Lessons in Temperament

Created and Performed by James Smith

“a memoir of minds gone out of tune”
– The New York Times

**WINNER – 2016 SummerWorks Festival PRIZE FOR PRODUCTION**

In Lessons in Temperament, James Smith tunes pianos in various public and private spaces throughout Toronto while exploring the concept of equal temperament as well as his three older brothers’ mental illnesses: obsessive compulsive disorder, autism, and schizophrenia. Smith attempts to grant balance to the instrument that has both kept him grounded and kept him company throughout his life.

Part memoir, part performance art, part tune-up, this site-specific show offers a unique theatrical experience, and a singular glimpse into the lives of those living with strange, beautiful, distempered minds.

  • Toronto - June 18th - 28th, 2017
    NYC - July 2nd - 29th, 2017

Untuned Pianos around North America

a memoir of minds gone out of tune

The New York Times

Lessons In Temperament

The New York Times

intimate, deeply felt and poignant… wise and heartfelt lessons for us all.

NOW Magazine

Lessons In Temperament

NOW Magazine

Do yourself a favour and experience this show.

Mooney on Theatre

Lessons In Temperament

Mooney on Theatre

Mitchell Cushman has once again directed a fascinating site-specific show with nuance and sensitivity

Slotkin Letter

Lessons In Temperament

Slotkin Letter

Creative Team

  • James Smith – Creator and Performer
  • Mitchell Cushman – Director and Developer
  • Nick Blais – Production Design
  • Nevada Banks – Associate Director
  • Kate Sandeson – Stage Manager
  • Michelle Yagi & Katherine Devlin Rosenfeld – Producers
  • Sarite Harris – Producer (SummerWorks run)
  • Imran Zaidi – Photography and Graphic Design


Awards & Accolades

  • Prize for Production – The SummerWorks Festival (2016)
  • Prize for Direction (Honourable Mention), Mitchell Cushman – The SummerWorks Festival (2016)
  • Outstanding Production – NOW Magazine (SummerWorks, 2016)
  • Outstanding New Play – NOW Magazine (SummerWorks, 2016)
  • Outstanding Direction – NOW Magazine (SummerWorks, 2016)
  • SummerWorks Highlight – Torontoist (2016)