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New Theatre Work Explores Social Challenges

overhead72A 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 The OCSJ and the Fit to Govern campaign can be reached at (416) 441-3714 or

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


St. Catharines


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