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The All Girl Squadron on stage March 27 and March 28 as part of Harbourfront Centre’s HATCH: emerging performance projects

All I Ever Wanted
Performed by Gale Allen and the All Girl Squadron
A project conceived and directed by Gale Allen
Created in collaboration with Risa Kusumoto (Japan), Renna Reddie (Toronto),
Meichen Waxer (Montréal), Emma Baron (Toronto) and many others

TORONTO, ON (March 11, 2008) – Part of Harbourfront Centre’s HATCH: emerging performance projects, All I Ever Wanted is a performance that brings the video, performance art, and interventionist practice of Gale Allen’s work to the theatrical stage for the first time. Part burlesque, part pop song, part reality television show and part machismo stunt, this provocative new work responds to the inherently masculine world of mediated stunt culture (i.e. MTV’s Jackass) and seeks to break down the barriers of gender through the development of feminized risk-taking/carnivalesque activities.

Gale Allen and The All Girl Squadron will be in residence at Harbourfront Centre’s Studio Theatre from March 23 through March 28. Public presentations of All I Ever Wanted will be presented Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $12 or $10 for Students/Seniors/Arts Workers and are available by phone at 416-973-4000 or through

All I Ever Wanted pokes fun at our love/hate relationship with reality television and the young men who dominate these programs. Skater-boy style videos and reality television shows such as MTV’s Jackass and CKY (Camp Kill Yourself) have gained popularity among mass audiences who watch these young men perform dangerous and disgusting stunts in the name of entertainment. These young stars perform a plethora of lampoons and stunts with all of the safety precautions hidden. Stunts that have been televised in the name of entertainment include: the consumption of a urine snow cone, getting shot point blank by a military test gun, consuming vomit and crawling across mouse traps in a bathing suit and Mickey Mouse ears. Girls are often not included as active agents in these public displays of rebellious activity.

The All Girl Squadron investigates the analogous performance techniques of the original feminized burlesque, the dudes in popular television programs such as Jackass, and performance art. All I Ever Wanted uses the performance techniques of early burlesque performers as a creative model to investigate popular entertainment. The All Girl Squadron is not a normal burlesque troupe, there are no tassels, pasties, or corsets; there are no nostalgic performances celebrating Betty Page, conventional stripteases, or pin-up girls.

The original feminized burlesque troupes that existed as early as the 1800s in Great Britain and the United States were composed entirely of risk-taking, gender-bending females who targeted the middle and lower classes as their main audiences. Women assumed the roles of men and “disrupted the bourgeois ideals of femininity epitomized by the damsel of the American Melodrama,” writes Robert Allen author of Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture. Notable female performers from this era defied the practices of their contemporary stage productions by: riding stallions down steep stage runways, executing live pyrotechnics, and performing with wild beasts such as panthers and snakes. All I Ever Wanted seeks to revive the subversive ideals of early female burlesque performers who combined the feminine spectacle with whit, intelligence and humour.

The All Girl Squadron brings together a group of performers from the visual arts to collaborate on a series of contemporary burlesque influenced performances that will be presented at the end of Allen’s residency at Harbourfront Centre.

Gale Allen is a visual artist currently based in Toronto Canada. Allen's practice investigates the aesthetics of revolt present in popular culture. Allen has recently exhibited with Pleasure dome (Toronto) Must be the colours and the kids that keep me alive (Toronto), TAAFI (Toronto) Play, and the First International Prize for Performance (Italy) I need you to need me. Allen has also appeared in performances by Tanya Mars In Pursuit of Happiness at Nuit Blanche, Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s DIVINO CORPO Temple of improbable and invisible causes an interactive performance by La Pocha Nostra at the MOCCA, and more recently at the Rhubarb! Festival in Don Simmons’ Sweet Ecstasy: Plans for an Escape Route.

For more information please visit


HATCH: emerging performance projects at Harbourfront Centre
Entering its sixth year, HATCH is a key initiative in Harbourfront Centre’s mission to develop local artists and their unique practices. The HATCH residency and mentorship programme provides resources and professional assistance to a new generation of engaging and innovative contemporary artists to reach the next stage in the development in their work and careers.

Media Contact: Gale Allen (416) 792-8447
YouTube Channel

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