Wednesday, April 16, 2014

News: (Toronto) Nightwood Theatre announces season (press release)

Announcing Nightwood Theatre’s

2014/15 SEASON
Season to include: an epic story of cancer survival from Maja Ardal, workshop productions by Nicole Brooks and Susanna Fournier, 
and the talents of more than 100 female artists.

(Toronto)—Artistic Director Kelly Thornton and Managing Director Denyse Karn are proud to announce Nightwood Theatre’s 2014/2015 season. Now in its 35th year, Nightwood Theatre presents the return of the popular New Groundswell Festival this September, followed by the world premiere of HER2 by Maja Ardalat Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in January 2015. Nightwood Theatre’s work this season is truly epic: whether in the character’s journeys or in the sheer scope of the pieces, we are telling bold, brave, and intimate new stories about the lives lived by women.

Launching the season is the New Groundswell Festival, running September 8 to 14, 2014, at the Nightwood and Dancemakers Studios in the Historic Distillery District. Featuring workshop productions of With Individual Desire by Susanna Fournier and Obeah Opera by Nicole Brooks, the Festival also includes a National Reading Series, which will highlight six new plays from across Canada.

Directed by Kelli Fox, and presented by LadyParts Theatre, With Individual Desire is a lush theatrical imagining of the relationship between famed bad-girl American poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and her mother Cora, with whom she spent two months in a secluded farmhouse near Dorset after fleeing Paris with a secret. Obeah Opera, directed by Weyni Mengesha with music direction by Andrew Craig, was commissioned by the arts and culture program of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games and will be presented by Nightwood Theatre and Culchahworks Arts Collective, in association with bcurrent. The New Groundswell Festival marks the first chance for audiences to get a sneak peek at this unprecedented a capella theatrical epic, in which an all-female cast animates the story of the legendary Salem Witch Trials from the unique perspective of enslaved African women. 

Concluding the season is the world premiere of HER2 by Maja Ardal at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre from January 13 to February 1, 2015. Directed by Kim Blackwell and featuring a stellar all-female cast, HER2 is a probing look into the inherent conflict between humanity and research statistics. Seven women with one thing in common—a highly aggressive form of breast cancer—are recruited for a clinical trial of a new drug. While the researcher measures its progress in terms of blood counts and tumour sizes, the subjects of her experiment struggle to deal with the renewed dread that paradoxically accompanies this sudden glimmer of hope in their lives. As the group undergoes the treatment, they bond into a community characterized not by medical statistics but by their human qualities of courage, wisdom and humour.

Says Nightwood Theatre’s Artistic Director Kelly Thornton, “I am thrilled to unleash this powerful selection of plays and to welcome the astonishing talent we’ve assembled for the work. HER2 touches a nerve, as far too many women face down this disease, but as with Obeah Opera and With Individual Desire, these plays are about the hope and determination of women, even in the face of darkness and adversity. Our 35th season is a celebration of the magnificent power of the human spirit and a fitting salute to Nightwood Theatre’s legacy of three and a half decades of groundbreaking theatre.”


New Groundswell Festival: Workshop Productions

With Individual Desire
By Susanna Fournier
September 10-11 (8pm), 13 (2pm & 8pm), 14 (4pm)
Nightwood Studio, Distillery District

In the summer of 1922 famed “bad-girl” American poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, left Paris with a secret. She spent the next two months with her mother, Cora, in a secluded farmhouse near Dorset. Filled with fantasy and humour, With Individual Desire is a lush theatrical imagining of the complexities between a mother and daughter. Directed by Kelli Fox.

Obeah Opera
A Nicole Brooks Vision
September 11-12 (8pm), 13 (2pm & 8pm), 14 (2pm)
Dancemakers Studio, Distillery District

Presented by Nightwood Theatre & Culchahworks Arts Collective, in association with bcurrent
Obeah Opera synthesizes the breadth of Black music into an unprecedented a capella theatrical epic.  An all-female cast animates the story of the legendary Salem Witch Trials, from the unique perspective of enslaved African women. Directed by Weyni Mengesha. Commissioned by the Arts and Culture Program of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games

Full Festival schedule to be announced May 1, 2014. Visit for details.

By Maja Ardal
January 13–February 1, 2015 (opens January 15)
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street
World premiere

Faced with an aggressive form of breast cancer, a group of women are recruited for a clinical drug trial. While theresearcher measures its progress, the subjects of her experiment forge an unbreakable bond characterized not by medical statistics but by courage, wisdom and humour.

Directed by Kim Blackwell
Featuring Neema Bickersteth, Diane D’Aquila, Monica Dottor, Kyra Harper, Jane Luk, Nancy Palk, Ellora Patnaik, Chick Reid, Maria Vacratsis, and Bahareh Yaraghi.


2014/2015 Season Passes go on sale April 23 and will be available by calling the Nightwood Theatre office at 416-944-1740 or online at

Single tickets range from $20-$45 and go on sale September 2. Both New GroundswellFestival and HER2 tickets will be available from the Nightwood Theatre website at HER2 tickets will also be available through the Buddies in Bad Times Box Office by calling 416-975-8555.


Led by Artistic Director Kelly Thornton and Managing Director Denyse Karn, Nightwood Theatre forges creative alliances among women artists from diverse backgrounds in order to develop and produce innovative Canadian theatre. 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 are an established and nationally respected company, with professional leadership (past and current) that hasbeen publicly acclaimed for being mavericks in artistic excellence, gender equity in the arts and the successful training/development of emerging female artists. Now entering our 35th season we remain actively engaged in mentoring young women and promoting women’s place on the local, national and international stage.


Nightwood Theatre acknowledges the support of: BMO, Scotiabank, Canada Council for the Arts, Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and NOW Magazine.


For more information on Nightwood Theatre productions and artist development activities, visit

Please visit and follow @nightwoodtheat on Twitter for behind-the-scenes news, special offers, and advance notice of events.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Please read our guidelines for posting comments.