Where: The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen Street West
When: October 1-5, 2019
Cost: Tickets are $10-25. To purchase visit theatrecentre.org or by phone at 416.538.0988.
Details: The Theatre Centre announces Comedy is Art, a new Festival in support of comedy and comedians. Celebrating comedy as a recognized art form, the Festival launches on October 1 at 7pm with a special announcement from The Theatre Centre followed by a performance by TallBoyz.
Canadians are responsible for exporting some of the world’s greatest comedic talents. Today we’re looking at you, Schitt’s Creek! (Congrats on being named the best show on TV right now by TV Guide!) Yet Sandra Battaglini, co-founder of the Canadian Association of Stand-up Comedians, describes being a comedian in Canada – for most artists – as a “circle of entrapment”. This means limited opportunities to earn a living, almost no access to funding to make work, and the need to leave Canada to make that work, all while watching content from outside of Canada dominating our stages and screens. Comedy isn’t even a recognized art form by most public arts funders, and while comedians are invited to apply as theatre artists, they’re immediately at a disadvantage, shoe-horning themselves into definitions that don’t fit.
Seeing these issues being raised in the community, The Theatre Centre began asking “what can we do? What do we have to offer?” As The Theatre Centre could see members of the community without access to space, funding, career development opportunities – the essentials for building strong artistic communities – they returned to the question they’ve been exploring for the last year or more: how can we be more reckless with our generosity? They reached out to Battaglini to ask how they could help, and Comedy is Art is just the beginning.
Programming includes: TallBoyz; Congratulations! (Courtney Gilmour); Drop the Mic: Joke or Choke (Crystal Ferrier); Amigas Cheetahs (Ben Sosa Wright + Brandon Ash Mohammed); Yas Kween (Nelu Handa); Good Morning, Tonight (Aidan O’Loughlin + Karis Anderson); Deez Laughs (Derryck Birch); SHADE (Anasimone George).
Comedy is Art is a declaration as much as a festival; in addition to programming 8 shows and 40 artists over 5 days, along with a number of events and parties, The Theatre Centre will work to continue its commitment to comedians in consultation with the comedy community. More to be announced on opening night.