A new theatre piece which goes beyond the stereotypes and soundbites that tend to dominate political discussion in Ontario comes to Mayworks on Thursday, May 2nd at the Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto at 7:30 pm. This performance is part of a three-month tour throughout Ontario communities (see schedule attached).
“Ontario, Yours Too…”, staged by Burning Passions Theatre in collaboration with the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice’s “Fit to Govern” campaign, the show is an opportunity to use drama, comedy and song to reflect on the human issues behind the headlines about the environment, health care, welfare cuts, poverty, and the erosion of democratic rights.
Making use of an interactive popular theatre style, the show is also about community engagement and empowerment, themes which underscore the Fit to Govern campaign’s goal of building lasting community networks that survive regardless of which party sits at Queen’s Park. After the one-hour staged presentation, audience members will be encouraged to interact with Burning Passions troupe members in an exercise or two that uses theatre as a means of discussing issues and solutions to a local conflict or divisive political issue.
“Burning Passions Theatre has always been about bringing to the spotlight voices that are often marginalized in our society,” says artistic director and performer Laurel Smith. “We don’t necessarily have the answers to society’s problems, but we feel one of our roles is to pose the questions that don’t always get asked, but need to.
“This new piece strives to get beyond one-dimensional characters–the greedy banker, the welfare cheat, the minimum wage McWorker struggling with whether to organize a union–in a way that questions how and why we live our lives in this manner, and whether we can find another way of relating to one another that brings about equality for all the people of Ontario, not just those with a lot of money, power and privilege.
“This show isn’t about Tories or Liberals or the NDP, it’s about us, the people of Ontario–both the people who profit, and the people who get hurt in the process. We think theatre is a great way to get beyond the labels which divide us to find the commonalities which bridge our lives.”
Troupe members, in addition to Smith, include Matthew Behrens, Elyssa Livergant, Lisa Peryman and Kirsten Romaine, with dramaturgical assistance from Carole Logan, and set construction by John Milton.
For more information, contact Laurel Smith, Burning Passions Theatre at (416) 651-4514, or check out the company’s website at www.web.ca/~burning. The OCSJ and the Fit to Govern campaign can be reached at (416) 441-3714 or www.ocsj.ca.
Ontario, Yours Too… Touring Schedule
Saturday, April 20, 7pm
Niagara Artists Co-op
Niagara Artists Centre, 2 Bond St., St. Catharines
Tuesday, April 23, 1pm
Canadian Pensioners Concerned
Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen St. E., Toronto
Saturday, April 27, 8pm
Ottawa Social Justice Coalition
St. Luke’s Anglican Church Hall, 760 Somerset St. W., Ottawa
Sunday, April 28, 2:30pm
The Studio Theatre, Perth
Tuesday, April 30, 7:30pm
Halton Coalition for Social Justice
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave., Burlington
Thursday, May 2, 7:30pm
Mayworks/Metro Network for Social Justice
Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto, Toronto
Thursday, May 9, 7:30pm
Hamilton-Wentworth Coalition for Social Justice
Self-Help Centre, 255 West Ave. N., Hamilton
Saturday, May 11, 7:30pm
Windsor Coalition for Social Justice
Mackenzie Hall, Windsor
Sunday, May 12, 2:30pm
Kent County Coalition for Social Justice
Monday, May 13, 8pm
Guelph-Wellington Coalition for Social Justice
Youth Music Centre, Guelph
Saturday, June 8, 7:30pm
Sudbury Coalition for Social Justice
Sunday, June 9, 2:30pm
North Bay Network for Social Action
Anishnabe Friendhip Centre, 280 Cassells St., North Bay
Saturday, June 15, 7:30pm