Spring Awakening

Photo by kaybee07 from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

  • Lillian H. Smith Library (239 College Street)
  • 1:30 p.m.

Your green thumb has been suffocating inside your mitten all winter, but now it’s time to put it in some dirt! Get into the gardening gear with the Spring Awakening workshop hosted by the Toronto Public Library. Join Toronto Master Gardener Elizabeth Stewart for an overview of mulching, pruning, and transplanting for everything from veggie patches to shrubbery.

Details: Spring Awakening

Free Intro to Bellydance Workshop

Learn to dance with the founder of the Arabesque Bellydance Academy. Photo by Nina Stepić Čupić, courtesy of Arabesque Academy.

  • Arabesque Dance Academy
  • 2:30 p.m.

We all know that Shakira’s hips don’t lie, but how exactly does she get them to move that way? Find out by taking a Free Intro to Bellydance Workshop at the Arabesque Academy. Founder and renowned dancer Yasmina Ramzy will take you through the fundamentals of bellydance and folklore performance. No experience is necessary: just bring your workout clothes and excitement to learn!

Details: Free Intro to Bellydance Workshop

Worn Fashion Journal‘s Secondhand Prom

  • Adelaide Music Hall (250 Adelaide Street West)
  • 9 p.m.

Was your high-school prom a nightmare or a dream come true? Whether you’d like a do-over or want to relive the magic, WORN Fashion Journal can make it happen. To mark the launch of The WORN Archive—a collection of the mag’s best published content since its inception—it’s hosting a Secondhand Prom. Wear whatever prom-esque attire you’d like, and dance all night to retro tunes while keeping your energy up with snacks from Bunner’s Bake Shop.

Details: Worn Fashion Journal‘s Secondhand Prom


A Journey Into the Forbidden City

  • Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park)
  • All day

If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace.

Details: A Journey Into the Forbidden City

Vulnerability, Suffering, and Strength

  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • All day

“The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon

“In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore

These quotations, which welcome visitors to Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms.

Details: Vulnerability, Suffering, and Strength

Playwright Project

  • The Downstage (798 Danforth Avenue)
  • 1 p.m.

Every year, Playwright Project brings theatre lovers together to celebrate one deserving writer. This year, Caryl Churchill’s works will get the spotlight treatment for two weeks at The Downstage. Vinegar Tom, A Number, Drunk Enough to Say I Love You, and Three More Sleepless Nights will each be showcased several times throughout the festival.

Details: Playwright Project

The Gigli Concert: Therapy Through Music, Comedy, and Sex Stories

Diego Matamoros and Stuart Hughes as JPW King and Irish Man. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane)
  • 1:30 p.m.

Up until Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez made that movie, the word “Gigli” was associated with images of beauty, the splendour of the opera, and, more specifically, the renowned Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli. In Irish playwright Tom Murphy’s The Gigli Concert, originally written in 1983 and on stage now at Soulpepper Theatre, the singer’s voice represents not only beauty, but hope itself—the one saving force that can pull its two central characters from deep depressions. And, thankfully, the journey to the other side is infinitely more watchable than the previously mentioned Hollywood film.

Details: The Gigli Concert: Therapy Through Music, Comedy, and Sex Stories

The Sound of Music Is Still Pretty Sweet

Photo by Seanna Kennedy.

  • The Randolph Theatre
  • 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

You’re likely well acquainted with the quote about not being able to please everyone all the time. It rings particularly true when it comes to the staging of well-known and loved plays. Re-inventions are almost always disappointments, which means the only real option is to present the piece exactly as it always has been… but somehow make it better (or at least just as good as the original). It’s a tricky situation—and exactly what The Lower Ossington Theatre is up against with its production of The Sound of Music.

Details: The Sound of Music Is Still Pretty Sweet

SheDot Festival

  • Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West)
  • 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10 p.m.

If you’ve been looking to add more funny females to your life, your cup will overflow for three straight days thanks to the SheDot Festival. As you might guess, every performer identifies as a woman, and uses that perspective in their comedy. There will be everything from sketches to storytelling, stand-up to improv, with each of the 12 showcases dedicated to a certain theme—like sassy, LBT, and mom.

Details: SheDot Festival

Abigail’s Party

Claire Burns (left) and Anna Hardwick (right) in Abagail's Party. Photo by Daniel Notarianni.

  • Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)
  • 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

It’s 1977, and a group of friends in England are gathering for a soirée. A pretty standard concept, that’s for sure, but Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party takes things to another level with a playful romp through the lives of these suburban socialites. Witness the hilarity and awkwardness as the hostess from hell metaphorically tears her guests to pieces.

Details: Abigail’s Party

A God in Need of Help Gets Some From Its Friends

From back to front: Ben Irvine, Daniel Kash, Tony Nappo, Jonathan Seinen, Dmitry Chepovetsky, and Alden Adair. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

We’re nearing the end of Tarragon Theatre‘s 2013/2014 season, and it appears we’ve also arrived at the final stage of its theme: love, loss, wine, and the gods. But that doesn’t mean the Tarragon, which has seen some major hits this year in Lungs, The Double, and The Ugly One, is phoning it in. Sean Dixon’s ambitious new script, A God in Need of Help, has produced not only one of the longer plays in the Tarragon season, but also easily the most dense and layered, mixing as it does historical fact and fiction with timeless issues of art, religion, and politics. Fortunately, that makes it the strongest mainstage show of the season thus far (we’ll see how Tarragon’s final show, The God That Comes, co-created by and featuring Hawksley Workman, performs in June).

Details: A God in Need of Help Gets Some From Its Friends

Soliciting Temptation: First Impressions and Misguided Missions

Derek Boyes and Miriam Fernandes in Soliciting Temptation by Erin Shields. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Tarragon Theatre, Extra Space (30 Bridgman Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

Erin Shields’ Soliciting Temptation, premiering now at Tarragon Theatre, was highly anticipated—it’s the first new play since 2010 from the eminent female playwright, known for the Governor General Award-winning If We Were Birds. In some respects, it lives up to the hype. It deals with the difficult, often-overlooked subject of child sex tourism, and it does so thoughtfully and with nuance. The overall experience, though, is somewhat underwhelming, because the compelling ideas explored are undercut by an implausible premise.

Details: Soliciting Temptation: First Impressions and Misguided Missions


  • Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street)
  • 2 p.m., 8 p.m.

Zack and Abby are the couple that others envy—the ones who seem to have it all. But secrets hide behind the beautiful home, the loving marriage, and the promising careers. Company Theatre’s Belleville—produced in association with Canadian Stage—explores the darkness that’s revealed in this seemingly perfect relationship after Abby finds her husband at home one day when he’s supposed to be at work.

Details: Belleville

The Last Confession

David Suchet and Richard O’Callaghan star in The Last Confession. Photo by John Haines.

  • Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King Street West)
  • 8 p.m., 2 p.m.

If you’re in the mood for a murder mystery with a religious twist, you’ll want to check out The Last Confession. David Suchet (Poirot) and Richard O’Callaghan star in this play about the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. After only 33 days in office, and having warned three cardinals that they would be replaced, he is found dead. Though the Vatican refuses to open an official investigation, Cardinal Benelli goes out in search of the truth.

Details: The Last Confession

Beatrice & Virgil: Yann Martel’s Monkey and Donkey Hit the Stage

Damien Atkins as Henry, peering at a taxidermied donkey and ape, Beatrice and Virgil. Photo by Joanna Akyol.

  • Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street)
  • 2 p.m., 8 p.m.

Most unsolicited messages from admirers to famous writers do not result in collaborations: but when Lindsay Cochrane, kindergarten teacher and English literature grad, emailed Yann Martel, the acclaimed author of Life of Pi, about adapting one of his novels into a stage play, the two ended up joining forces. The result is Cochrane’s first play, Beatrice & Virgil, on now at Factory Theatre (in a co-production with Ottawa’s National Arts Centre). With the help of director Sarah Garton Stanley, Cochrane has made an impressively valiant effort to wrangle some large, abstract, and troublesome ideas into a well-crafted work of live theatre.

Details: Beatrice & Virgil: Yann Martel’s Monkey and Donkey Hit the Stage

Wacken Metal Battle Semifinals

  • Multiple venues
  • 9 p.m.

Toronto is turning things up to 11 for two straight weekends, as the Wacken Metal Battle semifinals rage on at Hard Luck Bar and the Rivoli. Each night, five bands will play in hopes of making it to the final round, and ultimately, the Wacken Open Air Metal Festival in Germany. Warm up those neck and hand muscles, as there’s plenty of headbanging and horn-throwing to be done with Santuarium, Shotgun Cure, Psycho Mad Sally, the Parallax, and My Hollow taking the stage on April 26, followed by the Blackcloud Syndicate, Burning the Day, Endemise, Our Covenant, and Shattered Remains on May 3.

Details: Wacken Metal Battle Semifinals