Theatre in Covid Times

Written on January 19th, 2021

Coming Events
We are missing our live theatre performances.  Creative teams, crews and casts are missing their theatres, too.  They are also missing being able to earn a living. So many theatres are now planning online activities, Zoom workshops, or streamed performances.  We will use this space to keep you informed about upcoming “Theatre in Covid Times”.  We try to update information here regularly.

Please note that some of these events were not recorded prior to newer lock-downs regulations prohibiting them, and therefore may be cancelled.

March 30 to May 18 — Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia
Kindness Matters interview series, released every Tuesday at 9 am, starting March 30, hosted by David Hogan. See VPP website.
2021 Reopening plans for the VPP will be announced soon.

Extended to May 16 – Theatre Orangeville
The Rules of Playing Risk by Kristen Da Silva.  An online play.
Theatre Orangeville Presents Online. Get tickets at https://www.theatreorangeville.ca/

April 29 – May 8, 2021 AT 7:30PM Factory Theatre, Toronto
Canadian classic, Through The Eyes by acclaimed playwright Don Druick. This radical new interpretation will be directed by award winning artist ahdri zhina mandiela, and star Zorana Sadiq as the Courtier. It will be streaming live from Factory Theatre’s studio theatre for 6 performances. Find it here.

May 14 to 30 POSTPONED – Theatre Orangeville
The Third Life of Eddie Mann by John Spurway.  An online play.
Theatre Orangeville Presents Online.  Get tickets at: https://www.theatreorangeville.ca/

June 11 to 27 – Theatre Orangeville
Sunshine Sketches by Jim Betts.  A musical based on the works of Stephen Leacock.
Theatre Orangeville Presents Online.  Get tickets at:  https://www.theatreorangeville.ca/

Summer 2021 — Tweed & Company Theatre, Tweed
Either in-person or online, part of their flexible season. Hot Mess, starring Kelly Holiff. Date to be announced. Read more

Summer 2021 – Thousand Islands Playhouse, Gananoque
Managing Artistic Director Brett Christopher has unveiled Thousand Islands Playhouse’s plans to return to the stage for the 2021 season. “In 2004, the Playhouse added a smaller, flexible venue to its operations in order to expand the company’s ability to innovate. Today, that decision will mean that we are able to produce theatre in 2021.” Running July 8 to October 31, the “bridge to brighter days” season will offer four full productions on the Firehall Theatre stage. An outdoor, open-air tent will be part of the experience and every production run will also include streamed performances. Season includes Miss Caledonia, Sexy Laundry, Back in ’69, Serving Elizabeth.

July through December 2021 – The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake
The Shaw Festival plans to open live theatre with their “duty of care” in place. 

The Devil’s Disciple
Festival Theatre – July 6 to October 9
A comedy, an adventure and a love story set at the height of the American Revolution.

Sherlock Holmes and The Raven’s Curse
Festival Theatre – July 23 to October 10
Family reunions can be murder.

Charley’s Aunt
Royal George Theatre – July 7 to October 10
A celebrated farce that will have you rolling in the aisles.

Flush
Royal George Theatre – July 8 to October 2
The adventures of Flush, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s beloved dog in Italy.

Desire Under the Elms
Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre – October 15 to December 12
Rural New England provides the setting for Eugene O’Neill’s dramatic American classic.

Trouble in Mind
Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre – August 8 to October 9
Racial tension needs no dress rehearsal. A groundbreaking, forgotten classic of Black American Theatre from the Fifties.

A Christmas Carol (2021)
Royal George Theatre – November 12 to December 23
Ebenezer Scrooge is back! Arrive feeling “Bah, humbug!” and leave full of warm, fuzzy Christmas spirit.

Holiday Inn
Festival Theatre – November 14 to December 23
A beloved musical, perfect to ring in the holiday season!

See their calendar for tickets: https://www.shawfest.com/whats-on-tickets/#calendar
Read about their Covid-19 protocol under Duty of Care: https://www.shawfest.com/visit/duty-of-care/
And in the meantime, check out some online entertainment in the Shaw from Home section on https://www.shawfest.com/shaw-from-home/#shaw-on-the-home-front

Summer 2021 – Stratford Festival, Stratford
With hope that lockdown, vaccinations pave way for brighter times
FESTIVAL THEATRE CANOPY
Support for the 2021 season of the Festival Theatre Canopy is generously provided by Daniel Bernstein & Claire Foerster.

Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women
Directed by Diana Leblanc
Featuring: Martha Henry as A, Lucy Peacock as B, Mamie Zwettler as C, Andrew Iles as The Boy
June 24 to July 25 | Opening Saturday, July 3
By turns acerbic, anguished and sarcastically funny, an old woman known to us only as “A” lays bare her inner life in sometimes shocking detail to two others: a middle-aged caregiver identified only as “B” and a young legal professional, “C.”
Originally programmed for the 2020 season, Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, which he called an “exorcism” of his own troubled relationship with his adoptive mother, is a profound meditation on aging, death and the very nature of the self: who are we really, and how do we become who we are?
In keeping with pandemic precautions, the play’s two parts – the second of which brings a startlingly different take on its characters – will be presented as separate performances, scheduled to be seen on the same day. Each ticket includes both parts.
Production support is generously provided by Sylvia D. Chrominska, Dr. Desta Leavine in memory of Pauline Leavine, Sylvia Soyka, The Westaway Charitable Foundation and by Jack Whiteside.

R + J
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Ravi Jain
Produced in collaboration with Why Not Theatre
Featuring: Dante Jemmott as Romeo, Eponine Lee as Juliet, Alex Bulmer as the Friar and Chorus, Tom Rooney as the Nurse, Lisa Nasson
August 12 to September 26 | Opening Sunday, August 15
They say that love is blind – and with blindness comes the freedom to open the mind’s eye to a world of limitless possibility. Likewise, the challenge of staging the world’s most famous love story in a time of physical distancing brings with it the opportunity to explore modes of theatrical presentation that are both unexpectedly novel and as old as the art of storytelling itself.
Intended for blind, low-vision and sighted audiences alike, this radically reimagined version of Shakespeare’s beloved romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, invites you into an up-to-the-minute modern world of sound and music, a world that challenges the identities we construct when we use only our eyes, a world in which the entrenched hostilities of an older generation are challenged by the passions of young people who only want to love.
Production support is generously provided by Dr. M. Lee Myers and by Catherine & David Wilkes.

Why We Tell the Story
A Celebration of Black Musical Theatre
Curated and directed by Marcus Nance
Music Director: Franklin Brasz
Featuring: Marcus Nance, Robert Markus, Vanessa Sears
June 24 to July 11 | Opening Saturday, June 26
Throughout the ages the African-American community has told stories of life, love, pain and hope through the glorious expressions of musical theatre and poetry. This update of the sold-out 2019 Meighen Forum concert, takes you on a journey with the voices of legendary Black poets and the music of the African-American musical theatre canon, including hits from AidaAin’t Misbehavin’Caroline, or ChangeThe Color PurpleHamiltonThe Lion KingOnce On This IslandShowboat and many more. As Maya Angelou said: “Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.”
Production support is generously provided by Mary Ann & Robert Gorlin.

You Can’t Stop the Beat
The Enduring Power of Musical Theatre
Curated and directed by Thom Allison
Music Director: Laura Burton
Featuring: Alana Hibbert, Gabrielle Jones, Evangelia Kambites, Mark Uhre
July 15 to July 31 | Opening Sunday, July 18
What is it about musical theatre that captures the hearts of millions of fans? Through wars, disasters, heartbreaks and triumphs, musicals have been there to give us a way to understand the human experience and flourish. Has there ever been a better way to represent our inner lives than in glorious Technicolor and song? This tune-filled ride celebrates why musicals have always been the ultimate tonic for the soul in good or troubled times.
Production support is generously provided by Nona Macdonald Heaslip.

Play On!
A Shakespeare-Inspired Mixtape
Curated by Robert Markus, Julia Nish-Lapidus and James Wallis
Directed by Julia Nish-Lapidus and James Wallis
Music Director: Reza Jacobs
Featuring: Gabriel Antonacci, Celeste Catena, Jacob MacInnis, Jennifer Rider-Shaw
July 29 to August 15 | Opening Saturday, July 31
Shakespeare’s influence on Western culture extends even into your favourite pop hits. Whether it be direct lines from his plays appearing in Top 40 lyrics or whole songs inspired by his plots, whether the borrowers be Taylor Swift, Madonna, Elton John, The Beatles, Prince or Radiohead, Shakespeare is still there, lurking in the mainstream, as cool and as relevant as ever. This lively celebration of terrific tunes affords a great opportunity to introduce a younger audience to Shakespeare’s continuing role in popular culture.
Production support is generously provided by Barbara & John Schubert.

Freedom
Spirit and Legacy of Black Music
Curated and directed by Beau Dixon
Music Director: Beau Dixon
Featuring: Robert Ball, Beau Dixon, Camille Eanga-Selenge
August 19 to September 5 | Opening Saturday, August 21
From the moment Black people landed on North American soil, their music took root and became the basis for much of the popular music we hear today. There is an endless list of exceptional Black musicians who have been lost to history while their white counterparts gained fame. From church hymnals to the blues, from jazz to rock ’n’ roll, R&B and rap, we owe much of our musical history to Black culture, and it’s time to give credit where it is due.
Production support is generously provided by Mary Ann & Robert Gorlin and by Sylvia Soyka.

Finally There’s Sun
A Cabaret of Resilience
Curated and directed by Sara Farb and Steve Ross
Music Director: Franklin Brasz
Featuring: Noah Beemer, Sara Farb, Germaine Konji, Steve Ross September 9 to September 26 | Opening Sunday, September 12
Reflecting on this “great pause” as we move forward and get back to living freely, Finally There’s Sun takes you on a musical journey through a year of enormous change and growth. It explores the isolation, the loneliness, the upheaval and the unexpected silver linings that came out of a time like no other.
Production support is generously provided by Jody & Deborah Hamade and by Dr. Robert & Roberta Sokol.

TOM PATTERSON THEATRE CANOPY

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Peter Pasyk
Featuring: Eva Foote as Hermia, Craig Lauzon as Oberon and Theseus, Trish Lindström as Puck and Egeus, Jonathan Mason as Demetrius, André Sills as Bottom, Amaka Umeh as Helena, Micah Woods as Lysander, Bahareh Yaraghi as Titania and Hippolyta
June 22 to July 25 | Opening Saturday, June 26
Spellbound lovers, quarrelling fairies, tradesmen with a fervour for amateur theatricals: they’re all mixed up together in the surreal world of Shakespeare’s great comedy of dreaming and desire.
This deep dive into the sometimes unsettlingly dark and dangerous realms of the subconscious famously culminates in a play within the play: a hilariously inept performance by Nick Bottom and his fellow would-be actors. But even as we laugh at the ham-fisted efforts of these “rude mechanicals,” we are won over by their heartfelt belief in the power of the imagination.
Taking its cue from that insight, this production deploys the most fundamental techniques of theatrical art in a magically inventive staging of a play that is itself a celebration of the imagination at its most extreme.
Production support is generously provided by the Harkins & Manning families in memory of Jim & Susan Harkins.

The Rez Sisters
By Tomson Highway
Directed by Jessica Carmichael
Featuring: Jani Lauzon as Pelajia Patchnose, Brefny Caribou as Zhaboonigan Peterson, Nicole Joy-Fraser as Annie Cook, Kathleen MacLean as Emily Dictionary, Zach Running Coyote as Nanabush, Michaela Washburn as Marie-Adele Starblanket
July 13 to August 15 | Opening Thursday, July 17
They have their dreams and their difficulties, these seven women. One yearns for a singing career; another for a white porcelain toilet. One grieves for her lover, killed in a motorcycle accident; another harbours the memory of a horrific sexual assault. The cancer that afflicts one of them is not the only malignancy they confront.
But one dream they hold in common is that of winning “the biggest bingo in the world” – and one day, accompanied by the transformative spirit guide Nanabush, they leave their Manitoulin Island reserve and set out for Toronto to do just that.
Ribald, harrowing and mystical, this seminal work of Indigenous drama celebrates the spirit of resilience and the powerful beauty these women bring to the tough world in which they live.
Production support is generously provided by Karon C. Bales & Charles E. Beall and by M. Fainer.

Schulich Children’s Plays
I Am William
Text by Rébecca Déraspe
Music by Chloé Lacasse and Benoit Landry
English translation by Leanna Brodie
Book, lyrics and score developed at Théâtre Le Clou
Directed by Esther Jun
Choreographed by Alyssa Martin
Music Director: Njo Kong Kie
Featuring: Shakura Dickson as Margaret, Landon Doak as Will, Allan Louis as John and the Earl of Leicester, Shannon Taylor as Mary and Queen Elizabeth I
August 4 to September 5 | Opening Sunday, August 8
Margaret Shakespeare has a dazzling talent for writing, which she yearns to put to serious use. But in an age lethally suspicious of female intellect and literacy, how can she find a way to fulfil her authorial ambitions yet still survive? Fortunately, she has a brother, William, who isn’t much of a writer but who wants to make it as an actor – and friends in high places have just the role for him.
Tapping into our fascination with the enigma of William Shakespeare’s life and how he came to write those plays – and the seemingly endless speculation in some quarters about whether he really did – this light-hearted yet genuinely passionate interweaving of comedy, song and poetic fancy spins a playful and witty yarn that will delight younger audiences and adults alike.

Serving Elizabeth
By Marcia Johnson
Directed by Kimberley Rampersad
Produced by special arrangement with Thousand Islands Playhouse
Featuring: Sean Arbuckle as Talbot and Maurice, Cameron Grant as Montague and Steve (Casting in progress)
August 24 to September 26 | Opening Saturday, August 28
In Kenya in 1952, Mercy, a restaurant proprietor, is hired to cater the impending visit of Princess Elizabeth. Meanwhile, in England in 2015, a young Kenyan-born Canadian, Tia, is working as an intern on a TV drama series about the British royal family – while writing a script of her own that re-envisions that 1952 visit from an African perspective.
These two time-frames intersect, with a twist, as Tia, in 2015, confronts the series screenwriter about his blind spots and biases, while Mercy, in 1952, does the same with the young queen-to-be.
Audiences are certain to enjoy this ingenious contemporary drama that keeps us guessing as it explores issues of colonialism, nationalism and the question of who gets to have a voice.
Production support is generously provided by John & Therese Gardner and by the Tremain Family.

For more information call the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit stratfordfestival.ca.

Ongoing Productions

Western University, London
Production of Julius Caesar, directed by Jeff Culbert. An egomaniac destroying a republic and assuming dictatorial power. Available on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P4ptJq65bw

Alvego Root Theatre, London
Harvest, an audio play with AlvegoRoot Theatre. Harvest was written by Ken Cameron based on the true story of his parents renting out their farmhouse after retirement, not realizing that the new tenants were going to use it as a grow-op. Elizabeth Durand and Jeff Culbert play the central couple and a host of other characters in this 2-hander. It will be available for listening from April 14th to July 11th here.

Jeff Culbert Production, London
A new play, Elocution: The Life of Richard Berry Harrison by Jeff Culbert. podcast version (audio only) and also one with visual images to accompany the audio play.  the inspiring story of a Black actor from London Ontario, whose parents escaped slavery in the US in the 1850s, and whose love for literature and skill in elocution drove him to make a living for himself as a travelling performer. The big payoff for his skill and perseverance came at the age of 65, when he became the biggest star on Broadway during the early 1930s. Presented online at www.jeffculbert.ca

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