The Toronto Storytelling Festival returns for another year. The week-long event will take place at venues across the city. Subject matter will range from politics, to kids’ stuff, to guilty pleasures, and sexual desire.
Even if you don’t own or ride a motorcycle, it’s well worth getting a glimpse into motorcycle culture with the Toronto International Motorcycle Springshow. There will be model bikes on display (both new and vintage); a fashion show, a “Bikes of the Century” installation; and a showbike builders competition, with custom bikes competing for over $20,000 in prizes.
It’s probably been a while since somebody turned to you and said “let’s go to Ontario Place,” what with it being closed and all, but now you’ve finally got a reason to return. The third annual St. Party’s Day is a monster celebration of the Irish event, and features traditional Irish dancing, Celtic dance lessons, and live music performances taking place over the two-day festival. Don’t forget to wear green.
There are plenty of St. Paddy’s Day events taking place around the city, but here’s something a bit different from the traditional night of heavy drinking. The Yeats Project, created by Sarah Jerrom, is a nine-piece chamber jazz group whose vocals consist of the poetry of W.B. Yeats. The venue is a church, so you know the performance is going to sound amazing.
The Whipping Man is a 2011 John Gassner New Play Award–winning play that’s set during Passover in 1865. The show tells the tale of a confederate officer who has returned home after the Civil War to find his family missing, but two former slaves remaining. While waiting for the family’s return, the concepts of master and slave, and those of slavery and war, are explored. Directed by Philip Akin and starring Sterling Jarvis, Brett Donahue, and Thomas Olajide.
A group of burlesque performers is redefining Beatlemania with Beatles-Lesque: A FAB Burlesque Parody. The show, which promises to tell a scantily-clad version of the story of the fab four, will feature a variety of performers, including Coco Framboise and Tanya Cheex. The night’s hosts will be Sgt. Sketchy and Wolfman Lennon.
If you’ve got a bunch of cogs, clocks, and/or goggles lying around, you may want to strap them together and jump into this steampunk party. Darkrave offers multiple rooms of musical entertainment, including industrial, electronic, and dubstep. Of course, you don’t have to dress up, but if you don’t you’ll be missing out on the $100 cash prizes awarded to the best dressed.
If you’ve been missing the Shakespeare in the Park events that usually roll around come summertime, here’s something that’s just as entertaining. ShakesBeer is a pop-up theatre tavern, and a more informal way of appreciating the Bard. An abridged version of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays will be performed…in 87 minutes. And true to its name, there will also be beer.
Yeah, it could be real or it could be fake, but there’s no denying that watching someone get hypnotized generally leads to some good times. Hypnotist Paul Norrish will be the entertainer of the evening and will be taking volunteers from the audience to create this hypnotic show. And who knows? It might be you who gets to go up on stage to explore the power of your own mind.
This year’s edition of the Sketch Comedy Festival boasts headliners including Eugene Mirman (March 9), Bruce McCulloch (March 11), and Michael Ian Black (March 12). There are also visiting troupes from Winnipeg (Hot Thespian Action), Montreal (Uncalled For), and Vancouver (Peter ‘n Chris), plus a wide variety of local outfits. It’ll all wrap with a closing show featuring the Sketchersons,
joined by special guest host and wrestling legend Bret “The Hitman” Hart.
Sketchfest runs at The Randolph Theatre, Lower Ossington Theatre, and Comedy Bar.
Lovers of photography and the city can rejoice at a new photo extravaganza: the Toronto Urban Photography Festival. This gigantic event features no less than 10 exhibitions, a variety of talks on the subject of urban photography, and a number of photo walks, so you too can get in on the practice of creating urban art. The exhibition also features the Disposable Camera Project, which places many disposable cameras around the city, leaving it up to whoever finds them to take a picture in the moment. And then you might possibly see the results in the festival.
What might we see through the eyes of a child? ChildSight tries to answer that question by pairing selected artwork with audio commentary from children who participate in the Kaleidoscope in-school art program. The opening reception on Thursday, March 21st also includes awards presentations, drinks, and, of course, a chance to check out the show itself.
Due to popular demand, The National Ballet of Canada has brought Romeo and Juliet back to the stage for a short run. Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky gives new life to Shakespeare’s story of star crossed lovers, set to the romantic Prokofiev score.
If there’s one thing that’s particularly impressive about Second City’s new mainstage show, The Meme-ing of Life, it’s how well balanced it is.
As the title implies, Meme-ing is nominally a show about the internet, and certainly there is a fair bit of internet-centric humour. (One sketch, about a boy who falls into a YouTube-induced coma that can only be cured by reading, is particularly on point.) That said, it isn’t just a series of jokes about cat videos. Instead, it’s a well-thought-out show that manages to offer something for pretty much everyone, without stretching itself too thin.
fu-GEN Theatre Company presents the Canadian premiere of Lauren Yee’s cheeky and insightful play, Ching Chong Chinaman. The ultra-assimilated Wong family don’t quite fit the Asian-American stereotype: teenaged Upton ignores chores and homework to play video games, and his sister Desi’s math scores are less than stellar. Upton’s solution to both problems? Hire an Asian indentured servant with an American dream. Starring Zoe Doyle, Brenda Kamino, Oliver Koomsatira, Richard Lee, Jane Luk, and John Ng.
One of Canada’s most acclaimed and prolific young playwrights, Hannah Moscovitch, has her own mini festival at Tarragon Theatre this season. It started with This is War in January, and continues into March with three one-act plays, all concerning children. Two of those three plays form the double bill now on: Little One and Other People’s Children. (We’ve got a full review right here.) Later this month Other People’s Children will continue, paired with another one-act piece called In This World.
Playwright Kat Sandler has an impeccable flair for comedic dialogue, and her plays keep getting better, from early effort LOVESEXYMONEY, to Fringe hit Help Yourself, to, most recently, clever couple swap scenario Delicacy.
Sandler’s newest work ROCK could be her darkest yet, about an actor (Andy Trithardt) who’s begun fantasizing about murder, despite a supportive girlfriend (Jen Balen) and a rock solid best friend (Tim Walker).
Classic comedy series Theatresports is back for another season of improv hilarity. Now in its 30th year, this comedy tournament continues the tradition of allowing the audience members to choose the content of the scene and letting them judge the results; finals will be held at the end of May. Among the planned guests are comedic greats including Lisa Merchant and Craig Anderson (Canadian Comedy Award winners), Kerry Griffin (Second City alum), and many more.
Nightwood Theatre’s annual festival of new creation, the Groundswell Festival, this year features a reading of a new play by Judith Thompson, productions from Montreal’s Odelah Creations and Halifax’s In Good Company, and nightly readings and events, including their annual Femcab Women’s Day Celebration.
The Canadian premiere of Ashlin Halfnight’s Laws of Motion, about an accident that sparks a chain reaction of events, boasts a powerhouse ensemble assembled by Small Elephant Co-Op and director Chris Stanton, and is staged in a second-floor jam shop in Leslieville.
The show has now been extended to March 23—but they absolutely have to close after that.