Toronto's Factory Theatre announces it's 2010-2011 Season

By Leanne Milech

It’s here!  Factory Theatre‘s 41st season was announced this week.  Factory has always been focused on presenting the Canadian experience in all of its elaborate, diverse wonder through its productions, and the upcoming season of shows not only provides imaginative Canadian entertainment, but it does so by stepping outside the box.

Billie Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy, the season opener, is the perfect example.  We are off-the-wall excited about this tale of a middle-aged cruise ship puppeteer who re-discovers his passion for his trade.  Created and performed by the award-winning Ronnie Burkett, who is largely responsible for the contemporary adult love of marionette theatre, Factory is kicking off the season with a glowing, ambitious start.

Other shows you can look forward to:

Ali and Ali 7: Hey Brother (or Sister), Can You Spare Some Hope and Change? by Camyar Chai, Guillermo Verdecchia and Marcus Youssef;

Bethune Imagined by Ken Gass; Eternal Hydra by Anton Piatigorsky;

Brothel #9 by Anusree Roy;

Performance Spring 2011; and

Zadie’s Shoes by Adam Pettle.

The season runs September 24, 2010 to June 5, 2011, and subscriptions and tickets are available online at or by phone at (416) 504-9971.  Read the full press release below for more info on all of the upcoming shows.



Toronto, ON – Monday, March 15, 2010… At the midpoint of Factory’s critically acclaimed 40th Anniversary Season, Artistic Director Ken Gass and Managing Director Sara Meurling are pleased to announce the company’s 2010/2011 Season, one that includes two world premieres, two Toronto premieres, one major revival and a return of an acclaimed 2009 production. The season features Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy created and performed by Ronnie Burkett; Ali and Ali 7: Hey Brother (or Sister), Can You Spare Some Hope and Change? by Camyar Chai, Guillermo Verdecchia and Marcus Youssef; Bethune Imagined by Ken Gass; Eternal Hydra by Anton Piatigorsky; Brothel #9 by Anusree Roy; Performance Spring 2011; and Zadie’s Shoes by Adam Pettle. The season runs September 24, 2010 – June 5, 2011 at Factory Theatre, Toronto, Ontario. Gass says, “The Factory mission is to reflect the Canadian experience through the imagination of our playwrights and theatre creators, and this is a season that accomplishes that with an inspiring theatrical verve. Factory’s 41st all-Canadian season is diverse, eclectic, language-rich, provocative and daring – all Factory hallmarks.” For subscriptions and tickets, visit online at or call the Box Office at (416) 504 9971. Discounts available for pre-May 1, 2010 beat-the-HST purchase.

Launching the season is Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy, created and performed by Ronnie Burkett, September 24 to October 24, 2010 (previewing September 24, 25 and 26, opening September 28). Fresh off an acclaimed international tour, Burkett, recent winner of the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, is recognized world-wide as one of Canada’s foremost theatre artists. Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes has been credited with creating some of the world’s most elaborate and provocative puppetry, and stimulating an unprecedented adult audience for puppet theatre.  Billy Twinkle is a middle-aged cruise ship puppeteer who dazzles audiences with his Stars in Miniature marionette niteclub act… until he is fired by the cruise line.  Contemplating a watery demise, his dead mentor appears as a ghostly handpuppet, forcing Billy to re-enact his life as a puppet show and rekindle the passion for a life that sparkles.

Cahoots Theatre Company, in association with Factory Theatre, presents Neworld Theatre’s production of Ali and Ali 7: Hey Brother (or Sister), Can You Spare Some Hope and Change? September 25 to October 24, 2010 (previewing September 25, 26, 28 and 29, opening September 30). Ali and Ali series creators Camyar Chai, Guillermo Verdecchia and Marcus Youssef turn their delightfully idiosyncratic brand of post-identity satire to world politics and Western society.  Formerly titled Ali and Ali 7: The Deportation Hearings, this irreverent political comedy had its first reading at CrossCurrents 2009 and will open in Vancouver this month before arriving at Factory in the fall. ( and

The World Premiere of Bethune Imagined, written and directed by Ken Gass, plays November 13 – December 12, 2010 (previewing November 13, 14, 16 and 17, opening November 18). Bethune Imagined looks at the charismatic and contradictory iconic figure Norman Bethune though a stormy six-month period in his life in Montréal in 1936, prior to his departure for Spain, and subsequently China where he died a hero to billions of Chinese. The play focuses on his complex relationships with three women: Marian Dale Scott, a painter; Margaret Day, a politically active university student; and his ex wife, Frances Penny, all of whom loved Bethune in very different ways. The play is also a reflection of the turbulent and heady times of the mid-1930s, a time of emancipation for women, and also a time of wide political debate and engagement among the intellectual left. Ken Gass, founder and Artistic Director of Factory Theatre (1970 – 1979; 1996 – present), has penned numerous plays, including Slip Knot, Claudius, The Boy Bishop, Winter Offensive and Hurray for Johnny Canuck! He is a recipient of the Toronto Arts Award, the George Luscombe Award and the Dora Silver Ticket Award.

Crow’s Theatre in association with Factory Theatre presents Eternal Hydra by Anton Piatigorsky (Kabbalistic Psychoanalysis of Adam R. Tzaddik, Great Western Ascension) January 22 – February 13, 2011 (previewing January 22, 23, 25 and 26, opening January 27). Eternal Hydra, directed by Chris Abraham, is the winner of four 2009 Dora Mavor Moore Awards (Best New Play, Outstanding Production, Direction and Lighting Design). Obsession, identity, politics and the myth of genius all come to play in this post-modern look at the making of a modernist masterpiece. The play is set in motion by the discovery of a long-lost novel about a 1930s black author, whose pages spark an academic controversy around issues of race, gender and identity that reach as far back as the American Civil War. “I believe there is a huge untapped audience for this complex literate work,” says Gass, “and we are pleased to extend the life of this marvelous production.” ( 

The World Premiere of Brothel #9 by Anusree Roy (Letters to my Grandma, Pyassa) plays February 26 to March 27, 2011 (previewing February 26, 27, March 1 and 2, opening March 3). “Roy made an extraordinary debut with her Dora Mavor Moore Award-winning Pyassa, a short play about the Untouchables in India’s caste system,” says Gass. In Roy’s imaginative new work, set in a dark corner of the sex trade in Calcutta, the human spirit struggles desperately against prevailing social forces to find hope for the future. In a richly painted canvas of obsession, violence and slavery, Brothel #9 reveals that, ultimately, true liberty lives in the human heart.

Performance Spring, a festival of groundbreaking works from the national scene, runs April 2 – 24, 2011. Touring and local productions in addition to CrossCurrents–Factory’s showcase of new play in developmentare in the Factory Mainspace and Studio Theatres. Past Performance Spring highlights have included Theatre Replacement’s
Sexual Practices of the Japanese
and Artistic Fraud’s Fear of Flight, as well as this year’s Where the Blood Mixes by Keving Loring.  Performance Spring 2011 programming to be announced in May 2010.

Closing Factory’s 41st Anniversary Season is Zadie’s Shoes by Adam Pettle (Therac 25, Sunday Father), April 30 – June 5, 2011 (previewing April 30, May 1, 3 and 4, opening May 5).  One of the most successful Canadian plays of the last decade, premiering at Factory in 2000 before transferring to Mirvish Productions, where it enjoyed a nearly sold-out run, Zadie’s Shoes provides a hilarious yet moving look at the nature of luck and the power of faith. This brand new production will be co-directed by brothers Adam and Jordan Pettle.

Single tickets for the above shows are now on sale, as well as subscription offerings.  Subscribe by April 30, 2010 and save the additional HST. Returning subscribers get one FREE bonus ticket for a friend. Subscriptions are valid for one ticket per show based on ANYTIME (any day of the week), WEEKDAY (Sunday – Thursday) and PREVIEW (preview dates). ANYTIME subscriptions include 7-Play $170 or $190; 5-Play $145 or $160; 5-Play for Senior/Student/Artist $120 or $135; and 3-Play $92 or $100. WEEKDAY subscriptions include 5-Play $115 or $127 and 5-Play for Senior/Student/Artist $95 or $105. PREVIEW subscriptions include 6-Play $75 or $80 or 5-Play at $65 or $70. Subscribers may purchase additional $25 tickets to Performance Spring and other events. Single tickets run $15 – $48 (discounts for previews, seniors, students or theatre artists as well as groups of ten or more) and may be purchased online at 24 hours a day, or by calling (416) 504-9971 or by visiting the Factory Theatre Box Office in person Tuesday to Saturday (Tuesday to Friday when not in performance week), 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., at 125 Bathurst Street (at Adelaide Street), Toronto. A $2.25 box office fee is added for all debit and credit card purchases on each ticket, and a $1 convenience fee is charged for online purchases.