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Hybrid by Design

Presented by The Theatre Centre

Running May 9-15, Hybrid by Design will feature seven works by artists from The Theatre Centre’s Residency program and a selection of international work curated by Battersea Arts Centre bridging live performance and digital creation in experimental and genre-defying ways. Experience the festival in-person or online — the future of live art is hybrid by design.

Attend artist-hosted workshops, conversations, and activations offered throughout the week as part of The B-Side Series, curated by Sue Balint. You’ll get the chance to engage directly with artists and explore themes relating to their work, practice, and the future of live arts. You can also stop by throughout the week to experience the digital installation Portal by Luis Carlos Barragán and Lorena Torres Loaiza and Stewart Legere’s community writing project Our Raw Material in the gallery.

This is a festival that celebrates process and experimentation, and we invite you to do the same. Each block of time, whether afternoon or evening, has been curated with a series of offerings for you to experience. Some blocks are open to audiences coming and going, while others we recommend you attend in full. We’ll always do our best to let you in at the earliest appropriate moment based on when you arrive. Take a look at the experience notes on each show page to learn more about how you can get the most out of the festival online and IRL.

night one

Untitled design 9

Broken/Sometimes Repaired is a micro-concert inspired by Hanya Yanagihara’s monumental novel “A Little Life”. Residency artist Stewart Legere offers a sparkling tribute to queer resilience, love, and a celebration of the tremendous ripple effect great works of art can have on the little lives of those who encounter them.

salt:dispersed is the filmed performance of Selina Thompson’s award-winning work salt. In salt., Selina Thompson is a passenger on board a commercial container ship taking the route upon which her ancestors were deported from Ghana to Jamaica and then on to Britain. Thompson’s forebears were among several million black men, women and children sold as slaves whose work made Western prosperity possible and served as the foundation of contemporary European economic success. On her own journey, Thompson is confronted with normalised, systemic and casual racism and observes patriarchal power structures within the crew, suggesting that the colonial past is not as distant as she believed it was before embarking.

Starting @ 8 p.m. EST

reserve tickets for night one (in-person)
reserve tickets for night one (online)

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afternoon two

Untitled design 10

The B-Side Series: Process Sharing with Chisato Minamimura
Tattoo X Women is a new sensorial digital performance project which celebrates multinational perspectives, personal histories & authentic accounts of tattoo cultures, exploring the complex relationships between women and the visual mark-making artform of tattoos. Inspired by the Wellcome Collection’s Medicine Man exhibition, Tattoo X Women incorporates kinetic projection, animation, vibrotactile technology and a unique blend of Chisato’s movement style to explore tattoos and their meanings in new ways. This sharing will be an opportunity to show some of the outcomes and findings from an initial artistic development phase, welcoming feedback and questions. This sharing will include an introductory artist talk, a short film excerpt of the performance process so far, and a chance for audience questions.

Starting @ 1 p.m. EST

reserve tickets for afternoon two (in-person)
reserve tickets for afternoon two (online)

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night two

Untitled design 11

Broken/Sometimes Repaired is a micro-concert inspired by Hanya Yanagihara’s monumental novel “A Little Life”. Residency artist Stewart Legere offers a sparkling tribute to queer resilience, love, and a celebration of the tremendous ripple effect great works of art can have on the little lives of those who encounter them.

The wide and curvy cartography of the goddess country, written and performed by afrakaren, offers five short pieces of storytelling with visuals by Jabari Elliot created live in front of an audience. “Carl Jung thought myths were the dreams of a culture; a way to understand the ideas that drive our behaviour,” explains Residency artist Ian Kamau. “These stories of Trinidadian and Greek/Roman female mythological characters were created as a companion to the story of my grandmother and aunts in Loss, the live arts, trans-media project I’ve been developing with The Theatre Centre.”

The B-Side Series: Building Empathy in Online Spaces
It may have been the filmmaker Satyajit Ray who said filmmaking technology will get better, but no matter how great the innovation, its only real worth is measured in its ability to convey a story compellingly & move an audience. This conversation will not focus on the tech, but on the engagement that this new technology supports, exploring how to best increase accessibility, connection, and empathy. With Anand Rajaram, Beth Kates, Sngmoo Lee, Laura Levin, and Debi Wong.

Starting @ 7:30 p.m. EST

reserve tickets for night two (in-person)
reserve tickets for night two (online)

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night three

Untitled design 12

On Minors, Movement, and the Gathering of Data will feature a screening of Nehal El-Hadi and Coco Guzmán’s short film The Observer Effect, followed by a conversation with Yusra Khogali and Siobhan O’Flynn about the Toronto Police Service’s use of surveillance technology, the ethics of surveilling public space, and how expanding the use of these technologies might impact racialized and otherwise marginalized groups.

Grin by Mele Broomes is a masquerade of dance sculptures where body and costume are accompanied by a pulsating sound score subverting hyper-sexualized notions of African and Caribbean dance. Conversation around community building, refusals, friendship and support grounds the development of this dynamic dance production, which both holds and is held by a cohort of friends at its core. With a significant focus on black love and other experiences of interiority, this show is essential in considering how we can build empathy and reconstitute networks of solidarity.

Starting @ 7:30 p.m. EST

reserve tickets for night three (in-person)
reserve tickets for night three (online)

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night four (and six)

2

asses.masses is a video game performance created by Patrick Blenkarn and Milton Lim that follows the epic journey of unemployed asses as they navigate the perils of a post-Industrial society in which they’ve been made redundant. Each night, brave spectators take turns stepping forward from the herd to become the players of a custom-made video game. Cheeky and political, asses.masses puts the control(ler) in its audience’s hands and asks them to explore the space between the work that defines us and the play that frees us. Starting @ 6:30 p.m. EST

reserve tickets for asses.masses on night four (in-person only)
reserve tickets for asses.masses on night six (in-person only)

Terror from Inside the 3rd Dimension! created and directed by HRH Anand Rajaram is an online show using multiple conferencing platforms, integrating augmented reality & virtual reality. Wander across online platforms interacting with live performers who are digital avatars in a time-limited adventure story/escape room video game. The story has been evolving as we develop the structure & is being finalized presently. Using Zoom, Mozilla Hubs, Kumospace, and Gathertown in a seamless way, the audience will move through the various modes of those platforms, with a threading dynamic narrative that is site-specific to each digital space, connected by a larger narrative that unites all the spaces. Due to the nature of this show, tickets are extremely limited. Starting @ 7:30 p.m. EST

reserve tickets for 3rd Dimension! on night four (online only)
reserve tickets for 3rd Dimension! on night six (online only)

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afternoon (and night) five

1

Imaginary Campfires are two short, recorded storytelling performances. They’re partly inspired by Latin American storytelling and Japanese Rakugo, where a single speaker brings all characters and events to life. They also experiment with video art and illustration. The Shining Lake (performed by Monica Garrido) is the life of an immigrant woman translated into a fairy tale. The Likewise Madam Mirror (performed by Polly Phokeev) is a short, horror-tinged story about people’s relationship to their own thoughts. The Shining Lake will be screened in person as a 360° immersive experience — capacity for each screening is limited. The Likewise Madam Mirror will be available to watch digitally for the duration of the festival.

The Observer Effect is an immersive installation by Nehal El-Hadi and Coco Guzmán. The observer effect occurs when the act of observation itself disturbs what is being studied. As we move through the city, it’s inevitable that our movements are tracked and recorded on several different cameras. There are cameras everywhere now, designed to observe, monitor, capture, and survey life in public space, ostensibly for the purposes of crime deterrence and investigation. The cost is not only our privacy but our freedom to simply exist. And what of the information that is collected? Our likenesses, movements, moods, and emotions are transformed into data, and the long-term implications and applications of this are unknown.

book an afternoon screening between 12-5pm (in-person only)
book an evening screening between 5-9pm (in-person only)

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night five

The B-Side Series: Is it my turn to play?
From arcades of the 80s, to LAN parties, to classic couch co-op games, to Let’s Play videos on Youtube, and the growth of Twitch streams, the landscape of video games has been and continues to be a social space mixing various kinds of performance, labour, play, and spectatorship. Extending from some of the provocations in the show asses.masses, co-creators Milton Lim and Patrick Blenkarn meet with Dr. Kristopher Alexander of Toronto Metropolitan University to discuss how video game cultures have historically produced certain forms of social gathering, where things are at now, and what it means for play of the future. Starting @ 7:30 p.m. EST

reserve tickets for night five (online only)

The B-Side Series: Why the fuck is this Taking so Long? (Nobody’s Okay)
Shakespeare wrote King Lear during quarantine dontcha know? Well good on ya Shakes, this isn’t a conversation about that. Join a casual (intimate? frank?… primal??) discussion over drinks in the cafe, with Aislinn Rose (The Theatre Centre), Tarek Iskander (Battersea Arts Centre), Ian Kamau (Residency artist), and Adrienne Wong (FOLDA) about the push to digital, community burnout, and the future of live art (and the people who try to make it happen). Starting @ 8:30 p.m. EST

reserve tickets for night five (in-person only)

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afternoon six

The B-Side Series: Workshop with Liselle Terret (aka Doris La Trine): Inclusive Devised Theatre Practice
This workshop is two-fold. Liselle Terret will share insights into the development of her solo performance practice ‘Doris La Trine’s Flushed’ and in doing so will reveal how this journey led to her developing an inclusive artistic practice that centres on an ethic of care, framed within Kafer’s Political-Relational Model of Disability (2013) which she uses as a devising-framework for working with others. This workshop aims to be inclusive, participative and led by care and disruption. Participants will have the opportunity to try out some of Liselle’s evolving creative practice as a way of creating their own material.

Starting @ 1 p.m. EST

reserve tickets for afternoon six (in-person)

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afternoon seven

3

100% Analog is a discussion about 12 Letters from Your Lover, Lost at Sea, a theatre-by-mail experience written by Hannah Kaya and Thomas McKechnie. Audience members received 12 letters and postcards written by a mysterious hitchhiker named Z. It’s a story of ghosts, Nazis, love, and the Torrington Gopher Museum. We invite people who experienced the play, or those curious about it, to join together in a long table conversation about the work, doing theatre during COVID, and challenging definitions of what constitutes a play. Starting @ 1 p.m. EST

The B-Side Series: On Devising, Rehearsing and Performing: Creating an ethic of care & disruption
In this presentation Liselle Terret will be asking: How can we disrupt the mainstream-conventional-rehearsal / devising process through a feminist, Crip and queer framework in order to create accessible and inclusive performance approaches that ultimately seduce and implicate audiences in active re-considerations of their own lives? How can theatre-making processes be deployed to enable, include, champion and celebrate the creativity of neuro-diverse and learning-disabled artists? Starting @ 3:30 p.m. EST

reserve tickets for afternoon seven (in-person)
reserve tickets for afternoon seven (online)

ASL will be available for most performances. The Theatre Centre is a physically accessible venue with barrier-free washrooms on each floor and a lift for public use.
Need help planning your visit? Email us!

Credits

From May 9, 2022
to May 15, 2022

Tickets are FREE — donations happily accepted.

Venue

Franco Boni Theatre, Cafe, online

Performance Dates

Broken/Sometimes Repaired
Monday, May 9 – ONLINE
Monday, May 9 – IRL
Tuesday, May 10 – ONLINE
Tuesday, May 10 – IRL 

salt:dispersed
Monday, May 9 – ONLINE
Monday, May 9 – IRL

The B-Side Series: Process Sharing with Chisato Minamimura
Tuesday, May 10 – ONLINE
Tuesday, May 10 – IRL

The wide and curvy cartography of the goddess country
Tuesday, May 10 – ONLINE
Tuesday, May 10 – IRL

The B-Side Series: Building Empathy in Online Spaces
Tuesday, May 10 – ONLINE
Tuesday, May 10 – IRL
Grin
Wednesday, May 11 – ONLINE
Wednesday, May 11 – IRL 

On Minors, Movement, and the Gathering of Data
Wednesday, May 11 – ONLINE
Wednesday, May 11 – IRL 

Imaginary Campfires* + The Observer Effect
Friday, May 13 @ 12 p.m. – IRL
Friday, May 13 @ 5 p.m. – IRL 

asses.masses
Thursday, May 12 – IRL
Saturday, May 14 – IRL

Terror From Inside the 3rd Dimension!
Thursday, May 12 – ONLINE
Saturday, May 14 – ONLINE

The B-Side Series: Is it my turn to play?
Friday, May 13 – ONLINE

The B-Side Series: Why the fuck is this Taking so Long? (Nobody’s Okay)
Friday, May 13 – IRL

The B-Side Series: Workshop with Liselle Terret (aka Doris La Trine): Inclusive Devised Theatre Practice
Saturday, May 14 – IRL
100% Analog: Longtable
Sunday, May 15 – IRL
Sunday, May 15 – ONLINE

The B-Side Series: On Devising, Rehearsing and Performing: Creating an ethic of care & disruption
Sunday, May 15 – IRL
Sunday, May 15 – ONLINE

Imaginary Campfire‘s The Likewise Madame Mirror will be available to watch on our site for the duration of the festival.

Did you miss a show? Email
ondemand@theatrecentre.org each day to get links to the previous day’s live streams.

The Likewise Madam Mirror
May 9, 2022
The Likewise Madam Mirror (performed by Polly Phokeev) is a short, horror-tinged story about people’s relationship to their own thoughts.
Announcing Hybrid by Design
April 7, 2022
A participatory video game performance, a live augmented reality escape room, immersive short films, a tiny concert inspired by a giant book… Experience the festival for free online or IRL at The Theatre Centre May 9-15, 2022. The future of live art is hybrid by design.
what’s on(line) + milton and patrick sent a show to argentina
April 16, 2021
Here's a rundown of what's in this month's issue: Milton Lim and Patrick Blenkarn reflect on the process of sending their video game to a festival in Argentina; Peggy Baker is winding down her company after 30+ years; Secret Life of a Mother is being published and you can pre-order your copy right now. In Learning, Unlearning, we shared be water, an art project from two anonymous artists collecting memories of their Hong Kong.

 

 

Hybrid by Design is made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Now Fund, and the Department of Heritage Canada Arts Presentation Fund.