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Canadian Stage Company

Hot Date: A Summer of Shakespeare in High Park

The High Park Amphitheatre hosts open-air Shakespeare all summer long

JUNE 26 TO SEPTEMBER 2 Wouldn’t it be great if you could take advantage of the warm weather and still get your theatre fix? The Canadian Stage Company’s annual outdoor performances are a tradition for city-dwellers and visitors alike. The company celebrates the 30th anniversary of its popular Shakespeare in High Park productions by staging the Bard’s
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
, with award-winning direction by Richard Rose. The classic fable of four enchanted young lovers is one of the English playwright’s most popular works and one the whole family is sure to enjoy. High Park Amphitheatre, Tuesday to Sunday 8 p.m., tickets PWYC ($20 recommended); call 416-368-3110 or navigate here for more information.

Hot Date: Housing Crisis in Clybourne Park

Clybourne Park plays the Berkeley Street Theatre this month

APRIL 2 TO 28 Inspired by A Raisin in the Sun, the Pulitzer prize-winning Clybourne Park modernizes that classic drama’s themes of race and conflict. The setting is Chicago, where in 1959 a black family wants to move into an all-white neighbourhood; 50 years later, a white family tries to purchase the same house on what has become an all-black block. A joint production by Studio 180 Theatre and the Canadian Stage Company, this dark comedy promises to provoke equal parts thought and laughter. Berkeley Street Theatre, Monday to Friday 8 p.m., Wednesday 1:30 p.m., Saturday 2 and 8 p.m., $22 to $49; call 416-368-3110 or click here to buy.

Where in Toronto: Getting Back to the Theatre

Inside the Ed Mirvish Theatre

Each week, our intrepid interns reflect on life
and times in the big city.

When I think of theatre, I time-machine back to junior high, where I discovered an interest in acting. Encouraged by Ms. Olsen, who was as cool and as in-love-with-Shakespeare as drama teachers come, I auditioned for—and won—a role as a Men in Black–style agent in a ridiculous student-written play called Phlegm and Larry in the Search for Elvis (don’t ask). It was the complete opposite of classics like The Wizard of Oz and Annie that I had seen performed in previous years; of course it was an instant hit.

Unfortunately, after that successful debut, my play-acting ambitions largely took a backseat to academics. It was not until university—and a few courses on Shakespeare—that theater and I were truly reacquainted. In a class full of drama majors, I took comfort in at least knowing the difference between upstage and downstage and being able to identifying a soliloquy. But reading drama isn’t the same as watching it on stage. (more…)

Hot Date: Atom Egoyan’s Domestic Disturbance

Atom Egoyan

JANUARY 21 TO FEBRUARY 18 Acclaimed Canadian film director Atom Egoyan takes on the work of leading British playwright Martin Crimp for the Canadian Stage Company’s presentation of Cruel and Tender. Egoyan’s wife, Arsinée Khanjian, performs the lead role of Amelia, who after waiting for her husband to return from war, discovers that his motivations for going into battle were alarmingly personal. Crimp’s story mixes modern politics with the private battles waged in the domestic sphere. Bluma Appel Theatre, $22 to $99; call 416-368-3110 or navigate here for a schedule and to buy.

Long Weekend Roundup, September 2 to 5

Friday: The TIFF Bell Lightbox hosts a new exhibition on costume design

Friday, September 2
Marvel at the strange and beautiful creations of costume designers at the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s Canadian Film Gallery, where the exhibition Otherworldly: The Art of Canadian Costume Design opens today, with attire from Splice, The Thing, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and other films on display.

Nod your head to the beat and revel in the rhymes as k-os brings his unique blend of rap ‘n’ roll to the CNE Bandshell at Exhibition Place.

Cheer on the Flyin’ Hawaiian Chad Owens at the Rogers Centre—he’ll be looking to run back a kick or two for the Toronto Argonauts when they take on the BC Lions in week 10 Canadian Football League action.

Saturday: Barbadian chef Paul Yellin is just one of the cooks in the Hot & Spicy Food Festival's kitchen

Saturday, September 3
Brace your taste buds for the Hot and Spicy Food Festival. Head down to the Harbourfront Centre to feast on fiery fare from around the world. Music, film, dance, and cooking demos are all on the menu.

Support the ongoing earthquake and tsunami relief effort in Japan at the Concert for Japan at Downsview Park. FTISLAND, Vas Vega, traditional Japanese drummers and others perform. Dress up as your favourite Japanese anime character for a chance to win $1,000.

Cool evening breezes and Shakespearean comedy await you at the Canadian Stage TD Dream in High Park. This outdoor performance of The Winter’s Tale comes complete with fairytales, shipwrecks, romantic misunderstandings and an original music score.

Sunday: There's more than the existing public sculptures to see during the Distillery District's artisan fair.

Sunday, September 4
Art spills onto the streets of The Distillery Historic District. Artisans at the Distillery features local artists showcasing their paintings, sculptures, pottery and more.

Get down at The Guvernment as a cast of all-star DJs rock the Labour of Love Festival. House and electro icon Benny Benassi will spin the records along with rising star Avicii and others.

Hispanic food, folklore and fancy footwork take over Mel Lastman Square in North Toronto for the Hispanic Fiesta. Colourful culture from 20 Spanish-speaking countries will be on display, with over 300 local, national and international performers taking part.

Monday: Pilot Michael Wiskus is one of the many daring flyers in the Canadian International Air Show

Monday, September 5
When you’ve had your fill of doughnut cheeseburgers and fried cola at The Ex, sit back, look up, and gaze at the Canadian International Air Show. Jet fighters, vintage aircraft, and the famed Snowbirds roar above Exhibition Place.

Samba at Yonge-Dundas Square and enjoy the best of Brazil. The Brazilian Day Canada Festival features a street fair, music, food, dancing and a performance by popular samba group Exaltasamba.

See the strength and solidarity of workers on display at the Labour Day Parade. The parade begins at Queen Street and University Avenue and marches to the Dufferin Gates at Exhibition Place.

Hot Date: The Bard is Back in High Park

TO SEPTEMBER 4 One of Toronto’s favourite summer traditions reaches slightly out of season for 2011. This year, the Canadian Stage’s TD Dream in High Park —an annual outdoor production of a Shakespearean play—presents The Winter’s Tale, a romantic fairytale with kings, queens, love triangles, shipwrecks, bewitched statues and even a bear! High Park Amphitheatre, Tuesday to Sunday 8 p.m., pay-what-you-can admission ($20 suggested), free for children 14 and under; call416-367-1652 or see here for further details.

photo by Chris Gallow

Weekend Roundup, February 18th to 20th

Friday: Be enthralled by South Pacific's timeless love story (photo by Kim Ritzenhaler)

Friday, February 18
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved, Tony Award–winning musical South Pacific has returned to charm audiences at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. This timeless tropical-island tale follows four lovers who must overcome adversity against a backdrop of World War II.

The Canadian International Auto Show has rolled into town and parked at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Rev your engines while admiring the latest consumer, luxury and concept cars. Classic cruisers and environmentally friendly vehicles are also on display.

Get your eyes—and ears—ready: the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Juno Tour of Canadian Art opens today, to mark the 40th anniversary of Canada’s music awards. This innovative project pairs great Canadian art—as well as the AGO’s collection of Henry Moore sculptures—with tunes and commentary from Juno-winning musicians.

Saturday: See the seductive Saint Carmen of the Main (photo by Bruce Zinger)

Saturday, February 19
A Greek tragedy gets a Canadian twist in tonight’s performance of the Canadian Stage Company’s St. Carmen of the Main. This unique play Carmen leave Nashville and return to her roots in Montreal, where she sings of the hustlers and whores who attend her nightclub shows and sees those on the fringes of society become the heroes of her songs.

Classical music is always in fashion at Roy Thomson Hall, where the Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents masterworks by Brahms and Dvorak. Estonian conductor Eri Klas and Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman are featured in this evening’s performance.

The National Home Show has set up shop at the Direct Energy Centre. Don’t miss an appearance by interior design expert Debbie Travis today at noon, followed by a book signing. Afterwards, check out many other design and renovation features including a futuristic glass house built by Concept PolyHome.

Sunday: Jesse Cook's flamenco stylings heat us the Rose Theatre in Brampton (photo by Simon Law)

Sunday, February 20
Those who head to Brampton’s Rose Theatre tonight are rewarded with a lively performance by Jesse Cook. The Toronto-based nuevo flamenco guitarist has is renowned for his sensuous picking and strumming, showcased most recently on his Juno-nominated album The Rumba Foundation.

Experience the avant-garde as Los Angeles–based art collective My Barbarian offers its Post-Living Ante-Action Theatre performance at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Starting at 2:30 p.m., the show draws on current events and politics—and references avant-garde theatre collectives of the 1960s—to create an interdisciplinary work of art.

Sway to the sultry sounds of R&B-gospel-jazz vocalist Liz Wright, who performs music from her latest album, Fellowship, at Glenn Gould Studio.

Autumn’s Theatrical Appeal

Check out our slideshow to raise the curtain on a new season of musicals, dramas and more.

Weekend Roundup, October 23rd to 25th

This weekend is packed with plenty of opportunities to celebrate the city!

Friday: Catch a screening at the Planet in Focus Film Festival.

Friday: Catch a Planet in Focus film festival screening.

Friday, October 23rd
At the Planet in Focus film festival, become a Toronto architecture maven by watching Time—a four-minute time-lapse video of the city’s building-design history—and Toronto2020, about the vision of Hogtown 10 years from now.

Indulge in chocolate drinks, fountains, desserts and other chocolate-infused foods at The Chocolate Ball, the gala event of Chocolate Fest.

Gasp in horror as a train of cheery passengers goes off the rails in Runaway, a short in the Animation Feast screening for the National Film Board’s Get Animated!, a series of animation films, workshops and activities that launches today.

Saturday: Relive a revolution through song with Rock 'n' Roll.

Saturday: Relive a revolution through song with Rock 'n' Roll.

Saturday, October 24th

Catch the Canadian Stage Company’s final performance of Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll to see how the music of Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and their ilk influenced the crumbling of communism in Czechoslovakia.

Carve a pumpkin, hunt for treasure and collect treats at the family-friendly Halloween Festival in Bloor West Village.

Tie colourful streamers in your hair and join gigantic puppets, fire spinners, stilt walkers and other revelry-makers in Clay & Paper Theatre‘s Day of Dread parade, inspired by traditional death festivals around the world.

Sunday: View this untitled Geoffrey Pugen image at Angell Gallery's TIAF booth, then visit dozens of other participating galleries.

Sunday: View this untitled Geoffrey Pugen image at Angell Gallery's TIAF booth, then visit dozens of other participating galleries.

Sunday, October 25th
Browse through unretouched prints by “anti-Photoshop photographer” ilexi at popular independent fashion and art market Portobello East.

Walk with river enthusiasts dressed in blue to create a Human River along the route Garrison Creek, a lost waterway that long ago flowed through Toronto and helped define its landscape.

Peruse contemporary works from Stephen Bulger Gallery, Angell Gallery, Ingram Gallery and other renowned showrooms at this city’s annual one-stop art shop—the Toronto International Art Fair.

Curtains Up: On Stage in October

Stages across the city light up again for a new season of award-winning productions, hum-along musicals, reflective dramas and a parade of Canadian talent.
—By Danielle Milley

The cast of <i>The Boys in the Photograph</i><br>photo by Bruce MonkPOLITICAL DRAMA
ON NOW Held over from the 2008-09 season, Mirvish Productions’ acclaimed musical The Boys in the Photograph finally has a home in Toronto. This reworked piece by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton is a coming-of-age story set in Belfast during the late 1960s and early 1970s at the beginning of a 30-year civil war. An all-Canadian cast brings to life the conflict of religious prejudice and how a unisex soccer team copes with strenuous circumstances, struggling to find peace and freedom through love. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. W., Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $26 to $110; call 416-872-1212 or click here to purchase.

ON NOW After an attention-grabbing run in the U.K., True Love Lies makes its North American premiere. Originally developed in a workshop, the powerful piece kicks off Factory Theatre’s 40th-anniversary season. Writer Brad Fraser, one of the country’s best known playwrights, also directs the gritty, funny and poignant story about a modern Canadian family and the secrets that can tear one apart. Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst St., Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m., $15 to $35; call 416-504-9971 or navigate here to order tickets.