Centaur Theatre unveils its 51st season

2019-2020 lineup includes International Circus Stars, Cheeky Holiday Puppets, World Premieres, Classics Revisited, and Pulitzer Prize Winners

L to R: Jane Wheeler (as Alice in Alice and The World We Live In); Schnitzel (as Tiny Tim in Little Dickens); Lucy Peacock (as Satan in Paradise Lost); Adrianne Richards (as Sophie in MOB); and Quincy Armorer (as Troy in Fences)

MONTREAL, April 18th, 2019. Artistic and Executive Director, Eda Holmes, announces a striking line-up for Centaur Theatre‘s 51st season with carefully selected plays and events that cater to every taste.

As the theatre steps into a new era under the aegis of Ms. Holmes, the spectrum of entertainment, informative initiatives, and ancillary events continues to expand, offering unparalleled, engaging theatre that reflects today’s world and the people shaping it. With a new season come thrilling new opportunities. The main stage ESSENTIAL SERIES is condensed to five productions, leaving room to add new, exciting events to the CENTAUR PRESENTS SERIES and the enriching CONVERSATIONS SERIES.

Centaur Artistic & Executive Director Eda Holmes unveils the Montreal theatre company’s 51st season (Photo: Andrée Lanthier)

“All the plays and other initiatives next year are meant to offer us the chance to look at our collective experience of being human through a different lens than the one we might normally look through”, explained Ms. Holmes. “Our world is evolving and shifting so fast, where can we go to take stock; to examine our options and gain a new perspective on it all? The theatre is the place!”

The ESSENTIAL SERIES offers subscribers a wide variety within three, four, or five-play customized packages. Alexandria Haber’s Alice and the World We Live In opens the season in October with an intimate, life-affirming two-hander directed by Eda Holmes, starring Jane Wheeler and Danny Brochu. Ms. Haber is one of two Montreal female playwrights featured in the series who bring two vastly different, modern stories to life. The holiday season offers a cheeky new treat as puppeteer extraordinaire, Ronnie Burkett, returns with his newest creation, Little Dickens, based on the classic, A Christmas Carol, for adult eyes only!

The season’s largest main stage production is in January 2020 with Erin Shields’ witty and highly entertaining re-telling of Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost. Jackie Maxwell directs the Stratford Festival hit that stars Canadian stage icon, Lucy Peacock, and a ‘heavenly host’ of Canadian actors fighting for the souls of Adam and Eve. In March, the prominent French Canadian actor and playwright, Catherine-Anne Toupin, exposes a provocative side of daily contemporary life with her incendiary MOB. This English-language premiere, translated from last season’s La Licorne hit, La meute will be directed by Andrew Shaver and stars Susan Bain, Matthew Kabwe and Adrianne Richards.

A Pulitzer Prize-winner wraps up the main stage programme with August Wilson’s Fences, the centrepiece of the distinguished playwright’s remarkable ten-part cycle chronicling the African-American experience one decade at a time. Centaur unites with longstanding artistic partner, Black Theatre Workshop, to co-produce this enduring drama directed by Mike Payette, featuring Quincy Armorer and Lucinda Davis.

The Wildside Festival returns for a 23rd incarnation as part of the CENTAUR PRESENTS SERIES

Next season’s CENTAUR PRESENTS SERIES makes a dazzling debut with a TOHU collaboration. As the weather cools down in September, the internationally acclaimed circus duo of Alfonso Bar n and Luciano Rosso heat up the stage in the hilarious Argentinian import, Un Poyo Rojo. With the generous support of the Cole Foundation a non-profit devoted to intercultural exchange Century Song, the Canadian triumph making waves on both sides of the Atlantic, has a five-day run in February. This unique and moving musical account looks at the 20th Century through the eyes of Black women, embodied by the radiant Neema Bickersteth. The booming storytelling phenomenon, Confabulation, curated by Montreal artist, Matt Goldberg, has three one-night-only themed events in September, January (as part of the Wildside Festival) and May 2020.

The CENTAUR PRESENTS SERIES also includes the return of the Wildside Festival (January 7 to 18, 2020), now in its 23rd incarnation and featuring the 2019 winner of the Montreal Fringe’s Best of the Fest. Spring 2020 explodes with the second annual Queer Readings Series, a three-night event featuring three new LGBTQ voices, in partnership with Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal. From April 17 to 26, Brave New Looks settles into a new time slot on the calendar, with a local independent production to be announced this coming fall. Centaur continues to foster a love of theatre in youngsters with the TD Saturday Morning Children’s Series, one-off affordable daytime family events sprinkled throughout the school year. The Theatre of Tomorrow initiative, funded by Canada Life, introduces high school students to professional theatre through discount tickets, pre-show workbooks and theatre games, and post-show talkbacks.

Complementing the ESSENTIAL SERIES is the revealing CONVERSATIONS SERIES, informal audience-artist interactions tailored to broaden theatre knowledge and appreciation. The Thursday Pre-Show Convos shine a spotlight on designers, as they share the creative tricks of their trade. Sunday Chat-Ups, hosted by Montreal Gazette’s Editor-in-Chief, Lucinda Chodan, feature experts discussing and taking questions about play-related topics. Both events are held in Centaur’s intimate main floor Gallery and are free and open to the public. Post-show Talkbacks are offered in the theatre, following select performances, affording audience members the opportunity to share insights and ask questions of the artists. Also free and held in the Gallery are the Saturday Salons animated by Ms. Holmes. These are casual conversations, driven by audience participation, with a wide range of guest artists discussing all aspects of theatre. Centaur’s e-newsletter and social media platforms provide reminders and updates concerning CONVERSATIONS dates, times and guest speakers.

Centaur introduces a special bonus four-part event for fans of the all-but-disappeared piano bars and Tea Room sing-a-longs. The Sunday Cabaret is a casual, fun-filled hour of past and present musical theatre hits, hosted by former Broadway chorus performer, Martin B dard, accompanied on piano by Doug Price, an Honours graduate of Sheridan College and the current National Theatre School’s Head of Music. The four events scheduled for October 27 and December 1, 2019 and January 26 and March 15, 2020 will also be held in the main floor Gallery, following Sunday matinées and are free and open to all.


Alice and the World We Live In

October 15 – November 10, 2019

A World Premiere
Written by Alexandria Haber
Directed by Eda Holmes
With Danny Brochu and Jane Wheeler

A woman stands frozen on a dangerous Italian mountain pass.

ALICE: How long is forever?
WHITE RABBIT: Sometimes, just one second.

Paralyzed, unable to move forward or turn back, she is suspended between multiple possibilities of what could have been and what is. Inspired by the topsy-turvy world Alice encounters in Wonderland when she falls down the rabbit hole, this moving allegory explores a woman’s struggle to push through the grief of losing the love of her life to a random act of terror. Echoing our collective fear of what lies ahead in these tumultuous and uncertain times, the play exalts our indefatigable resilience and endless capacity to love, once we find the courage to let go.

Little Dickens

November 19 – December 22, 2019

Created & performed by Ronnie Burkett
Original music by John Alcorn

Nothing says “let the holiday season begin” like a brand new pair of pasties!

He’s baaaaack! Canada’s own brilliant and outrageous puppet master, Ronnie Burkett, returns to Centaur after wowing Montreal audiences with The Daisy Theatre in 2018. This time the raucous Daisy gang is getting into the festive spirit, putting their unique stamp on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Faded diva, Esmé Massengill, is Scrooge in this merry marionette mash-up. All your Daisy favourites pop by as Dickens characters to guide Esmé, in their not-so-subtle way, to redemption and the true meaning of Christmas. An adults-only holiday treat!

Paradise Lost

January 14 – February 9, 2020

The Stratford Festival Production
Written by Erin Shields
A theatrical adaptation of John Milton’s Paradise Lost
Directed by Jackie Maxwell
With Lucy Peacock, Amelia Sargisson, Qasim Khan

In the role of a lifetime written especially for her, Canadian stage icon Lucy Peacock is Satan … as we’ve never seen Satan before.

Seductive in snakeskin and as slick as a hi-tech guru, she makes a case for her unfair expulsion from heaven in this amusing and highly theatrical adaptation of Milton’s epic poem. Richly infused with modern references and contemporary vernacular, Erin Shields’ witty script deftly highlights the original poem’s timeless potency and relevance. Centaur’s production features an outstanding Montreal cast of biblical stars that includes an unforgettable Amelia Sargisson as Eve, and Jessica B. Hill in polar opposite roles of Beelzebub and Gabriel. Extremely physical and fiercely engaging, Paradise Lost is a modern ‘classical’ masterpiece.


March 3 – 22, 2020

A World English Language Premiere
Written by Catherine-Anne Toupin
Translation by Chris Campbell
Directed by Andrew Shaver
With Susan Bain, Matthew Kabwe and Adrianne Richards

A brilliant psychological thriller that keeps the audience in suspense to the very end.

Sophie, a professional with 20 years’ experience in her field, loses her job under questionable circumstances. Confused and hurt, she heads out of town looking for a way to assuage her humiliation and rage, eventually arriving at a quaint B&B run by the matronly Louise and her warm and welcoming nephew, Martin. After a few well-watered evenings, tongues loosen and a disturbing complicity develops between Martin and Sophie. Was her distraught drive to the country and unexpected arrival at the B&B as random as we think?


April 22 – May 10, 2020

Co-Presented by Centaur Theatre Company and Black Theatre Workshop
Directed by Mike Payette
Starring Quincy Armorer, Lucinda Davis, and five other actors

In this 1950s snapshot of blue collar America, a former convict fights to be a better husband and father to protect his family at the risk of tearing them apart.

Unlike his own father, Troy Maxson works hard to be a faithful husband and reli- able provider but the more he tries to protect his family, the more he tears it apart, and building a fence around them isn’t the answer. Wilson’s resilient and passionate characters are so alive we feel their blood course through our veins, their cares and frustrations become our own, and the warmth and laughter that buoy them, open our eyes.

For more information:

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Call (514) 288-3161
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