A Farewell to Videofag
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A Farewell to Videofag

The beloved Kensington arts space will be shuttering its doors after its upcoming season.

hero videofag matthew daley

William Ellis and Jordan Tannahill were artistic and romantic partners when they founded Videofag, the memorably monikered performance space in Kensington Market, three years ago. Now, the duo—who split as a couple earlier this year—have announced in Daily Xtra that Videofag’s upcoming fourth season of programming will be its last.

Over the years, the self-described “storefront cinema and performance lab” forged from a former barbershop has hosted an impressive range of works, perhaps most notably the original staging of Sheila Heti’s play, All Our Happy Days Are Stupid, the “unproduceable” work detailed in her novel How Should a Person Be?.

Videofag was one of our 2013 Heroes of the Year, earning the distinction as “a busy nexus of performance and art, a focal point for a wide assortment of communities, including the queer art scene, underground film culture, comedy, and theatre.” The legacy has continued, with Tannahill more recently named one of our 2015 “People to Watch.” As critic Martin Morrow wrote:

It isn’t often that a young playwright-director’s theatre manifesto is picked as one of The Globe and Mail’s “most anticipated books of 2015.” But not every young playwright-director is the dynamo known as Jordan Tannahill. In April, Tannahill—whose previous book, the play collection Age of Minority, won a 2014 Governor General’s Award—will unleash the provocatively titled Theatre of the Unimpressed, a work that his publisher, Coach House Books, describes as no less than “a road map for a vital 21st-century theatre.” At the same time, the 26-year-old Tannahill will put his theories into practice this year by remounting his much-talked-about 2013 production of Sheila Heti’s All Our Happy Days Are Stupid, which will kick off the World Stage season at Harbourfront in February before flying south for a McSweeney’s-backed run at legendary New York venue The Kitchen. And this summer, in the collaborative spirit of his recent hit Concord Floral, Tannahill will join forces with Necessary Angel Theatre and the bluemouth inc. collective to create an immersive production for the Pan Am Games. Whether Theatre of the Unimpressed will turn out to be the Canadian answer to such seminal works as Peter Brook’s The Empty Space or Antonin Artaud’s The Theatre and Its Double remains to be seen, but you can bet it will be on every indie theatre lover’s must-read list this year.

Videofag’s closing season will feature Karen Hines’s Crawlspace, work by the prolific musician and visual artist Lido Pimienta, dance from Dana Michel, and more. We’ll miss them.