Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Episode 2: The one where we talk indie theatre in Ottawa and make one too many inappropriate jokes

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Today my friend and colleague Kat Fournier and I launched the very first episode of Just Another Gala: Your Ottawa Theatre Podcast. Ottawa’s theatre scene has exploded in the last few years, and we feel that some thorough on-air discussion is in order. Join us!

We’re also on Facebook and Twitter. Please like and share widely.

Check out the podcast below, and let us know what you think!

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“The best theatrical experience I’ve had since New York 2011 and the Book of Mormon”  MAUREEN LIPMAN


sap thinEXEUNT MAGAZINE ★★★★

“Uncommonly exhilarating”

“Jessica Ruano’s direction focuses so keenly on the physical, that it’s as much a piece of choreography as a text; I believe Sappho, a great proponent of both the direct and the sensual in poetry, would unreservedly approve. No part of the space is not explored, no shape of the body not attempted.”

“Victoria Grove, who is surely some kind of professional enchantress, with the husky voice of a Dench or a Bacall and the poise of a young Vanessa Redgrave. Her characterisation of Sappho is simultaneously haughty and earthy; imagine Penelope Keith’s voice in Felicity Kendal’s body.”


“Sappho… in 9 fragments is written, directed and executed with passion”


“Stunningly athletic and entirely sensuous… fluidly directed”


“a spectacular visual and physical piece”

“a gracious dance between an improvised energy and choreographed poignancy”

“Victoria Grove is fantastic, she is magnetic and mysterious, dominating…”

“like a fireworks display that you are glued to and every jet of sparkling light explodes with a wonderful climax”


“What a performer!” … “A bravura display of technique and emotion”

“Remarkable balances and acrobatic gyrations”

“Victoria Grove makes this aerial choreography seem second nature”


“Don’t miss this unique production!”

“highly sensual and intelligent piece… charged with eroticism”

“inspired direction” “outstanding performance”


“Both intellectually stimulating and intensely compelling”


“Intimidatingly intimate … a totally mesmerising production”


“Victoria Grove is magnetic and compelling… A unique production and a chance to catch an impressively talented actress at close quarters.”


“brilliantly staged” “utterly riveting performance”


“bewitching Victoria Grove” … “strong direction by Jessica Ruano”


“Spellbinding… This dramatic meditation on identity, filtered through a classicists appreciation of the great Sappho, is a triumph for everyone involved.”


“The show won a standing ovation from me, the fourth in 25 years…yes, it’s that f*cking good!”


SAPPHO …in 9 fragments by Jane Montgomery Griffiths. Directed by Jessica Ruano and featuring the Victoria Grove as Sappho/Atthis, this production is designed by Ana Ines Jabares with lighting by Sarah Crocker and sound by Luca Romagnoli. 

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London performances

Just a quick list of performances I’ve caught in London so far. Especially looking forward to attending The Globe Theatre’s Spring festival that will feature every single play attributed to William Shakespeare, each produced in a different country and performed in a different language.

The Golden Dragon by Roland Schimmelpfennig | dir. Ramin Gray | ATC Theatre | The Arcola Theatre | Monday, September 19th

Saved by Edward Bond | dir. Sean Holmes | Lyric Theatre | Wednesday, October 12th

The Veil by Conor McPherson, dir. | The National Theatre | Friday, October 28th

The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge | dir. John Crowley | The Old Vic | Wednesday, November 9th

Yerma by Federico Garcia Lorca| adpt. Anthony Weigh | dir. Natalie Abrahami | The Gate Theatre | Wednesday, November 16th

Poe: Macabre Resurrections | dir. Andy McQuade & company | Second Skin Theatre | St. Mary’s Church | Friday, November 18th

Piaf by Pam Gems | All Star Productions | Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre | Wednesday, November 23rd

Reasons to be Pretty by Neil Labute | dir. Michael Attenborough | Almeida Theatre | Saturday, November 26th

Hamlet by William Shakespeare | adpt. (German) Marius von Mayenburg | dir. Thomas Ostermeier | The Barbican | Sunday, December 4th

Stewart Lee (comedian) | Leicester Square | Wednesday, December 7th

Juno and the Paycock | The National Theatre | Friday, December 16th

La Chunga | Second Skin Theatre | Phoenix Artist Club | Jan-Feb 2012

Travelling Light | The National Theatre | Saturday, January 28th

Comedy of Errors | The National Theatre | Saturday, February 4th

The Kreutzer Sonata | The Gate Theatre | Saturday, February 11th

Daniel Sloss (comedian) | Soho Theatre | Friday, February 17th

La Casa de Bernarda Alba | Almeida Theatre | Wednesday, February 22nd

She Stoops to Conquer | National Theatre | Saturday, February 25th

Bingo (with Patrick Stewart) | The Young Vic | Wednesday, February 29th

The Barber of Seville | English Touring Opera | Hackney Empire | Saturday, March 10th

The Bomb – Part 2 | Tricycle Theatre | Sunday, March 11th

Being Shakespeare (with Simon Callow) | Trafalgar Studios | Wednesday, March 14th

After Miss Julie | Patrick Marber | dir. Natalie Abrahami | Young Vic | Friday, March 16th

Can We Talk About This | DV8 dir. Lloyd Newson | National Theatre | Saturday, March 17th

The Duchess of Malfi | The Old Vic | Wednesday, March 21st

Moon on a Rainbow Shawl | National Theatre | Friday, March 23rd

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VERSeFest kicks off in ONE WEEK. Who’s excited???!!!

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It’s raw and it’s freakin’ addictive.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word is in town. WHAT!

That’s right: 100 of the best poets from across Canada are here in Ottawa this week to participate in workshops, showcases, poetry in the streets, and the biggest slam competition in Canadian history. Example? In 2004, we had 8 teams on board. This year we have 18. Spoken word is huge in Canada right now. Remember Shane Koyczan at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver? Did you know Ottawa’s own Ian Keteku is the World Slam Champion?

Yes, I can throw facts at you. I’m the festival publicist, and it’s one of the best gigs I’ve had. I get to spend all my time with brilliant poets and eager media personalities who are enthusiastic about these brilliant poets. I get to speak in hyperbole all day long; cheer loudly; fawn obnoxiously. I’m in my element.

But maybe you’d like to hear from people who aren’t me: people who are attending a slam poetry competition for perhaps the first time; people who can offer a new set of eyes, a critical perspective, perhaps even their own poetry! Check out OttawaTonite.com for full coverage of the festival so far, from numerous perspectives. There’s a comments section, so feel free to post your own thoughts.

The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word continues until Saturday. Tonight you can catch shows at the Velvet Room and the Marriott Hotel: both bouts kick off at 7pm and tickets are only $10. Semi-Finals are on Friday, and the Finals are on Saturday. For the full schedule, check out http://www.cfsw.ca

It’s all-you-can-eat “sushi” night all week long… Enjoy!

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The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW 2010 Ottawa www.cfsw.ca) returns to the capital for the first time since its inception in 2004 with the largest slam-focused spoken word event in Canadian history. From October 12 to 16, 2010, Ottawa will be treated to a wide-ranging display of Canadian slam poetry and spoken word featuring over 100 of the best spoken word poets from 15 communities across Canada.

Capital Slam: John Akpata, PrufRock, Chris Tse, OpenSecret, and Brandon Wint

Over the course of five nights, 18 teams participate in highly competitive poetry slams that will determine this year’s Canadian Slam Champions. Home of the defending champions, Ottawa has two teams – Capital Slam and Urban Legends – attempting to keep the title in the capital this year.

Truth Is...

CFSW 2010 Ottawa features some of the biggest names in spoken word, most notably Dwayne Morgan with Toronto’s Up From the Roots, Truth Is… with the Burlington Slam, RC Weslowski from Vancouver, El Jones from Halifax, and John Akpata on Ottawa’s Capital Slam team.

CFSW 2010 Ottawa opens with a Francophone Showcase featuring Outaouais poet Marjolaine Beauchamp and closes with performances by the festival’s Poets of Honour Anthony Bansfield a.k.a. ‘the nth digri’ and Shauntay Grant.

CFSW 2010 Ottawa’s Daytime Programming is entirely FREE! Poets and poetry enthusiasts are welcome to attend workshops and panel discussions on poetry writing, spoken word in schools, and connecting with other arts organizations. There will also be a Last Chance Slam on October 12 to determine the festival’s ‘Wild Card’ Team, a Youth Showcase on October 13, and a Steve Sauvé Memorial Nerd Showcase on October 14. The poets will hit the streets of Ottawa ‘Guerrilla style’ on the afternoon of October 15 to perform random acts of poetry in the downtown core.

Following the slams, there will be late-night events highlighting the poetry of music: the Poetry & Music Cabaret featuring Scruffmouth, Moe Clark, and SPIN on October 13; the Slam After-Party with Montréal’s DJ Cosmo on October 14; and Toronto’s Kobo Town and Ottawa’s John Carroll & the Epic Proportions will grace the stage on October 15.

Shane Koyczan

Spoken word poetry in Canada has boomed over the last few years with numerous achievements across the country and around the world. In January of this year, Shane Koyczan introduced spoken word to the world at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver when he performed his poem “We Are More” at the Opening Ceremonies. This past summer, Ottawa’s Ian Keteku, member of the spoken word group The Recipe and one of the workshop facilitators at CFSW 2010 Ottawa, won the World Poetry Slam Cup in Paris, France.

The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word takes place in numerous venues in downtown Ottawa (see the attached CFSW 2010 Ottawa press release and schedule for details) from October 12 to 16, 2010. For more information, please call the CFSW 2010 Ottawa hotline 613 301 8648, email info[at]cfsw[dot]ca, or visit www.cfsw.ca.

Tickets and Passes

Tuesday FREE ALL DAY | Slams Wednesday and Thursday $10 at the door

Semi-Finals Friday $10 adv./$15 door | Finals Saturday $15 adv./$20 door

Festival Pass $40

Advance Tickets and Festival Passes available

East African Restaurant | 376 Rideau Street | 613 789 7397

Compact Music | 190 Bank St. | 613 233 7626 | 785½ Bank St. | 613 233 8922

Vertigo Records | 193 Rideau Street | 613 241 1011

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