2020 Commissions

Outside the March is thrilled to announce the artists and projects commissioned through the 2020 TD Forward March Program: Devon Healey & Nate Bitton (Rainbow on Mars), Todd Houseman (The Children of the Bear), Jordan Laffrenier (A New Black Poet), and Me Time (R.A.V.E.). This wide-ranging group of new immersive experiences includes: a sensory reclamation of blindness encountered through the story of Plato’s cave; a mythic mask exploration of intergenerational trauma; a contemporary dialogue with the works of Langston Hughes; and a Black Mirror-meets-Berghain futuristic rave opera.

The TD FORWARD MARCH PROGRAM provides a $5000 commissioning fee to each artist to develop a first draft of a new immersive show over our ‘20/’21 season. Each artist will work in close collaboration with a “Co-Conspirator” (dramaturge/outside eye) hired by OtM and selected in conversation with each artist’s needs.

The first year of the program will culminate in the summer of 2021 with The Pop-Up Experience 2.0: a site-specific public presentation of the commissioned pieces.

  • Summer 2021

TBA

DEVON HEALEY & NATE BITTON: "Rainbow on Mars"

Devon Healey works in the area of critical disability studies, theatre and drama as well as in education. All of her work is grounded in her experience as a blind woman guided by a desire to show how blindness specifically and disability more broadly can be understood as offering an alternate form of perception and is thus, a valuable and creative way of experiencing and knowing the world. She holds a two year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship with York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design in association with the Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology. Devon is an award-winning actor and holds a PhD in Disability Studies from OISE/University of Toronto.

Nate Bitton is a visually impaired, award-winning Fight Director, stage combat instructor, performer and occasional stunt man. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto Mississauga/Sheridan College Theatre and Drama Studies program and is a certified Fight Director and Instructor with Fight Directors Canada. Nate’s “fight scenes” says Glenn Sumi from Now Magazine, “are among the most convincing I’ve ever seen on a local stage.” Nate’s work explores and engages storytelling through movement and staged violence guided by a commitment to creating safe and supportive environments in which performers can flourish.

This show is one for the senses that will ignite and stimulate audience members through sights, sounds, smells and touch. This work is not a story of lack, limit, loss, tragedy or resilience; this is a story of the discovery of the raw beauty that is blindness.

TODD HOUSEMAN: "The Children of the Bear"

Todd Houseman is a Nehiyo (Cree) mixed blood actor, improviser, and writer from Edmonton, Alberta (Amiskwaciy). His work focuses on decolonization by prioritizing indigenous narratives through satire, political commentary, and storytelling. Todd recently graduated from the acting program at the National Theatre School of Canada but has yet to physically walk across the stage. He is the co-writer/producer/star (with Ben Gorodetsky) of the cultural comedy web series Folk Lordz, and the co-creator of the play Whiteface (with Lady Vanessa Cardona). In his free time, he enjoys building masks, forging knives, or being in the forests of western Alberta.

As the walls of a child’s living room literally expand into darkness, audiences will take their first steps into the story, but where they decide to stand, may change the narrative they receive for the better or the worse. A spectacle of light and dark, heroes and high fantasy, and masked characters tell the story of a child trying to break free from the circumstances of the past. 

JORDAN LAFFRENIER: "A New Black Poet"

Jordan Laffrenier is a theatre director, educator and dramaturg based in Toronto. He has held musical theatre development roles in New York City, Los Angeles and Toronto, including Amélie on Broadway, Paradise Square/ Hard Times (Berkeley Repertory Theatre California), Sousatska (Tiberius Entertainment). Currently, he works as the Co-Coordinator of Sheridan College’s Musical Theatre Program, The Associate Artistic Director of Ray Hogg’s Prime mover and as dramaturg for Cahoots 2020/2021 Hot House Lift-off program. He is the founding Artistic Director of Then They Fight Theatre, a dramaturgically based theatre company dedicated to developing new work by artists from the initial spark of an idea into a fully realized production.

A New Black Poet is an urban battle cry that reimagines the poetry of Langston Hughes to celebrate and reckon with the past.

ME TIME: "R.A.V.E."

Sarah Barrable-Tishauer, known here as Me Time, (she/her) is a DJ, educator, event producer and community advocate who engages dance music as a catalyst for social change. Since her early career on stage and screen in The Lion King and later, as a series lead on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Me Time has continued to fuel her passion of creating experiences that encourage childlike wonder and play. From performing at Tomorrowland Belgium, to headlining underground parties in Toronto to selling out her monthly dance parties EveryBody and Bass Witch, she is a champion of safer spaces that celebrate moderation, provide a platform for marginalized artists and hold intentional space for self-expression. Me Time founded Selecta School to address gender inequity on lineups by providing inclusive DJ education that focuses on nurturing the innate ‘selecta’ in all of us.

R.A.V.E. is an immersive dance music opera set in a radical future where the audiences’ role on the dancefloor will shape the future of humanity. Our fate changes nightly.