Centaur Theatre Turns Itself Inside Out for 52nd Season’s Opening Event

Centaur Theatre Company opens its “lightly seasoned” 52nd year with The Portico Project, sponsored by the Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation. From Sept. 24th to October 4th, six eclectic performances, integrating theatre with dance, clown, comedy, and music, will transform the grand entryway into an outdoor stage.** Presented in rotation between, approximately, 4 and 9pm Thursdays and Fridays and from 2 to 9pm for weekend crowds, The Portico Project is part of this year’s Les journées de la culture activities. Spectators will also be able to participate in Vancouver’s innovative Red Phone Project, enjoy Le Trunk Collectif’s bonus event, Who We Have Forgotten, and get their dance on with two flash mobs. All performances are free and donations of any amount are gratefully accepted.

“This is our first step toward so-called normalcy”, said Eda Holmes, Centaur Theatre’s Artistic and Executive Director. “In a manner of speaking, we’re turning Centaur Theatre inside out, but in the safest, most inclusive way possible. The Portico Project’s call for submissions prompted more than eighty responses from both veteran and emerging artists. Only six were selected but, contingent on our ongoing fundraising efforts, some of the other submissions could resurface in future initiatives.”
Submission criteria was purposely open-ended to encourage artists to push the boundaries of outdoor theatre to unpack what people the world over were living through—fear, isolation, confusion, and uncertainty. “Artists jumped on it immediately, a sure sign they were creatively inspired by the theme and eager to explore engaging ways to tell stories about right now”, continued Ms. Holmes. “I was amazed by the number and diversity of new artists who submitted high calibre proposals.”  

The jury, comprised of four local artists—Eda HolmesJulie Tamiko Manning (actor, theatre creator), Eo Sharp and Nalo Soyini Bruce (set, costume and prop designers)—looked for creations that could easily slip on and off the portico space and had high energy with strong visuals to attract onlookers and keep them engaged. “It took several meetings to boil the long list of applicants down to a short list of twenty-five, and eventually to the final six”, explained Ms. Holmes. “I was extremely impressed by the integrity, insight, energy, generosity and passion of the jury; it was a true honour collaborating with them. We could easily have presented a Black Women’s Festival and an LGBTQ Festival from the number of applicants from those communities and who knows … that may happen. We’ll have to be flexible in the coming year so don’t be surprised if ‘pop-up theatre’ becomes a trend as we develop more innovative ways to produce live art and stay connected with our audiences.”


Between performances, the Red Phone Project from Vancouver’s Boca del Lupo, invites bystanders to step into the world of “micro-immersive theatre”. Two participants at a time select one of eight short scripts to act out with each other by phone, in separate booths installed on the portico. Boca del Lupo’s Artistic Director, Sherry Yoon, and Jay Dodge, the company’s Artistic Producer, believe that “theatre is live, theatre is communion, theatre is something to be experienced together, in the flesh”. This unique audience-to-audience encounter breathes “liveness” into theatre at this singular time in history, welcoming the adventurous and the curious into a safe, private space to feel, firsthand, what it’s like to interact, artistically, with another audience member, usually a total stranger. The popular West coast crowd pleaser never fails to unite participants and observers alike, rousing animated exchanges between “actors” about their experience and the material they explored together … but separately. Local playwright, Alice Abracen, and Montreal expat, Omari Newton, join a diverse list of other contributing Canadian playwrights. This too is a free activity however online reservations are available for a $5 fee. Sept 24 to Sept 27 – various times

“I was so impressed with Julie [Tamiko Manning] who, for the past five months, has been hosting a daily, live, one-person dance party that’s kept local artists active and connected through my first love, dance. I just had to share the spirit of that with Montreal audiences”, said the enthusiastic Ms. Holmes. Montreal performer, Nadia Verrucci, has created a fun choreography to “Sizzlin’” by local artist, Aiza, and everyone is invited to join in the exuberant celebration of community and theatre, scheduled for later in the evening of Friday October 2, and Sunday October 4. 
Who We have Forgotten
Produced by Le Trunk Collectif
Written & Directed by Lynne Cooper
Featuring Lynne Cooper and RECAA (Ressources ethnoculturelles contre l’abus envers les aîné(e)s)
More than  80% of Montreal’s Covid-19 deaths were in long term care facilities. Le Trunk Collectif’s Who We Have Forgotten will silently give a voice to those who we failed.
Presented for one time only on Sun. Oct. 4 – 2pm.
Produced by Theatre Nuaj, with the support of The MAI and PWM
Written, Directed & Costume Design by Sophie El Assaad
Performed by Mahalia Golnosh Tahririha, Maria Marsli, Kimia Pourazar & Chadia Kikondjo
Lighting Design by Zoe Roux
Sound Design by Evan Stepanian
Projection by Adam Walters
Sept. 24 & Oct. 2 – 8pm
Sept. 26 – 7pm
Oct. 4 – 6:30pm
Black Balloon follows three disillusioned Middle-Eastern girls as they discuss their challenges with The Moon. This living dream turns into a celebration of their identity.
Written, Directed & Performed by Dayna McLeod
Sept. 25 & Oct. 1 – 6:30pm
Sept. 27 –  3:30pm 
Oct. 3 – 5pm

Night sweats, depression, panic, weight gain, headaches, creepy crawly skin… Are these symptoms of menopause or side effects of Covid? Don’t hate me because I’m over 40.
Presented by Collectif Théâtral Potomitan
Written by Maryline Chery
Directed & Performed by Maryline Chery & Manouchka Elinor
Set Design by Sandrina Sparagna
Costume Design by Georges Michael Fanfan
Sept. 24 & Oct. 2 – 6:30pm
Sept. 26 & Oct. 4 – 4:30pm
They are the black muses: spirits of the past and carriers of freedom, welcoming you to the museum of Haitian women revolutionaries. Buckle up … a revolt is about to begin.
Presented by Sermo Scomber Theatre
Written & Directed by Sarah Segal-Lazar
Performed by Chris Barillaro, holly Greco, Stephanie Mckenna, Jonathan Patterson, Sarah Segal-Lazar, Espoir Segbeaya & Dakota Jamal Wellman
Company Ombudsperson: Mahalia Golnosh Tahririha
Production Manager: Birdie Gregor
Sept. 25 & Oct. 1 – 8pm
Sept. 27 – 6:30pm
Oct. 3 – 7pm
With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Cheddar Fandango, a broad among dames. Join us in celebrating her life! As Cheddar always said, “We only get one shot in this life, so make mine a tequila.”
Created by Amy Blackmore
Performed by Maxine Segalowitz
Rehearsal Director: by Emily Gualtieri
Lighting Consultant: Tim Rodrigues
Sept. 25 & Oct. 1 – 4pm
Sept. 27 – 2pm
Oct. 3 – 3pm
My doctor asked me that question at the end of a routine appointment on March 17th. It triggered a series of moments that have greatly impacted my pandemic life.
Presented by Company Monsieur Joe 
Written by Tim Tyler & Joe De Paul
Directed by Aline Muheim, Joe De Paul & Tim Tyler
Featuring Tim Tyler & Joe De Paul
Sept. 24 & Oct. 2 – 4pm
Sept. 26 & Oct. 4 – 3pm
When these two odd looking vaudevillians stumble out in front of their red curtain they will astound and entertain you with circus, song and endless comic invention.
** Audience Members will be required to wear a mask during performances. Centaur Theatre adheres strictly to all of the health and safety requirements specified by the Quebec health authorities. There will be no public access to Centaur Theatre indoor facilities during this event.
Click HERE  for more details.