Magnetic North Theatre Festival, June 3-13
Here's yet another Canadian event on my bucket list of festivals to attend: the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, a national festival of contemporary Canadian theatre in English, which this year runs June 3-13, 2009 in Ottawa. The festival features nine main stage productions along with live music, play readings, student performances, artist symposiums, walking tours and an emerging artists symposium.
Opening the festival is Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, the latest work from Edmonton’s award-winning Catalyst Theatre. It was commissioned by Magnetic North for the festival to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe. June 3-6 at the National Arts Centre Studio.
Skydive, by Realwheels of Vancouver, features aerial choreography with two performers soaring above the stage floor during the entire play. Through the use of ES Dance Instruments, a professionally trained quadriplegic actor can fly on par with his able-bodied counterpart, defying both gravity and expectations. June 4-7 at the National Arts Centre Theatre.
Returning to the Ottawa festival for the fourth time is The Old Trout Puppet Workshop of Calgary, bringing The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan created in Mexico. The existential puppet show (for adults only) is performed with hand-made puppets and performed by a quartet of musicians and a choir. June 4-7 at the Irving Greenberg Theatre.
The University of Ottawa's Theatre Department performs Don’t Blame the Bedouins, directed by Kevin Orr. The production combines the conventions of the adult graphic novel with the electrical impulses of live performance. June 5-6 at the University of Ottawa's Academic Hall.
For the first time, Magnetic North features a co-lingual play co-commissioned by Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Théâtre la Catapulte and Festival Zones Théâtrales. The Rideau Project / Projet Rideau showcases Ottawa artists in a site-specific, outdoor walking tour that leads lead audiences to explore the hidden Ottawa … à la pied! June 5-8 and June 11-13; meet at the National Gallery of Canada’s Maman.
In celebration of Canada’s veterans, Jake’s Gift opens on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Written and performed by Julia Mackey, this one-woman performance has Julia playing both an 80-year-old veteran and an 11-year-old girl. June 6-10 at the Canadian War Museum'a Barney Danson Theatre.
A double bill from Theatre Jones Roy of Toronto, offers two versions of India: one from the outside and the other from underneath. Letters to My Grandma and Pyaasa are written and performed by Anusree Roy. June 7-12 at the Arts Court Theatre.
A romance of the mind and soul, Trudeau Stories is a recollection of Brooke Johnson’s 15-year friendship with Pierre Elliot Trudeau and their conversations on art, writing, theatre and politics. June 8-13 at the National Arts Centre Studio.
Eternal Hydra, from Crow’s Theatre in Toronto, is a literary mystery where each scene unfolds like a puzzle box with surprises and plot twists. It was originally commissioned as a one-act play by The Stratford Festival. June 9-13 at the University of Ottawa's Academic Hall.
Closing the festival is another show recently included in the 2010 Cultural Olympiad, Fear of Flight of Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland. Featuring nine playwrights, fourteen actors and one a cappella score, Fear of Flight is a smorgasbord of Canadian greats with Robert Chafe, Denise Clarke, Marie Clements, Bryden MacDonald, Daniel MacIvor, Berni Stapleton, Judith Thompson, Guillermo Verdecchia, David Yee, Jonathon Monro and Jillian Keiley. June 10-13 at the Irving Greenberg Theatre.
The Magnetic North Theatre Festival is an annual Canadian cultural theatre event established in 2002, showcasing works by Canadian theatre artists from across the country. It alternates between Ottawa and a different Canadian city each year. To date, the festival has traveled to Edmonton, St. John’s and Vancouver and will travel to Kitchener-Waterloo in 2010.
Tickets for Magnetic North’s main stage productions are on sale now and available online, through the NAC box office, Ticketmaster or by phoning 613-755-1111. The Magnetic North Theatre Festival is produced by the Canadian Theatre Festival Society and co-presented by the National Arts Centre English Theatre.
Pictured above: Skydive, by Realwheels of Vancouver