Announcement: Factory Theatre’s 2011/12 Season Welcomes New And Returning Artists & Audiences

From Press Release

“Factory’s 42nd Season promises to be one of our most exciting ever,” says Artistic Director Ken Gass as he and Managing Director Sara Meurling announce Factory Theatre’s 2011/12 Season.

“We have an exceptional line up of theatrical Canadian productions and artists from coast to coast that opens with two Daniel Brooks/Rick Miller collaborations, Bigger Than Jesus and HARDSELL, as well as the long-running hit, MacHomer, to complete the trio of solo performances by Rick Miller.

Other season highlights include a major revival of Tomson Highway’s Canadian classic, The Rez Sisters, with a culturally-diverse cast directed by Ken Gass; critically-acclaimed puppeteer Ronnie Burkett’s extraordinary new creation, Penny Plain; Vancouver novelist/playwright Anosh Irani’s hilarious comedy, My Granny the Goldfish, and the latest theatrical event from Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland’s Jillian Keiley and Robert ChafeOil and Water, featuring a cast of ten performers and gospel music by Andrew Craig Gass concludes, “I’m thrilled to announce a season that combines high entertainment value with the vivid theatrical imaginations of some of Canada’s most innovative theatre artists.” 

BMO Financial Group is Factory Theatre’s 2011/12 Season Sponsor. (


Rick Miller Trio of Solo Pieces: MacHomer, Bigger Than Jesus and HARDSELL

Dora and Gemini Award-winner Rick Miller returns to Toronto to launch Factory Theatre’s season with a trio of celebrated solo pieces.

First up on the Mainspace Stage is MacHomer, a WYRD Production directed by Sean Lynch and designed by Beth KatesMacHomer is Miller’s impersonation of the entire cast of “The Simpsons” doing Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This worldwide hit has now been seen by half a million people in 160 cities. MacHomer is a pre-subscription season teaser opening September 13 and running to September 25, 2011. (

Officially opening the subscription season is Bigger Than Jesus, running September 28 to October 9, 2011.  The WYRD and Necessary Angel co-production premiered in 2003 at Factory Theatre to sold-out audiences, and has since become an international success in six countries in four languages.  Co-created and directed by Daniel Brooks and designed by Beth Kates and Ben ChaissonBigger Than Jesus is a “sinfully funny” multimedia mass exploring the “thorny crown” of Christianity. (

Finally, comes HARDSELL which runs from October 13 to October 23, 2011.  This WYRD and Necessary Angel co-production premiered in Toronto in 2009, and is being reworked for this Factory Theatre remount.  Brooks directs Miller again in a multimedia extravaganza that examines the “commodification” of everything, and the lies inherent in advertising. (

(MacHomer – Sept. 13 – 25, 2011 / Bigger Than Jesus – Sept. 28 – Oct. 9, 2011 / HARDSELL – Oct. 13 – 23, 2011)


The Rez Sisters

The Rez Sisters, by Tomson Highway, directed by Ken Gass, plays November 5 – December 10, 2011 (previewing Friday, November 5 – Wednesday, November 10; opening Thursday, November 11), on the mainstage. The Rez Sisters premiered at Native Earth in 1986, capturing the country’s imagination and firmly establishing Tomson as one of Canada’s national treasures. Factory subsequently remounted The Rez Sisters the following season. It has since been produced in theatres all over the world to wide critical acclaim. Nominated for both the Chalmer’s and Governor Generals’ Awards and winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play, it is considered one of the most iconic pieces in the Canadian theatre canon.

In The Rez Sisters, seven women all dream of winning The Biggest Bingo in the World. They band together to raise money toward their trip from their small community to Toronto – to change their luck and their lives.  “Highway’s classic is a hysterically funny and heartbreaking play,” says Gass, “and I’m very pleased to re-examine this work in the current Factory context.” Highway is also pleased: “I am thrilled that my play, The Rez Sisters, is being produced with a culturally-diverse cast.” (

(The Rez Sisters – Nov. 5 – Dec. 10, 2011)


Penny Plain

Penny Plain is created and performed by critically acclaimed puppeteer Ronnie Burkett. The Toronto premiere runs January 19 – February 24, 2012 (previewing Thursday – Sunday, January 19 – 22; officially opening Tuesday, January 24), in the MainspaceTheatre.  To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ronnie Burkett Theatre of MarionettesPenny Plain will tour nationally, premiering in Edmonton in the fall, prior to its international dates.

Title character Penny Plain sits in her overstuffed chair, listening to the news of civilization’s inevitable end. When her companion dog Geoffrey leaves to live as a man, the outside chaos invades Penny’s sanctuary. With a cast including survivalists, a serial killer, a cross-dressing banker, talking dogs and mysterious strangers, Penny Plain is a chilling apocalyptic gothic drawing room comedy of ill manners. “Globally, there is a profound and critical need to examine the state of the environment. This show couldn’t be more timely, relevant or universal,” says Gass, “Factory is proud to have been a part of the development of Ronnie’s latest creation.” (

(Penny Plain – Jan. – Feb. 24, 2012)


My Granny the Goldfish

My Granny the Goldfish, by Dora Mavor Moore Award-winning novelist/playwright Anosh Irani, will see its Toronto premiere March 17 – April 15, 2012 (previewing Saturday, March 17 – Wednesday, March 21; opening Thursday, March 22) in the Factory Theatre Mainspace. In Irani’s irreverent comedy, Granny travels to Canada from Bombay to visit her beloved grandson Nico who is in hospital in Vancouver. Her “cure alls” are attitudes, platitudes and a full flask of whiskey. Despite Nico’s neurotic and hysterical protests, Granny helps him truly heal – ultimately proving that laughter is the best medicine. My Granny the Goldfish was part of Factory Theatre’s CrossCurrents 2009. (

(My Granny the Goldfish – Mar. 17 – Apr. 15, 2012)


Performance Spring Festival

Headlining Factory’s annual Performance Spring Festival of groundbreaking works from the national scene is the Toronto premiere of Oil and Water by Robert Chafe, directed by Jillian Keiley and produced by Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland. Oil and Water opens on Monday, April 16 and runs to May 6, 2012, in the Mainspace Theatre. Oil and Water is a theatrical retelling of the incredible true story of Lanier Phillips. Shipwrecked in 1942, Mr. Phillips was the only African American survivor. He was saved and openly embraced by the “people of St. Lawrence” and his world was forever altered.  This legendary story of tolerance and humanity resonates with power 70 years later. A ten-person cast sings an a cappella score by Andrew Craig that blends the Newfoundland folk tradition with African American gospel. (



– Subscriptions to Factory’s five-play season provide savings, range from $85 – $175 and are available as of March 31, 2011. Subscriptions purchased before June 30thinclude a bonus Factory Theatre Season 2011/12 ticket.

– Single tickets range from $20 – $55 and go on sale mid-July, 2011.

– For sales or information, call the box office at (416) 504-9971; online information is available 24 hours a day at