Announcement: NIGHTWOOD THEATRE announces its 2011-2012 season with Atwood’s The Penelopiad as the centre piece

From Press Release

Toronto, ON… Nightwood Theatre announces its 2011-2012 season as the largest in the company’s history, premiering 3 world class plays, a new national festival and working with 44 of the country’s finest female artists including playwright Margaret Atwood, actors Megan Follows and Barbara Gordon, comedian Elvira Kurt and designer Kimberly Purtell. For its 32nd season, Nightwood is truly fulfilling the company’s position as Canada’s National Women’s Theatre.

Nightwood launches the season in November with the freshly expanded New Groundswell Festival – a National Festival of Contemporary Women’s Theatre. Over 11 days Nightwood will feature 3 workshop productions including Governor General’s Award nominee Lisa Codrington’s new play The Aftermath, Jordi Mand’s Between the Sheets and Zuppa Theatre’s acclaimed new work The Debacle (Halifax). The Festival will also feature an Industry Series of master classes, provocative panels and public readings.

In January Nightwood’s Artistic Director Kelly Thornton stages the highly anticipated professional Toronto Premiere of Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, starring Megan Followsas Penelope and featuring a stellar cast of the city’s hottest female actors. The Penelopiad is Atwood’s daring response to Homer’s The Odyssey wherein Penelope, destined to spend eternity in Hades, recounts her life’s story and the murder of her twelve handmaidens. Coined by The Independent (UK) as “half-Dorothy Parker, half-Desperate Housewives”, Atwood’s The Penelopiad brings one of history’s most powerful myths into the contemporary imagination with acerbic wit and wisdom.

Next is the World Premiere of Rose Cullis’ The Happy Woman directed by Kelly Thornton and starring Barbara Gordon as a matriarch of the perfect family. Described by Lynn Slotkin of The Slotkin Letter as “a fascinating play of complex characters in prickly situations, some of which will make your neck hairs stand on end”, The Happy Woman is an edgy new comedy exploring the nature of happiness and the dark underbelly of what it means to be “normal”.

On March 29, 2012, Nightwood presents the 29th FemCab (The Five Minute Feminist Cabaret) hosted by comic marvel Elvira Kurt. A celebration of International Women’s Day the annual event is always a crowd pleaser!

The season caps off with the North American Premiere of Bryony Lavery’s Stockholmproduced by Seventh Stage Theatre Productions in association with Nightwood Theatre.Stockholm is a truly provocative exploration of stockholm syndrome played out though the destructive and euphoric relationship of a too-perfect couple.  As the Guardian (UK) says, “Lavery’s needle-sharp script toys with the audience like a horror movie…this is terrifyingly erotic and haunting 70 minutes.”

Join us this season – one of our most ambitious and exciting seasons to date. As Kelly Thornton, Nightwood’s Artistic Director says, “Our 11/12 season packs a punch – psychologically provocative and socially relevant, the work aims to expose the secrets that burden our existence and in disclosing them, awaken us to our common humanity.”


Nightwood Theatre – Artistic Director Kelly Thornton, Producer Denyse Karn and Chair Karon Bales.

As Canada’s national women’s theatre since 1979, Nightwood has launched the careers of many of the leading theatre artists in the country. We have won Canada’s highest literary and performing arts awards and more than ever our success proves the need for theatre that gives voice to women and celebrates the diversity of Canadian society. We remain actively engaged in mentoring young women and promoting women’s place on the local, national and international stage.


2011/12 Programming

The New Groundswell Festival

A National Festival of Contemporary Women’s Theatre

November 30 to December 10, 2011

The Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs

The Aftermath by Lisa Codrington – Toronto

In the face of impending catastrophe and despite widespread evacuation there are simply those that shall not be moved. A harrowing and humorous exploration of survival, The Aftermathtakes us to the eye of the storm to reveal the humanity of those left behind to ride it out.

Between the Sheets by Jordi Mand – Toronto

A teacher is visited by the mother of one of her students. One woman is fighting to protect her family. The other is fighting for the family she always wanted. A play about love, loyalty and betrayal.

The Debacle by Ann-Marie Kerr and Susan Leblanc Crawford – Zuppa Theatre, Halifax

Going to scientific extremes a woman attempts to freeze memories of her dying sister and in the process learns the power of letting go. The Debacle is a sad, funny and highly theatrical portrait of a woman facing the inevitable reality of being alone.

Industry series information media release in September 2011


Nightwood Theatre presents the professional Toronto Premiere


By Margaret Atwood

Directed by Kelly Thornton

Designed by Denyse Karn

Lighting Designed by Kimberly Purtell

Featuring Megan Follows, Maev Beaty, Christine Brubaker, Sarah Dodd, Monica Dottor, Raven Dauda, Kelli Fox, Cara Gee, Patricia Hamilton, Tara Rosling, Pamela Sinha, Sophia Walker and Bahia Watson

January 10 to 29, 2012

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

“Now that I’m dead, I know everything.” So begins The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood’s daring response to Homer’s The Odyssey. Destined to spend eternity in Hades, Penelope recounts her life’s story and the murder of her twelve handmaidens by her vengeful husband, Odysseus. A provocative new look at a women’s longing, lust and culpability.


Nightwood Theatre presents the World Premiere


By Rose Cullis

Directed by Kelly Thornton

Designed by Denyse Karn

Lighting Designed by Kimberly Purtell

Featuring Barbara Gordon, Ingrid Rae Doucet, Charlotte Gowdy, Martin Happer, Maria Vacratsis

March 3 to 24, 2012

Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs

Is there such a thing as being too happy? Margaret has a perfect son, a beautiful daughter and a grandchild on the way. But what’s lurking beneath this family’s glossy veneer? The Happy Woman is a darkly comic exploration about what happens when bliss gets in the way of truth and threatens to destroy the very foundation we rely on.



Hosted by Elvira Kurt

March 29, 2012

Brigantine Room, Harbourfront Centre

Elvira Kurt hosts FemCab 2012, Nightwood’s annual International Women’s day celebration. This award-winning stand up comedian and Second City veteran promises to make the 29thFemCab a side-splitting and commemorative event.


Seventh Stage Productions in association with Nightwood Theatre presents the North American Premiere


By Bryony Lavery

Directed by Kelly Straughan

Choreographed by Susie Burpee

Featuring Melissa-Jane Shaw and Ryan Hollyman

May 11 to June 3, 2012

Tarragon Extra Space

Todd and Kali are the perfect self-styled couple: They’re beautiful, have a fabulous sex life and live in a designer home. But under the surface is a distrust and desire so potent that even a much-anticipated holiday to Stockholm is threatened. Probing into the psychology of Stockholm Syndrome, Lavery transports us into a lovers’ dance that is at once destructive and euphoric. Stockholm leaves us questioning the fine lines between love and lust, aggressor and victim.


Regular Pass – $75 (includes a ticket to The Penelopiad, The Happy Woman andStockholm)

VIP PASS – $125 (includes a ticket to The Penelopiad, The Happy Woman,Stockholm, FemCab and a New Groundswell Festival Pass)

Passes can be ordered by calling 416.944.1740×8


Press contacts:

For more information and to set up interviews

please contact Rebecca Peirson at 416-944-1740 x 8 or