Preview: The Theatre Centre Announces New Home and New Works

The Theatre Centre celebrates a new home at Toronto’s Queen-Lisgar Carnegie Library, announces new season and new artists

For over 30 years The Theatre Centre has brought Toronto innovative and inspiring theatrical experiences for patrons and space, funding and mentorship for budding artists.

Announced on November 5th, The Theatre Centre will be moving in the new year to their new location, the historic Carnegie Library located at 1115 Queen Street West, to expand their operations – providing a live arts hub and incubator for future development of contemporary pieces from artists local and abroad.

During the opening gala on November 5th, friends, supporters, artists and patrons alike were invited to celebrate the opening of the new location, give their dues to the tireless efforts from The Theatre Centre’s committee, and to get a taste of their upcoming 2014 season.

General and Artistic Director Franco Boni took the reins to explain the new development, how the collective minds behind The Theatre Centre were always looking to expand and had developed a budget of $6.2 million to transform the Carnegie Library while preserving the rich history of the space as a cultural and community hub.

The renovated 11,797 sq. ft space will feature a main performance hall, a lobby cafe, a rehearsal hall, gallery space, green room, green roofed terrace and office space. The fundraising goals are almost complete and the final push came in the form of an Indiegogo campaign announced at the gala.

Boni introduced two new programs to launch with the new location including a Residency Program designed to facilitate artists in their development of new work in a collaborative environment.  New selected artists or groups are presented with two-year partnerships catering to their specific needs for the idea they wish to cultivate.

LTR (Long-Term Relationships) allows non-venued theatre companies to call The Theatre Centre their home for several seasons. This program also provides companies a central stable location for them to make long-term strategic planning and programming decisions. The first company to “move in” with The Theatre Centre is Studio 180 Theatre.

Boni announced their upcoming season, or rather a taste of what The Theatre Centre has to offer for the half of 2014 with much more to come.

Carbon 14: Climate to Culture Performance Series (January 25 to February 9, 2014)

Tanya Tagaq + Post-Normal (January 25)
Created and performed by Tanya Tagaq, Michael Red, and Post-Normal

Climate change is explored in an innovative and inspired musical performance by Inuit artist Tanya Tagaq and her frequent collaborator Michael Red. The kick-off performance will feature Kitchener-based experimental glam pop duo Post-Normal (K La Luna and Android M).

Sea Sick by Alanna Mitchell (January 29 to Frebruary 3)
Created and performed by Alanna Mitchell, directed by Franco Boni with Ravi Jain

Adapted from Alanna Mitchell’s award-winning book, Sea Sick is a powerful and personal solo performance where Mitchell discovers the secrets of the ocean, faces the demons of the deep and finds hope.

Poetry Jam by Sabrina Mafouz/Ian Kamau (February 2)

A blend of live poetry and discussion led by UK performance poet Sabrina Mafouz and Canadian spoken word artist Ian Kamau, taking on the urgency and feasibility of climate change.

Anticipation by Reneltta Arluk (February 3)
Created and performed by Reneltta Arluk with directorial support by Terrance Houle

Reneltta Arluk, Dene-Inuvialuit artist, examines the impacts of climate change on Northern people while exploring the artist’s personal cultural identity in a new performance art piece seen through the context of witnessing a whale hunt off the Arctic coast.

This Clement World by Cynthia Hopkins (February 5 to 9)
Written and composed by Cynthia Hopkins, directed by DJ Mendel, designed by Jeff Sugg

A fiercely creative and charismatic tribute to our rapidly changing climate as seen through Cynthia Hopkins personal lens and cross-disciplinary style. Performed with a 15-piece chorus and band, This Clement World blends outlandish fiction and original avant-garde songs with Hopkins’ own documentary footage from an Arctic expedition, infusing our global climate crisis with humor, poetry, and urgency.

Cabaret Brise-Jour (Shattered Cabaret) (March 25 to 29, 2014)

Produced by L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres, presented by The Theatre Centre

Music by Kurt Well. Produced, written, arranged and directed by L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres

Set in a high-society salon of the early 20th century, eight musicians borrow from the repertoire of Kurt Weill to sing about the best and worst of the human condition. From Berlin cabaret and the Parisian nostalgia to New York’s Broadway, Quebec City’s L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres retrace the path of the musician in exile, using rare instruments and “music objects” to conjure up Weill’s dramatic and musical world. Superimposed over the music are fanciful and surrealist images concocted by the group to create surprising tableaux vivants, both strange and fascinating.

COCK – LTR partnership, produced and presented by Studio 180 Theatre (April 4 to 27, 2014)

By Mike Bartlett; directed by Joel Greenberg

Featuring Ian D. Clark, Jessica Greenberg, Andrew Kushnir, Jeff Miller

A good relationship is worth a good fight, Mike Bartlett’s punchy comedic drama puts you ringside as John wages war with his lovers, himself and a society that demands an answer to the question “Who am I?”

We are Not Afraid of the Dark (May 14 to 17, 2014)

By Tine Van Aerschot, produced by The Theatre Centre

We are Not Afraid of the Dark is an intensely intimate one-woman/two-ghost show by an acclaimed Belgian theatre director Tine Van Aerschot, inspired by the late actor Tracy Wright and her battle with cancer. Based on conversations between Tine and Tracy at the time of Tracy’s illness, along with literary and documentary accounts of survival in harsh conditions, We are Not Afraid of the Dark is a somewhat unusual guide to dealing with fear and an attempt to understand our transient lives.

Promises to a Divided City (May 30 and 31, 2014)

Created by Mammalian Diving Reflex/The Torontonians; co-produced by The Theatre Centre and Mammalian Diving Reflex

A Divided City has been up all night surfing the internet. The kaleidoscopic visions of war, death, sex, hatred, and kittens have left this young city in a state of exhaustion. The City now sleeps on a bed on a raft floating on a river drifting toward an abyss. The Divided City is oblivious to its plight. In Promises to a Divided City, the citizens will be counted, classified and asked to step up and save the city, with one hand firmly planted on a sacred book, chosen from the vast collection in our Library of Babel.

Tracy Wright Global Archive (June 4 to 8, 2014)

Produced by The Theatre Centre

Five established artists that represent a diversity of practice and culture that reflect the  with Canadian experience — Daniel Brooks, Jani Lauzon, Denise Fujiwara, Marcus Youssef, and Nadia Ross — travel to different international locations: the American South, the Mojave Desert, the Island of Shikoku, Egypt and India. Their research is followed by presentations inspired by the artists’ personal journeys — a series of sharing moments that may take various forms: a performance lecture, a dance work, a shared meal, an installation, or a straight up one-on-one chat.

The Book of Judith (June 12 to 14, 2014 at Abilities Centre in Whitby, ON)

Produced by Self-Conscious Theatre in partnership with the Abilities Centre and The Theatre Centre.

Co-created by Michael Rubenfeld and Sarah Garton Stanley, directed by Sarah Garton Stanley, music by Andrew Penner

The Book of Judith is a musical play about a self-anointed preacher who is passionately driven to change the lives of others before changing his own. After a chance meeting with a quadriplegic woman named Judith Snow, theatre artist Michael Rubenfeld believes he has ‘seen the light’. With the help of his director and her best friend who is blind, Michael corals a fully integrated choir of performers with mixed abilities to help him preach the Book of Judith and convert the audience with his inspirational, maniacal and deeply suspect tale of Judith Snow.

(Preview listings adapted from The Theatre Centre’s press release)

Photo of Theatre Centre’s upcoming “Cabaret Brise-Jour” by L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres by Guillaume D. Cyr provided by the company.