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Harbourfront Centre announces World Stage 2008 lineup

Toronto, January 8, 2008Harbourfront Centre today reannounced the line-up for its signature programme, World Stage 2008. Running from January 22nd through May 10th the line-up includes an eclectic mix of eight of the most innovative and provocative companies from theatre, dance and opera, hailing from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. Ticket packages and single tickets are now on sale at the Harbourfront Centre Box Office at 416.973.4000 or at

Tina Rasmussen, Artistic Director of World Stage 2008 says "The productions selected as part of World Stage represent, each in their own unique way, current trends in theatre, dance and music that are emerging internationally and at the same time have resonances here at home. This line up boasts collaborations and new partnerships, investigation of public space and everyday life, authentic outreach and new forms, expanding the scope of the performing arts across the board. They are accessible, innovative, thought provoking and beautiful. These companies stand for something and it is my hope that World Stage continue to provide a context for questions to be posed and discussed, as we have done here with our international programming at Harbourfront Centre for over 30 years"

“I find it personally gratifying that some of the most innovative ideas for performance are originating here in Canada.” added William J.S. Boyle, Chief Executive Office of Harbourfront Centre. “The productions from Canada included in this series are deservedly front and centre when it comes to exploring new performance territory.”

World Stage 2008 begins with small metal objects, an unconventional theatre hit from Australia’s Back to Back Theatre, running from January 22 through 26. Back to Back’s philosophy and process places artists with disabilities at the creative core of the company. An ingenious theatrical gem, small metal objects unfolds amid the backdrop of a public space in the city (tbc). This is followed from February 7-10 by an astounding World Premiere from Canadian choreographer Peter Chin and Tribal Cracking Wind. Combining the talents of Canadian and Cambodian dancers, Chin’s Transmission of the Invisible was inspired by the tragic impact on culture and heritage of Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s when nearly all of the artists who traditionally pass culture from generation to generation were killed. Toronto’s own Tapestry New Opera Works steps up next from February 15-17 and 20-24 with their Opera To Go 2008. Their excitingly contemporary face of opera features 6 complete works, each only 15 minutes long, incorporating animation, puppetry and film, truly opera in real time.

The outrageous and hilarious Spymonkey from the U.K. follows in the footsteps of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python. From March 5 though 14 they present Cooped, an over-the-top romp filled with slapstick, naughtiness (yes, a bit of nudity) and roll-on-the-floor fun. In a first ever partnership Harbourfront Centre joins forces with Toronto’s Theatre Centre to present FreeFall, a biennial festival that showcases Canadian experimental interdisciplinary performance. World Stage 2008 is proud to showcase 6 productions from March 6-16 as part of our season. Performances take place at Harbourfront Centre, the Theatre Centre and a variety of other locations. This inaugural partnership will also host a conference on issues and questions currently being asked by artists in our community

From April 16-19 an icon of contemporary dance the Bill T Jones / Arnie Zane Dance company from the United States makes a rare Toronto appearance. Using word, music, song and dance their acclaimed Chapel/Chapter is an intimate yet exhilarating experience performed in the round with a phenomenal and cathartic climax that will long linger in audiences’ memories. Then a week later, April 30 to May 3, New Zealand’s Black Grace brings the power and raw energy of its all-male troupe in Short Works. Combining Pacific Islander traditions with contemporary dance practice, audiences will thrill to their testosterone-driven renditions of the Samoan slap dance and the sacred art of Tatau (tattoo).

Returning full circle World Stage 2008 ends the season with an Australian company who fuse dance, contemporary circus and rock’n’roll. From May 6 through 10 C!RCA presents their explosive staging of The Space Between, an incomparable performance of our desires to be together and the things that keep us apart.

World Stage 2008 performances begin January, 2008. Media information, high resolution images and artist links are provided on the Harbourfront Centre’s website at

World Stage 2008 season tickets:
On sale dates - Dec. 18: packages
Jan. 2: single tickets
Tickets - $30, $40
Student/Senior 13/13 rush ticket programme: students and seniors can purchase one $13 ticket, per valid ID, cash only, 13 minutes before curtain (subject to availability)
Package discounts up to 20%.
For tickets and information call 416-973-4000 or online

World Stage presents a diverse collection of innovative and exciting performing arts events in one visionary series. The season features a number of the world’s most exceptional artistic endeavours stretching both form and function of contemporary performance.


Media Contacts:

Linda Liontis

Shane Gerard

small metal objects
Back to Back Theatre (Australia)
January 22-26
Eaton's Centre
Canadian Premiere
Challenge the way you look at theatre: wire into this unique, site-specific drama, set against the backdrop and pedestrian traffic of the (venue). Gary and Steve are the type of men that usually go unnoticed. Here, they play a pivotal role in the lives of two ambitious executives they've arranged to meet for a transaction. A refreshing take on the things we take for granted.
Back to Back Theatre is driven by an ensemble of six actors with intellectual disabilities. The company’s work defies convention, challenges logic and questions the imperative to be ‘normal’.

“…a testament to Back to Back’s tender and deeply thoughtful piece of work.” TIME OUT (London)

Transmission of the Invisible
Peter Chin/Tribal Crackling Wind (Cambodia/ Toronto)
February 7-10
Enwave Theatre
World Premiere
How is tradition preserved when an entire community is massacred?
Peter Chin’s riveting world premiere explores the urgency to preserve the essence of the Khmer culture in the aftermath of genocide. Asking can creative energy passed from person to person? Nature to person? And culture to person? this multi-media dance piece is powerful and passionate expression of how tradition and meaning is transmitted in the name of cultural preservation.

“A choreographer at the height of his powers…Chin … keeps breaking the rules about what dance should be” - Globe and Mail

Opera to Go 2008
Tapestry New Opera Works (Toronto)
February 15-17 & 20-24
Enwave Theatre
A new vintage of opera – Toronto’s Tapestry New Opera Works present a sampling of seven impressive short works created by a talented cross section of Canadian artists - each performed in just under fifteen minutes.

Touching on tough social issues such as adoption, HIV-AIDS and the sex-trade, Opera to Go epitomized the relevance of new opera creation. Embracing film, animation and puppetry, these pieces push the boundaries of the operatic medium to reflect the world we live in.

“…where the future of Canadian opera is being made today.”- Toronto Star

Spymonkey (UK)
March 5-14
Premiere Dance Theatre
Laura du Lay arrives at a remote country house to uncover a tale of murder, love and mistaken identity. Is the handsome Forbes Murdston insane? Is his mysterious manservant Klaus who he says he is? And are Laura’s terrible dreams a warning of further tragedy?

In the best tradition of British comedy from Monty Python to Fawlty Towers, Spymonkey’s Cooped overflows with brilliant characters, visual humour, slapstick comedy, naughtiness and nudity – a sure-fire hit where ever it goes!

“Utterly infectious... a perfectly paced hybrid of The Pink Panther and Psycho.” - The Independent UK

The Theatre Centre
in partnership with World Stage (Toronto)
March 6-16
Various locations
For the first time, Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage and Toronto’s Theatre Centre, partner to present FreeFall, a biennial festival of experimental interdisciplinary Canadian Performance, The Theatre Centre has co-produced a number of highly successful and widely recognized productions, garnering over twenty Dora nominations and awards in its twenty-six year history.
Performances and other ancillary activities will be happening onsite, at the Theatre Centre, and at a variety of locations in the Queen West neighborhood.

Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (USA)
April 16-19
Enwave Theatre
3 stories – 2 highly visible news items and 1 personal confession – set the mood for an intimate experience between the audience and one of the world’s most renowned dance companies and choreographers, Bill T Jones.

Rigorous and joyful, this virtuosic piece vividly contrasts good and evil and the judgments we make as we encounter it in our exposure to the media on a daily basis. Be drawn into this troubling world of words, live music, and song, with an elevating and cathartic release at the end.

"Chapel/Chapter is a riveting experience. "…the visceral impact of the piece is inescapable” - New York Times

Short Works
Black Grace (New Zealand)
April 30-May 3
Premiere Dance Theatre
Black Grace presents an exhilarating fusion of contemporary movement with traditional style of the Pacific Islanders. From their Samoan slap dance to their interpretation of the sacred Samoan art of Tatau (Tattoo), this dynamic all-male contemporary dance company delivers an infectious, testosterone-driven energy on stage with warrior-like grace.

Known world-wide for their artistry, creative excellence and innovation, Black Grace redefines their native Samoan and Maori culture in this rhythmic celebration of dance.

“…they deliver…through every flex and spring, stamp and shudder...” - New Zealand Herald

The Space Between
C!RCA (Australia)
May 6-10
Premiere Dance Theatre
With its explosive acrobatic encounters, lyrical duets and supple physical contortions, The Space Between is a powerful exploration of the things that keep us apart and our desire to be together.

A combination of dance, contemporary circus, and rock and roll - this is stripped back circus of the heart.
“Straddling the divide between circus and contemporary dance – Circa brings us a new and uniquely dynamic kind of performance.” - Reviewer

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