Canadian Stage Company
The Canadian Stage Company was founded in 1988 through the merger of CentreStage and Toronto Free Theatre. The merger came out of complementary ideologies as well as practical advantages: it seemed an ideal marriage because of the flexibility of venues that the new company would offer, not to mention the increased human and financial resources available to each. For the 1987-1988 season, two separate programs were mounted under the banner Toronto Free Theatre/CentreStage Company. The following year (88-89), the first cohesive season premiered under the new name The Canadian Stage Company. The Canadian Stage Company officially came into existence in March of 1988 with its production of B-Movie, The Play written by Tom Wood and directed by Bob Baker. With the merger, the company’s combined budget rose to $6 million, an unheard of figure for a Canadian company, other than the Stratford and Shaw Festivals. The first season featured thirteen productions, including seven by Canadian playwrights, such as Yesteryear by Joanna Glass and 1949 by David French. In 1990, Bob Baker was appointed Artistic Director and molded the future of the company by establishing a formal mandate. In 1992, Martin Bragg was appointed General Manager and was promoted to Artistic Producer when Bob Baker stepped down in 1998. As Artistic Producer, Mr. Bragg shifted the company’s mandate to the current contemporary focus, and opened the doors to artists, encouraging them to look upon The Canadian Stage Company as their creative home. In 2007-2008, Canadian Stage celebrated its 20th Anniversary. In July of 2009, Matthew Jocelyn became Artistic & General Director; in March 2010, he unveiled a new company mandate along with the 2010-2011 season, which marks his first season programmed for the company as well as his directorial debut with Canadian Stage.
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Dream in High Park Festival
This application is for the “Dream in High Park Festival” taking place May 6 to October 1, 2021 in the Canadian Stage amphitheater in High Park. CS will replace their Shakespeare in High Park programming with a restored and expanded outdoor Festival, beginning with a small scale pilot program in the spring of 2021. A decision has been made by the organization that the emphasis on a single classical playwright is out of step with their mandate, and that they have a responsibility to amplify Indigenous and BIPOC voices in the arts community and embrace a more diverse cultural experience for its patrons. The organization’s programmatic and operational approach will be evolving in an effort to showcase a diverse range of creative voices. The Dream in High Park Festival will be a first step in that direction. Programming will include: (1) “Dream Festival Launch Events” (May): community celebration opening performances and events including the launch of the “Music Night” with various music partners; (2) “Blackout” (30 performances beginning in May and into June): a new Canadian musical, inspired by the infamous 2003 Toronto blackout, produced in partnership with Musical Stage Company (MSC); (3)“RETOLD” (nine performances in June): an "triptych" of 30-minute performances; (4) “Daytime School and Family Programming” (June): performances, workshops and activities for kids children and youth (details tbd); (5) “Satellite Presentations for June Festivals”: CS is working with numerous prospective June festivals interested in leveraging Dream 2021 and the large and entry-controlled outdoor amphitheatre for satellite programming for their 2021 festival activities (details tbd); (6) “Canada Day Events” (July 1 to 4): Indigenous storytelling and placemaking for all ages and music performances in partnership with indoor Toronto music venues; (7) “Indigenous Performing Arts” (July): a series of traditional and contemporary music, dance, theatre, storytelling, curated by and created by indigenous artists. CS is commissioning a large-scale work by Indigenous creators that will become an anchor program and have aimed to have a workshop or sneak peak presentation in August; (8) “Music Takeover” (July): a consortium of Toronto music venues and producers will work with CS in a branded “music takeover” of the amphitheatre, with each partner programming two to four evenings (details tbd); (9) “Performing Arts Takeover” (August): professional performing arts organizations and cultural festivals will work with CS, with each partner programming two to three evenings (details tbd); (10) “Community-Driven High Park / Parkdale Festival” (August): a five-day long series of programming showcasing the creativity and diversity of the local neighborhood; (11) “Shakespeare Remix Weekend” (August): a special weekend in honor of the playwright, including family-focused daytime programming and evening performances by established performers interpreting the works of Shakespeare in solos and duets, complemented by music; (12) “Is My Microphone On?” (August-September): a new play by Jordan Tannahill inspired by the speeches of Greta Thunberg; and (13) “Dance in High Park” (September-October) three to four consecutive weeks of dance presentations and programming. Partnership are being established with emerging dance organizations in Toronto and Southern Ontario.