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we made it, thanks to you.

December 23, 2021
Featuring (L-R): Rimah Jabr, Brandon Ash-Mohammed, Lorena Torres Loaiza, Alanna Mitchell

2021 was another year for the books. The doors remained closed to the public for much of the year, but there was a flurry of activity happening behind the scenes. It’s been a privilege to continue to work with and support the many artists who have made The Theatre Centre their home to create during this time.

This year we finally welcomed you back into the theatre! We were overjoyed to be able to open our doors to you for the first time since March 2020 for Comedy is Art. The five-day festival was the perfect way to reconnect, and we look forward to seeing you again IRL in the new year.

Thanks to everyone—donors, audience, artists, community members, and neighbours—who stood by us through the ups and downs this year. We couldn’t have done this without you.

Here are some of the things you helped us accomplish this year.

JANUARY: In the first of a series of commissioned writings, Syrus Marcus Ware penned Touch Change, his call to action as we entered a new year.

FEBRUARY: The building may have been closed, but Residency artists were hard at work. Ian Kamau created Non Essential, commissioned by TO Live for the National Arts Centre; Brandon Ash-Mohammed graced our screens as The Weeknd on This Hour has 22 Minutes; and Prince Amponsah was featured in episode 5 of Obsidian’s Theatre’s anthology series 21 Black Futures.

MARCH: Explorations artist Thomas McKechnie guided us through a ritual, Worm Moon. We gathered on Zoom to make worm composters to, in his own words, “feed the worms the rotten garbage of ourselves and our world: shame, fear, inadequacy, white supremacist colonial capitalism, prisons, police, unnecessary remakes of childhood classics, everything”. We were also a proud supporter of The Disability Collective’s first-ever fundraiser ART IS MOVEMENT: A Virtual Showcase and Fundraiser.

APRIL: We sat down with Explorations artists Patrick Blenkarn and Milton Lim to learn more about the development of their video game performance, asses.masses and what it was like to tour a game file to Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires.

MAY: Over four days in May, we held the first Residency showing of 2021. Artists from Residency, Explorations, and Finishing shared their ideas and creations—your participation in the discussion was a vital part of the process. In case you missed it, we did a quick recap.

JUNE: Staff were busy behind the scenes making plans for upcoming artist activities both in the building and abroad (!) The quiet hum of work allowed us to enjoy the sunshine and tag team for some much-needed rest and relaxation.

JULY: On July 1, Métis student Sam Howden shared their thoughts, encouraging all to speak the truth about the lands we call home in O Kanata! Resurgence, Revitalization, and Restorying the Myth of the True North.

AUGUST: Explorations artist Lorena Torres Loaiza took over the entire upper floor of The Theatre Centre with her life-sized, 3D, immersive comic installation Pandora in the Box. It was one of the largest experiments we’ve ever hosted in the building, and it was thrilling to see it come to life.

SEPTEMBER: Patrick Blenkarn, Milton Lim, and their team spent some time experimenting and conducting video game research with volunteer players for asses.masses in the building. Finishing artist Victoria Mata returned to the building to work on more choreography and create a San Juan Altar for Cacao: A Venezuelan Lament. We hosted three days of Residency showings on Zoom, full of deeply personal work and reflections from the artists. Thank you for your questions, responses, and presence—the community connection was just what we needed.

OCTOBER: After 18 months of work, we launched a brand new website. We welcomed audiences back with Comedy is Art, a week-long festival featuring some of Toronto’s best comedians. We couldn’t think of a better way to reunite than a week full of laughter. Alanna Mitchell’s acclaimed climate show Sea Sick, launched the first leg of its international tour with stops in Scotland, the UK, and Ireland. The team was in Glasgow at the same time as COP26, and Alanna was invited to speak on a panel for a COP26 event organized by the Canadian High Commission.

NOVEMBER: Former Explorations artists Neema Bickersteth and Nikki Shaffeeullah continued the development of their project in the Incubator. Residency artist Rimah Jabr and her team were working in The Franco Boni Theatre to bring Broken Shapes to life. The Residency period saw sound, lighting, video, and the actors come together for the first time.

DECEMBER: This month has been an intense working period in the building for artists in Residency. Stewart Legere flew in from Halifax and spent time working in the café. Ian Kamau worked on some major development pieces with Aislinn Rose in the Incubator. Jennifer Tarver brought her collaborators together for the first time in the Franco Boni Theatre. There’ll be more to look forward to in 2022. See you online and in person!

thanks for spending 2021 with us. we appreciate your support in all its forms. happy holidays—see you next year!

what's coming up in 2022?

Get the highlights straight from artistic director Aislinn Rose and associate artistic director Liza Paul.