Stage Door News

Toronto: Soulpepper begins its winter season with “Casey and Diana” and “De Profundis: Oscar Wilde in Jail”

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Soulpepper Theatre is thrilled to launch its 2024 season with two highly anticipated productions: the Toronto premiere of Casey and Diana, by Nick Green and directed by Andrew Kushnir, after an acclaimed sold-out run at Stratford Festival in 2023; and the World Premiere of De Profundis: Oscar Wilde in Jail adapted and directed by Gregory Prest with original music and lyrics by Mike Ross and Sarah Wilson. These two productions not only promise to engage audiences with their compelling narratives, but also feature writing by local Toronto talent.

“I’m thrilled to be launching our 2024 season with these two exciting new plays by Canadian writers : Casey and Diana by Nick Green (making his Soulpepper debut) and De Profundis: Oscar Wilde in Jail created by longtime Soulpepper collaborators Gregory Prest, Mike Ross and Sarah Wilson. What I love about these two plays that they each re-examine parts of our past in ways that feel current and resonant in our present lives, they speak to isolation and a need to find community and connection. ” - Soulpepper Artistic Director, Weyni Mengesha

Casey and Diana is a thought-provoking new play set in Toronto’s Casey House, Canada’s first-free standing AIDS hospice, providing care and comfort to clients diagnosed with and dying of AIDS. In 1991, as this devastating epidemic was reaching its peak, Casey House received a historic visit from Diana, Princess of Wales. Casey and Diana is a gripping play that vividly captures a historic moment in time between caregivers, advocates, a princess, and people dying of AIDS.

“Since the Stratford production last Summer, I've had the opportunity to connect with many of the folks who founded, supported, and worked with Casey House. It's been moving to hear that the script and Andrew's direction led them to feel like they were inside those rooms again. My hope is that the Soulpepper production will give more people the chance to engage with such a poignant and significant piece of Toronto's history, one that was centered on kindness, compassion, and the power of people coming together.” - Nick Green

“Casey House closed the compassion gap in this city's most acute years of the AIDS epidemic. Our practice of Nick's powerful play collapses space and time, in a way, in the theatre. Last June, we had the great honour of having play attendees who were there that day, October 25, 1991, when Diana came to Casey House. Now, half-a-year later, we'll be revisiting that historic moment fewer than 4 kilometers from the place where it happened.” - Andrew Kushnir

Complementing Casey and Diana, Soulpepper also presents De Profundis: Oscar Wilde in Jail. Adapted and directed by Gregory Prest with original music and lyrics by Mike Ross and Sarah Wilson, De Profundis is a musical fantasy based on the letter Oscar Wilde wrote to his love Lord Alfred Douglas while incarcerated at Reading Gaol. One page a day was written over a period of three months, collected at the end of each day, and handed over to Wilde on his release from prison. This poignant piece is performed by the award-winning Damien Atkins.

“I am absolutely thrilled to bring 'De Profundis: Oscar Wilde in Jail' to the stage at Soulpepper as a ground-breaking musical adaptation. 'De Profundis' is, without a doubt, the greatest love letter ever written and a seminal queer work, and it has been an incredible journey adapting this rich and astonishing source text.” - Gregory Prest

Under the direction of an acclaimed artistic team and featuring a talented ensemble cast, these two productions promise to transport audiences to different eras helping us reflect on today. Soulpepper continues its dedication to delivering exceptional performances that resonate deeply with audiences, these two shows tell captivating queer stories, and are both written by Canadian writers.

"At Soulpepper, we believe that theatre is a sanctuary for human connection, an antidote to isolation and division, and a place for everyone to connect more deeply with their neighbours. These two extraordinary productions speak powerfully to these themes and to the transcending power of love to change the world." -Soulpepper Executive Director, Gideon Arthurs

Both shows boast all-star casts: Casey and Diana includes Sean Arbuckle, Laura Condlln, Katherine Gauthier, Linda Kash, Davinder Malhi and Sophia Walker. De Profundis: Oscar Wilde in Jail features Damien Atkins as Oscar Wilde, alongside Jonathan Corkal-Astorga and Colton Curtis