A 30-year veteran of Toronto theatre has become the new head of Theatre Passe Muraille.
Andy McKim, currently associate artistic director at the Tarragon Theatre, becomes TPM's artistic director at the end of May.
The choice is a good one, given that director/dramaturge McKim has devoted much of his work at the Tarragon to the development of new Canadian works and the training of new playwrights, both areas also important to Passe Muraille.
He succeeds Layne Coleman, who has been Passe Muraille's artistic director twice, from 1990 to 1991 and from 1997 to the present.
McKim hopes to "continue, as well as deepen, TPM's historic role of providing a home for independent artists and companies... reflecting the many communities of our city."
Bravery is the best word we can think of to describe this year's Paprika shows. The sixth annual festival of works created by artists under 21 is a strong one, both in its writing and its performances, and not one piece plays it safe in terms of subject matter or presentation.
The evening we attended began with a series of short works by several of the writer/performers in this year's Artists Lab. Standouts were George Quan's monologue about a drug addict confronting his father, and Rong Fu's deliciously comic piece about a vengeful bride deciding how to serve her new husband.
A trio of staged plays filled the rest of the bill. Richest of the three is My Umm Hmm, Kanika Ambrose's solo show featuring three generations of black women - a Canadian-Caribbean teen, her mother and a grandmother who's not left her island roots behind - who have different ideas of feminine beauty and the importance of a woman's hair. Under director Trisha Villanueva, Ambrose brings each to life through voice and movement.
Go Deo, Anna Standish's take on a mythic Irish creature, the shape-changing selkie, has some impressive sections of poetic writing. Richie Guzman's The Como Suena Sound Presents You Can Find It Here introduces us to a pair of teens, a Californian returning home from Mexico and a Mexican planning to enter the U.S. illegally, and tells their story with humour. Not only is the chemistry just right between actors Kaye Dela Cuesta and Jonathan Rojas, but the production also features a rockin' three-piece back-up band and singer.
Looking for ways to develop a script, a performance project or related theatre skills? Several companies have put out calls that might help.
Nightswimming's Pure Research lab isn't linked to a specific project but offers a chance for artists to discover what they need to explore in order to further their work. If you have a theatrical question and can pose it in terms of an experiment, the company will supply studio space, a fee for the key researcher and a budget for artists and material. See www.nightswimmingtheatre.com for more info. Deadline is April 16.
The Tarragon is accepting applications for next season's Urjo Kareda Residency Grant for an emerging artist, defined as anyone who has spent between two and five years in his or her chosen field. The grant recipient, who must have created or participated in at least one staged or published artistic work, will spend up to 20 weeks at the theatre working on a self-created program in collaboration with one or several artists in the field of playwriting, direction, design or the technical arts. The grant is $10,000. For more information, see www.tarragontheatre.com. Deadline is April 27.
Hysteria returns to Buddies next year - that is, the company's "festival of women," a multidisciplinary fest of female talent. Buddies is looking for submissions from any artistic discipline of new creations or existing works. Guidelines and applications at www.buddiesinbadtimestheatre.com. Deadline is May 15.
Finally, the Cultural Arts Department at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre and the Toronto Jewish Theatre Committee sponsor this year's Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition. Submissions should depict some aspect of Jewish life and be between one and two hours long; playwrights must be Canadian or have a strong Canadian connection. For information, contact Esther Arbeid at 416-924-6211, ext 606, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is May 31.