Event Category: Performance

East Van Panto: Wizard of Oz

An actor dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, wearing a striped dress, red belt, braids and an orange handbag over one arm

Poor Dorothy! When a pipeline bursts, Dorothy and Toto are flung to the magical Land of Oz, aka Nanaimo and Hastings. There, Dorothy is pursued by a Wicked Witch, meets a trio of new friends, and embarks on a magical journey to the World’s Greenest City in search of brains, heart, courage … and Yoga Pants!

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Recommended for a general audience. As an advisory to adults who might bring young people, The Cultch recommends East Van Panto: Wizard of Oz for ages 5 and up. All persons entering the theatre, regardless of age, must have a ticket.

PREP for Inclusive Process & Performance

A person in muted green with their hand on the back of another person wearing pale pink, connected by a beige strap around their waists. They are blurred as if in motion.

Performers of all ages, bodies and histories. Hosted by AcrossOceans Arts.

PREP for inclusive process and performance with these leading innovative artists who continue to achieve excellence in arts that embrace the magic of diversity, despite attitudes and environments that attempt to limit them to the margins.

Nov 25: 4-7 PM:
SYRUS MARCUS WARE animating an Activist Sewing Circle (description below)syrusmarcusware.com

Dec 9: 4-7 PM:
ALEX BULMER on speaking, hearing, communicating with different voices (description below) http://www.alexbulmer.co.uk/teaching

Dec 9: 7:30-8:30 PM:
PERFORM: informal sharing of short performances, experiments, ideas (after Alex’s class). Propose to perform (details below) > info@acrossoceans.org

Admission Free
pre-register to guarantee a spot > info@acrossceans.org < Send Proposal to Perform (details below) to info@acrossoceans.org

PREP for Inclusive Process & Performance on Facebook

MORE Below
for all performers and interested people

NOV 25: Our Activist Sewing Circle

Join artist and activist SYRUS MARCUS WARE exploring activist aesthetics through the creation of a series of textile banners themed around disability justice & the movement for black lives.

Discuss processes for creating activist inspired art practices while creating a series of new collaborative works that will be donated to the movement for use in direct action.

Inspired by the Toni Cade Bambara quote about the role of the cultural worker from marginalized groups to make revolution irresistible, we will create beautiful textile pieces that address disability arts large scale.

For people of all ages, abilities and histories.

DEC 9: Speaking, Hearing & Communicating with different voices

ALEX BULMER will share her expertise in text & voice coaching and her experiences in how she has managed her creative life & career in the precarious world of performing arts.

Vocalizers of all forms are invited to attend including performers who speak through audio devices.

Bring a monologue, poem, text to a popular or children’s song you know well. We will explore how to express meaning and expression that is within the words and sounds, how we listen & receive a speech, ways to give feedback in groups & rehearsal environments, & discuss a life in the arts.

Dec 9: PERFORM > short, in-progress, new ideas of on inclusive performance > 7:30-8:30 after Alex’s class.

To PROPOSE: tell us about yourself, description & length of the work, people in it > info@acrossoceans.org

About the Artists

Alex Bulmer
Award-winning writer, director, performer, teacher, Alex divides her time working in Canada & Europe. Alex is co-Artistic Director of Common Boots Theatre in Toronto, Artistic Director of Invisible Flash UK, Artistic Director of Toronto’s Cripping The Stage, & co-founder of Picasso Project, a ground-breaking disability arts initiative.

Alex applies her knowledge & sensitivities to coach performers with all voices. She has taught at The Central School of Speech & Drama London UK, The National Theatre School of Canada, George Brown College, & Ryerson University.

In 2014, Alex was named one of the most influential disabled artists by UK’s Power Magazine. She recently shared a best actress award with co-lead Margot Carghill at the 2017 Moscow International Disability Film Festival for her performance in Awake. Alex was a UK Aria Prize finalist for her 2017 song driven radio feature Sounds Like She, & writer of the stage play SMUDGE, which earned two Best New Play nominations in Canada, & Time Out Magazine’s Critics Choice during its UK premiere.

Companies she has worked with include The Royal Court Theatre UK, Graeae (UK’s leading disabled-led theatre company) Buddies In Bad Times, The National Arts Centre of Canada, The Boy Choir of Lesbos, London 2012 Olympics, Toronto Drag Kings, BBC radio (winning an AMI award for her adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Common Boots Theatre & Channel 4 series Cast Offs (nominated for BAFTA & Royal Television Society Awards).

Syrus Marcus Ware
Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator & educator, Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks & black activist culture. His work has been shown widely, including at the Art Gallery of Ontario, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Art Gallery of York University, Art Gallery of Windsor & the curated content at Nuit Blanche 2017 (The Stolen People; Wont Back Down). Performance works have been in festivals across Canada, including Cripping The Stage (Harbourfront Centre, 2016), Complex Social Change (University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, 2015) and Decolonizing and Decriminalizing Trans Genres (University of Winnipeg, 2015).

Syrus is part of the PDA (Performance Disability Art) Collective, co-programmed Crip Your World: An Intergalactic Queer/POC Sick & Disabled Extravaganza at Mayworks 2014. He is part of the Black Triangle Arts Collective (BTAC), a visual arts collective dedicated to exploring disability, racial & economic justice. Syrus’ recent curatorial projects include That’s So Gay: On the Edge, TSG: Fall to Pieces, TSG: Come Together (Gladstone Hotel, 2016, 2015 & 2014), Re:Purpose (Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2014), The Church Street Mural Project (Church-Wellesley Village, 2013). He is also co-curator of The Cycle, a two-year disability arts performance initiative of the National Arts Centre.

Syrus is a facilitator/designer at The Banff Centre & for 12 years Coordinator of Youth Programs at the Art Gallery of Ontario Youth. He was the inaugural Daniel’s Spectrum Artist-in-Residence (2016/17). He is a member of Black Lives Matter-Toronto & Blackness Yes!/Blockorama. Honours include the TD Diversity Award (2017), “Best Queer Activist” NOW Magazine (2005) & the Steinert & Ferreiro Award for LGBT community leadership & activism (2012). Syrus is working on a PhD at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies.

ACROSS OCEANS ARTS has been producing platforms to deepen open & inclusive expression through the arts & humanities for over 25 years. PREP Master Classes & Perform platforms are facilitated by Maxine Heppner & MIchelle Silagy. Pilot Research leading to PREP has been supported by the City of Toronto through the TORONTO ARTS COUNCIL’s Open Doors program.

Escaped Alone

Four spotlit people with animated expressions and hand gestures seated in a rough circle on chairs on a darkened stage

Relaxed performance.

The apocalypse begins with tea. Featuring an all-female cast and crew, this remarkable interpretation of Caryl Churchill’s award winning play bends through time and space to illuminate four friends sitting in a garden, on the precipice of complete catastrophe. With wicked humour and profound prescience, master playwright Caryl Churchill (Cloud Nine) shows us a poetic world, close to devastation and closer than we think.

Approximate running time: 50 minutes. No intermission.

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About relaxed performance:
The performance will feature a less restrictive audience environment and experience, including, but not limited to, exit and re-entry to the theatre space, house lights remaining at a suitable level, adjusting the intensity of light and sound cues, allowing snacks into the theatre space, a quiet room being available for patrons, and an introduction of cast members prior to the performance.

Mad Ones

A silhouette of a person with their arm raised, in front of a lit background with silhouettes resembling tree branches

MAD ONES is a new play by Laura Burke, presented as part of Tangled’s Flourishing exhibition series, in which Deaf, Mad, and Disability-identified artists respond to the question “what does it mean to flourish?”

Starring: Stefne Mercedes, Jake Wilkinson, Leah Pritchard, Michael Gaty,
Directed by: Harrison Thomas
Stage Manager: Crystal Lee Chettier

MAD ONES will be presented to the public FIVE NIGHTS ONLY in Suite B30 of 401 Richmond.

Preview: November 19 7:00-8:30 PM
Opening Night: November 20 7:00-8:30 PM
Performance and Talk Back: November 21 7:00-9:15 PM

Performance Nights:
November 22 7:00-8:30 PM
November 23 7:00-8:30 PM
November 24 7:00-8:30 PM

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Mad Ones on Facebook

About the play:
MAD ONES is set in the famous Bedlam Asylum in London in 1825. It is the story of Guen, a mad woman, and her lover Tsura, who meet on a ship of fools – a place representing the dangerous yet inspired, liminal space of Guen’s mind. The setting of the ship is built around the love between Tsura and Guen. It is juxtaposed with the harsh realities of Bedlam, and Guen’s relationship with Dr. Jack Williams, a well-meaning physician whose privilege and training are at odds with his high ideals for the treatment of asylum inmates. Dr. Williams sets in motion a plan to display Guen’s “recovery” from madness before the hospital review board as a case study which will impact her fate, and that of everyone involved. In her work with Dr. Williams, Guen must ultimately choose between the psychological freedom to define her own reality and the practical freedoms of emancipation from Bedlam.

Content warning:
This performance deals with multiple mature subjects. These include ableist ideas, sexual content, nudity, mentions of sexual violence, depictions of sexual violence, depictions of miscarriage, simulated physical violence, depictions of blood and physical injury, loud verbal aggression, allusions to torture and antiquated medical treatments, and general mature themes and content.

The playwright:
Laura Burke is a mad-identified writer, actor, and performance poet based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. She debuted her first play entitled Voices in San Francisco in 2011. Since then, she has written Heartwood, a confessional one-woman show about her journey as a psychiatric survivor and her path toward giving back to others who suffer in similar ways. Heartwood has toured across Canada, including the Mayworks Festival and as part of Neptune Theatre’s open spaces program with Doppler Effect Theatre. An excerpt from her play Iris has been presented at the Soloicious Festival and The Women in Theatre Festival in Halifax. Laura likes to make work about vulnerable, often misunderstood characters who fight through their marginalization to reclaim their otherness as their birthright. When she is not writing or working on stage, she works as a psychotherapist. She also likes to spend time in the north end of Halifax with her 12 urban chickens.

Secret Life of a Mother

A woman on her side in the fetal position on a darkened stage in a large glass tank

A playwright writes an exposé of modern motherhood: a confessional piece about her own darkly funny and taboo-breaking truths. One of her oldest friends, an actress, tells this story, and through it, her own motherhood secrets start to surface.

This isn’t mothers as the butts of jokes, or the villains, or the perfect angels of the house. Secret Life of a Mother reveals what two women are actually experiencing: the raw and transcendent and untold secrets of pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, and mothering. This is motherhood for the 21st century: hallucinatory, gothic, and empowered.

Note: Graphic descriptions in the show could be triggering for some people. Please feel free to call the box office, or ask us in person, if you would like more information in advance.

The show runs from October 20 – November 11, 2018.

Approximate run time: 80 minutes.

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Secret Life of a Mother on Facebook


A person dressed in a yellow patterned tunic standing in front of three panels of patterned and brightly coloured cloth

Imprisoned in Canada for committing a violent crime, a young man from Ghana tells his cellmates a story on the eve of his release. Although there is risk in sharing his tale, he must tell it to be truly free. Through storytelling, dance, and live music, Obaaberima chronicles a young African-Canadian’s journey across continents, genders, races, and sexualities.

Written and performed by Tawiah Ben M’Carthy.

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Obaaberima on Facebook

The In-Between

Illustration of three young people back-to-back in a circle, all looking at smartphones in their hands. Their faces are illuminated by a yellow glow from the screen. There is a purple backpack in the foreground

Relaxed performance.

Lily feels trapped. When a conflict between her best friend Brit and the guy she likes Karim breaks out after other students share racist, anti-Muslim memes, a misunderstanding leads to a school lockdown. Lily finds herself right in the middle, forced to make hard choices about which friend’s truth she’s going to believe.

Illustrating the real-life challenges of immigration, income inequality, and fears of violence in our schools, The In-Between is a realistic, relatable exploration of the complex social circumstances students must navigate in today’s world.

Written by award-winning playwright Marcus Youssef – writer of the international Geordie hit Jabber, seen by tens of thousands of young people across North America and Europe – Youssef tackles hard questions with humour, sensitivity and a deft ear for how young people negotiate the adult-size problems they encounter as they enter their later teens.

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Gaelynn Lea

Black and white photo of Gaelynn Lea performing

When Gaelynn Lea won NPR Music’s 2016 Tiny Desk Contest, her two decades as a hardworking and talented musician finally crystallized in a beautiful moment of national recognition. Since then, Gaelynn has played over 250 shows in 42 states and seven countries.

With her singular voice and deeply-affecting violin, she guides the listener through a journey that explores the contrasting nature of existence: dark and light, birth and death, anger and forgiveness, sorrow and joy.

Since 1992, Halifax Pop Explosion Festival and Conference (HPX) has been bringing tomorrow’s headliners to Halifax, and helping music fans discover their next favourite bands. Starting as a small, multi-venue festival showcasing local talent and bringing new sounds to the city, the Festival has grown into a 4 day city-wide music and comedy takeover.

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El Espanto (The Dread)

A person standing by a bed in a dimly light room, holding the hand of another person lying in the bed. There is a gold-framed portrait of a couple on the wall with a rosary hanging from it.

Open captioned.

The residents of a remote village in Argentina have a unique talent: they can heal almost all diseases. Why would they seek doctors’ help when they can cure ailments with incantations, frogs, ropes and even text messages? But there is one affliction that they are not willing to treat: Espanto, the Dread. This rare illness affects mostly women and can only be cured by a mysterious old man named Jorge, whose methods are unknown but deemed to be effective. So why won’t the local men allow their wives visit Jorge? This witty documentary digs deep into the secrets of the villagers to unravel some of the unspoken truths behind their mentality.

67 minutes. North American premiere.

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