Theatre Gargantua

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Theatre Gargantua's Exit Room

Theatre Gargantua is a Toronto-based theatre company founded by Artistic Director Jacquie P.A. Thomas in 1992. The company emphasizes artist collaboration, both within Canada and globally, combining a range of artistic disciplines to create new work. The defining experimental style of Theatre Gargantua's productions are a hybrid of Thomas' studies in Europe, which include creation as an artistic collective, an extended development phase, imagistic production elements, original composition often performed live and choreographed physicality of performers. The topics of exploration in Gargantua's past shows have been grounded in social issues, creating compelling work that is presented through highly physical performances. [1]

The Company

The company consists of a permanent Artistic and Associate Artistic Director along with core members and associate artists who work regularly with the company every Cycle. Production staff are hired on a project-by-project basis or as needed.

The company works as a collective to generate each project through exploration and discovery of social issues relevant to our society. Starting with an idea or social issue, artists are asked to research or create work using the idea as inspiration. From there, the idea begins to seed and grow into characters and plot. Production elements are designed to invoke metaphoric meaning and experiment with various visual and physical components.

Core Artistic Members

Jacquie Thomas - founder and Artistic Director

Michael Spence - Associate Artistic Director

Joel Benson - core performance member

Diane Niec - core performance member

Main Cycle

Theatre Gargantua’s productions are developed over a two-year cycle consisting of the creation, development and performance of work. New projects are developed over the annual spring and summer season of year 1, with fully produced public performances of the work in development in the fall. In the second year of a cycle, the work is re-examined and explored throughout the spring and summer seasons sometimes resulting in a radically different production, which receives its premiere in the fall of year 2. The remounting of shows from completed cycles may occur for tours or festivals. The final phase of the current cycle, Avaricious: After Me The Flood, premieres Fall 2015.

SideStream

Theatre Gargantua’s SideStream project is developed by core and associate artists, designed with touring in mind. The first SideStream Cycle, Shrapnel, was created by core member Joel Benson in 2013. The second SideStream project, Trace, is a co-production with Vertical City Performance and premiered at SummerWorks 2014.

Current Season

Avaricious: After Me The Flood

Still in development, Avaricious: After Me The Flood examines the deadly sin avarice: extreme greed for wealth or material gain. Avaricious had its first year production at Theatre Passe Muraille in Fall 2014 and its official premiere Fall 2015.

Trace

Theatre Gargantua’s second SideStream project, Trace, premiered at the Toronto summer theatre festival, SummerWorks, in 2014.

List of Main Cycle Productions

Year Production Premiere
1992-1994 The Trials- Fortune’s Desire St. Stephens in the Fields, Toronto
1995-1996 Raging Dreams- Into the Visceral St. Stephens in the Fields, Toronto (co-production with Theatre Passe Muraille)
1997-1998 love not love St Stephens in the Fields, Toronto
1999-2000 The Exit Room St Stephens in the Fields, Toronto
2001-2002 Phantom Limb Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester (co-production with 2021 Performance from Wales) Canadian premiere in 2002 at Artword
2003-2004 (nod) Factory Theatre, Toronto
2005-2006 e-DENTITY Artword, Toronto (2007 remount at the Royal Alexandra Theatre as part of Mirvish Productions' season)
2007-2008 fIBBER Theatre Centre, Toronto
2010-2011 Imprints Factory Theatre, Toronto
2012-2013 The Sacrifice Zone Factory Theatre, Toronto (co-produced with The Uncertainty Principle, from Australia)

Past Cycles

The Sacrifice Zone

• Tenth Cycle: 2012-2013

• Co-produced with The Uncertainty Principle, from Australia

• Examines the theme of justice through the story of an industrial disaster in a single-industry town.

• Written by Suzie Miller, directed by Jacquie P.A. Thomas

• Winner of 2014 Dora Mavor Moore Award in Outstanding Sound Design/Composition

Shrapnel

• SideStream Cycle: 2013

• A slam poetry-style play about ecological redemption, performed in a tree

• Written by Joel Benson, directed by Michael Spence

Imprints

• Ninth Cycle: 2010-2011

• Examines the idea that ancestral strangers of our past are manifested in our DNA and present themselves as ghosts in our instincts, fears and dreams

• Written by Michael Spence, directed by Jaquie P.A. Thomas

• Premiered at the Factory Theatre in Toronto

fIBBER

• Eighth Cycle: 2008

• Examines the benevolent nature of lies and how our happiness depends on untruth

• Premiered at the Theatre Centre in Toronto

e-DENTITY

• Seventh Cycle: 2005

• Examines the shift in human interactions since the start of cyber communication

• Remounted as part of Mirvish Productions 2007 season

(nod)

• Sixth Cycle: 2003

• Examines family secrets, love and conflict through a through a darkly comedic perspective

• Premiered at Factory Theatre

Phantom Limb

• Fifth Cycle: 2001-2002

• Examines the impact of loss and separation in our lives and probes why what is lost is never truly gone

• Co-production with Welsh company 20:21 Performance

• Premiered at the Royal exchange Theatre, Manchester England

The Exit Room

• Fourth Cycle: 1999-2000

• Examines fear and manipulation through a young scientist’s seduction by a cult, and her kidnapping for deprogramming

• 2000 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Set Design - Brenda Guldenstein and Michael Spence (The Exit Room was formerly known as The Epoch Project - VISION)

love not love

• Third Cycle: 1997-1998

• Examines the defining moments within relationships of six characters in love

• Toured to Montreal in December 1998

• 1998 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Set Design - Michael Spence

Raging Dreams- Into the Visceral

• Second Cycle: 1995-1996

• Remounted winter 2008

• Examines the impact of societal violence on the subconscious

• Premiered as part of Theatre Passe Muraille season in 1996

• 1997 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Sound Design - Jacquie PA Thomas and the Ensemble

• Headlined the Portland Oregon Performing Arts Festival in 1999

The Trials- Fortune’s Desire

• First Cycle: 1992-1994

• Explores the sensual trials of the medieval Templar Knights

• Performed in historic St. Stephens in the Fields Church, Toronto

Theatre Gargantua and Education

The company offers an annual Master Class in Dynamic Creation for professional artists, and artistic and management internships for emerging artists.

Student programs include physical theatre workshops which allow students to learn alongside company members resulting in the performance of physical theatre integrated with technology.

References