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What happens when the horizon becomes an endless series of vertical lines? Welcome to The Vertical City.

TORONTO, April 10, 2008—As part of Harbourfront Centre’s HATCH: emerging performance projects, The Vertical City Project hosts a workshop showcase of their performance-in-development on Saturday and Sunday, April 19 & 20. The Vertical City is a collaboration between interdisciplinary artists exploring the relationships between performance, aerial movement, voice, music, and intermedial design. Drawing influence from a spectrum of sources including Hollywood thrillers and urban engineering utopias, The Vertical City sets out to explore the burden and liberation that is gravity. In the process, The Vertical City considers the spatial and temporal forces that urban existence exerts on the body and the imagination. The workshop showcase includes an introduction to the motivation and process behind the project and a talkback session with the artists.

The Vertical City workshop takes place on Saturday, April 19 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, April 20 at 2 p.m. at Harbourfront Centre’s Studio Theatre, 235 Queens Quay West. Pay what you can, suggested minimum of $5. For tickets and information, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit

In The Vertical City, people are creatures of habit and repetition. Familiar actions become disposable rituals, providing comfort and security in the face of constant change; but the city has little time or respect for repetition, let alone ritual. The map is constantly changing, growing, adding dimensions, directing and redirecting people’s paths.

The Vertical City is an introductory flying lesson and an opportunity to test the air. The image of two sets of figures—aerialists and actors—reaching vertically through the performance space provides its basic metaphor. In both the performance space and the imaginary space, intuition is confounded. Muscle memory generates faulty expectations. Pure repetition becomes impossible. The only option is navigation.

The Vertical City is the creation of two aerialists, two actors, a musician, a dramaturge, and a writer/director. Lori Lemare and Diane McGrath are recognized as two of Toronto’s most accomplished aerial performers. Anne Stadlmair is a versatile musician/composer who collaborated with Lemare and McGrath on their multimedia production “Poem for a Fisherwoman.” Frank Cox-O’Connell and Marc Tellez are familiar to Toronto audiences through their celebrated contributions to, among others, the work of One Reed Theatre Ensemble. Pil Hansen is a dance dramaturge and scholar who has recently completed several experimental projects throughout Northern Europe. Bruce Barton is an award-winning playwright and director with a deep dramaturgy background in physically based and devised theatre. While the artists’ spheres have intersected and overlapped on other projects, The Vertical City is the full collective’s first joint effort.

The Vertical City is part of HATCH, Harbourfront Centre’s annual performance residency programme that is designed to incubate and foster invention and innovation in the local theatre and performance scene.


Media Contacts:
The Vertical City Project: Bruce Barton, 416-476-6094,
Harbourfront Centre: Linda Liontis, 416-973-4381,

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