It’s Coming —> & CBC Radio 3 + SummerWorks = happy

SummerWorks is just over a month away, which is equally exciting as it is shocking and perhaps a little terrifying.

How are people feeling? Are you excited, afraid, terrorized, happy, sad?

Let’s share our feelings. Let’s.

For those who may not yet know, this year we have a couple of new exciting additions to the festival–Including THE MUSIC SERIES, which, we’re excited to report, is sponsored by CBC Radio 3. What does that mean? Well, it means that our line-up is CBC Radio 3 approved. In a brief interview a couple days ago, I was asked how the hell we managed to get such a great line-up in our first year. The answer to that is a longer one, mainly consisting of series of compliments directed towards Evan Newman. Essentially, what I’m trying to say is that the line-up is amazing. I’m really proud of it. But don’t take my word for it.

Is this weird to anyone else?

This weirds me out, but I’m not sure why.

This first one is a Scottish production of The Drawer Boy. They seem to be doing a cross between Canadian and Scottish accents. Canadianish. (i just came up with that. just now. JUST now)

And this one is also very odd, as its a really long clip and the actor playing Miles seems to be the worst actor in the world.

And then there’s this. Seriously!

I also think this is phenomenal and perfect.

And really weird.

Volcano Conservatory

This is a wonderful opportunity. The only one I have trained with here is Leah Cherniak. She is truly a magical teacher and is one of the most wonderful theatre artists this city has to offer. I urge you to take advantage of this sort of training. There is so little sophisticated developmental opportunities for us theatre-folk. Bravo to Volcano for forging ahead with this crucial training program.

Volcano Conservatory

The Volcano Conservatory
Volcano’s intensive theatre training program returns to Toronto this July!
July 7 – 10 & July 21 – 27

Location: Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement, 6 Noble Street

The Volcano Conservatory is the realization of a long time goal. Providing alternative / cutting-edge education has always been part of Volcano’s vision and the company has developed a very specific training model, one that fits with the styles of work in which Volcano engages; work that combines disciplines, or is willing to explore techniques outside of naturalism.

This approach derives from a philosophy where the training is centered on the idea, rather than the instrument; centered on theatre-making rather than simply performing. As theatre artists, we need to know the stylistic options available, as well as the world we interpret. This is the philosophy behind the Volcano Conservatory: providing theatre artists the tools with which to reinvent theatre – tools gathered from various performance traditions around the world. With this training, we seek to look outward, rather than inward. for more info.


Hi. Welcome to the blog. We’ve been running for a couple weeks now. It’s mainly myself, Michael Rubenfeld, posting random things here and there–for now. For the time being, this is going to be a hodge podge of material, some very serious, some less serious. Some fun, some NOT FUN.

This will also be a space where people can get a bit more personal with each individual show. We’ll be using this space to introduce you to some of the work involved in the festival. Theatre, Music, Performance Gallery, etc.

Please tell people about the blog. The more people who come, the better we feel about ourselves.

And please, use the comments sections. Write stuff. Talk to us. Talk to each other.

Alright. There. Now. Please enjoy this.

Welcome to the blog.

HATCH @ Harbourfront

For those who don’t know about HATCH, you should. It’s an incredible opportunity.

An Open Call for Artist Proposals
HATCH: emerging performance projects at Harbourfront Centre

Deadline for Proposals: June 27, 2008

TORONTO, May 6, 2008Harbourfront Centre is pleased to announce an Open Call for proposals from Toronto-area artists and companies working in the field of performance for HATCH: emerging performance projects for the 2008/2009 series. Companies and artists selected to participate in HATCH will receive a one-week residency in Harbourfront Centre’s Studio Theatre.

HATCH is designed to incubate and foster invention and innovation in the local theatre and performance landscape. Entering its sixth year, this programme has become an important element in the milieu of local performance development. Full criteria, qualification information and instructions for applicants can be found at, or phone 416-952-7969.

While the primary focus of HATCH has traditionally been on projects from emerging theatre artists, Harbourfront Centre also invites proposals from established artists engaging in new collaborations or entering into new artistic territory, as well proposals within dance or interdisciplinary performance. Of particular interest are proposals that can demonstrate how HATCH will benefit the project or the artist during this stage of development.

Please mail proposals to:

HATCH Proposals
c/o Laura Nanni, Artistic Associate
Interim Artist and Community Development Coordinator
Performing Arts, Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay West
Toronto, ON M5J 2G8

Sorry, applications by fax or email are not accepted.

How do you live, when the focus is survival?

The sun shone today in Vancouver. Lovely

Today was a magnificent day, primarily because of a talk Peter Hinton (AD of the National Arts Centre) gave with Rwandan theatre artist, Odile Gakire Katese, about theatre in Rwanda, and the re-development of a culture after a massive genocide. There was some fascinating questions raised surrounding how the culture is being developed, and how so much of the money is being put into work about “genocide” and “aids”. Work that is about the celebration of culture and new-forms of story-telling that is not stereo-typically “topical” is having a more difficult time finding funding. It really made me think about funding and how/why we fund work–and what are the keys to the strengthening an environment’s cultural roots through theatre. That’s why we’re all doing this, right, because our cultural relationship to the world shifted through theatre, enabling or inspiring us to join the the theatrical revolution. Or is it? Why are we doing this, anyways?

What IS the role of theatre anyways?


AN INTRODUCTION to KEN CAMERON, AD of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival:

Look for Ken at SummerWorks this year. Introduce yourself. Ask him questions about the festival. He also has a lot of great ideas about the business of theatre. He’s a Networking master. Ask him about it.

The next festival is in Ottawa, 2009, and they recently announced that in 2010, it will be in Kitchener, Waterloo. My first response to that news was “KITCHENER? SERIOUSLY? KITCHENER?” My second response was “KITCHENER? Huh. WHY?” and now I’m just left with wonder. What will it be like? Will it work? Will my relationship to Kitchener change? Is Kitchener not what I think it is? Does this make sense afterall?

Already my perception of Kitchener, Waterloo is changing because of Magnetic North being there 2 years from now. And perhaps, already, the choice to having it in Kitchener is making a whole lotta sense.

Wednesday, June 11th @ Magnetic North

The Magnetic North Industry series is on its second day. An industry series is a really great, yet tricky thing. Great, because it gets people talking about Art. Tricky, because it gets people talking about art.

We all perceive and create in such specific, unique and very very different ways. And, while talking about art can be so wonderful, we, as Canadians, are a polite people who are not too interested in upsetting other people. This is also one wonderful thing about our country, that also makes things, at times, equally tricky.

So, my question is this. How do we create strong, challenging work, when we, as a people, tend to pride ourselves on our ability to be more thoughtful than challenging? And what, as Canadians, do we feel a responsiblity to challenge?

Please respond.

Magnetic North Theatre Festival (VANCOUVER, BC)

I’m at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, on behalf of the SummerWorks Festival. Its a pretty intense place, as the PACT (Professional Association of Canadian Theatres) is happening at the same time. Intense mostly because it feels like 75% of the Canadian Theatre Community is here … and this is a NETWORKING FESTIVAL. Yes. Crazy. Intense. This is the place to be if you’re looking to sell your shows. This country is so large, that it seems that it is through this network that the rest of the country finds out about what is happening in places other than their home town.

There are pitch sessions, as well as speed dating sessions. (Talk about yourself, your show, etc, in five minutes or less) It’s a scary and exciting place to be. Everyone is here to sell a show or find shows. And you don’t have to be a part of the festival to sell your show.

“sell my show? wha? should I barf now or later?”. Yes. It’s unfortunate, but no matter how hard we try, it seems impossible to escape “the business” of it all. Its hard and confusing at first, but then gets easier, especially if you believe in the work.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that what we are striving to do is to share our work with as many people as possible. Remember, it is about our relationship to the significance of our art.

It’s not necessary, of course, to engage this way. But, if you would like to see your work shared with more people, its important that people get to know you, and know your work.

That said, this is also a place to see some great theatre from across the country, and they have a fabulous industry series curated by the incredible Naomi Cambell. Talking about why, what, how, where and who is creating is so important. I believe that artists stay strong, and their art stays relevant, if they are in a constant processes of learning. Taking in new information. Finding new ways to apply ideas to the work.

Check it out.

Banff Centre

I’ve been to the Banff Centre twice. It is an artist paradise. If you don’t know much about it, its definitely worth checking this out.


The Banff Centre invites you to attend an informal presentation about our upcoming programs and residency opportunities for artists.

5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Friday, June 27, 2008

Miss Lou’s Room
Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay West

Each year, The Banff Centre offers dozens of programs and residencies in a variety of artistic disciplines, including dance, music, new media, opera, theatre, and visual arts.

Come find out more about The Banff Centre and our inspiring programs and opportunities for artistic and professional development!


Following the presentation, you are invited to stay for the opening receptions of the Rocky Mountain High Festival Weekend at Harbourfront beginning at 6:00 p.m. Festival events will take place throughout the weekend showcasing the work of alumni of The Banff Centre.