It's not going home, but, rather, finding home that resonate in the sixth annual rock.paper.sistahz festival.
"The theme of identity, of finding out where we come from, is central in the scripts we're workshopping," says b current artistic director ahdri zhina mandiela .
The fest began earlier this month, but its major theatre component, three evenings dubbed dark nite plays, begins today (April 12).
Works by eight black writers get readings or staged presentations - and that's not counting pieces by Sedina Fiati , Idil Mussa and Christine Harris being developed in-house.
" Rebecca Fisseha 's Shades looks at how a young woman can self-identify and still fit into a world that insists on labels," says mandiela, "while Djennie LaGuerre 's Rendezvous With Home follows two different Haitian-Canadian sisters on their first visit to Haiti.
" Shauntay Grant 's Steal Away Home is a non-linear choreopoem drawn from the experience of a black Nova Scotia woman trying to shed the weight of her past. We're exploring the script's musical element."
Also part of the rotating series are d'bi.young 's solo show androgyne , Rhoma Spencer 's Less Of A Man , about a wounded war vet whose mother blocks his marriage plans, and Dian Bridge 's Crossing Into Lullaby , in which a mother seeks an obeah man's help with her sick child.
In Donna Michelle St. Bernard 's Oh Sudana , a husband and wife, played by puppets, ruminate on their lives. Monique Moses has two works, ¿Que Sera? ,a coming-of-age story told through contemporary street dance, and The Banana Dance , a celebration of Josephine Baker 's centenary.
"It's important that this year's festival reaches out into the community and takes place not just in downtown spaces but also in local libraries, bookstores and restaurants," adds the artistic director.
The festival ends Sunday (April 15) with a free block party.
Starting a dance or theatre company, or interested in doing just that?
Check out this year's Indie Trade Forum (ITF), presented by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) in association with Harbourfront Centre and Buddies in Bad Times .
The day-long event is a fine way to get tips on the nuts and bolts of beginning and running a company. Just as important, it offers a great opportunity to network with other young troupes and individuals who can offer your group useful skills, both artistic and administrative.
You can choose from panels on Web technology, how to develop a board of directors, touring nationally and internationally, funding and a final discussion of the importance of indie work with practitioners Ann Powell , Lindsay Ann Black , Hume Baugh , Liza Balkan and Mimi Beck , moderated by Theatre Rusticle 's Allyson McMackon .
You can also chat with reps from cultural, funding and service organizations at the ITF Marketplace .
New this year is the ITF Soap Box , a chance to tell others what you need for your show and what you'd like to see in the indie scene, and an informal mixer at the end of the day. Finish off the day with a free workshop of Trudeau: Long March/Shining Path , a new opera by D.D. Jackson and George Elliott Clarke commissioned for Harbourfront Centre's Fresh Ground .
Who knew a cool tap routine could have anything to do with the school science fair?
The Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People premieres i think i can,which uses tap to tell a story of classroom bullying and aggression.
Created by playwright Florence Gibson (Belle) and dancer/choreographer Shawn Byfield, the piece uses dance almost exclusively to tell its tale. The only speaker is the show's sole adult, a teacher (Melody Johnson); otherwise, the narrative is driven by tap, with each of the young characters identified by a signature step. The show's directed by Conrad Alexandrowicz.
Lisa Pijuan-Nomura's dedicated to giving play to new and existing works.
Not only does she schedule the monthly REDnights at the Lula Lounge, but last year she also began an annual multidisciplinary festival that showcases more talent.
For the second annual RED Festival, she and assistant curator Erica Kopyto are presenting 120 artists over four days. Works range from dance, theatre and music to puppetry, clown and comedy.
Among the participants are Romina DiGasparro, Bageshree Vaze, Meagan O'Shea, Sandra Battaglini, Roula Said, Clea Minaker, David Powell, Ginette Mohr, Chris Gibbs and the festival's band, the Sweet Sangria Orchestra.
Too cold for you? Try a Spring Into Summer, the SummerWorks launch party happening Sunday (April 15).
You can hear excerpts from last year's award winners, take part in a silent auction for the August festival and meet some of this year's participants. There's also music and munchies.
Speaking of this year's companies, the lineup is pretty wonderful. Local playwrights include Michael Rubenfeld, Hannah Moscovitch, Alan Dilworth, Corrina Hodgson, Becky Johnson, Erika Hennebury, Ruth Madoc-Jones, Bruce Beaton, Gord Rand and Tara Beagan.
Want more? Tracy Dawson, Martin Julien, Sean Dixon, Brooke Johnson, Johnnie Walker , Norman Lup-Man Yeung, Paul Dunn, Daniel Karasik, Layne Coleman , Niki Landau and Dave Deveau.
Save the first two weeks of August for a lot of theatregoing.