New Groundswell Festival 2014

September 8-14, 2014

Our popular festival of new works returns!

Events include (click tabs above for details) or click here for the full schedule.

Click Here to view the 2014 Groundswell program
Top Column from left to right: Nicole Brooks, Celeste Percy-Beauregard, Matt Miwa, and Shelley Thompson
Middle Column from left to right: Susanna Fournier and Audrey Dwyer
Bottom Column from left to right: Sally Stubbs, Nicole Moeller, and Julie Tamiko Manning

Click here to purchase tickets for the Workshop Productions. The National Play Reading Series and Salons are PWYC at the door.

Workshop Productions
With Individual Desire by Susanna Fournier
Obeah Opera, a Nicole Brooks Vision

Industry Series
National Play Reading Series
Festival Bar
Pancake Breakfast

Workshop productions are $20 (plus HST) each, tickets are on sale now. Door sales are cash only.
With Individual Desire is available as part of Nightwood’s 2014/15 Season Pass. Click here for info.

All events take place in The Historic Distillery District, 9 Trinity St, third floor.

New Groundswell Festival 2014

Workshop Productions
Tickets $20 each (plus HST). Purchase now by clicking BUY NOW in the top right of this page.
Door sales are cash only.

With Individual Desire
by Susanna Fournier
From an original idea by Kelli Fox and Sarah Kitz

Produced by Lady Parts Theatre
Directed by Kelli Fox
Starring Sarah Kitz, Steven McCarthy and Jane Spidell

Ernest Balmer Studio, The Historic Distillery District, 9 Trinity St, studio 315
Sept 10 8pm, Sept 11 8pm, Sept 13 2pm & 8pm, Sept 14 4pm

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.

Obeah Opera
a Nicole Brooks Vision
Produced by Nightwood Theatre & Culchahworks Arts Collective
Directed by Weyni Mengesha
Music Direction by Andrew Craig
Choreography by Anthony “Prime” Guerra
Starring Amina Alfred, Cynthia Ashperger, Neema Bickersteth, Alana Bridgewater, Nicole Brooks, Saphire Demitro, Starr Domingue, Macomere Fifi, Michelle Fisk, Nickeshia Garrick, Alexis Gordon, Angelique Lazarus, Abena Malika, Lisa Michelle, Jane Miller, Dana Jean Phoenix, Michelle Polak, Laurel Tubman, Sacha Williamson, and Meredith Zwicker.

Dancemakers Theatre Mainspace, The Historic Distillery District, 9 Trinity St, studio 313
Sept 11 8pm, Sept 12 8pm, Sept 13 2pm & 8pm, Sept 14 2pm

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.

*Obeah Opera was commissioned by the Arts and Culture Program of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

New Groundswell Festival 2014

Industry Series

These events are PWYC at the door, no need to reserve in advance.

The National Play Reading Series
This curated series of play readings from across Canada will showcase six provocative new plays from some of the country’s most inspiring writers.

9 Trinity St, The Historic Distillery District
Studio 314, Michael J. Baker Studio

The reading series features:

September 8, 8pm: Well Born by Celeste Percy-Beauregard (Toronto, ON)
FEATURING: Sophia Fabiilli, Lynne Griffi n, Danny Kastner, Haley McGee
DIRECTOR: Michelle Alexander
Receiving inconclusive prenatal test results, an expectant mother sets out to make peace with her past in order to find the strength to embrace her future. What she uncovers about her birth mother however, does nothing to put her fears about her own pregnancy to rest. A play about abandoning perfection and accepting our “otherness.”

September 9, 8pm: The Tashme Project by Julie Tamiko Manning and Matt Miwa (Montreal, QC & Ottawa, ON)
PERFORMERS: Julie Tamiko Manning and Matt Miwa
The Tashme Project is a one-act verbatim theatre piece that traces the history and common experience of the Nisei (2nd Generation Japanese Canadians) through childhood, WW2 internment, repatriation and post-war resettlement east of the Rockies. The piece is made up of 20 interwoven interviews with Nisei from Toronto, Hamilton, Kingston, Vancouver and Montreal, punctuated by commentary by the two performers who, as younger generation Japanese Canadians, offer perspectives on how the internment experience still resonates both with the JC community at large, and with them personally.

September 10, 5pm: Leaving Wonderland by Shelley Thompson (Dartmouth, NS)
FEATURING: Kaleb Alexander, Susan Coyne, John Jay, Shauna MacDonald, Ali Momen
DIRECTOR: Kelly Thornton
Two years ago, Jane, a respected poet, novelist, and university professor, lost her only son in a binge-drinking incident during his frosh week at a distant university. Joey’s death has taken its toll on Jane’s drive, talent and marriage, leaving her fragile and brittle. When an unlikely relationship develops with Rob, a gifted student, Jane’s decisions propel her from the prolonged numbness of despair to a new, unimagined life. However, what rises in the wake of Jane’s decisions will change the lives of her colleagues, her husband, and the young man who’s been the catalyst.

September 11, 5pm: Calpurnia by Audrey Dwyer (Toronto, ON)
FEATURING: Beryl Bain, Aura Carcueva, Conrad Coates, David Fox, Natasha Greenblatt, Andre Sills
DIRECTOR: Esther Jun
Calpurnia features Julie Fairbanks, a young Black Canadian writer who is in the middle stages of adapting Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird into a screenplay from the perspective of Calpurnia, the Finch family servant. Her brother informs her that she has no right to write about an African American maid because she isn’t Black enough. Julie decides to “do the work”. As Julie embodies Calpurnia, she discovers the explosive politics behind Mammy Culture. She tackles race, classism, and privilege while threatening the fabric that keeps her family intact.

September 12, 5pm: The Mothers by Nicole Moeller (Edmonton, AB)
FEATURING: Patricia Fagan
DIRECTOR: Leah Cherniak
A woman whose teenager has committed an unthinkable crime spends yet another sleepless night secluded in her son’s now vacant bedroom, confronting her demons and wondering what happened to the special boy she had loved so much. As she confesses her sins and reveals her secrets, the audience learns of her frayed marriage, her struggles with motherhood, her inability to extricate herself from the web of guilt and shame and move forward, as the rest of her family has.

September 13, 5pm: Centurions by Sally Stubbs (Vancouver, BC)
FEATURING: Raymond Ablack, David DiFrancesco, Leah Doz, Katy Grabstas, Karen Robinson
DIRECTOR: Kelly Thornton
Mark is held in a police station and interrogated about a violent crime. He holds his story close. Meanwhile, his secrets are unearthed and illuminated for the audience via Mark’s mind and his movies, and it becomes clear that the crime he’s accused of committing is inexorably intertwined with another violent act and his obsession with making films. Mark lives most comfortably behind the camera, watching, always watching, and recording.

The Young Innovators Lab
Friday September 12, 8pm, Studio 315, Ernest Balmer Studio

This Lab brings together 20 exciting emerging artists to test the boundaries of theatre performance and creation. Divided into four groups, and given a theme as inspiration, the artists set to work on their own theatrcal innovation. Come and see what they’ve created!

Featuring four creations by Ali Joy Richardson, Ashley Caggianello, Camila Diaz-Varela, Caroline Toal, Charlie Gould, Elizabeth Tanner, Mandy E MacLean, Mary Willcott, Nicole Wilson, Stephanie Barone, Teri-Lynn Friesen, Vanessa Trenton, Zita Nyarady, Julia Krauss and Theatre Inamorata Collective (Hilary Caroll, Michelle Langille, Tennille Read and Lesley Robertson).

Festival Bar, Special Events and Salons
The festival plays host to fabulous parties, provocative public salons, a delicious pancake breakfast and speed ideating!

9 Trinity St, The Historic Distillery District, Third Floor

Festival Bar
Sept 8-13, 7:30pm-1am nightly, Studio 314
Whether you’re interested in a post-show chat with the creative team, engaging in discourse about the industry, or kicking back and talking about the play you just saw, we welcome you!

Salon: Actors in the Driver’s Seat
Sept 11, 9:30pm, Studio 315 (right after With Individual Desire)
A salon featuring Susanna Fournier, Kelli Fox, Julie Tamiko Manning and Shelley Thompson facilitated by Karen Cox, discussing what it takes to expand your career and wear multiple hats in the theatre industry.

The Festival Bash
Sept 11, 10:30pm, Studio 314
Join us for libations, music and celebrations following the first performance of Obeah Opera.

Salon: The Rise of the Indie Producers
Sept 12, 9:30pm, Studio 314
A salon featuring mavericks of the indie theatre scene: Aislinn Rose (Theatre Centre), Julie Nish-Lapidus (Shakespeare BASH’d), Matt Miwa (Tashme Project) and Ben Blais (Storefront Theatre) facilitated by Michelle Alexander.

Pancake Breakfast and Speed Ideating
presented by Neighbourhood Arts Network and Nightwood Theatre
Sept 13, pancakes at 11am, Speed Ideating at noon, Studio 314
With special presentations from Celeste Percy-Beauregard, Nicole Moeller, and Sally Stubbs.
Join Nightwood and Neighbourhood Arts Network for pancakes and speed ideating. Speed ideating is fast-paced, creative and thought-provoking conversation geared to spark new ideas and connections.

Creative minds from women’s contemporary theatre and the festival are invited to meet, share, and learn from others in the community through speedy 2-minute discussions after a round of delicious flapjacks.

New Groundswell Festival 2014

Susanna Fournier // With Individual Desire
Susanna is a Toronto based playwright, actor and producer.  Her company, Paradigm Productions, launched the world premiere of her award-winning play, Stencilboy and Other Portraits at the Toronto Next Stage Festival. She is developing several new plays including With Individual Desire, a theatrical imagining of the life and work of Edna St. Vincent Millay, an adaptation of Medea, as well readying a trilogy of modern epics entitled The Empire. Susanna’s writing is supported by Nightwood Theatre, The Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage, and Theatre Hetaerae. The Philosopher’s Wife was an Honourable Mention in the 2013 Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition and garnered Susanna the Cayle Chernin Award for Emerging Female Talent. Most recently Susanna was selected to participate in the Banff Centre for the Arts 2014 Playwrights Colony, under the direction of Brian Quirt.

Nicole Brooks // Obeah Opera
Nicole Brooks is a Toronto-based filmmaker, director, performer, singer, playwright, composer, curator, teacher and ‘art-ivist’. She has developed the concept of “harmonized storytelling”; blending media and performing arts, Brooks has spent over 15 years envisioning narratives that illuminate the peoples of the African Diaspora. Through her company Asah Productions Inc., founded in 2005, Brooks has generated a body of work for stage and screen. Highlights include ECHO (Sun TV), a weekly documentary feature program that highlights the accomplishments, achievements, progress and personalities of successful second and third generation Canadians, Brooks produced and directed the behind the scenes featurettes for the recent Canadian indie hit How She Move, and co-produced and directed Aferee, an African dance documentary shot in Senegal.


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