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Magnetic North Theatre Festival announces programming for 2011 season

Brave Girl – Lunchbox Theatre
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Magnetic North Theatre Festival announces programming for 2011 season

For immediate release

OTTAWA MAY 3, 2011 – The 2011 line-up for the Magnetic North Theatre Festival has been announced, and it promises to bring home to Ottawa an array of theatrical activity in June.  The unique festival, which alternates between Ottawa and a different Canadian city each year, comes home to Ottawa June 3-11.  Festival passes and tickets are now available for purchase through the National Arts Centre Box office at 53 Elgin Street or at 613-755-1111, or through Ticketmaster at 1-888-991-2787.

Opening the festival is YICHUD (Seclusion) by Theatre Passe Muraille in producing partnership with Convergence Theatre.  Written by Julie Tepperman and Directed by Julie Tepperman and Aaron Willis and Richard Greenbelt.  YICHUD (Seclusion) drops us into the centre of an orthodox Jewish wedding, and does it in ways that are hilarious, complex and pose tough questions about our relationships to tradition and authority.  The performance runs from June 3-6 and will be taking place at Academic Hall at the University of Ottawa.  Tickets for this performance are $40.

Magnetic North Theatre Festival is proud to announce An Evening with Cathy Jones.  This one night performance featuring the star of This Hour has 22 Minutes will be on Saturday, June 4 at 8PM.  Tickets for this event are $50.

Magnetic North invites festival attendees to join us at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage on June 9 in the afternoon for a stage reading of The Ministry of Grace, a new play by Tara Beagan, the NAC English Theatre’s Playwright in Residence for 2010/11 and Artistic Director, Native Earth Performing Arts, Inc.  That evening, join Magnetic North staff, board and our 2012 Calgary hosts at the Festival Bar @ Club SAW to celebrate our next festival destination.

Magnetic North Theatre Festival will be presenting a play from Halifax’s Zuppa Theatre Company, 5 Easy Steps (to the end of the world).  It is the night of the end of the world and three friends lock themselves in a pawn shop basement with plans to go out with a bang.  5 Easy Steps (to the end of the world) is one part painful mediation on the past, present and future and two parts dance party.  Featuring choreography from Mwendo Dance Company and music from members of the Heavy Blinkers, 5 Easy Steps (to the end of the world) runs from June 3-6 at Academic Hall at the University of Ottawa. Tickets for this performance are $40.

We are proud to announce that we are once again partnering with the Great Canadian Theatre Company this year to present a Necessary Angel production of This is What Happens Next.  The one man show from the imaginations of Toronto theatre icons Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks features MacIvor as multiple characters in a fairytale that takes us through the dark forest of addiction, divorce, Schopenhauer, The Little Mermaid and the life of John Denver.  This is What Happens Next is showing at the GCTC from June 711.  Tickets are $40 and are sold at the GCTC and NAC box office.

Magnetic North is delighted to present Kawasaki Exit, the latest boundary busting creation from Calgary’s One Yellow Rabbit.  Written by Blake Brooker, Kawasaki exit is equal parts mystery and love story, and is inspired by the dark side of Japanese social networking sites.  Performed in Japanese and in English, from beginning to end and then from end to beginning.  We are very excited to be presenting this legendary company hailing from our 2012 destination, Calgary, Alberta from June 7-10 at the National Arts Centre Studio.  Tickets for this performance are $40.

Magnetic North 2011 will be presenting Nina Arsenault’s one woman tour de force The Silicone Diaries, from Buddies in Bad Times theatre in Toronto.  In The Silicone Diaries, Arsenault recounts her transformation from an awkward male to a staggering hour glass bombshell.  She provides us with a peek in to the personal obsessions of those driven to transform their bodies, while at the same time, engaging in a frank exploration of the contradictions associated with the quest for beauty.  We are thrilled to be sharing Nina’s story from June 8-11 at Academic Hall at the University of Ottawa.  Tickets for this performance are $40.

Magnetic North will be presenting a play that is truly for all ages. KISMET one to one hundred from The Chop is a multi-media performance that explores our relationship with fate and destiny.  Using transcripts, photos, video and audio excerpts from one hundred interviews with one hundred people from across the country between the ages of one and one hundred, The Chop pieces together a narrative that is both universal and individual.  The Chop is a dynamic company from Vancouver helmed by recent Siminovitch Award protégé Anita Rochon, and we are very proud to welcome them to the Arts Court Studio June 9-11.  Tickets for this performance are $40.

Artistic associate Marcus Youssef: “What’s so thrilling for me about this year’s festival is the national conversation happening inside of it. Exciting young artists like The Chop and Zuppa are talking to genre and scene-definers MacIvor and the Rabbits; Siminovitch Protégé winner Anita Rochon bumps up against directing legend Daniel Brooks. We have shows and artists from Halifax side by side with their 3000 miles away neighbours from Vancouver (and points in between). There is a show about what 100 Canadians, urban and rural, eastern and western think about fate plus a show that tells the story of a full-op gender switch plus a show that takes us into the centre of an orthodox Jewish wedding. This festival is Canada, here, and now, in all its messy, contradictory glory. I can’t think of a better way to get to know each other a little better.”

A special component of the festival is the Magnetic Encounters, which brings the audience as close to the art as possible.  In the form of many events, talks, installations, interventions and performances, Magnetic Encounters link the audiences to the main stage performances of the festival.  Highlights of this year’s Magnetic Encounters include a lesson in Music and traditional Jewish wedding celebration on June 5 to compliment YICHUD(Seclusion) as well as a Karaocalypse night at our Festival Bar @ Club SAW on June 7 where festival goers are invited on stage with Zuppa to sing songs about the end of the world. Montreal artist Alexis O’Hara will be performing In the Heat of LaNuit on June 8 at our Festival Bar @ Club SAW.  As herself and as her alter-ego Guizo, Alexistransfuses drag, cabaret, pop music and spoken word with a tongue-in-cheek musical treatise on our modern day obsession with feelings.  Tickets for Alexis O’Hara are $10.  On June 10, festival goers are invited to join Magnetic North and The Chop at the Arts Court library in a Workshop on Being Yourself on Stage then head over to the National Gallery for a lecture on the Female Form, Beauty and Art with Nina Arsenault. Don’t forget to join us each evening at the Festival Bar @ Club SAW beginning at 9pm for more fun and great conversation.

Encounters curator Kris Nelson: “With a Karaoke concert, a lecture on beauty and aesthetics and workshops devoted to dancing and performing, there’s something for everyone to think on or try out for themselves this year. Extra special for Ottawa is the Human Library project. Dozens of local residents will become human books – revealing their thoughts, opinions and life stories to book lenders in one-on-one conversations. We’re hoping the Encounters will help build a community of festival-fans and adventurous art lovers in the city.”

Magnetic North Theatre Festival is delighted to announce that for the first time, we will be hosting a Human Library June 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11 at the Rideau Centre Western Walkway. Ottawa locals and festival artists become human books sharing their personal stories, beliefs and experiences in this exciting, interactive project. This one-of-a-kind experience brings strangers together for personal, humorous and touching interactions. Working just like a real library, visitors borrow and return books – the twist is that in The Human Library the books are people and visitors will have a candid conversation with the people on loan. Our Human Library is full of human books that are experts in a variety of fields and come from a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds. Created by Stop the Violence for the Roskilde Music Festival in Denmark and presented all over the world and across Canada, The Human Library makes new bonds, breaks down stereotypes and generally gets people together.

Compass Points is a unique program for post-secondary students and emerging artists from across Canada, which offers a first-hand introduction to the professional theatre industry.  This year’s program will be organized in consultation with students from Ottawa.  Compass Points includes workshops, panel discussions and social events designed to inspire participants to chart their own course in Canadian theatre and runs in Ottawa from June 6-10.

Magnetic North Theatre Festival hosts an Industry Series, a professional symposium dedicated to building networks and sharing the wealth of knowledge amongst festival delegates.  Since 2004, Magnetic North’s Industry Series has had a significant impact on the community, the forum and the way we work together.  Delegates from around the country and the world will be in Ottawa through the course of the festival soaking in what the region and Magnetic North have to offer.

Executive Director Ann Connors: “We extend our thanks to our public partners at the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Ottawa; our corporate sponsors and donors and our private donors and to the countless volunteers who, all together contribute the resources vital to this Festival’s success. And at the heart of the festival is you, our audience. As the festival travels back and forth across this large nation, and in the process grows and diversifies, it is always the audience, and the prospect of showing you something you’ve never seen, that rests at the heart of what we do. The coming years will see another new and exciting stage of Magnetic North’s development. More Canadian audiences in more Canadian communities will be exposed to more Canadian theatre artists, all with a brand new Artistic Director, and a new bold visioning of what Canadian Theatre is and could be.”

Frequently called, “Canada’s National Festival of Contemporary Canadian Theatre in English”, Magnetic North Theatre Festival is excited to be coming home to Ottawa for the 2011 season.  The Magnetic North Theatre Festival is produced by the Canadian Theatre Festival Society and co-presented by the National Arts Centre English Theatre.

For more information about Magnetic North, visit, call 613-947-7000 or visit our office at the National Arts Centre in downtown Ottawa.  Festival passes and tickets are now on sale through the National Arts Centre box office at 53 Elgin Street or at 613-755-1111, through Ticketmaster at 1-888-991-2787, or online at



Contact for photos and interviews:

Christine Séguin, Marketing Coordinator
      work: 613-947-7000 ext: 875           Cell: 613-600-4931

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