MEDIA RELEASE: Crow’s Theatre announces 35th anniversary season, featuring world premiere of A&R Angels, by Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew
Jun 28, 2017
TORONTO (June 28, 2017) – On the heels of a celebrated inaugural season at Streetcar Crowsnest, Crow’s Theatre Artistic Director Chris Abraham and Crow’s Managing Director Monica Esteves today announced core artistic programming for Crow’s 2017-2018 Season.
This 35th season for the company again offers an eclectic and surprising line up of Canadian work that that will animate the east end’s newest, thriving cultural space.
“Our first season in our new home was deeply rewarding. The support from the east end community and from the theatre-going public was truly galvanizing. Over 32,000 people came through our doors in five months,” said Crow’s Theatre Artistic Director Chris Abraham. “Our sophomore season at Streetcar Crowsnest, is also the company’s 35th, and with the help of some incredible partners and artists we have assembled another fabulously eclectic line-up for our growing audience.”
“I can’t wait to start working with musicians Kevin Drew and Ben Kowalewicz, who will star in Kevin’s playwrighting debut A&R Angels - we’re loving seeing more of the music scene in our theatre. This is another big tent season, featuring opera, dance, and theatre, with unmissable world-premieres, mustsee productions, and the return of audience favourites, including the laugh-out-loud hit The Wedding Party. New works by Ellie Moon and Rose Napoli tackle sexual consent, and Hannah Moscovitch’s deeply moving new work looks at the ever-present threat to reproductive rights by examining our history. The season features the work of some of my favourite directors including Brendan Healy, d’bi.young anitafrika, Mitchell Cushman, Andrea Donaldson and Christian Barry. We also welcome our first resident theatre company – The Watah Theatre - as a producing and education partner. We will continue to offer evening event programming, classes and camps for kids, and concerts for families, while looking for even more ways to connect with our neighbourhood and to share this beautiful space we are so lucky to inhabit.”
The season launches in October 2017 with an exciting pairing of plays by two emerging female voices, Ellie Moon and Rose Napoli, both addressing the subject of consent. Dubbed The Consent Event, and presented by Nightwood Theatre in association with Crow’s Theatre, Asking For It by Ellie Moon is a documentary play that examines gender roles and sexual consent in the wake of the Jian Ghomeshi scandal; and LO (or Dear Mr. Wells) by Rose Napoli tells the story of a young woman looking back on her relationship with her high school English teacher Mr. Wells.
In November, Crow’s presents the World Premiere of A&R Angels written by Kevin Drew of Canada’s baroque-pop collective Broken Social Scene and directed by Chris Abraham. Straddling our world and the afterlife, two angels have - for decades - pulled folks from the brink of death with their music. But times have changed. The past lives that they’ve been tasked to save…have ended, well…badly. The A&R Angels have only one shot left before being eternally benched by the higher-ups - can they write that killer song that will give life to the living? Drew will co-star in the world premiere of this new rock play hybrid alongside fellow rocker Ben Kowalewicz, frontman for Canadian punk rock band Billy Talent, and joined by Crow’s regular, and recent Dora award-winner Ngozi Paul, and Maurice Dean Wint.
2018 welcomes the return of the show that inaugurated the Streetcar Crowsnest and had audiences lining up at the door and rolling in the aisles – Kristen Thomson’s Dora-award nominated The Wedding Party. A comedy about a wedding in which the bride and groom are never on stage, this uproarious play features a cast of six actors playing over 20 characters at the wedding reception from hell.
Meanwhile, Crow’s will send Torquil Campbell on the road with the critically acclaimed show True Crime following a limited run in Crow’s Theatre’s Scotiabank Community Studio in January 2018. After Premiering in Crow’s 2016-2017 season, the show tours to Vertigo Theatre in Calgary, AB (January 2018) and to the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, BC (March 2018).
In March 2018, Crow’s presents Hannah Moscovitch’s What a Young Wife Ought to Know, directed by Christian Barry and produced by Halifax’s acclaimed 2b Theatre. An unflinching look at love, sex, and fertility in an era where reproductive rights are still not a universal human right. Inspired by real stories about young mothers during the first wave of the Canadian birth control movement in the early 20th century, What a Young Wife Ought to Know is a sensual, sometimes funny, love story that will resonate with all audiences long after they’ve left the theatre.
Crow’s is thrilled to welcome Theatre Direct to Streetcar Crowsnest, with their production of Old Man and the River by Lynda Hill and Thomas Morgan Jones, presented in association with Crow’s Theatre. A beautifully designed puppetry work performed without words to an enchanting musical score, the production has received unanimous praise from children, parents, grandparents, and teachers for its artistry and its story of newfound friendship. Old Man and the River is the perfect introduction to theatre for the very young and their grownups. This show features interactive pre-show and post-show audience engagement created especially for this age group. Old Man and the River is recommended for children 3 years and up.
This season Crow’s Theatre welcomes The Watah Theatre for a special residency at the Streetcar Crowsnest. For five weeks in the Scotiabank Community Studio, the award winning company will present two productions, Najla Nubyanluv’s afro-futurist piece I Cannot Lose my Mind, and a new work by d’bi.young anitafrika, Once Upon a Black Boy, a bio-myth about a young black boy coming of age. The Watah Theatre Company is a professional theatre company that specializes in producing political theatre from a radical, queer, Black feminist lens. Founded in 2008 and incorporated in 2014 by Artistic Director d'bi.young, Watah cultivates artists as instigators of social change through ongoing arts residencies. The residency will conclude with The Audre Lorde Works-in-Progress Festival, a one week festival of readings by the participants in the Watah Performing Artist Development Initiative (PADI), which provides both theoretical and practical performance training while enabling mentorship between emerging/newly emerged and established artists. It offers professional artistic development for Black, Indigenous, POC and LGBTQQIP2SAA peoples between the ages of 18-30 who write and perform.
Crow’s also welcomes the Broadview Collective in association with our long-time colleagues at Human Cargo with a new production presented in association with Crow’s Theatre. Broadview, directed by Christopher Morris, is a new community theatre project created and performed by residents from Riverside. Over a ten-week rehearsal period, the diverse cast will create a piece of theatre that reveals the day-to-day lives of this vibrant community in Toronto that has been rocked by devastating crimes in the last two years.
Outside the March’s monthly storytelling event, The Spoke, continues through the summer at Streetcar Crowsnest and returns for a second season in the fall. Since 2012, The Spoke features a cross-section of people telling true stories from their lives, based around a common theme. Storytellers range from local community members to renowned Canadian artists. A corresponding free Podcast is offered at outsidethemarch.ca/the-spoke.
Streetcar Crowsnest welcomes several guest productions that will be available through its subscription package. Soundstreams returns to Streetcar Crowsnest with a world premiere production, Musik für das Ende, a mesmerizing and immersive experience by legendary Québécois composer Claude Vivier, directed by Chris Abraham, with music director John Hess. Another Soundstreams production is The Little Match Girl Passion inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale about a poverty-stricken young woman sent out into the cold by her father to sell matches. This story is brought to life with text and music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang.
In February 2018, Outside the March and The Company Theatre join forces to produce the Canadian premiere of the critical smash hit Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth, directed by Outside the March’s Mitchell Cushman and starring Canadian screen icon Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy, Entourage, Prison Break) in his return to the stage after an almost 30-year hiatus, since playing the title role of Macbeth at the Stratford Festival and Stanley Kowalski on Broadway.
A number of thrilling guest productions will round out the season, including the Howland Company’s Toronto Premiere of Punk Rock by Simon Stephens, author of Harper Reagan and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. In the library of a private school outside of Manchester, England, a group of hyper-intelligent seventeen-year-olds prepare for their final exams. As anxiety builds and hormones rage, the students must prepare for a future that seems uncertain - and survive the volatile rites-of-passage of an unstable world. The Howland Company is best known for their 2014 “Best of Toronto Fringe” hit and three-time sold-out production of 52 PICK-UP.
Docu-Theatre Creators Unit
Crow’s Theatre was pleased to recently launch Canada’s first Docu-Theatre Creators Unit. Lead by Crow’s Associate Artistic Director and documentary theatre playwright, Andrew Kushnir, the unit will provide a development platform for four emerging creator-investigators: Frank Cox O’Connell, Ellie Moon, Ngozi Paul and Sarah Segal-Lazar.
Documentary Theatre remains a dynamic way to bring issues of the day into the theatre, to feature local voices and a multitude of perspectives, as well as to explore questions of justice and the “State of the Nation” on a substantial canvas. Crow’s Theatre is committed to nurturing creators in this genre to help innovate and expand Canada’s docu-drama practices. With previous works like Seeds, The Watershed and Winners and Losers, the company has made its mark as one of Canada’s leading developers of the form. Crow’s put out a call for submissions last year for works-in-progress that feature documentary theatre techniques in their creation process, or pursue documentary/verbatim theatre as a form and received nearly 40 applicants. The unit will include: group meetings throughout the season, sessions with documentary theatre practitioners and other professionals related to this genre of theatre-making, public readings and facilitated public feedback sessions, and the opportunity to become a work-in-development for an upcoming season at Crow’s.
Spontaneous Theatre Ensemble Program
In association with Crow’s Theatre and with support via Crow’s Theatre’s 2017 RBC Emerging Director residency, Rebecca Northan launches her Spontaneous Theatre Ensemble training program. Best known for her hit-show Blind Date and other Spontaneous Theatre creations such as Legend Has It (premiered at the playRites Festival), An Undiscovered Shakespeare (with the Stratford Festival), and Undercover (a co-production with Tarragon Theatre and Vertigo Theatre), Northan will train a 40-person ensemble of Toronto artists in the tools and skills for her award-winning Spontaneous Theatre methodology of creation and performance. Referring to Spontaneous Theatre as ‘the sports arena of the human condition’, Northan sees the genre as ‘the intersection of structured theatre and the pure impulse of improvisation. Structure is there when we need it, but performers are equally comfortable throwing it out and adapting to what arises in the moment. The result is a performance that is repeatable, yet different every time. It is immediate, dangerous, and thrilling; teetering between magical and potentially disastrous.’
Work in Progress
Towards Youth: a cycle of plays on radical hope
Continuing their partnership with Project: Humanity, Crow’s presents work-in-progress readings of Towards Youth, a series of original, interconnected plays exploring the concept of “radical hope” among young people in these current times of global unrest. Lowest caste girls in Lucknow (India) are learning how to transgress the limits imposed on them while disenfranchised youth in Coventry (England) create a counter-narrative to Brexit. In Tainan (Taiwan) young people are finding a way to marry tradition with modernity, while in Athens (Greece) youth are searching for ways to thrive within economic and refugee crises. These four contexts – alongside remarkable youth in Toronto – form Dr. Kathleen Gallagher’s unprecedented Radical Hope project. Documentary theatremaker Andrew Kushnir (playwright behind Project: Humanity’s The Middle Place, Small Axe and last season’s Freedom
Singer) has travelled the world alongside Kathleen to observe how drama opens a window onto the realities of young people today. Towards Youth is co-developed and co-produced by Crow’s Theatre and Project: Humanity.
The Scotiabank Creative Youth Program
Made possible by generous support from Scotiabank, Crow’s Kids returns with expanded
programming for the whole family, including a weeklong summer camp in August 2017. The Crow’s Kids Summer Medley gives budding performers a taste of all that theatre has to offer with a fun-filled week of acting, improv, movement, voice, stage combat and creation led by accomplished theatre professionals. Lead instructors include Luke Reece (award-winning poetry slam artist, playwright, artist educator) and Erica May (actor, playwright, improviser an artist educator). The week will culminate in a final presentation for friends and family.
Crow’s Kids classes return on Saturday mornings in Fall 2018, with weekend fun for kids ages 3 to12. Throughout the season, Crow’s Kids will roll out a series of Sunday programming that the whole family can enjoy, including kids’ concerts, storytelling festivals and family activities.
Scotiabank aims to support organizations that are committed to helping young people reach their infinite potential. Young people are our future leaders and Scotiabank’s goal is to help ensure that they have the necessary skills and resources they need to support their success.
Subscriptions and Single-Tickets
Frequent Flyer Subscriptions are available today in 3-Play or 7-Play bundles…the more you see, the more you save. A&R Angels is available as part of the 3-Play and 7-Play bundles now.
Single tickets for A&R Angels, The Wedding Party, and What A Young Woman Ought To Know and other shows will be available at 7:00am July 10, 2017.
Single tickets for 2017-18 performances range from $20.00 to $60.00 CDN. Subscription and single ticket deals are available for seniors and students.
Get online information and make ticket purchases at crowstheatre.com.
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Crow’s Theatre 2017-2018 Season
A&R Angels is a rock-fable by Kevin Drew, co-founder and de facto bandleader of Canada’s baroquepop collective Broken Social Scene (BSS). A now prolific music creator in Canada and internationally – Drew’s artistic career was seeded at an adolescent theatre maker and as a budding actor at the Etobicoke School of the Arts along with a number of future members of BSS.
Kevin Drew has written the book and songs of A&R Angels and is also co-starring in the premiere with a talented ensemble, including punk rock band Billy Talent’s energetic and multi-talented front man Ben Kowalewicz.
Straddling our world and the afterlife, Loud Angel (Kevin Drew) and Soft Angel (Ben Kowalewicz) have been pulling people back from the brink with their music for decades. But times have changed. The appreciation of the well-crafted song has languished, and with it the A&R Angels’ powers of persuasion. The past 12 suicides they’ve been tasked to prevent ... have not gone well. Have they lost their touch? Or have we all stopped believing in a song’s power to pick us up from rock bottom? The A&R Angels have only one shot left before being eternally benched by the higher-ups: can they write that killer song that will give life to the living?
Starring Jason Cadieux, Virgilia Griffith, Trish Lindström, Moya O’Connell, Tom Rooney and Kristen Thomson
“Few recent works penned by a single author sitting alone in a room have created so many laugh out loud moments.” - The Globe and Mail***1/2
“What brings many pleasures and belly laughs is the convention of performers character-swapping at a dizzying rate, ranging across genders nationalities and ages.” - Toronto Star ****
“Abraham does a fantastic job managing the tight timing of all those costume changes, and keeps the heavy themes and unfolding disaster squarely in comic territory…the show is all about laugh-inducing performances (especially by Thomson and Rooney) and some superb schadenfreude.” - NOW Magazine NNNN
Back by popular demand, and on the heels of Kristen Thomson’s Dora nomination for Best New Play, The Wedding Party returns! One of the biggest hits of Winter 2017, The Wedding Party is a comedy about two families, a wedding, mistaken identities, and love, that invite the audience to take a seat ringside on the big day.
“By giving the women of the 1920s a voice, Moscovitch has given many contemporary women a voice as well. What a Young Wife Ought to Know is more than a compelling history lesson, it is an opportunity to contemplate the state of sexual health and freedom in our society today.” - The Globe and Mail
An unflinching look at love, sex, and fertility, inspired by real stories of young mothers during the Canadian birth control movement of the early 20th century, Crow’s presents a new production of this important play from one of Canada’s most celebrated theatre makers.
Set in 1920s Ottawa, What a Young Wife Ought to Know tells the story of Sophie, a young workingclass wife who has a lot to learn about love, sex, and birth control. An examination of the destructive shame enacted upon women in western society for centuries via the withholding of knowledge, What a Young Wife Ought to Know is also a sensual, sometimes funny, love story. Sophie's journey through womanhood and motherhood is sometimes tragic, sometimes ridiculous, and always recognizable.
“What makes this show so very smart and entertaining is the way Campbell draws you into a web of stories and constantly keeps you guessing about what you can and can’t believe. Art imitates life imitates true crime.” - The Toronto Star ***1/2
“He quickly demonstrates impressive acting chops, proving himself a funny, engaging raconteur and performer as well as a talented writer.” - NOW Magazine NNNN
Clark Rockefeller is a real-life conman of the highest order, now serving a near-life sentence in a California State prison. And iconic Canadian ranter and rocker Torquil Campbell wants to try him on for size. What does it mean for an excellent fabulator to embody an excellent fabulator? And in the end, does an intricate con differ that much from a successful work of art? Torquil’s dogged investigation and impersonation challenges us to find the truth in true crime and confronts our cultural addiction to a good story. Entirely scripted or absolutely extemporaneous, True Crime is a mind-twisting encounter with an artist obsessed with how we all fake it, one way or another.
“A bracing pleasure … A sly, intelligent piece of documentary theatre borne of Ghomeshi-gate." – The Globe and Mail
A documentary play that looks at gender roles and sexual consent in the wake of the Ghomeshi scandal, Asking For It considers the various ways in which sexual consent is understood personally, culturally, and legally. Moon speaks with people of all ages and backgrounds about their assumptions and experiences around consent to sexual relations, and with crown prosecutors and legal experts about the current state of sexual assault law in Canada. The conversations are candid, funny, often uncomfortable, and describe experiences of shame, power, ambiguity, and misunderstanding in communication about sex.
Asking For It was developed through Crow’s Theatre Docu Creator’s with Why Not Theatre.
It was ten years ago that Laura was Alan Wells’ student at Corpus Christi High School. She was uncharacteristically intelligent for fifteen years old—perceptive and vulnerable—a dream student for an uninspired English teacher. Now, at twenty-five years old, Laura has written her first book. She calls it ‘Dear Mr. Wells’ and Alan is the first person she wants to read it.
A feminist retake on a student / teacher relationship, wrestling with burgeoning sexuality and consent, literature and passion, right and wrong, Lo (Or Dear Mr. Wells) was developed through Nightwood Theatre’s Write from the Hip playwright’s unit.
Musik für das Ende invites audiences into a mesmerizing and utterly immersive experience featuring an intercultural vocal ensemble and actor. Soundstreams proudly presents the world premiere of the first fully staged production of this work by legendary Québécois composer Claude Vivier. Choir 21, award-winning director Chris Abraham, and music director John Hess collaborate to create an intimate and unforgettable ritual examining the composer’s relationship with death and the eternal.
Award-winning Canadian screen icon Kim Coates (FX’s Sons of Anarchy) returns to the stage after almost thirty years for a limited engagement—teaming up with two of Toronto’s leading theatre companies to present the Canadian premiere of Jez Butterworth’s explosive masterwork. A pied piper tale for the Tarantino generation, Jerusalem is the story of aging daredevil Johnny “Rooster” Byron, purveyor of drugs, alcohol, mythic tales and sanctuary to the troubled teens of Wiltshire County. Come squat with Rooster deep in the heart of Byron Wood, as he rails against the community council bent on eradicating him, bulldozing the land, and putting up condos. A bold new exploration of one of the most lauded plays of the past twenty years, described by Ben Brantley of The New York Times as “a great frame-busting play that thinks big — transcendently big — in ways contemporary drama seldom dares”.
by Andrew Kushnir
Towards Youth is a series of original interconnected plays exploring the concept of radical hope among youth in our current times of global unrest. Documentary theatremaker Andrew Kushnir (playwright behind Project: Humanity’s The Middle Place, Small Axe and Freedom Singer) has traveled the world alongside U of T’s Dr. Kathleen Gallagher to observe how drama provides an inimitable window onto the realities of young people today. Bringing together the voices of youth and teachers in India, England, Taiwan, Greece and Canada, the project interrupts any notion that young people are simply the receivers of care. An epic series of plays anchored in a “pedagogy of the real”, Towards Youth asks: “As democracies thin out everywhere, how are our young people faring, and how are they teaching us a better way forward?”
In development with Project: Humanity and Crow’s Theatre, Towards Youth is a recipient of the Canada Council’s New Chapter funding support.
A grumpy old man lives in his little house in the woods by the river. Every day is the same and he likes it this way, until one day, a magical creature leaps into his world and everything changes! This beautifully designed puppetry work performed without words to an enchanting musical score reveals a world where rivers sing, trees laugh, and curious dragonflies come to visit. With its themes of friendship, communication, play and adjusting to change, Old Man and the River is perfect for the youngest theatregoer.
This week-long festival of readings is the culmination of the second trimester of the Watah Performing Artist Development Initiative (PADI), a residency that provides both theoretical and practical performance training while enabling mentorship between emerging/newly emerged and established artists. It offers professional artistic development for Black, Indigenous, POC and LGBTQQIP2SAA peoples between the ages of 18-30 who write and perform. In the readings, the artists will explore the relationship between themselves and the art they create as well as the stories they have been told and that they perpetuate.
In the Queen and Broadview neighbourhoods of Toronto, there are the Howie/Boulton townhomes: a group of 41 newly built townhomes, whose owners are working, and retired, professionals. Less than four hundred meters from there is Rivertowne, a Toronto Community Housing project that incorporates government subsidized, and private-owned housing. Directed and dramaturged by Christopher Morris, Broadview is a theatre performance written and performed by Riverside residents which reveals the day-to-day lives of this distinct and vibrant community.
"I feel like I'm earthed. Here. And watch what happens if I let go."
In the library of a private school outside of Manchester, England, a group of hyper-intelligent seventeen-year-olds prepare for their final exams. As anxiety builds and hormones rage, the students must prepare for a future that seems uncertain - and survive the volatile rites-of-passage of an unstable world.
A bubbling cauldron of fear, anger and self-loathing that threatens to destroy the adolescent fantasy, Punk Rock is a painful reminder of the dormant violence that lurks in the shadows of any civilized society. ‘Mr. Stephens, [is] one of the most quietly original British playwrights working today…’- Ben Brantley, The New York Times.
The Little Match Girl Passion is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale about a povertystricken young woman sent out into the cold by her father to sell matches. The girl’s bitter present is locked together with the sweetness of her past memories. David Lang has written his own text and set it to music for four voices, who tell the story while simultaneously commenting upon it, thereby placing the audience in the middle of the action. The program will further feature a world premiere by Canadian composer James Rolfe for four voices and accordion.
Made Possible with Support from
Major Program Funding for Crow’s Theatre is generously provided by
The Government of Ontario – Entrepreneurship in the Arts Program
Major Sponsorship Support for Crow’s Theatre programming is generously provided by
BMO – Lead Season Sponsor
Scotiabank – Creative Youth Program Sponsor
Programming Support for Crow’s Theatre’s 2017-2018 season is generously provided by
Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage – Audience Enrichment Program
CIBC – New Play Development
Max and Larry Enkin Family Foundation in Memory of Sharon Enkin - Development support for The Teacher Cycle
RBC Foundation – Rising Star Emerging Director Prize
Sandra and Jim Pitblado – Lead Production Support for The Wedding Party
S.M. Blair Family Foundation - New Play Development
The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation
McLean Smits Family Foundation
Higgins Event Rentals- Production Support for The Wedding Party
Food Dudes- Production Support for The Wedding Party
About Crow’s Theatre
Crow’s ignites passionate and enduring engagement between our audiences and artists by creating, producing and promoting unforgettable theatre that examines and illuminates the pivotal narratives of our times. Founded in 1983, Crow’s Theatre is recognized in the Canadian theatre landscape as a daring, award-winning theatre company. Crow’s has premiered over 50 new Canadian works, including multiple award-winning productions such as SEEDS, Eternal Hydra, Time After Time: The Chet Baker Project, A Short History of Night, Dali, and Unidentified Human Remains and The True Nature of Love.
In recent years, Crow’s Theatre has presented the world-premiere of Kristen Thomson’s The Wedding Party, presented the international success Winners & Losers, debuted the world premiere of Annabel Soutar’s critically acclaimed The Watershed, and re-introduced theatre audiences to Torquil Campbell with the hit True Crime.