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Progress Festival 2019

Progress is an international festival of performance and ideas presented in partnership by SummerWorks Performance Festival and The Theatre Centre. The Festival is collectively curated and produced by a series of Toronto-based companies, operating within a contemporary performance context.

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As a Festival that brings together performance nationally and internationally, we wish to acknowledge that Progress takes place on the traditional territory, Tkaronto, “Where the Trees Meet the Water,” “The Gathering Place” of the Mississauga, Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Wendat Nations. As we come together, we pay our respects to all our relations who have gathered and will continue to gather in this place.

The Theatre Centre is an accessible facility, with barrier-free washrooms and an accessibility lift to facilitate movement between floors. If you are planning a trip to The Theatre Centre and have any questions about accessibility or would like to make any special arrangements, please call our box office at 416-538-0988. We will be happy to make any arrangements to help facilitate an enjoyable visit.

Click here to learn more about accessibility at Progress: 
- ASL Interpreted events
- Tactile Audio Display seating
- English Surtitled Performances
- Free events

The festival includes the following ticketed performances:
(Click on a show title or scroll down to learn more and purchase tickets)

Cock and Bull / Scotland / Conceived and Directed by Nic Green / Curated and presented by FADO Performance Art Centre

salt. / England / Created & Produced by Selina Thompson Ltd. / Curated and presented by The Theatre Centre and Why Not Theatre

Poor People’s TV Room SOLO / USA/ Created and performed by Okwui Okpokwasili / Curated and presented by The Power Plant
co-presented by Civic Theatres Toronto

The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale  / UK, Canada/ Created and performed by Haley McGee / Curated and presented by the red light district in collaboration with Outside the March

Documents / USA / Conceived and performed by Autumn Knight / Curated and presented by FADO Performance Art Centre

Lost Together / Tkaranto / Produced by UnSpun Theatre / Curated and presented by SummerWorks

Blood on the Dance Floor / Narangga, Kaurna, Australia / Produced by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company / Curated and presented by The Theatre Centre with Native Earth Performing Arts

real real / Brazil / Performance by Bruno Capinan / Curated and presented by Uma Nota Culture

PROGRESS PASSES: Progress 3-Show Pass / Good for one ticket to your choice of any three ticketed Progress productions / $60.


Cock and Bull

Conceived and Directed by Nic Green
Curated and presented by FADO Performance Art Centre

January 30 & February 2, 2019
BMO Incubator for Live Arts
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 60 mins (Jan 30) and 7hrs 41mins (Feb 2)

Originally conceived for the eve of the 2015 UK general election, Cock and Bull sees three females convene to perform their own, alternative, party conference.

Exploring power, voice, agency and sustainability, they use the most heard phrases from Conservative governmental rhetoric, to dismantle and redress dominant paradigms of power and Politics. Responding to the meaninglessness and repetition of empty political promise, the privilege of the governmental elite and the deep discontent of an increasingly disproportionate and divided society, this work is part protest, part catharsis, part exorcism. It becomes, in part, a demonstration of togetherness. Cock and Bull is a transforming choreography of words and a passionate speech of the body, underpinned with the real-time energy of political dissatisfaction and tory tongue-speak.

For the Toronto premiere of Cock and Bull, two iterations are performed: the original short version (one hour) and the long version lasting the length of an average sitting of the House of Commons (over 7 hours). Presented as bookends in the first week of Progress, audiences are afforded the unique opportunity to investigate the performance’s structure and form as it expands (and contracts) over time.

Winner of the Total Theatre Award for best visual/physical theatre, Edinburgh, 2016.

“A quiet, luminously brilliant, meditation on politics and pain.”
– Exeunt Magazine

★★★★ “A blistering, beautiful act.”
– What’s On Stage

★★★★ “Astonishing…Unforgettable performances.”
– The Scotsman

Conceived and Directed by Nic Green
Created with Laura Bradshaw and Rosana Cade
Performed by Laura Bradshaw, Rosana Cade and Nic Green (short version)
Performed by Rosana Cade and Nic Green (long version)
LX design Eleni Thomaidou
Technical support Murray Wason


salt.

Produced by Selina Thompson Ltd.
Curated and Presented by The Theatre Centre and Why Not Theatre

January 31–February 2, 2019
Franco Boni Theatre
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 65 mins.

“… Where our real home might be is tricky to say. In a way that is the point. Some people say that is the body, but I think the body is more a channel that leads us home. Ultimate reality is our home. It is here and now, and it is not a special piece of what is happening. We imagine that we are on a journey, that life is a journey, but we are home from the beginning. This is not an easy thing to accept.” – Selina Thompson

A journey to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

In February 2016, two artists got on a cargo ship, and retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle – from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica, and back.

Their memories, their questions and their grief took them along the bottom of the Atlantic and through the figurative realm of an imaginary past.

It was a long journey backwards, in order to go forwards.

This show is what they brought back.

salt. is about grief, ancestry, home, forgetting and colonialism.

It’s about where colonial history exists in the everyday, the politics of grief and what happens inside Selina’s head every time someone asks ‘where are you from?’ and won’t take Birmingham or her mum’s uterus for an answer. It’s about being part of a diaspora.

It’s a show that creates a space for us to talk about all of these things, to see where we fit, and to think about the changing and healing that is still to come.

★★★★
“offers the gift of seeing the world through different eyes”
– The Guardian

Written and Performed by: Selina Thompson
Director: Dawn Walton
Designer: Katherina Radeva
Sound: Sleepdogs
Lighting Design: Cassie Mitchell
Producer: Emma Beverley
Production Manager and Relights: Louise Gregory

Selina Thompson Ltd. would like to acknowledge that salt. was commissioned by Yorkshire Festival, Theatre Bristol and MAYK. Supported by National Theatre’s New Works Department. Funded by Arts Council England and 200 kind and generous supporters who donated towards our voyage across the Atlantic.

With support from:

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Poor People’s TV Room SOLO

Created and performed by Okwui Okpokwasili
Curated and presented by The Power Plant
co-presented by Civic Theatres Toronto

February 5 & 6, 2019
Franco Boni Theatre
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 50 mins.

Okwui Okpokwasili is a performer, choreographer, and writer creating multidisciplinary performance pieces that centre the African and African American woman in divining vocabularies to explore the unruly interiority of the human condition. As the child of immigrants from Nigeria, born and raised in the Bronx, the reconstitution of memory and the slippery terrain of identity as a particular condition of the African diaspora features prominently in much of Okpokwasili’s work. Her productions are highly experimental in form, bringing together elements of dance, theater, and the visual arts (with spare and distinctive sets designed by her husband and collaborator, Peter Born).

Poor People’s TV Room SOLO is a performance installation that considers duration and urgent complaint as critical aspects of an embodied protest practice. Text from the report commissioned by the British Colonial Government in 1930 to investigate the uprising of women in Nigeria, serves as the primary source material. This uprising, known as the Woman’s War of 1929 was also referred to as the Woman’s Egwu. Egwu, in Igbo, one of the Indigenous languages of Nigeria, means dance. The linguistic tie between performance and protest is an especially compelling and fruitful exploration in this work.

“…part of the grand narrative about politics, the body, and place that Okpokwasili is building, gesture by gesture, whisper by whisper, brick by brick.”
The New Yorker

Created and performed by Okwui Okpokwasili
Directed and designed by Peter Born


The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale

Created and performed by Haley McGee

Curated and presented by the red light district in collaboration with Outside the March

February 5–9, 2019
BMO Incubator for Live Arts
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 90 mins.

Can we turn sentimental value into cold, hard cash?

Haley McGee was on the phone with Visa, promising to pay off her bill by having a yard sale, when she realized all the things she could sell were gifts from her exes. Inspired by this call, The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale is a hilarious and daring show about the cost of love… or what love costs us.

The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale smashes together personal divulgences, math, recorded interviews with Haley’s exes and economics in a quest to determine what are romantic relationships are actually worth. This autobiographical show features eight objects — all gifts from Haley’s exes — and introduces audiences to a mathematical formula (created by mathematician Melanie Phillips) for the cost of love.

The Progress run will also include several bonus events that expand to conversation around love, money and what it’s all worth. Join us for Haley’s interactive Cost of Love installation, a financial literacy crash-course in partnership with Generator, and the premiere of The Broken Hearts Auction, a one-night only presentation in which audience members can have gifts from their exes appraised and auctioned off.

“★★★★ Joyful, funny, excruciating … A powerhouse performance.”
– The Stage

Haley McGee: writer & performer
Melanie Phillips: mathematics collaborator
Mitchell Cushman: director
Zoe Robinson: producer (UK)
Anna Reid: scenic design
Kieran Lucas: sound design
Lucy Adams: lighting design
Eliza Cass: additional production & creative support
ted witzel: producer (Canada)
Nick Blais: production manager and relights
Griffin McInnes: production support (Canada)

This performance was developed in Camden People’s Theatre’s Starting Blocks scheme in 2017. In August 2017, it won the Wilderness Festival commission. The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale premiered at Camden People’s Theatre in November 2018. Partner venues include Battersea Arts Centre and The Albany with additional support from Arts Council England, The Theatre Centre (Toronto), and Ontario Arts Council (Canada).


Documents

Conceived and performed by Autumn Knight
Curated and Presented by FADO Performance Art Centre 

February 8, 2019
Franco Boni Theatre
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 75 mins.

Documents uses dialogue, gesture and the voice of both the artist and the audience to uncover and critique structures of power.

Troubling the division of labour between the performer and the audience, Documents involves a public reading of the documentation that serves to authenticate or legitimize citizenship. Central to this work is a filing cabinet that both holds the props required for the performance, while also serving as a portrait or trace of the artist.

The interactive reading of the documents in the files addresses the embodied specificities of race, class, gender, and sexuality to contest whether these categories accurately reflect the bodies they are meant to represent—while underlining how different audiences and relationships to power may influence this reading.

Conceived and Performed by Autumn Knight


Lost Together

Produced by UnSpun Theatre
Curated and presented by SummerWorks

February 12–17, 2019
BMO Incubator for Live Arts
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 30 mins. (timed entry)

An offering. An act combatting the loneliness of loss.

Lost Together invites you to share a story about something you’ve lost. Throughout the conversation, Shira and Michaela will work together to recreate that lost thing for you. The objects we create will become part of an ever-evolving exhibition, reminding us that loss doesn’t have to be a solitary reckoning.

Winner of the 2018 SummerWorks Festival Production Prize.

“an unforgettable experience”
Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine


Blood on the Dance Floor

Produced by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company
Curated and presented by The Theatre Centre with Native Earth Performing Arts

February 13–15, 2019
Franco Boni Theatre
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 55 mins.

We hold memories in our blood.
 It connects us. It defines us.

Blood on the Dance Floor explores the legacies and memories of our bloodlines, our need for community, and what blood means to each of us – questioning how this most precious fluid unites and divides us.

A choreographer, dancer and writer from the Narangga and Kaurna nations of South Australia, Jacob Boehme was diagnosed with HIV in 1998. In search of answers, he reached out to his ancestors. Through a powerful blend of theatre, image, text and choreography, Boehme pays homage to their ceremonies whilst dissecting the politics of gay, Blak and poz identities.

Blood on the Dance Floor is an unapologetic, passionate and visceral narrative that traverses time, space and characters. A story of our need to love and be loved, Boehme’s striking monologue reveals our secret identities and our deepest fears, seeking to invoke ancestral lineage in a contemporary quest for courage and hope.

★★★★1/2
“Theatre and dance don’t usually achieve such compelling synergy as they do under Isaac Drandic’s direction. And Boehme is marvelous: his charismatic presence and easy smile, graceful movement and the emotional intelligence behind his storytelling make this an entertaining, moving work that elicits as much empathy as laughter.”

Sydney Morning Herald

Writer & Performer: Jacob Boehme
Director: Isaac Drandic
Choreographer: Mariaa Randall
Sound Designer: James Henry
Spatial Designer: Jenny Hector
Video Artist: Keith Deverell
Costume Designer: Kelsey Henderson
Movement Coach: Rinske Ginsberg
Dramaturges: Chris Mead & Mari Lourey
Production Manager: John Byrne
Tour Consultant: Fenn Gordon
Tour Producer: ILBIJERRI Theatre Company


real real

Performance by Bruno Capinan
Curated and presented by Uma Nota Culture

February 16, 2019
Franco Boni Theatre
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 80 mins.

At the crossroads of sexuality, race, gender, politics, and art, we find the creative resistance of Brazilian artist Bruno Capinan. An intimate first offering of new music and video that explore the impacts of embodying a marginalized identity in a country in the throes of a right wing populist wave.

This is a moment of redefinition for the queer community in Brazil. Bruno seizes this time of violent political division in Brazil to reassert identity, educate and evolve in order to positively impact a society locked in a vicious battle with itself.

Band members:
Bruno Capinan: vocals & guitar
João Leão: synth & guitar
Tanya Charles: violin
Mariel Gonzalez: cello
Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk: viola


The 2019 Progress curators are SummerWorks Performance Festival, The Theatre Centre, FADO Performance Art Centre, F-O-R-M, Native Earth Performing Arts, The Power Plant, the red light district, Uma Nota Culture and Why Not Theatre.