Press Release: NIGHTWOOD THEATRE announces The New Groundswell Festival – A National Festival of Contemporary Women’s Theatre

From Press Release

Toronto, ON – Nightwood Theatre announces an exciting new beginning for its annual play development festival. For 26 years, Nightwood’s Groundswell Festival has been bringing audiences provocative new works in development. The re-envisioned New Groundswell Festival – A National Festival of Contemporary Women’s Theatre, happens over 11 days starting on November 30th and features 3 premiere workshop productions including Governor General’s Award nominee Lisa Codrington’s new play The Aftermath, Jordi Mand’s Between the Sheets and Zuppa Theatre’s acclaimed new work The Debacle (Halifax).

The Festival will also feature a national industry series including an exciting array of masterclasses led by theatre luminaries such as Linda Griffiths, Jillian Keiley, Judith Thompson and young, as well as provocative dialogues and public readings with national and international artists and creators.

The New Groundswell Festival builds on the success of our 30th anniversary celebrations in 2009 and the 4×4 Festival, which put a focus on the female director. The New Groundswell Festival shifts the focus to the female playwright, and seeks to raise the bar in play creation, investing time and resources to explore work in development via production while aiming to increase the dissemination of women’s work across the country, where female playwrights constitute only 29% of plays produced in Canada.

Nightwood’s historic Groundswell Festival is a nationally recognized forum for the creation and development of theatre by women. The festival boasts impressive alumnae including Morwyn Brebner, Marjorie Chan, Claudia Dey, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Sonja Mills and Djanet Sears. The strength of these voices reflects Nightwood Theatre’s ongoing commitment to the development of artistic excellence among Canadian women theatre artists. We are proud to invite you to join us for The New Groundswell Festival – A National Festival of Contemporary Women’s Theatre.

 The New Groundswell Festival Programming

The Aftermath by Lisa Codrington – Toronto
Directed by Audrey Dwyer
Starring Lisa Codrington and Ijeoma Emesowum
Sets and Costumes by Camellia Koo, Sound by Richard Feren, Lighting by Sandra Henderson

In the face of impending catastrophe and despite widespread evacuation there are simply those that shall not be moved. Inspired by Hurricane Katrina, playwright Lisa Codrington takes us on a harrowing and humorous exploration of survival in The Aftermath taking us to the eye of the storm to reveal the humanity of those left behind.

Between the Sheets by Jordi Mand – Toronto
Directed by Kelly Thornton
Starring Susan Coyne and Christine Horne
Sets and Costumes by Camellia Koo, Sound by Richard Feren, Lighting by Sandra Henderson

What begins as a banal parent teacher interview unravels into a gripping and raw discussion between two women on the brink of disaster. One woman is fighting to protect her family. The other is fighting for the family she always wanted. An exposé on aging, fertility, marriage and midlife crisis, Mand has crafted a razor sharp, rollercoaster ride of high stakes drama.

“What a complex, well crafted, gripping, heart-squeezing, gut-twisting play. Not a false note. Stunning work.” – Lynn Slotkin, The Slotkin Letter

The Debacle by Ann-Marie Kerr and Susan Leblanc Crawford – Zuppa Theatre, Halifax
Actor/Co-creator Susan Leblanc-Crawford
Director/Co-creator Ann-Marie Kerr

Going to scientific extremes a woman attempts to freeze memories of her dying sister and in the process learns the power of letting go. The Debacle is a sad, funny and highly theatrical portrait of a woman facing the inevitable reality of being alone.

“Sue Leblanc-Crawford is a marvelous actress to watch…” – The Coast
“…her physicality is strong and her concentration is fierce; yet, she conveys a warmth, humanity and humour.” – The Chronicle Herald

About Nightwood Theatre

Artistic Director Kelly Thornton, Producer Denyse Karn and Chair Karon Bales.
As Canada’s national women’s theatre since 1979, Nightwood has launched the careers of many of the leading theatre artists in the country. We have won Canada’s highest literary and performing arts awards and more than ever our success proves the need for theatre that gives voice to women and celebrates the diversity of Canadian society. We remain actively engaged in mentoring young women and promoting women’s place on the local, national and international stage.

The New Groundswell Festival Details

DATES: November 30 to December 10, 2011

Between the Sheets: Wednesday November 30, 8pm; Saturday December 3, 2pm; Sunday December 4, 8pm; Tuesday December 6, 8pm; Friday December 9, 8pm

The Aftermath: Thursday December 1, 8pm; Saturday December 3, 8pm; Monday December 5, 2pm; Wednesday December 7, 8pm; Saturday December 10, 2pm

The Debacle: MEDIA/VIP: Friday December 2, 8pm; Sunday December 4, 2pm; Monday December 5, 8pm; Thursday December 8, 8pm; Saturday December 10, 8pm


Kick Start Reception and Cocktail Party: Friday, December 2, 5-7pm, Nightwood Studio (55 Mill Street, Suite 315), Admission Free

Polyamorous Play Development: Friday, December 2, 3:30pm, Nightwood Studio, PWYC

Quebec Series: Reading of Jennifer Tremblay’s Le Carrousel and Clea Minaker’s Book of Thel: Sunday, December 4, 4pm, Nightwood Studio, PWYC

Write From The Hip readings: Friday, December 9, 7pm, Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs, PWYC

Judith Thompson’s Big Girl/The F Word (working title) Saturday, December 10, 4:30pm, Nightwood Studio, PWYC


Kalideography with Jillian Keiley: December 2, 11-3pm and December 3, 10-2pm, Nightwood Studio $150.00

Say it, Shout it, Move it with Judith Thompson: December 5, 6, 10-3pm, Nightwood Studio, $150.00

the sorplusi methodology with d’bi.young anitafrika: December 7, 8, 10-5pm, Nightwood Studio, $150.00

Director as Dramaturg with Nina Lee Aquino: December 9, 11, 10-5pm, $75.00

Visceral Playwriting with Linda Griffiths: December 10, 11, 10-4pm, $150.00

Festival Closing Party
Join us to celebrate the last night of our re-envisioned New Groundswell Festival! December 10, 9pm, FREE


Single tickets on sale now $20.00
Tickets available by calling: 416.368.3110 or


Festival passes on sale now. Save up to 50% on tickets by calling 416-944.1740×7