A packed week of intriguing theatre events. On-line and live!

Mon., Oct. 19, 2020 (anytime during Oct. 19)  to Nov. 1



From the Mint Theatre in New York City (a company focusing on rarely done, almost forgotten plays

Available for Free On-Demand
Streaming through November 1st
    Conflict is a love story set against the backdrop of a hotly contested election. Miles Malleson combines his two great passions: sex and politics. The result is a provocative romance that sizzles with both wit and ideas.

Don’t miss out! Stream Conflict byusing the password
vote!           Click here for details on How to Watch             HOW TO WATCH:  CLICK HERE be taken to the Production Archive Page for CONFLICT. Click on the first image under the Videos heading. You will be prompted to enter the password, vote! You will also be prompted to enter your name and a valid email address. Click the four arrows in the bottom right corner to watch the video full screen. For Closed Captioning, click the CC button in the toolbar located at the bottom of the video viewer, and select “English CC”. You may be able to watch CONFLICT on your TV, depending on your specific equipment. Here’s a web page from “wikiHow” with a variety of articles that may help.          MORE ABOUT THE PLAY:
It’s the Roaring 20’s, London. Lady Dare Bellingdon has everything she could want, yet she craves something more. Dare’s man, Sir Major Ronald Clive, is standing for Parliament with the backing of Dare’s father. Clive is a Conservative, of course, but he’s liberal enough to be sleeping with Dare, who’s daring enough to take a lover, but too restless to marry him. Clive’s opponent, Tom Smith is passionate about social justice and understands the joy of having something to believe in. Dare is “the woman between” two candidates who both want to make a better world—until politics become personal, and mudslinging threatens to soil them all.              

Mon. Oct. 19, 2020. 7:30 pm


On Line:

Did you love American Moor from Red Bull Theatre?  Then you might want to check out KEENE.  And yes, Paul Gross, is OUR Paul Gross who is involved in the reading as is Sara Topham.

A Benefit Reading
By Anchuli Felicia King
Directed by Ethan McSweeny
Presented in association with American Shakespeare Center
This Monday, October 19, 2020
It’s love at first sight for Kai, a Japanese musicologist, when she spies Tyler, the only student of color in his PhD cohort, at a Shakespeare conference. Each night, while Tyler dreams he is the subject of his thesis: Ira Aldridge, the first black man to play Othello, Kai dreams of Tyler. As dreams start to merge with reality, Tyler and Kai are brought closer together. Yet Tyler, like Ira before him, can not perceive the inevitable betrayal of his closest ally. The livestream benefit reading will feature Grantham Coleman, Paul Gross, Carol Halstead, John Harrell, Chris Johnston, Sam Lilja, Amelia Pedlow, Sam Saint Ours, Sarah Suzuki, and Sara Topham.
“I wrote Keene as a submission to American Shakespeare Center’s New Contemporaries prize. The prize invites playwrights to write a response play to one of Shakespeare’s works, with his original staging conditions in mind. I felt compelled to respond to Othello because I had such complicated feelings about the play; I found the text and its performance history to be both profoundly rich and deeply fraught. My entry point to Othello’s problematic legacy was to begin researching the life of Ira Aldridge, one of the first black actors to play Othello. The more I read about Aldridge’s career, the more parallels I began to identify between his struggles and modern Shakespearean scholarship, as contemporary academics of color attempted to reclaim a discourse that had historically vilified and excluded them.” KEEP READING
This program is part of OTHELLO 2020, a multi-part online initiative to provide an engaging and educational experience for all who are interested in Shakespeare’s Othello and its relationship to the world in which we live today. The benefit series continues through October 28. 

Tues. Oct. 20-30, 2020 at 7:00 pm

Bedtime Stories and other Terrifying Tales

Live in the fields and meadows of 4th Line Theatre:

Ten-year-old Samuel Deyell goes out into the dark night in search of his missing mother.

NOTE: This production travels up and down dark paths and over uneven terrain of the Winslow Farm (home of 4th Line Theatre) for approximately 1 km. Trail difficulty level: moderate to high. 

4th Line asks each patron to dress for the weather, wear appropriate, sturdy footwear and bring a flashlight to the performance. Masks and social distancing are required.  The performances will run rain, snow or shine. 

*Not suitable for people with mobility or health issues. Contains frightening scenes and mature content. PG. 

Wed. Oct. 21 7:00 pm

At the Beginning of Time.

Streaming live from Montreal on Centaur Theatre’s website:

New Work @ Centaur Opens With Latest Steve Galluccio Play 

Free Event
Kicking off the first event under our New Work @ Centaur banner, fans of Mambo Italiano and The St. Leonard Chronicles will be elated to know that it will be the first public reading of Steve Galluccio’s newest play, At the Beginning of Time, streaming live on Centaur’s website at 7PM,  Wednesday, October 21th.
Dramaturged by the Shaw Festival’s former Artistic Director, Jackie Maxwell, who directed last season’s multi-META-nominated Paradise Lost, Quebec’s elder and health care systems are in the spotlight in this very personal story about losing a spouse to Alzheimer’s in the midst of a pandemic, told with Steve’s characteristic blend of heartache and hilarity.
Click HERE to learn more about this highly anticipated event from one of Centaur’s most beloved playwrights.  If you’re not able to join us live, the performance will remain on our website until October 28.   Wed. Oct. 21 + other dates: 8:00 pm.



Jeremy O. Harris presents HEROES OF THE FOURTH TURNING Live


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Event Information

a LIVE theatrical event

About this Event

Jeremy O. Harris Presents

the Playwrights Horizons production of

Will Arbery’s Pulitzer Prize Finalist


Directed by Danya Taymor

Performed LIVE by the original cast: Zoë Winters, Julia McDermott, John Zdrojeski, Jeb Kreager and Michele Pawk

Designed by: Isabella Byrd, Justin Ellington and Sarafina Bush

Showtimes: October 21st @ 8pm, October 22nd @ 4pm, October 23rd @ 8pm, October 24th @ 2pm + 8pm


Winner of ….

2020 Obie Awards for Creative Ensemble + Playwriting

Three Lucille Lortel Awards, including Outstanding Play

New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play

New York Times “Best Theater of 2019”


It’s nearing midnight in Wyoming, where four young conservatives have gathered at a backyard after-party. They’ve returned home to toast their mentor Gina, newly inducted as president of a tiny Catholic college. But as their reunion spirals into spiritual chaos and clashing generational politics, it becomes less a celebration than a vicious fight to be understood. On a chilly night in the middle of America, Will Arbery’s haunting play offers grace and disarming clarity, speaking to the heart of a country at war with itself.



All donations will be distributed to NYC-based theater artists in need

Stage Manager: Ryan Kane

Assistant Director: Joan Sergay

Original Scenic Design: Laura Jellinek

Dramaturgy: Ashley Chang

Line Producer: Danya Taymor

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Artwork: Jeff Rogers

Thur. Oct. 22, 2020 7:00 pm

Skeleton Crew

Atlantic Theater Company, New York City.


Reunion Reading Series: Skeleton Crew

by Dominique Morisseau Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

Atlantic Theater Company

From the Atlantic Theatre Company in New York City

Fri. Oct. 23, 2020 7:30 pm

CONTRACTIONS by Mike  Bartlett

Streaming from Studio 180

Contractions by Mike Bartlett
Friday, October 23 at 7:30 PM

Directed by Sabryn Rock
Starring Virgilia Griffith &
Ordena Stephens-Thompson
Emma’s been seeing her coworker Darren. She thinks she’s in love. Her boss thinks she’s in breach of contract. In a series of cordial but increasingly tense conversations, the two dissect the differences between “sexual” and “romantic,” negotiate the length of Emma’s interoffice relationship, and face the consequences of shrinking privacy and binding contracts.

Following the play, join the cast and Director of Youth and Community Engagement, Jessica Greenberg, for a unique interactive post-show experience in which audience members will share their responses; examine the themes, characters and big questions of the play; and participate in break-out group discussions. 
Virgilia Griffith has worked with Tarragon Theatre, Soulpepper Theatre, Crow’s Theatre and Obsidian Theatre.  Winner of the Meta Emerging Artist Award for Gas Girls. Winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance for Harlem Duet. She was also a Dora Mavor Moore nominee for Outstanding Performance in the Independent Division for Honesty directed by Jordan Tannahill and Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land)
Ordena Stephens-Thompson has worked with The Grand Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Young People’s Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, Soulpepper Theatre and Factory Theatre. Selected film and TV credits include: Umbrella Academy, The Handmaid’s Tale, Designated Survivor, da kink in my hair, Rookie Blue, Committed and The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe. Ordena is grateful for the opportunity to continue to pursue her passion and for the continued support of her family.
Sabryn Rock is an actor, singer, arts educator and director. She directed for the Summerworks Festival, Shakespeare in Action and Musical Stage Company’s Banks Prize Cabaret. She also has assisted on productions such as Intimate Apparel (Obsidian), The Wizard of Oz (YPT) and Next to Normal (MSC/Mirvish). She is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, The Birmingham Conservatory at Stratford and the Canadian Film Centre.

Sat. Oct. 24, 2020 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm

The School for Wives

Live Streaming:

Tony Award–winner Tonya Pinkins stars in the beloved comedy about gender dynamics.

About this Event

Free Virtual Performance + Q&A

The School For Wives

by Molière in the Park

Saturday, October 24 at 2 & 7pm ET

In English

Closed captioning in English & French

Livestream link will be sent via email on the day of the event

Molière in the Park and the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), after the success of virtual productions of The Misanthrope and Tartuffe, co-present a radically inventive and refreshing take on the classic play, The School For Wives.

At its core, Molière’s biting 17th-century satire about a privileged and misguided man so intimidated by women that he grooms his own ward for marriage, is about gender power dynamics. In this contemporary retelling, Tony Award–winner Tonya Pinkins (Jelly’s Last Jam, Caroline, or Change) stars as the patriarch Arnolphe, obsessed with keeping 17-year-old Agnès ignorant so that she will remain faithful to him.

Director Lucie Tiberghien examines this classic tale through the lens of an all-woman cast to shine a light on the ultimate absurdity of similar American systems of oppression. Like Agnès, no one’s humanity can be snuffed out.

Performance: 90 minutes

Q&A: 20 minutes

Starring Tonya Pinkins​, Tony Award-winner for Jelly’s Last Jam, writer-director of the upcoming socio-political horror film Red Pill, and host of the podcast You Can’t Say That on

Co-starring Mirirai Sithole, Kaliswa Brewster, Cristina Pitter, Tamara Sevunts, Carolyn Michelle Smith, and Corey Tazmania

Translated by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Wilbur

Learn more at

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation when you RSVP. Your gift makes programs like these possible and sustains FIAF and Molière in the Park during these unprecedented times.

Produced by Molière in the Park. Co-presented by FIAF in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance and LeFrak Center at Lakeside.


On Line at:

Until Friday, Oct. 16 at 7:00 pm.

Written by Keith Hamilton Cobb

Directed by Kim Weild

Cast: Keith Hamilton Cobb

Josh Tyson

Ayana Workman

A stunning, poetic punch in the gut.

American Moor by Keith Hamilton Cobb is an on-line reading.

It was produced by Red Bull Theatre, an Off-Broadway company in New York, previously and now it’s being offered for free, on-line, until Friday, Oct. 16 at 7:00 pm.  

The play examines the experience and perspective of Black men in America through the metaphor of William Shakespeare’s character, Othello. It’s part of the company’s Othello 2020 season.

The play is a doozy.

Ayana Workman reads the stage directions which places the play squarely and specifically in America. “Now. Very now.” (one might also say Canada as well.)

An African-American actor named Keith is auditioning for the lead in an American production of Shakespeare’s Othello. Keith is between 45 and 55 years old. And he’s auditioning for a white director named Michael Aaron Miller, who is between 28 and 38.

You get the sense that in this case of a triple barrelled name, the playwright is creating a sense of pretention with the director. (Even though the playwright’s own name is triple barreled.) This pretention is  further established when the director says to Keith, “So, the big O!” as if playing Othello is the pinnacle of acting jobs for an African-American actor.

The play takes the form of Keith quoting speeches from Othello and other Shakespeare plays as part of his audition and to the audience for context. Keith gives the audience his background as well as asides about the director. For example, we learn that Keith was an English major in university. He segued into acting. He says things like: “I learned I was an actor. I wasn’t taught it,”  As if he learned certain things by instinct rather than being taught it. He learned he had an affinity for Shakespeare and was buoyed by what he saw as huge choices.

We learn early on that Keith was confined by a director’s view of him. When he was a young actor in a class he was asked by a director what speech he wanted to work on. Keith said Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When the director said that was not suitable Keith suggested Hamlet. The director said that Keith did not have enough experience (life experience?) for Hamlet.  The director thought that perhaps Aron in Titus Andronicus  would be a better choice—Aron was black and better suited to Keith who was black. Keith noted he was a villain. The teacher suggested Morocco in The Merchant of Venice and didn’t think Morocco was a villain (Oh yeah? Aren’t we glad Portia didn’t have to find out). So we get a good picture of what Keith had to contend with:  insensitive white directors who confined him only to parts for Black characters.   

Keith commented on directors who think they are talking for Shakespeare when they offer to explain what Shakespeare meant by a line or thought.

We soon get the measure of the character of Michael Aaron Miller, the director of this production of Othello. When Keith enters the audition room and greets the director, Michael Aaron Miller breezes by the greeting and immediately remarks at how tall Keith is:  “How tall are you?” It was jokey and good natured. But not to Keith.  And of course Michael Aaron Miller has a concept for the play and his focus is on “irrational jealousy”.  Miller thought of the jealous woman who drove across the country (wearing an adult diaper so she wouldn’t have to stop) to confront her husband’s lover and the example of irrational jealousy and applied it to Othello.  

We hear Keith in an aside to the camera trying to calm himself and not explode. The director says, “Is there anything I can make clear to you before we start?” We know that this young whippersnapper of a director falls into the cliché of the directors that Keith has had to deal with, who is going to tell him what the play Othello is all about. This is not just an aspect of this play.

It’s a reflection of the world of the Black actor or BIPOC actors.  A well-intentioned but tone-deaf, insensitive director is going to tell them the meaning of something they already know in their bones.

I think playwright Keith Hamilton Cobb has written an exquisitely poetic, bristling play specifically about a black actor dealing with a blinkered white director. But from a universal perspective it’s about a Black person who has to contend with white privilege and he’s had it up to here with dealing with it.   It’s Keith Hamilton Cobb’s personal eruption of what a Black person or person of colour has to deal with when they are not seen or heard.

Isn’t that what we heard with the various protests, with Black Lives Matter and the eruption of rage and being overlooked.

“See me” was repeated often.

“Hear me” was repeated often.

The character of Keith has a stunning speech which shows the eloquence and punch of Keith Hamilton Cobb’s writing:

“I’m giving you pearls here, if you could hear me. If you could see me I might save you from another cookie cutter Othello you’re ready to run off half-cooked and hand the public each time you and every other would-be saviour of the American Theatre perennially picks up this play like it needs you. Like it needs your self-concerned conceptualizing and your venerated Eurocentric scholarship. Like it needs your huge false set of balls that this American culture gave you that makes you think that it’s acceptable for you to sit there on your little, narrow privileged lily-white MFA ass and judge a Black man on what a Black man is supposed to be.”

This is wonderful, angry, eye-opening dialogue in a play that is blazing with insight and rage.  Is it the character’s rage? The playwright’s? Both?  

Josh Tyson plays Michael Aaron Miller with boyish enthusiasm. Ayana Workman reads the stage directions and listens and reacts to Cobb’s rage with understated irony. She knows what he’s talking about.  Keith Hamilton Cobb has the lion’s share of the play—it often seems like a solo part–and he plays it with nuance, anger and grace.

He has things to say about being Black, race politics and Othello that are important to hear.

It behooves us to listen.

American Moor is live streamed for free until tonight  (Oct. 16) at  7:00 pm on the Red Bull Theatre website.


Here is the press information on Obsidian Theatre Company’s 2021 season.

This is the first season of Artistic Director Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu. She has exploded out of the gate with this impressive first season of works by 21 strong voices.

For immediate release: October 15, 2020 View this email in your browser


21 playwrights, 21 directors, 21 actors
21 visions of the future of Blackness
  Monodramas written by Peace Akintade, Keshia Cheesman, Lisa Codrington, Miali-Elise Coley-Sudlovenick, K.P. Dennis, Cheryl Foggo, Shauntay Grant, Lawrence Hill, Kaie Kellough, Stephie Mazunya, Tawiah Ben M’Carthy, Motion, Omari Newton, Amanda Parris, Joseph Jomo Pierre, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, Jacob Sampson, Djanet Sears, Luke Reece, Cherissa Richards, and Syrus Marcus Ware.

Toronto ON – In the wake of a historic 2019-2020 season which saw the company produce three acclaimed productions, win the Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award (Passover), two Dora Awards (Caroline, Or Change) and four Toronto Theatre Critics Awards (Caroline, Or Change and Pass Over), as well as saying goodbye to long-time Artistic Director Philip Akin and welcoming incoming Artistic Director Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu, Obsidian Theatre is pleased to unveil the first programming to be developed under Tindyebwa Otu’s leadership and to offer a window into the company’s plans for the future. At a unique moment in history, Black stories are needed more than ever.  The necessity for the Black community to heal, to connect and to re-envision a future outside of current systems is raw, real, and fully felt.  As the company enters its 21st year of operations, in February 2021, during Black History Month, Obsidian Theatre will premiere 21 BLACK FUTURES. An anthology of 21 filmed monodramas, commissioned from 21 multigenerational Black playwrights across the country, directed by 21 Black directors and performed by 21 Black actors. Premiering digitally, 21 BLACK FUTURES will respond to the question, “What is the future of Blackness?” The 21 playwrights commissioned under the project are Peace Akintade (Saskatchewan), Keshia Cheesman (Calgary), Lisa Codrington (Toronto), Miali-Elise Coley-Sudlovenick (Nunavut), K.P. Dennis (Victoria), Cheryl Fogo (Calgary), Shauntay Grant (Halifax), Lawrence Hill (Hamilton), Kaie Kellough (Montreal), Stephie Mazunya (Montreal), Tawiah Ben M’Carthy (Toronto), Motion (Toronto), Omari Newton (Vancouver), Amanda Parris (Toronto), Joseph Jomo Pierre (Toronto), Donna-Michelle St. Bernard (Hamilton), Jacob Sampson (Halifax), Djanet Sears (Toronto), Luke Reece (Toronto), Cherissa Richards (Manitoba), and Syrus Marcus Ware (Toronto). 

“21 BLACK FUTURES encapsulates a lot of what I hope to develop and grow in this next phase of Obsidian Theatre,” says Tindyebwa Otu. “Under the previous visionary leadership of Alison Sealy-Smith and Philip Akin, Obsidian has a long-standing tradition of introducing new Black artists into the ecology. This project takes that tradition to a new level, making a large gesture that speaks to the work I want to continue to do with the company.  As we continue forward, I want to reach out and find more new Black voices nationally, give them the support they need to grow and a wide-reaching platform on which they can be seen. I also want to create opportunities to experiment with content and form and to consider the possibility of a Black aesthetic.” “With this one project we will be spotlighting the work of 63 Black artists from across this country – some of whom are part of Obsidian’s legacy and many who are part of our future. What I believe we will find within that wide and multi-generational range of artists is the beginning of an exploration into the diversity of the contemporary Black voice.  It allows us to really lean into Black identity and explore what that means in the future. I hope what naturally flows from this project and this cultural moment is that we can continue to grow Obsidian’s capacity as an organization and flood the country with thriving Black theatre artists as diverse as our  community is today.

21 BLACK FUTURES is a project born of the current moment. Announced as the incoming Artistic Director for Obsidian in January of 2020, by the time Tindyebwa Otu began her tenure at the beginning of July, the coronavirus pandemic had effectively cancelled all forthcoming live theatre productions and a global outcry against anti-Black racism was at the forefront of cultural and political discussions. “I felt an urgent need to respond to the moment we’re in and to create an opportunity for Black artists to respond.” says Tindyebwa Otu. Like many theatre companies, Obsidian Theatre had to postpone the final production of their 2019-2020 season – Jay Northcott directing Christina Anderson’s Blacktop Sky for the second installment of their Darktown Initiative.  The company had also announced a season launching co-production with Canadian Stage of the 2019 Pulitzer prize-winning drama Fairview by Jackie Sibblies Drury, which was to have been directed by Shaw Festival Associate Artistic Director Kimberley Rampersad – now also postponed until live performance can resume. A planned remount of School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play with Nightwood Theatre and Soulpepper Theatre has been cancelled.

In August the company co-produced Black Magic – A Conversation with Black Artistic Directors in Canadian Theatre, with Cahoots Theatre. Black Magic remains available for viewing online. As the pandemic continues to impact traditional theatrical production, for the next several months Obsidian will focus on the development and production of 21 BLACK FUTURES, workshopping the scripts through the fall in preparation for rehearsals and filming.  TO Live has partnered with Obsidian on this project as the venue sponsor for the filming. Additionally, Obsidian will continue development of the new Black opera Of The Sea by Kanika Ambrose and Ian Cusson, a co-commission and co-production with Tapestry Opera; new musical Dixon Road with book, music, and lyrics by Obsidian Artistic Producer Fatuma Adar, in collaboration with The Musical Stage Company; and new play Blood and Memory by Dainty Smith. Obsidian’s Playwright Unit will also  continue this season featuring writers Leighton Alexander Williams and KayGeni.  More information about 21 BLACK FUTURES including the line-up of directors, cast, and streaming platform, will be announced later this year. For more information about Obsidian Theatre, visit 

About Obsidian Theatre
Obsidian is Canada’s leading culturally specific theatre company. Our threefold mission is to produce plays, to develop playwrights and to train emerging theatre professionals. Obsidian is passionately dedicated to the exploration, development, and production of the Black voice. Obsidian produces plays from a world-wide canon focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the works of highly acclaimed Black playwrights. Obsidian provides artistic support, promoting the development of work by Black theatre makers and offering training opportunities through mentoring and apprenticeship programs for emerging Black artists.   Obsidian Theatre Company was born out of a passionate sense of artistic responsibility – a responsibility to bring the Black voice, in its many artistic dialects, to Canada’s cultural forefront. Obsidian encourages Black artists to expand their vision of what they perceive, create and present to a national audience. Obsidian continues to play a prominent role in Canada’s theatrical mosaic by showcasing the work of both emerging and established Black artists.   Since its inception, our development programs have led many artists to expand their professional development and create new Canadian works. Through our training programs, we produce plays, develop playwrights and train emerging theatre professionals.


Hark folks,

I’ll be interviewing Lisa Marie DiLiberto on CIUT FRIDAY MORNING 89.5 fm on Friday, Oct. 16 from 9 am -10 am.

She is the Artistic Director of Theatre Direct, a company that focuses on theatre for young audiences. Their latest show is ERASER and it will be going into schools virtually. It’s a fascinating look at how young people are coping with the loss, death, isolation, sense of self and identity during this pandemic.


Heads up for the week of Oct. 12-18

Monday, Oct. 12, 2020.

An Informal Benefit Reading from Red Bull Theatre :
TONIGHT | Monday, October 12, 2020
(will be available for viewing until Oct. 16 at 7:00 pm.


Keith Hamilton Cobb’s AMERICAN MOOR is the award-winning, tour-de-force play that takes audiences behind-the-scenes and into the audition room as an African-American actor responds to the demands of a white director presuming to better understand Shakespeare’s iconic black character, Othello. A passionate and poetic exploration, AMERICAN MOOR is an essential look at the experience and perspective of black men in America while challenging the capacity of the American theatre to make all people fully visible and embraced. 

For this special benefit occasion, the original Off-Broadway cast, Keith Hamilton Cobb and Josh Tyson, will offer an informal reading of his play from their homes. Ayana Workman will read stage directions. They will bring Cobb’s text to life for a whole new audience, simply and without ornamentation.

(also be aware, Monday, Oct. 19, also offered through Red Bull Theatre in New York is a reading of KEENE, a melding of the lives of Ira Aldridge, the first Black American actor and the PhD student studying him.)

Friday, Oct. 16, 2020 at 7:30 pm

From Studio 180:

CONTRACTIONS by Mike Bartlett

FALL 2020 – 180 READS: A Digital Presentation

Emma’s been seeing her coworker Darren. She thinks she’s in love. Her boss thinks she’s in breach of contract. In a series of cordial but increasingly tense conversations, the two dissect the differences between “sexual” and “romantic,” negotiate the length of Emma’s interoffice relationship, and face the consequences of shrinking privacy and binding contracts.

Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020

From Sheridan College as part of its Canadian Music Theatre Project:

You’re Invited! Michael Rubinoff, Producing Artistic Director, invites you to the 2020 Canadian Music Theatre Project: Festival of New Musicals, taking place on Sunday, October 18, 2020.

The 45-minute presentations will be streamed live to YouTube, with each writing team providing commentary for their project. Presentations are taking place at the following times:

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 18 (Eastern Time)

2:00PM – Living the Dream premiere(live reading)
5:00PM – burden of proof premiere
8:00PM – Almost a Full Moon premierePresentations will remain online for public viewing until Sunday, October 25 at 9 PM (ET).   LINK TO VIRTUAL PRESENTATIONS

Sheridan College not only produces some of our best musical theatre artists but also some terrific musicals (Come From Away anyone?)


Actually it’s the Canadian Music Theatre Project (CMTP) of Sheridan College that gets the spotlight here. New Musicals in development give a 45 minute taste of the project for an audience to see and hear. A little show called Come From Away got its start that way (before CMTP). I’ve seen a few of these and they are always smart, professional and performed by our future musical theatre stars. Well worth your time.

And look at this roster and the talent composing, writing and directing these showcases:!

The 2020 Canadian Music Theatre Project: Festival of New Musicals, takes place on Sunday, October 18, 2020.

The 45-minute presentations will be streamed live to YouTube, with each writing team providing commentary for their project. Presentations are taking place at the following times:

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 18 (Eastern Time)

2:00PM – Living the Dream premiere(live reading)
5:00PM – burden of proof premiere
8:00PM – Almost a Full Moon premiere Presentations will remain online for public viewing until Sunday, October 25 at 9 PM (ET). LINK TO VIRTUAL PRESENTATIONS Music & Lyrics: Hawksley Workman
Book: Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman
Director: Daryl Cloran
Music Director: Ryan deSouza

Commissioned by the Citadel Theatre, Almost a Full Moon is inspired by the beloved Christmas album by Canadian singer/songwriter Hawksley Workman. The play incorporates Workman’s songs in three storylines that chase in and out of different ages of Christmas, love, and family, winding together for a timeless story.

Creative Team

Hawksley Workman is a JUNO Award-winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. A staple of the Canadian music scene for over 20 years, Workman boasts a catalogue of 17 releases, and has performed over a thousand shows worldwide, headlining prestigious venues like Massey Hall and The Olympia in Paris. As a producer, his fingerprints grace releases by JUNO and Polaris Prize nominees and winners like Tegan and Sara, Serena Ryder, Hey Rosetta!, and Great Big Sea. He’s also penned melodies with a myriad of artists, from Oscar award winning Marion Cotillard to the late French rock icon Johnny Hallyday.orkman co-wrote and performed an award-winning one-man cabaret theatre show called The God That Comes, which debuted in 2013 to rave critical reviews and sold-out crowds. The show quickly gained international attention including successful runs at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, New Zealand Festival and Arhus Festival in Denmark. In 2018 Hawksley received a Stirling Award nomination, Outstanding Score of a Play or Musical for The Silver Arrow at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre. And in 2019 had his Stratford debut as Composer for The Neverending Story.

Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman is a Dora Award winning and Governor General nominated playwright. Winner of The Herman Voaden National Playwriting Award, and of the K.M. Hunter Artist Award, she graduated from the playwriting program at The National Theatre School of Canada. She writes for theatre, film, and television. Selected credits include: The End of Pretending (Summerworks, Regent theatre) Scratch (Factory Theatre, La Licorne, Theatre Plexus, Off-Broadway Players). Sudden Death, (Next stage). Twisted with Joseph Jomo Pierre (Factory Theatre). Charlotte directed and co-created Highway 63: The Fort Mac Show (Arts and Culture Tour of NL and Labrador, Theatre Passe Murialle 2011). She wrote for CBC Radio’s Afganada and for the Showcase TV series KING. Charlotte’s most recent play, Guarded Girls, won the Dora Mavor Moore award for Outstanding New Play and premiered at Tarragon Theatre. Charlotte is currently writing the book for a new musical based on Hawksely Workman’s album Almost a Full Moon and writing for the new TV series Safehaven (Landmark, Crackle). She also has a new family show in development at the CBC.

Daryl Cloran is the Artistic Director of the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, one of Canada’s largest regional theatres. Daryl has also been the Artistic Director of Western Canada Theatre (Kamloops, BC) and Theatrefront (Toronto). Daryl has directed internationally in countries such as South Africa and Bosnia & Herzegovina, and at theatres across Canada, including: Shaw Festival, National Arts Centre, Theatre Calgary, Neptune Theatre (Halifax), Arts Club Theatre (Vancouver), Canadian Stage and Tarragon. Daryl’s Beatles-infused adaptation of As You Like It has played at Bard on the Beach (Vancouver), Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (Winnipeg), the Citadel, and next season will be performed at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Milwaukee Rep Theater. It was the best-selling production in the 30-year history of Bard on the Beach, and won the Jessie Award for Outstanding Musical. Daryl’s work has been nominated for awards across the country, including: Doras, Jessies (Vancouver), Sterlings (Edmonton), Evies (Winnipeg), Bettys (Calgary), SATAs (Saskatoon) and Merritt (Halifax) awards. He is also the proud recipient of the Canada Council’s John Hirsch Prize for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Director.

Ryan deSouza is currently in his 20th season as the Associate Music Director at the Shaw Festival where he has music directed shows including The Russian Play, A Christmas Carol, Peter and the Starcatcher and One Touch of Venus, and has composed for several productions including An Octoroon, Engaged and Hotel Peccadillo. Ryan has had the pleasure of music directing shows across the country including the Grand Theatre, Canadian Stage, Sheridan College, Mirvish Productions, Ross Petty Productions and Stage West Calgary. He has accompanied international recording artists Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Hudson, and The Tenors, and has worked as the audition pianists on several Toronto productions including We Will Rock You, Lord of the Rings, Dirty Dancing and Hairspray. So thrilled to be back at Sheridan working on another new Canadian musical! Music: Scott Christian & La-Nai Gabriel
Book & Lyrics: Rob Kempson
Director: Esther Jun
Music Director: Lily Ling

Supported by the Keith and Sharon Segal Fund for International Musical Development

burden of proof explores the challenges met by LGBTQ+ refugee claimants in Canada. Queer refugees who come to Canada after fleeing oppressive, homophobic homelands have often spent their lives trying to hide their sexuality or gender identity for fear of persecution. However, when they arrive here, they must prove their queer identity to claim status as a persecuted minority. It’s an impossible question: how do you prove your identity without ever practicing it? How can you communicate who you are without ever having a chance to know for yourself? This question burdens not only the queer community, but all of us.

Creative Team

Scott Christian is an award-winning Musical Director, Composer and Pianist. As a composer, his original musical A Misfortune had its professional premiere at the 2017 Charlottetown Festival. His first two musicals were part of the Toronto Summerworks Festival – Hero & Leander (2011) and Through the Gates (2012). His newest musical Dead Reckoning (written with Lezlie Wade) was slated to be presented in concert off-Broadway at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, but was postponed due to Covid. Selected Musical Director credits include Carmen (Opera, Loose Tea Theatre Toronto), Ring Of Fire (Thousand Islands Playhouse), A Misfortune, Glenda’s Kitchen, The Dream Catchers, and The Voices of Canada (Charlottetown Festival), Once, Shrek and The Addams Family (Neptune Theatre), Snow White (Drayton Entertainment), Company (Theatre 20), Rocky Horror (Sudbury Theatre Centre), Marry Me A Little (assistant MD, Tarragon Theatre), The Way Back To Thursday (orchestrator/MD, Theatre Passe Muraille), and Second City Toronto. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music for piano and composition and is currently completing his master’s degree in composition from York University.

La-Nai Gabriel is a proficient multi-instrumentalist, arranger, composer, and sound designer. She is a graduate of the Music Studies program at Humber College in Toronto, and the Sound and Music Recording program at Recording Arts Canada in Montreal. In addition to performing extensively in Canada and internationally in the United States, Japan, United Kingdom, and Southeast Asia, La-Nai has been featured as a music director and arranger for commercial and artistic musical projects as well as a songwriter and composer for her own work. La-Nai is featured on recordings by Madame Gandhi (Saxophones on “Set Me Free”), T. Thomason (Keyboards on “King of Spades”), and Prince Amine (vocals on “Doubted Child” album). She has arranged winds, strings, and vocals for a diverse array of artists including Maylee Todd, Gary Beals, Leah Allyce Canali, and Maya Killtron. Her arranging work is featured on three songs on artist and activist Vivek Shraya’s 2017 Polaris Prize long list nominated album “Part-Time Woman” featuring Queer Songbook Orchestra. La-Nai is currently working on a new EP and composing instrumental electronic music under the name laaain. Currently, La-Nai lives with her wife in Montreal, Quebec.

Rob Kempson is a theatre artist and educator, working primarily as a director and playwright. Selected Writer/Director: Trigonometry (timeshare/Factory); Mockingbird (Next Stage Theatre Festival); SHANNON 10:40 (timeshare/Videofag); explicit (Rhubarb Festival); #legacy (Harbourfront Centre); The HV Project (Community). Selected Director: Box 4901(timeshare/Buddies), The Places We Are (Theatre Erindale), The Snow Queen (Canadian Children’s Opera Company), Electric Messiah IV & V (Soundstreams), The Little Mermaid(St. Lawrence College), 9 to 5: The Musical (Randolph College), The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom(Sudbury Theatre Centre), Box 4901 (SummerWorks, foldA Festival); The Canadian, Maggie and Pierre, Million Dollar Quartet, Daisy Amazed Me, Violet’s the Pilot, Rose’s Clothes(Thousand Islands Playhouse); Robert (co-directed with Briana Brown, Toronto Fringe); Songs for a New World (Claude Watson). Writer/Composer/Performer: The Way Back To Thursday (Theatre Passe Muraille/Touchstone Theatre – Dora nominaton: Outstanding New Musical). Rob has been a member of the Stratford Festival Playwrights’ Retreat, a Resident Artist Educator at Young People’s Theatre, and the RBC Intern Director for The Musical Stage Co. He is the past Artistic Producer of the Paprika Festival, the past Associate Artistic Producer at Theatre Passe Muraille, and the past Associate Artistic Director at the Thousand Islands Playhouse. More info at or on twitter at @rob_kempson.

Esther Jun originally trained as an actor in NYC and completed her directing degree at Drama Centre London in 2006. She currently is an Artistic Associate in Planning at The Stratford Festival and was the Assistant Artistic Director at Tarragon Theatre from 2016-18. Esther was part of the 2020 & 2016 Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction at The Stratford Festival, and was the 2015 Neil Munro Intern Director at the Shaw Festival. She is a founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Directors Lab North (

Lily Ling is a Toronto based Chinese-Canadian musician and the current Music Director and Conductor for the And Peggy tour of Hamilton. She is the first female to hold the title of Music Director and also the first musician of Asian descent to conduct the show. Previously, she served as the Associate Conductor for the Philip Tour. Sheridan/CMTP credits: Oklahoma!, Atlantis, and Bethune. International credits: Music Director and Conductor for 20th Anniversary Off-Broadway revival of john & jen; Associate Music Director and Vocal Coach for the Chinese premiere of The Lion King in Shanghai; Music Supervisor for the Chinese premiere of A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder; Associate Music Director and Accompanist for Lincoln Center workshop of Carousel. Canadian credits: Next To Normal, Once On This Island (Musical Stage Company), The Fantasticks (Soulpepper), One Touch Of Venus (Shaw Festival), and the Canadian premieres of The Light In The Piazza, Parade, High Fidelity, Jerry Spring: The Opera, and Reefer Madness. Lily is a graduate of Penn State University’s MFA in Music Direction.
Music & Lyrics: Anika Johnson & Barbara Johnston
Book: Nick Green
Director: Mitchell Cushman
Music Director: Suzy Wilde

What do you do when you’re feeling alone? Every Tuesday, Clare throws a Zoom party. A contemporary look at relationships and loneliness in the Instagram era, Living the Dream is the story of a group of friends told entirely though commercial breaks during a viewing party of a reality TV dating show.

Creative Team

Anika Johnson is a Dora winning composer and performer. Selected writing credits include – with her sister Britta: Brantwood (Sheridan), Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang (YPT), Trap Door (with bookwriter Morris Panych; Sheridan) and Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life (Outside the March/The Musical Stage Company); with Barbara Johnston: Blood Ties (Next Stage/featured on Orphan Black), One Small Step (Toronto Youth Theatre/Edge of the Sky Theatre), Fangirl (with bookwriter Nick Green; The Musical Stage Company), and Summerland (with Suzy Wilde; Toronto Fringe). Last year, she dramaturged the critically-acclaimed American premier of Life After at The Old Globe Theater in San Diego and upcoming projects include commissions from the Stratford Festival and Crow’s Theatre. When the world isn’t in lockdown, Anika performs internationally with Corpus DanceProjects and Wannabe: A Spice Girls Tribute.

Barbara Johnston is Toronto based performer and a Dora-nominated writer and director. Writing credits include – with Anika Johnson: Blood Ties (Next Stage Festival/SummerWorks/Edinburgh Fringe/featured on BBC America’s Orphan Black), and Elly’s Emotions (2015 Dora nominee, Outstanding TYA Production); Summerland (with Suzy Wilde; Toronto Fringe 2015, Edge of the Sky Theatre) The Fence (with Suzy Wilde; Toronto Fringe 2016, Edge of the Sky Theatre); Maddie’s Karaoke Birthday Party (Toronto Fringe 2017, Charcoal Sketch) and with Anika Johnson has written three musical commissions for The Randolph Academy, and about to begin a fourth . Barbara is a founding member and has been seen on stages across North America and as far as the Middle East as Ginger Spice in Wannabe: The Spice Girls Tribute Band. She stars as ‘Gwen Stefani’ in Spiderwebs: The No Doubt Tribute Band and works as a singer with Sean Jones, gigging with multiple bands in Toronto. She has directed/choreographed for Outside the March and soon with The Musical Stage Company and musical directed for Expect Theatre’s Beats and Intentions project. Barbara works regularly with the award winning Wexford Gleeks (Wexford School for the Arts) and runs a private music studio.

Nick Green is a Dora Mavor Moore and Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award winning playwright, and the creator of the Social Distancing Festival ( Credits include Happy Birthday Baby J (Shadow Theatre); Every Day She Rose (Nightwood Theatre, co-written with Andrea Scott); Fangirl (book; Musical Stage Company, Launch Pad); In Real Life (book; Canadian Music Theatre Projects); Dinner with the Duchess (Next Stage Festival, BroadwayWorld Toronto Award); Body Politic (Buddies in Bad Times/lemonTree Creations; Dora Award); Poof! The Musical (book and lyrics; Capitol Theatre, Sterling Award nomination); The Fabulous Buddha Boi (Guys UnDisguised, Sterling Award); Triple Platinum and 2 Queens and a Joker (co-writer; Guys in Disguise). Nick has been a part of the Stratford Festival’s Foerster Bernstein New Play Development Program; Factory Theatre’s Natural Resources unit; Nightwood Theatre’s Write from the Hip; and Sheridan College’s Canadian Music Theatre Project.

Mitchell Cushman is a director, playwright, and founding Artistic Director of Outside the March, one of Canada’s leading immersive theatre companies. His work has been seen on stages as large as the Royal Alexander Theatre, in spaces as intimate as kindergarten classrooms and living rooms, and in locales as far flung as London, New York, Whitehorse, Edinburgh, Munich, Finland and Japan. Since the beginning of the pandemic, he has been working to explore new possibilities for live performance, co-creating projects like internationally-acclaimed telephonic adventure The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries (OtM), and the “Grand Act of Theatre” Something Bubbled, Something Blue (NAC/TIFT/OtM). In 2015 he and Julie Tepperman co-created the award-winning Brantwood as part of Sheridan College’s CMTP – Canada’s largest exploration of immersive musical theatre. In 2018, he co-created and director the intercontinental three-day immersive experience, The Curious Voyage. Recent Directing Credits include: The Tape Escape, The Flick, Dr. Silver, Jerusalem, Lessons in Temperament; The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale; TomorrowLoveTM (Outside the March); Treasure Island, Breath of Kings, Possible Worlds (Stratford); Hand to God; The Aliens (Coal Mine); Merrily We Roll Along (YES Theatre); Hand to God (RMTC). Mitchell has been the recipient of the Siminovitch protégé award, a Dora Award for Outstanding Direction, three Dora Awards for Outstanding Production, and his productions have received 14 Toronto Theatre Critics Awards. He holds an MFA degree in Directing from the University of Alberta.

Suzy Wilde is a Canadian songwriter, composer and arranger based in Toronto. She has written scores for the musicals (with Barbara Johnston) Be Kind, Rewind (Randolph Academy, Edge of the Sky Theatre), (with librettist Matt Bernard) Crack of Doom! (Bravo Academy, Yellow Door Theatre), ( with librettist Julie Tepperman)The Power of One ( Regent Park School of Music Choirs) and (with Anika Johnson and Barbara Johnston) Summerland (Edge of the Sky Theatre, Toronto Fringe). Wilde has composed and arranged for Sheridan College, Spectrum Composers Collective, Musicata Hamilton’s Voices, The Regent Park School of Music Choir, Musical Stage’s Make Me a Song and Noteworthy, The Guelph Youth Choir and The Wexford Gleeks. This year her new musical The Carrette Sisters (book by Rose Napoli) will premier as part of The Musical Stage’s Launchpad series.Wilde is a proud graduate of Wexford Musical Theatre and Humber College Music and is currently working towards a masters in composition at York University. She has played and recorded with many bands, and often tours the globe portraying “Posh Spice” in the popular band she      co-founded, Wannabe: A Spice Girls Tribute.


We must all do our part to keep the light on the theatre even though they are closed. So I’ll be posting the press releases of many theatres that are being pro-active and brave in planning their seasons and initiatives. One would usually find this information in newspapers, but even they are struggling.

I’ve already posted the 20-21 season information for The Theatre Centre and Outside the March. Heady stuff to look forward to.

Today I’m posting the season announcement of Nightwood Theatre which focuses on feminist issues and stories.

The Groundswell Festival is vital in seeing the work of emerging and established writers. There are conferences, initiatives and productions to look forward to. Have a look.

  In the spring, we were poised to announce our most expansive season yet for 2020-2021 with a festival, two world premieres, a multi-award-winning remount, a local and national presentation, and a national and international tour. We’d determined that the pulse of this season was to dare: dare to speak out, dare to heal, dare to be big, dare to be intimate. And then everything just stopped. And while we still need to dare to speak out, heal, take up space and be intimate, more and more we’re examining what is ‘big’. Is ‘big’ about abundance? Is ‘big’ about energy? Is ‘big’ about showing off or keeping up? Is bigger actually better? Here we are in the wake of the pandemic’s persistent devastation, and in the most transformative time of our existence, and the key takeaway for us has been further introspection, deeper intimacy, and investing in the caretaking of others, including showing up, thinking outwardly and a greater devotion to being part of a larger voice. Now presenting our biggest season ever doesn’t seem so… big. As a company whose mission is to create live feminist theatre we are moved to go ever deeper into who we are, who our community needs us to be and to harness the power and ingenuity of artists to reflect this time, and to lead us slowly toward communal experiences once again. Along with the four main pillars of 20-21 season programming, which we are thrilled to share below, we will be creating as many opportunities to connect as a community and find ways to be creative.

We will kick off our inaugural Digital Creative Space, Nightwood’s Play Club, the Rising Moon Writing Program for youth aged 16-19, along with digital iterations of our long-standing Young Innovator’s Program, Write From The Hip Playwrights Unit, and our annual Lawyer Show. We look forward to to supporting the incredible local theatre artists who we need to stay nimble and nourished, including numerous residency opportunities that will be announced throughout the year. Internally, we will take this year to examine how our values can be even more deeply embedded in all we do, making Nightwood Theatre a safe place to make exceptional things happen. We all have a lot of healing to do. And we aren’t rushing back as many industries are. It’s often been said in this time that theatre was the first to close and will be the last to reopen. And when we reopen, we will reopen better. We hope you will join us for our most intimate season. Love from all of us at Nightwood. Groundswell 2020 THE 20-21 GROUNDSWELL FESTIVAL Including readings from our 2019/20 Write From The Hip Playwrights Program
November 2020
Digital readings and conversations Satisfy your appetite for brand new works! Our Groundswell Festival will deliver readings, interviews and more from our Write From The Hip Playwrights unit, led by Program Director Donna-Michelle St. Bernard. Join us digitally to explore new works from Bilal Baig, Shelley M. Hobbs, Erum Khan, Rachel Mutombo, Pesche Nepoose and Phoebe Tsang. This festival will also provide a hub for deeper discussion with several events including a conversation with SPiLL.PROpagation – our trailblazing friends in Deaf-hearing collaboration – as well as free professional development opportunities for next generation playwrights and artists. We look forward to sharing the full Groundswell Festival schedule in October, 2020! Unconferernce THE FEMINIST UNCONFERENCE Hosted by Sedina Fiati
January 2021
Digital gathering Inspired by the powerful connections and conversations of last year’s event, theatre practitioners are once again invited to listen, lead and unpack all things feminist and reckon with the new challenges and questions facing our industry at this hierarchy-smashing, participant-driven unconference. EMBODYING POWER AND PLACE EMBODYING POWER AND PLACE Nightwood Theatre presents a digital experience
March 2021 In 2019, the federal commission on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released their final report, Reclaiming Power and Place. In 2020 a dozen artists were commissioned by New Harlem Productions to read and respond to specific chapters of the report through their artistic medium. Embodying Power and Place weaves together visceral offerings of song, poetry, dance and theatrical works by such incredible creators as Tiffany Ayalik, Tara Beagan, Yolanda Bonnell, Darla Contois, Deborah Courchene, Aria Evans, Eekwol, Jessica Lea Fleming, Falen Johnson, Émilie Monnet, Yvette Nolan, Michelle Olson, Natalie Sappier and jaye simpson curated by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard and New Harlem Productions. Lost Together LOST TOGETHER Nightwood Theatre presents an UnSpun Theatre Production
Created by Shira Leuchter with Michaela Washburn
Performed by Shira Leuchter and Michaela Washburn
Spring and Summer 2021
Digital and live performances Nightwood is pleased to present UnSpun Theatre’s Lost Together by Shira Leuchter with Michaela Washburn. In this micro-performance, audience members enter one at a time to share a story about something they’ve lost. Once shared, Michaela and Shira build and present a small object that encapsulates their guest’s story, which is added to an ever-evolving exhibition, reminding us that loss doesn’t have to be a solitary reckoning. As this performance is for one audience member at a time our goal is to bring the piece closer to you with four locations, starting south in the Distillery District, moving to the west side of Toronto, to the east in Scarborough and then up into Northern Ontario at the Nipissing First Nation’s Big Medicine Studio. An online version will also be made available to enable flexibility during these uncertain times. “Brilliant, and unlike anything I’ve experienced… [an] intimate and unforgettable piece of live art” – Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine Tickets for Lost Together will go on sale in the new year and all other digital events will be free and or by donation.


Here are some events in which you should be interested:

Thurs. Oct. 8. The Party to End All Parties will be live-streamed for free at Noon (Our time) and 2 pm our time. These are two different performances but you are urged to watch both. This is a production produced by the incredible ANU company, through the Dublin Theatre Festival

Watch live on the Dublin Theatre Festival’s YouTube channel or their Facebook page

This company has produced some of the most shattering, electrifying theatre work I have ever seen. Please don’t miss it. Your chance to actually see a production from the Dublin Theatre Festival in your own home.

Friday, Oct. 9, 10, 11. Red Sky in High Park.

This wonderful dance company will be bringing their magic to High Park.

Red Sky in High Park (October 9 at 5:30 PM, October 10 at 1 & 4 PM, October 11 at 1 PM)

Celebrated for its powerful transformational experiences that elevate the ecology of

Indigenous arts and culture, internationally renowned, Dora Award-winning, Red Sky Performance returns to Canadian Stage with cutting-edge dance creations from the company’s acclaimed repertoire.



Performed live in a backyard of a private home in Barrie, Ont.

Part of The Plural of She Festival offered through Talk is Free Theatre.

The Cure for Everything

Played Oct. 2, 3, 2020.

Created and performed by Maja Ardal

Directed by Mary Francis Moore

This is the continuation of Elsa’s story, begun in You Fancy Yourself. Maya Ardal has created a vibrant, wildly funny play about a precocious 15 year-old-girl who wants to rush through life’s various milestones in the face of a nuclear threat to the world.

The Cure for Everything is a splendid ending to The Plural of She Festival, a wonderful festival of plays that ‘reflect our world through the woman’s and non-binary lens. Kudos to Maja Ardal for curating such a wonderful festival, bristling with ideas and wonderful talent.

It’s 1962, Scotland, and fifteen-year-old Elsa goes through life, desperate for the most popular boy in her class to be charmed by her; to be accepted by the group of popular girls and to be the friend of the most popular girl in the school. But she has to ramp things up to warp speed when her parents hear on the radio there is a threat of a nuclear war between the Russians and the Americans over Cuba.

Elsa has a list of things to do in life: loose her virginity, become famous, have a baby etc. and goes about ticking items off the list before the world blows up. While the details are particular to Elsa in Scotland, the play has a universal appeal and resonance anywhere in the world that there are shy girls trying to fit in.

Maja Ardal is a wonderful writer, gifted in the quirky juxtaposition of words to capture the quick mind of a 15-year-old girl with a vivid imagination. Ardal enters the backyard space wearing a school uniform of a blazer, white shirt and tie, skirt, black tights and black comfortable shoes. She is eager to please and smiling. She flits effortlessly from character to character. There are the snooty members of the ‘in crowd’ to which Elsa longs to belong. There is the sharp voiced, agitated old woman who harps at her when Elsa doesn’t serve her quickly enough—Elsa works in a butcher shop on the weekend, the old woman is a customer. And there is Sheena, the coolest, most popular girl in the school; knowing, aware and sexually knowledgeable who has a terrible secret. Ardal just glides through the line revealing Sheena’s secret, leaving us just enough time to swallow hard and be heartsick.

Under Mary Francis Moore’s careful, fearless direction Ardal skillfully navigates the small space and reveals the many adventures Elsa gets up to. She gets drunk in a pub; is picked up by an older, pushy man; almost gets into trouble, and takes the audience along with her every scary step of the way.

For the purposes of time Ardal had to cut the play The Cure For Everything to just a bit longer than an hour. I saw the show in its entirety several years ago indoors in another theatre. The play is a gem and works beautifully in both the long and shorter version. It’s a look into the trials and tribulations of a teen who just wants to be liked, fit in, and accelerate growing up. We can all identify. One of the play’s many glories.

Because of safety precautions, the last play, E-Transfers (created and performed by Gabe Maharjan and Merlin Simard) had to be cancelled because one of the actors was coming in from out of province. It’s a play centering on the digital trans community of the characters. I would love to see that one, as I was glad to see all the ones I did see.


A Broadway Trio Concert.

Outdoors, on a lawn in Barrie, Ont.

About a half-hour after the end of The Cure For Everything (in one backyard) many of us went around the corner to sit on the front lawn of another private residence to listen to a wonderful concert of Broadway show tunes sung by three gifted singers.

The talented trio are: Heather McGuigan, Billy Lake and Aidan Desalaiz. Individually each is a powerful singer-song stylist. Together they are a winning combination of beautiful singing, easy banter and charm. The concert was impeccably presented and acted with flourishes of humour, good will and generosity. They offered a cross section of songs from the best of Broadway: “Me and the Sky” (Come From Away), “Mr. Cellophane” (Chicago), “Bring Him Home” (Les Misérables), “No One Is Alone” (Into the Woods) etc.  

When the pandemic closed the theatres Billy Lake was in the fourth preview of Kinky Boots for Drayton Entertainment in Cambridge and Heather McGuigan and Aidan Desalaiz were in rehearsals for Wendy and Peter Pan and Spamalot at the Stratford Festival. Through her company, “Heather’s Garden Variety”, Heather McGuigan organized the concert with her two colleagues. The good theatre-going people of Barrie did the rest.  

The concert was given on the lawn of one home with the audience urged to come (it was free to the audience!) and bring chairs, blankets, dress warmly etc. The next door neighbours put chairs along the joint driveway; neighbours across the street and beside them as well placed their chairs near the curb in order to hear better. I reckon about 50 people sat and watched. Those good theatre-going people of Barrie can teach us a thing or two about supporting our local theatre.

I heard whispering behind me. You know how I hate that. Drives me crazy. I turned sharply to get the attention of the offending noise-maker. There behind me was a toddler sprawled on the grass watching and listening, with the child’s father whispering (perhaps telling the child to be quiet? I didn’t see if it was a boy or girl). When I saw it was a toddler I lightened up. That child did not make one sound—the parent was the whisperer and it was unnecessary. A terrific, wonderful way to end a lovely, if nippy, day ‘at’ the theatre.


Playing in a private backyard in Barrie, Ont. Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2020.

Part of The Plural of She Festival.

Created and performed by Malindi Ayienga

This was the first performance of a world premiere of Justice for Malindi Ayienga by Malindi Ayienga, a wonderfully talented theatre-maker.

She created and performs  the show.

Malindi Ayienga appears gently holding a wrapped bundle of something to her chest. She carefully kneels and puts the bundle on the floor of the porch and delicately unwraps three vibrant pieces of material, revealing many notebooks and other kinds of books. She straightens out the material and places the books in an ordered way along the surface. We learn these are the diaries she kept/keeps beginning in 2007 when she was 10 and in Grade 5.

Malindi Ayienga says her mother is white and her father is Kenyan. She is therefore of mixed race. She tells her story by referencing the various diaries she kept over time.  She reads from them with youthful joy but with twinges of insight, even subtext.  She talks about the various friends she has and that one of them says that she can’t play with her. Ayienga thinks that perhaps it’s because she’s black. She slides over that line with delicacy and quickness but you are pricked by that stinging information.

She tells us again reading from her diaries of a crush she had on a boy and how he broke her heart, but then he treated her well so she changed her mind. Like any young person she forgave him and yearned for him to like her.

You get a sense that sometimes she didn’t know where she fit in. But her awakening came when she went to Kenya to see her father’s family and learn about those roots. She was considered white in Kenya because her mother was white. In Canada she was considered black because her skin is black. You can imagine how these perceptions could play with a person’s head.

Ayienga learned that in Kenya if a young girl had her period the girl was shamed by having to sit at the back of the classroom, on a bench covered in sand.  A girl would be shamed by her mother as well and told to go to the river to wash her bloody undergarments.  So rather than this being treated as a natural thing, the girl was shamed.

Ayienga heard of one young girl who committed suicide from the humiliation of menstruating because she was not taught about this normal bodily function by their mothers or teachers. In the telling of this segment Ayienga was overcome with emotion.

And Malindi Ayienga’s political awareness, her moral fiber and compassion were developed there in Kenya as well. She decided that she would tell young girls that getting their period was a natural bodily function for young women and nothing to be ashamed of. Her father translated for her into Kiswahili so the girls would understand.  Ayienga said you could see just by someone telling them of this natural function that they didn’t feel shame any more.

She and a group of friends co-founded Diva Day International to fund-raise and send Diva Cups to Kenya for when girls got their periods so they did not have to be ostracised. Ayienga’s tenacity with all the things that could go wrong with such an endeavor makes you shake your head in amazement at the resolve of one so young.  

She talks of being a ‘foreigner’ in Kenya and her efforts to find her place there. She explored  aspects in her life that are similar to that of the women in Kenya.  Because she is so eloquent a theatre creator, so poetic a writer about things that are tough and hard to hear, she embraces the audience and conveys what it must be like to be searching for ways to fit into the worlds she lives in.

She talks about racism without preaching. She notes that we all could and should do better. She says it with grace and generosity. She notes that no one can decide or tell you who you are by the colour of your skin, whether black or white. I loved the writing of the piece and so wished it was published because you want to refer to such wisdom again and again.

It speaks volumes that folks came out for this production they were so hungry for theatre,  because it was raining, rather hard at times. We were protected by the overhang of the porch. While Malindi Ayienga was microphoned, part of the dialogue was pre-recorded and the volume could/should be adjusted because occasionally the sound made the dialogue muddy. I’m sure this will be adjusted because what she has to say is too important to miss.

Malindi Ayienga is a gifted performer—I’ve been mighty impressed with her work in You and I and The Adventure of Pinocchio. She is an impassioned voice for “Black Lives Matter”—her YouTube segment in June on this subject was raw, emotional and shattering. She has something important to say and it’s clear in Justice for Malindi Ayienga. We would be wise to listen.  

I am so glad I saw the very first show of this wonderful piece.

Please check the Talk is Free Website for the schedule of The Plural of She Festival.