Residency is a structured two-year program (sometimes longer!) providing groups/artists with the necessary space, funding and mentorship to craft ideas still in their infancy into finished works that are provocative, innovative, and ambitious. Residency facilitates a highly collaborative artistic process that supports new work led by directors, designers, composers, choreographers, architects, visual artists, or even neurologists. We are looking for good ideas and we start by asking “what do you need?”
Residency has its roots in R&D (Research & Development) program, established by The Theatre Centre in 1983. For two decades the program seeded new theatrical works by artists such as Tomson Highway, Daniel Brooks, Daniel MacIvor, Alisa Palmer, Darren O’Donnell, Alejandro Ronciera and Kelly Thornton, to name just a few.
Residency is generously supported by:
Current Residency Artists:
Ian Kamau Loss
Ian is developing Loss, a Live-Arts Multi-Media performance that explores mental health in Afro-Caribbean communities through a personal narrative co-written by himself and his father Roger McTair.
Ian Kamau is an artist, writer, and designer from Toronto. He has released seven music projects including the self-produced album One Day Soon (2011) and has published articles, short stories, and poems in publications by Vice, Coach House Press, and Book Thug. The son of pioneering filmmakers, he was the founding executive director of Nia Centre for the Arts, has a Bachelor in Design and a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University, and a Masters in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University. His research includes cultural production, storytelling, and critical city building with a focus on mental health and actualization.
Stewart Legere The Unfamiliar Everything
A conversation and collaborative performance project between The Accidental Mechanics Group and queer artists working in different media from every major region of Canada. This extraordinary meeting of LGBTQ2+ artists is an experiment in collaboration across genres over massive distances, an exploration of the pains and beauties of queer loneliness, queer spirituality, and a celebration of the chosen family.
The artistic team includes choreographers, musicians, poets, light artists, actors, writers, video/projection designers, dancers, spoken word and performance artists.
Rimah Jabr Broken Shapes
Rimah Jabr is a Brussels and Palestine-based playwright now working in Toronto. Jabr, along with visual artist Dareen Abbas, is creating a new performance piece (Broken Shapes) investigating what happens to humanity in the context of borders, surveillance and fear.
A young woman in a city that has been occupied for decades. On the day of her father’s funeral, she discovers his architectural drawings. Overcome with sadness, she slips into the dream worlds and imagined places that he created. What is the influence of our environment on our imagination? Is such influence hereditary? Are our actions and dreams coloured by the environment where our ancestors lived, be they an open field, the ocean or a prison cell?
Jennifer Tarver – Bear Witness
Created in collaboration with director Jennifer Tarver, conductor Christine Duncan (The Element Choir), performer and choreographer Susanna Hood, and choreographer and writer Sara Porter.
Bear Witness is a large-scale choreographed theatrical narrative embedded in the body of a choir.
Part auto-biography and part fairy tale, Bear Witness uses a multi-voiced choir as a metaphor for the human body. The work explores a common human tendency to bury or hide stories deep within our bodies. Touching on events of both trauma and joy the work follows a journey excavation and re-interpretation of a personal history.
Suvendrini Lena – Here are the Fragments.
An immersive theatre experience inspired by the psychiatric writing of Frantz Fanon
Within our immersive design (a fabric of sound, video, and live actors) lean in close to the possibilities of perceptual experience.
People living with schizophrenia ‘hear voices’ and fear loss of control over their own thoughts and bodies. But how does any one of us actually separate internal and external voices? How do we trust what we see or feel? How do we know which voices are truly our own?
Within the installation find places of retreat from chaos. Find poetry. Find critical analysis.
Explore archival material, Fanon’s writings and contemporary interviews with psychiatrists, neuroscientists, artists, and people living with schizophrenia, to reflect on the relationships between identity, history, racism and mental health.
Hannah Moscovitch, Maev Beaty, and Ann-Marie Kerr – Secret Life of a Mother
A playwright writes the true story of her miscarriage, pregnancy, birth and early motherhood. One of her oldest friends, an actress, tells us this story, and, in a way, her own.
The Secret Life of A Mother’s goal is to subvert and rewrite prevailing narratives around childbearing and maternity, with biting humour, lush theatrical metaphor and disarming gothic honesty. We interrogate the sexist vaseline-lensed pop-culture narratives that insist all women will love and cherish motherhood in exactly the same way and then banish mothers to the background. We are centralizing mothers and offering taboo counternarratives that reveal what two women are actually experiencing: the raw and transcendent secrets of pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth and mothering.
Heidi is a Toronto-based choreographer and performer and Artistic Director of adelheid. In Residency, Heidi (and collaborating artists) developed what it’s like, a work about brotherhood and boundaries. what it’s like looks at what happens when we are sensitive to where we are, and who is with us.
Dan Watson & Christina Serra – This is the Point
Dan and Christina are parents seeking a way for their disabled son to share his voice. Tony is a non-verbal adult with lots to say. Liz is his firecracker partner full of conviction. Through a series of staged conversations and theatrical re-enactments, these two couples draw from their personal lives to explore and debate questions of representation, the nature of companionship and how people of different abilities can connect with each other on equal terms.
Jess Dobkin is an internationally-renowned performance artist. In Residency, Jess developed The Magic Hour — a solo performance art work that uses magic as a medium to explore sexual violence, trauma and transformation. Using themes and devices of magic and ritual, from conventional entertainment to anarchic enchantments, the work challenges the boundaries of what is deemed public and private, hidden and revealed, to make visible what is not seen. She is collaborating on the project with Stephen Lawson and other artists.
Email: Jess Dobkin, Twitter: @jessdobkin, Facebook: jessdobkin
Who you are on the court reveals who you are off the court; in this basketball-theatre mash-up, we invite you to lace up your sneakers and get in the game! Every Monday night for over a decade, five men came together to play basketball. Friendships were formed, bonds were strengthened; they shared each other’s victories and losses, triumphs and heartbreaks. The game became a refuge and they left it all on the court.
Born from those games, Monday Nights is an interactive basketball/theatre experience where those same men explore how a simple game can help us understand ourselves and connect to community. You’re invited to join them on the court, learn some skills and experience the power of the game firsthand. No matter your age, skill level or passion about basketball, get off the bench and get in the game. The ball’s in your court!
“If you want to find a new way to channel your We The North spirit, check out Monday Nights.”
—The Globe and Mail
Philip McKee, Tanja Jacobs, Rose Plotek & Ishan Davé – Bloody Family
A theatre director Philip McKee and his collaborators created a radical adaptation of The Oresteia trilogy. The artists are simultaneously actors, characters, animators and technicians in this portrait of violence and retribution.
Playwright Andrew Kushnir, director Alan Dilworth and the Project: Humanity team developed Small Axe, a new piece of documentary theatre, investigating the intersection of homophobia and racism and looking at injustice, complicity and permission.