema. Focused on Black new career artists, VUKA (which means rise or wake in Zulu) will support three theatremakers in a devised process. Other current artists in residence include Jenn Forgie (Seven Pieces, 2nd year); Coleen Shirin MacPherson (Erased, 3+ years); Silk Bath Collective (Woking Phoenix, 3+ years); Charlie Petch (No one’s special at the hot dog cart, 2+ years); Nancy Kenny and Edwige Jean-Pierre (2 Francophone works with Dramaturgy by Merlin Simard). Working with digital technologies are Nautanki Bazaar (Kanishka); Luke Reece (Building Relationships with the World, 2+ years); Merlin Simard and Gabe Maharjan (Gender Euphoria, 2nd year). The Buzz program focuses on creating an artistic process that places the art and artist at the centre. This is accomplished in various ways including workshops, dramaturgy, and public presentations as well as in ways which cannot yet be anticipated or defined. Theatre Passe Muraille aspires to empower the artist throughout their development in methodologies that work for them.
Tickets for the RUTAS festival are available now while the remaining 22.23 season will become available on September 1st. Pricing is Pay-What-You-Can-Afford at three price points, $10, $30 and $60. Theatre Passe Muraille continues its commitment to accessibility by offering features such as audio descriptions, translations, captions, ASL Interpretation and relaxed performances. Additionally, the company has extended its accessible transportation fund, for patrons who may require accessible transportation to and from the theatre. (This initiative will be available for all shows until the fund is depleted.) Community engagement is at the heart of how TPM sees its impact beyond the walls. Community programming includes both in-person and virtual events, most of which are available for free. As well, TPM will be programming ancillary community art projects, with details to come. To learn more about Theatre Passe Muraille’s accessibility initiatives, season and to buy tickets please visit www.passemuraille.ca.