Stage Door News

Toronto: Necessary Angel announces casting for the Canadian premiere of “Letters from Max, a ritual”

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Alan Dilworth, Artistic Director of Necessary Angel Theatre Company, today announced that Maev Beaty and Jesse LaVercombe will star in the Canadian premiere of Letters From Max, a ritual by Sarah Ruhl, based on the book by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo. Marking the start of Necessary Angel’s 45th Anniversary Season, the show runs from November 10 to December 3 at The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St W, Toronto. Opening night is November 15 at 8 p.m. Tickets for Letters From Max, a ritual are on sale now and range from $30-60. For information or to purchase tickets, visit

A deeply moving portrait of a friendship, and an unforgettable exploration of love, art, mortality, and the afterlife, Ruhl's poetic play is an award-winning adaptation of her 2018 book, Letters from Max: A Poet, a Teacher, and a Friendship.

"A resonant and profound contribution from two fully formed artists to the literature of illness," (Slate) the story is built on letters and poems passed between Ruhl and her former student Max Ritvo. Letters From Max, a ritual sparks with humour, urgency, and humanity in the face of the return of Ritvo’s Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of paediatric cancer. Ruhl and Ritvo’s words become a captivating celebration of life in which hopes, fears, and observations are shared and debated in a spirit of generosity and joyous affection.

Dilworth has a history of bringing Ruhl’s work to Canada. In 2013 he co-directed and co-produced her epic three-act Passion Play (a co-production between Sheep No Wool with Convergence Theatre and Outside the March which also starred Maev Beaty). In 2015 he directed the critically-acclaimed production of Eurydice at Soulpepper Theatre Company. He also in 2015 produced a staged presentation of The Oldest Boy at Soulpepper, and programmed Ruhl’s play Orlando for Soulpepper’s 2018 season.

Letter From Max, a ritual, is a stunning, life-giving play that breathes language and love into life,” said Dilworth. “I think this play is an antidote for our time, and that it helps audiences slow down, take stock and connect with what matters most to them.”

Run time: Approximately two hours including one intermission.

Content Note: Mature language, cancer and death by terminal illness.

Tickets: General admission, Pick-Your-Price ($30, $45, $60 based on availability) and preview tickets run from $25 via the Theatre Centre at, (416) 538-0988. The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St W, Toronto.

Letters From Max, a ritual

By Sarah Ruhl

Based on the book by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo

Directed by Alan Dilworth

Featuring Maev Beaty and Jesse LaVercombe

Set & Costumes Designer Michelle Tracey

Lighting Designer Rebecca Picherack

Sound Designer Debashis Sinha

Production Manager Rick Banville

Stage Manger Scarlett Larry

Photo: Sarah Ruhl.