— Lyn Gardner (Stagedoor)
★★★★★ “a remarkable feat of storytelling and reportage” – The List
★★★★ “Sea Sick is a quiet call to action, a reminder of our responsibilities, and a crucial examination of an underexposed issue.” – The Arts Desk
★★★★ “Can a science journalist save the world through the power of theatre?”— The Guardian
“a thrilling…cautionary tale” – Toronto Star
Friday, November 15, 2019 – We are very excited to announce that our Edinburgh hit Sea Sick, will receive its London UK premiere at The National Theatre (running April 22 – May 7, 2020). Written and Performed by award-winning science journalist Alanna Mitchell, and directed by Franco Boni and Ravi Jain, Sea Sick is a deeply personal solo performance about the state of the global ocean, inspired by Mitchell’s book of the same name.
“I’ll be fascinated to see what conversations Sea Sick sets off during its run at the National Theatre,” commented writer and performer, Alanna Mitchell. “I think we have the chance, right now, to make a difference in the fate of the planet. And I hope this play, in this place, at this time, will feed into the decisions we have to make.”
Since premiering at The Theatre Centre in 2014 when we first opened the doors to our brand new home, the production has toured extensively throughout Ontario and Canada, and around the world including Luxembourg, Mumbai, Darwin, Sydney, and most recently, Edinburgh. After a hit run at the Edinburgh Fringe, as part of the CanadaHub series, the National Theatre will program Sea Sick for a three-week run.
“Alanna Mitchell’s remarkable one-woman show about the state of the ocean, Sea Sick, opens at the National Theatre this April. Following its sell-out run in Edinburgh earlier this year the production tells the story of the science behind our seas and could not be more important as we all look to find ways to tackle the climate emergency.” ~ Rufus Norris, Artistic Director, The National Theatre.
The National Theatre declared a climate emergency earlier this fall. As part of this declaration, and their commitment to telling resonant stories to galvanise positive change, the National Theatre has said that climate and ecological concerns will be reflected prominently in their future programming.
“This is an amazing opportunity,” commented Aislinn Rose, The Theatre Centre’s Artistic Director. “In 2014, Sea Sick was an incredibly important show, and five years later, with the climate crisis finally becoming more of a mainstream conversation, the show feels vital. Being part of the climate initiative at The National Theatre is incredible, not just for the show, but because it places the work at the centre of a larger, international conversation.
“It’s also important to note that we take our own carbon footprint seriously. While we believe the impact that Alanna is having on live audiences is crucial to sharing the message of this piece, we are working to decrease our own impact on the environment.”
As Sea Sick travels around the world, The Theatre Centre has been working with The Ocean Foundation, and their SeaGrass Grow project, which allows individuals and corporations to calculate the carbon footprint of their travel. The project then plants seagrass, restoring natural ecosystems that take up large amounts of carbon, while providing habitats and crucial food sources to a wide variety of underwater species. The Theatre Centre has begun building carbon offsetting into each touring budget.
Over the last number of years, The Theatre Centre has been putting more of our resources toward supporting artists moving their work beyond a first production. Internationally, they’ve seen a significant interest in the work coming out of the company. Specifically, they’ve had a lot of success over the last two years in Edinburgh with the support of the CanadaHub initiative, with two of the most talked about shows at the 2018 and 2019 festivals, Daughter by Adam Lazarus, and Sea Sick by Alanna Mitchell respectively.
“CanadaHub is an incredible resource for Canadian artists to have their work seen within an international context” commented Rose. “Since 2017 many of these shows have garnered rave reviews, won numerous awards, and have secured successful international tours; we are proud to be part of this initiative and to be contributing to its reputation as a place to find great work by exceptional Canadian artists.”
Director: Franco Boni
Co-director: Ravi Jain
Set and Costume Designer: Shawn Kerwin
Sound Designer: Tim Lindsay
Writer and Performer: Alanna Mitchell
Lighting Designer: Rebecca Picherack
Stage Manager and Touring Lighting Designer: Melissa Joakim
The Theatre Centre
The Theatre Centre (Toronto, Canada) is an internationally recognized live-arts incubator that serves as a research and development hub for the cultural sector. They are a public space, open and accessible to the people of their community, where citizens can imagine, debate, celebrate, protest, unite and be responsible for inventing the future. The Theatre Centre’s mission is to nurture artists, invest in ideas and champion new work and new ways of working.
The National Theatre
At the National, we make world-class theatre that is entertaining, challenging and inspiring. And we make it for everyone. We aim to reach the widest possible audience, to be open, inclusive and diverse, and as national as possible. We stage a broad range of productions in London and tour extensively across the UK. Our international activity puts some of the nation’s leading artists on the world stage, with productions playing on Broadway and touring across the globe. We invest in the future of theatre by developing talent, creating bold new work and building audiences, partnering with a range of theatres and theatre companies.
Alanna Mitchell (Writer and Performer) is an award-winning Canadian author and journalist who writes about science and social trends. Her international best-selling book Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis won the prestigious Grantham Prize for excellence in environmental journalism in 2010. With the help of The Theatre Centre’s artistic director Franco Boni and Why Not Theatre’s founding artistic director Ravi Jain, Mitchell turned Sea Sick into a one-woman non-fiction play that she has performed across Canada and internationally, her first foray into theatre. She has written for the New York Times science section, National Geographic, Canadian Geographic, GQ Magazine India, Maclean’s Magazine, Broadview Magazine, the Globe and Mail Newspaper, the Toronto Star Newspaper and is an award-winning radio documentary-maker for CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks. Her fifth non-fiction book, The Spinning Magnet, about the Earth’s magnetic field, came out last year. She is working on a play with Boni and Jain based on her fourth book, Malignant Metaphor: Confronting Cancer Myths. Its working title: The Interview.
Franco Boni (Director) is the Artistic and Executive Director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver, Canada. Prior to this, he served as Artistic Director of The Theatre Centre in Toronto for sixteen years. Franco has also served as Festival Director of the Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Theatre Festival. He is a recognized cultural innovator, facilitator and community builder with a demonstrated track record of restoring financial stability and artistic credibility to local arts organizations and festivals for over two decades. In 2019, he directed Prophecy Fog by Jani Lauzon at The Theatre Centre. He is the inaugural recipient of the Ken McDougall Award for emerging directors, was awarded the Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award, for outstanding leadership in the development of arts and culture in the City of Toronto, and in 2013 he received the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship in Professional Theatre.
Ravi Jain (Co-Director) is a multi-award-winning artist known for making politically bold and accessible theatrical experiences in both small indie productions and large theatres. As the founding artistic director of Why Not Theatre, Ravi has established himself as an artistic leader for his inventive productions, international producing/collaborations and innovative producing models which are aimed to better support emerging artists to make money from their art. In all of his work, exemplified by projects like A Brimful of Asha and his reimagining of classics like Hamlet and Salt-Water Moon, is Ravi’s passion to inspire Canadians to look at new ways of representing Canada on national and international stages. Currently he is working on a new adaptation of The Mahabharata with the Shaw Festival and a new project with Canadian writer Nicolas Billon on a new play titled CODE, which completed a one week residency at the Barbican Theatre in London, UK. Ravi has been shortlisted for the prestigious Siminovitch Prize (2016 and 2019) and won the 2012 Pauline McGibbon Award for Emerging Director and the 2016 Canada Council John Hirsch Prize for direction. He is a graduate of the two-year program at École Jacques Lecoq.