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Progress Festival 2020

Progress 2020 Lineup

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.

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)

The Marble in the Basement January 30—February 1, 2020Canada / Conceived and Performed by Hazel Meyer / Curated and presented by FADO Performance Art Centre

Café Sarajevo January 30–February 2, 2020Canada/USA / Created and Performed by Mariel Marshall, Peter Musante, Lucy Simic and Stephen O’Connell / Curated and presented by SummerWorks Performance Festival

Screen:Moves February 3, 2020 / Canada/various / Presented in partnership with Dancemakers Centre for Creation / Curated and presented by RT Collective

Affioramenti (Surfacing) February 5–9, 2020 / Italy / Created by Antonella Bersani with the collaboration of Matteo Pennese / Curated by DopoLavoro Teatrale / Presented by DopoLavoro Teatrale and Istituto Italiano di Cultura / A Curatorial Project of Daniele Bartolini

This World Made Itself & Infinitely Yours February 6—7, 2020 / USA / Created and Performed by Miwa Matreyek / Curated and presented by Broadleaf Theatre

Cuckoo February 7—9, 2020 / Belgium / Created and Performed by Jaha Koo / Produced by Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek / Curated and presented by The Theatre Centre

Working Class Dinner Party February 11, 2020 / United Kingdom / Produced by Scottee and Friends / Curated and presented by The Theatre Centre

How I Learned To Serve Tea February 12 & 15, 2019 / Canada/Afghanistan / Created and facilitated by Shaista Latif in association with The Koffler Centre of the Arts and Why Not Theatre / Curated and presented by Why Not Theatre

Class February 13—15, 2020 / United Kingdom / Directed by Sam Curtis Lindsay / Curated and presented by The Theatre Centre

Certified February 13—15, 2020 / Canada / Written and Performed by Jan Derbyshire / Curated and presented by Why Not Theatre

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


The Marble in the Basement

Conceived and performed by Hazel Meyer 
Curated and presented by FADO Performance Art Centre

January 30—February 1, 2020
BMO Incubator for Live Arts
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 50 mins.

“In 2016, I was gifted a ton of Joyce Wieland’s marble scraps. A few pieces of it are here with us today.”

What gets stored in a shoebox? Deposited into an archive? Shoved into a corner? Catalogued as important? Fever pitched towards a garbage can? Literally and figuratively centered on a pile of marble scraps that once belonged to Joyce Wieland, Meyer’s The Marble in the Basement untangles issues of power, memory and inheritance by anthropomorphizing a forgotten object from this influential Canadian artist’s domestic archive.

Surrounded by Meyer’s chosen family of objects which include a moveable staircase, an insulated football cape, a hooked rug and a hole the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, Wieland’s marble is the anchor and next of kin, orchestrating the choreography that unfolds.

The Marble in the Basement is a part of The Weight of Inheritance, Meyer’s multi-year research project funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, that looks to the legacy of Canadian artist and experimental filmmaker Joyce Wieland to work across questions of inheritance. Asking how a notable and supported figure like Wieland, can direct us to lesser-supported histories of art, land, representation and care.

“With a mixture of tenderness, fannish enthusiasm and a keen sense for the absurdities that shape which histories are told, Meyer’s performance invites us to help bear the weight of feminist lives lived and lost.”
—Gabrielle Moser


Café Sarajevo

Created and Performed by Mariel Marshall, Peter Musante, Lucy Simic and Stephen O’Connell
Curated and Presented by SummerWorks Performance Festival

January 30–February 2, 2020
Franco Boni Theatre
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 90 mins.

An immersive theatrical experience exploring the borders that divide and unite us, within the framework of a live podcast.

Café Sarajevo follows protagonist, Lucy Simic, as she travels to her father’s birthplace, Bosnia. Along the way, we explore divided cities and the notion of “human nature”, asking the question: what causes a nation to divide, and begin to hate the very people and culture that it used to see as its own?

With story, dance, game, music and 360° video, and perhaps most significantly, by casting audience-participants as characters in the story, internationally-acclaimed performance makers bluemouth inc., create a fast-paced, intimate and thoughtful exploration about nationalism, racial bias and war tourism.

A workshop version of Café Sarajevo was presented to sold-out houses at the 2018 SummerWorks Lab, where it received honourable mention for the Buddies In Bad Times Vanguard Award for Risk and Innovation. SummerWorks is thrilled to present the North American premiere for Toronto audiences.

“The richest, fullest theatre experience I’ve ever had.”
– Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com on Dance Marathon by bluemouth inc.

“Immersing myself in the fascinating full-evening experience of It Comes in Waves, I realize just how much I’ve missed bluemouth inc. Nobody comes close to doing what they do.”
– Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine on It Comes in Waves by bluemouth inc.

Created and Performed by Mariel Marshall, Peter Musante, Lucy Simic and Stephen O’Connell
Creative Technologist: Jacob Niedzwiecki
Lighting Designer: Patrick Lavender

With support from the High Commission of Canada in Singapore, Canada Council of the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.


Screen:Moves

Presented in partnership with Dancemakers Centre for Creation, with the support of the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council
Curated and presented by RT Collective Toronto

February 3, 2020
Franco Boni Theatre
Tickets Pay-what-you-can-afford at the door / no advance sales | 416-538-0988
Duration: 90 mins.

Screen:Moves is a program of original short dance film and video created by artists from Canada and around the world. The program includes narrative, experimental, comedic, and animated works, and features a wide range of dance styles and traditions.

Artists are curated for Screen:Moves following a call for submissions, and will be announced in January 2020.


Affioramenti (Surfacing)

Created by Antonella Bersani with the collaboration of Matteo Pennese
Presented by DopoLavoro Teatrale and Istituto Italiano di Cultura
Curated by DopoLavoro Teatrale 

February 5–9, 2020
BMO Incubator for Live Arts
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 30 mins.

Acclaimed visual artist Antonella Bersani builds an immersive environment with the help of the audience.

The Affioramenti experience is designed for 6 participants at a time, who have one-on-one moments of creation and interaction with each other. The space contains objects that appear to have emerged from the sea at low tide — a story to be completed.

Each participant is invited to bring an object of significance to their life and place it within the space. They will then offer to the room both their object and a vocal expression related to the object they place. The expression can be a story, a whisper, a song, or just a breath.

Participants will be prompted to actively listen to the other participants, while maintaining an atmospheric sound dynamic that is as quiet (pianissimo) as possible.

Thus, a choir will be created. The audience will hear the sounds, sometimes disjointed and sometimes not, emerging from a “world of ghosted objects”.

Created by Antonella Bersani with the collaboration of Matteo Pennese
Space creation and design: Antonella Bersani
Choir and sound concept: Matteo Pennese
Producer Thomas: L. Mallon


This World Made Itself & Infinitely Yours

Created and performed by Miwa Matreyek
Curated and Presented by Broadleaf Theatre 

February 6—7, 2020
Franco Boni Theatre
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 60 mins.

This World Made Itself is a multimedia live performance work combining projected animation and the artist’s own shadow silhouette, as she interacts with the fantastical world of the video, merging film and theater to create a unique spectacle. This World Made Itself is a visually and musically rich journey through the history of the earth, from the universe’s epic beginnings to the complex world of humanity. The piece is at once semi-scientific (like flipping through a children’s encyclopedia), emotional, surreal, and dream-like.

Infinitely Yours is an emotional, dream-like meditation on climate catastrophe and the Anthropocene – the proposed current era where human influence has affected almost all realms of earth’s natural systems. Miwa’s shadow traverses macro and micro scales, as her silhouette shape-shifts to experience the world from various perspectives. An earth overflowing with trash. A person drowning in a plastic-filled ocean. A school of fish caught in a trawling net. The work will be an emotionally impactful, embodied illustration of news headlines we see every day, the complex harm humanity causes to the world, and what it might mean for all of us; humanity, as well as other life, and the earth itself, to be living in this changing world.

“Matreyek’s work is an enchanting blend of animation and live performance; one of the few digital artists who is able to keep a strong element of human presence in her work.”
– Venu

This World Made Itself
Created and performed by Miwa Matreyek
Music by Steve Ellison (Flying Lotus), Mileece, and Careful (aka Eric Lindley)
Made with Support from Creative Capital and Princess Grace Foundation Special Projects Grant

Infinitely Yours
Created and performed by Miwa Matreyek
Music: Composed, recorded and performed by Morgan Sorne
Made with Support from Princess Grace Foundation Special Projects Grant


Cuckoo

Produced by Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek
Curated and presented by The Theatre Centre

February 7—9, 2020
Franco Boni Theatre
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 60 mins.

A journey through the last 20 years of Korean history told by a bunch of talkative rice cookers.

One day when his electric rice cooker informed him that his meal was ready, Jaha Koo experienced a deep sense of isolation. ‘Golibmuwon’
(고립무원) is an untranslatable Korean word expressing the feeling of helpless isolation that characterizes the lives of many young people in Korea today.

Twenty years ago there was a major economic crisis in South Korea, comparable to the financial crash in the United States and Southern Europe in 2008. This crisis had a huge impact on the young generation to which South Korean artist Jaha Koo belongs. He witnessed many endemic problems including youth unemployment and socio-economic inequality. Rising suicide rates, isolation, acute social withdrawal and a fixation on personal appearance are but a few of the symptoms.

In bittersweet and humorous dialogues, Jaha and his clever rice cookers take you on a journey through the last 20 years of Korean history, combining personal experience with political events and reflections on happiness, economic crises and death.

“Cuckoo feels like a peculiar kind of dream, a communication from your subconscious, offering some truth you’ll never be able to translate into words.”
– Henry Gleaden, Exeunt Magazine

“A week later, I’m still haunted by the show‚ its sounds and images.”
– Dorothy Max Prior, totaltheatre.org.uk


Working Class Dinner Party

Produced by Scottee and Friends
Curated and presented by The Theatre Centre

February 11, 2020
BMO Incubator for Live Arts
Tickets $10 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 90 mins.

You are invited to dinner with Scottee in which he and our guests will talk about the C-word… class!

Scottee grew up and lived in social housing for 31 of the 33 years he has been alive. His dad is a roofer, his mum works for the council, Scottee now works in the arts and so middle-class people keep telling him he can’t be working class anymore.

Scottee wants you to join him for chats around the dinner table we’re not meant to have as we unpick who creates the definitions of class identity and why learning how to be posh in an art world gets you places – you can also sit on your hands and watch the conversation.

Part show, part discussion, and at some point, take away will arrive to feed us all!


How I Learned to Serve Tea

Created and facilitated by Shaista Latif
Curated and presented by Why Not Theatre

February 12 & 15, 2019
Franco Boni Theatre
Tickets Pay-what-you-can-afford $10 / $20 / $30 | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 120 mins.

“Assessing the language of invitation and hosting, and how it translates into action is how I learned to serve tea. A hyphenated existence, my life is my work, my work is my life. Some people can categorize and separate but those of us who are marginalized can’t afford to do so. Sometimes I wonder if our work has had to evolve into critical interrogation out of necessity? If we lived in a decolonized world what would we be making? Who would we be serving? I think we are all capable and deserving of knowing and living ourselves into these answers. This workshop invites participants to reflect and confront on who gets to have a seat at the table.”
– Shaista Latif

“[Shaista] held such complexity for a group of strangers with unique and layered experiences…entirely impressive.”
– Cara Gold, Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre

How I Learned to Serve Tea is created and facilitated by Shaista Latif
in association with The Koffler Centre of the Arts and Why Not Theatre.


Class

Produced by Scottee and Friends
Curated and presented by The Theatre Centre

February 13—15, 2020
Franco Boni Theatre
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 60 mins.

Scottee grew up around mould, mice and second-hand clothes. After a chance meeting with some posh kids, his Mum teaching him to talk proper and him successfully persuading his parents to take him off free school meals Scottee knew he didn’t want to be working class.

Scottee uncovers what it is to be embarrassed about where you’re from, how you can pretend to be richer than you are and explores why we all get a thrill from watching how the other half live.

This is a show for the middle class, those who didn’t grow up in poverty.

Class isn’t a show for those processing issues around domestic violence, food addiction and the effects of growing up in poverty.

★★★★★ “A brilliant, angry, damaged, brutal, savagely funny reflection on what it means growing up working-class”
– Attitude

★★★★ “Scottee creates theatres of discomfort… If you’re middle class, you might prefer to avoid a situation in which you’ll be caricatured, patronised or judged; not everyone, of course, has that luxury.”
– The Scotsman

Directed by Sam Curtis Lindsay
Lighting Design: Marty Langthorne
Set Design: Katherina Radeva
Sound Design: Stuart Bowditch
Production Manager: Helen Mugridge
Executive Producer: Molly Nicholson
Assistant Producer: Roxanne Carney
Associate Director: Matty May
Class is commissioned by HOME, Gulbenkian and ACCA
Scottee & Friends Ltd is supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation


Certified

Written and Performed by Jan Derbyshire
Curated and presented by Why Not Theatre

February 13—15, 2020
BMO Incubator for Live Arts
Tickets $25 (plus service charges) | 416-538-0988 | Purchase Online
Duration: 70 mins.

Jan Derbyshire’s Certified is a hilarious and heart-aching journey through the mental health system. With refreshing humour, this memoir-play cracks open the stigma around mental health and waits for your response.

Comedian and certified insane person Jan Derbyshire turns the audience into a mental health review board to help determine her current state of sanity. Through this fiercely funny one-woman show, Jan tells you all about her experience being certified a total of eight times, and how she got to where she is today. Join the irreverent fun of Jan’s journey through the mental health system and grapple with hefty questions like: how do we define “crazy” and who gets to decide? In this case: you do.


The 2020 Progress curators are SummerWorks Performance Festival, The Theatre Centre, Broadleaf TheatreDopoLavoro TeatraleFADO Performance Art CentreRT Collective, and Why Not Theatre