In the spring, prior to shutting down, 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 care-taking 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.
This season still holds a number of beloved plans from before, including The Groundswell Festival in the fall rewired to be an online offering, including readings and conversations in celebration of our 2019-20 Write From The Hip playwrights. We will host a tête-à-tête with our friends from SPiLL.PROpagation who have been trailblazers in Deaf-hearing collaboration in live performance.
In the winter we will host The Feminist Unconference – the patriarchy-smashing event to unpack all things feminist in our industry as well as a digital experience of Embodying Power and Place – an artistic rendering of Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls curated by New Harlem Productions.
In the spring we will present UnSpun Theatre’s Lost Together, a live art experience for one audience member at a time. Created by Shira Leuchter with Michaela Washburn, this intimate experience reminds us that loss doesn’t have to be a solitary reckoning. We will be presenting this healing work online with hopes of offering live experiences at our home at the distillery, to Toronto’s west side, Scarborough, and up to the Nipissing First Nation’s Big Medicine Studio in northern Ontario.
As a strong undercurrent to these moments together, we will be creating as many opportunities to connect as a community and find ways to be creative, including through our inaugural Digital Creative Space, Nightwood’s Play Club, the Rising Moon Writing Program for girls 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.