Why Not Theatre
Founded in 2009 and incorporated in 2013, Why Not Theatre is an international theatre company based in Toronto. Their work is provocative, inventive, cross-cultural, and reflects a passion for the exploration of difference. They are led by a core team of Founding Artistic Director Ravi Jain, Managing Director Owais Lightwala, and Executive Producer Kelly Read. Over the last 10 years they have developed over 13 productions, 14 co-productions and had over 65 tour stops in 21 cities across the world. Some of the company’s recent productions include “Prince Hamlet”; “A Brimful of Asha”; “Like Mother, Like Daughter”; “Iceland, Greenland and Faroe Islands”; “Butcher” (with Mirvish); and “Gimme Shelter”. Some recent collaborations are “Mouthpiece” (Quote Unquote Collective); “Salt-Water Moon” (Factory Theatre); “4 ½” (ig)noble truths (zeitpunktheatre); “Concord Floral” (suburban beast); “Out of the Woods” (Sidemart Theatrical Grocery); and “Late Company” (surface/underground theatre).
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This funding is for the marketing of “Mahabharata” taking place at the Shaw Festival’s 860-seat theatre in Niagara on the Lake August 15 to September 19, 2020. Presented in partnership with the Shaw Festival, the play is a contemporary take on a 4,000 year old Sanskrit epic that is foundational to Indian culture. The adaptation will be led by Why Not’s founding Artistic Director, Ravi Jain, a Toronto-based multi-award-winning artist. The Mahabharata’s cast features 12 actors and six musicians all from the South Asian diaspora, from across Canada, USA, Australia, UK and India and will span over seven hours and include two separate large scale theatrical presentations that are bridged by a community meal with South Asian community elders in a separate venue. The play is presented in two parts with a community meal in a separate venue on most days: August 15, 21, 22, 28, 29 and September 2, 4, 6, 11, 12, 17, 19. There will be eight other days that will only feature parts one or two. The project began with a major $375,000 investment from the Canada Council for the Arts, through their New Chapter grant, which supported 200 ambitious, large-scale projects across the country. Why not has also secured a $225,000 contribution from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund. Both amounts are the largest amount given out in the respective program, which speaks to the scale and impact of this production. Why Not has already been in conversation with theatres in London, Sydney and New York to talk about the potential of a world tour
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