Stage Door News

Toronto: Canadian Stage presents “Universal Child Care” by the Quote Unquote Collective February 13-25

Thursday, January 11, 2024

In February, Canadian Stage is thrilled to present a virtuosic new work from the internationally acclaimed creators of MOUTHPIECE, Quote Unquote Collective. UNIVERSAL CHILD CARE runsFebruary 13th – February 25th at the Berkeley Street Theatre. 

A devised creation with book by Quote Unquote co-founders Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava, UNIVERSAL CHILD CARE invites audiences to witness the sheer power and force of the unaccompanied human voice in this concert-theatre hybrid (and self-consciously neither of those things), in which the performance ensemble screams about the lack of affordable child care and growing inequalities while comparing different approaches to child care around the globe.

Collectively written by Norah Sadava, Amy Nostbakken, Seiko Nakazawa, Stephanie Sourial, Akosua Amo-Adem, and Vicky Araico, UNIVERSAL CHILD CARE is directed by Nostbakken and performed by Monica Garrido Huerta, Takako Segawa, Germaine Konji, Joema Frith, Fiona Sauder, Alex Samaras, Norah Sadava, Anika Venkatesh.

UNIVERSAL CHILD CARE is a powerful new work from creators who have offered up a significant and provocative vision for a theatre that demands change,” comments Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy. “In this piece Amy, Norah, and their collaborators explore differing views on the responsibility of child care around the world while also exposing the deep, complex, and often painful emotions surrounding child care experienced by parents, especially those for whom affordable and safe child care is an aspiration, not a reality. It is an essential piece, and we are deeply proud to present it at Canadian Stage.”

Born of a curiosity about divergent policies around the globe regarding this critical issue, a major barrier to the ability of women to fully participate in society, neither Nostbakken nor Sadava had children when they began developing the project. However, during the multi-year development period they both had children, finding themselves wrestling with the all too common and impossible choices so many women are forced to make, which are the themes of their creation: Can I afford to take a year off when my child is born? Can I afford to go back to work, or will the cost of childcare eat up my entire salary? Will my career still be there for me if I take time away? Can I find a safe childcare space for my child? What do I do if I can’t?

An award-winning Canadian company, Quote Unquote Collective rose to prominence in 2015 when they produced their first creation, MOUTHPIECE, a play about a woman navigating the wake of her mother’s passing told through a unique marriage of physical theatre and a cappella vocal music. First premiering at Theatre Why Not’s RISER Festival in 2015, the work became a runaway success, touring globally, winning myriad awards, and eventually capturing the attention of Jodie Foster and her partner, who personally financed a presentation in L.A. MOUTHPIECE was eventually turned into an acclaimed film directed by Patricia Rozema and co-written by Nostbakken, Rozema, and Sadava. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018, the same year in which Quote Unquote Collective debuted their second piece, NOW YOU SEE HER, which explored the ways women can disappear in contemporary culture.

Tickets for UNIVERSAL CHILD CARE range from $29-$99. Tickets are now available at This production runs from February 13 - 25, 2024, with performances at 8:00pm Tuesday – Saturday, and 2:00pm matinees on Sundays. The February 25th show is a Babes In Arms performance providing caregivers the opportunity to attend with their child (preschool aged and younger).

For more information and tickets visit

Photo: Lennox Eveleigh, Monica Huerta and Rosie Bretz. © 2023 Lorne Bridgman.