Centaur Theatre unveils golden line-up for its 50th anniversary
Centaur Theatre – It’s been nearly a year since Eda Holmes took the helm as the new artistic and executive director of the Centaur Theatre. And somehow, as if destiny prescribed it, her first season where she gets to decide what productions will grace the Centaur stage is a rather landmark one.
The 2018-2019 season will mark a major milestone for the Centaur, as it will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
“Montreal theatre audiences are passionate, intelligent and curious, not to mention loyal and intrepid, which is why this season will be a celebration of the Centaur’s audiences,” said Ms. Holmes during the annual launch event to unveil its upcoming line-up, which took place on March 12 at the theatre’s Old Montreal location.
And to commemorate the start of the Centaur’s sixth decade, Ms. Holmes announced that its always popular, critically-acclaimed series of plays, initiatives and special events will be re-branded into four distinct theatrical series this season: the Essential Series, the Presenting Series, the Guest of Centaur Series and the Legacy Series.
Starting with its flagship Essential Series of subscriber productions, the six plays will be featured at the Centaur 2 space for runs of three weeks each. It begins with the Canadian premiere of “Choir Boy” (October 9 to 28), written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who won on Oscar last year for his screenplay of “Moonlight”, which won the Oscar for Best Picture of 2016; this coming of age story takes place in an African-American boys school and is filled with plenty of gospel and R&B music. “The Children” (November 6 to 25), a triumph in London’s West End and in New York, makes its Canadian premiere at the Centaur, and deals with the issue of what the current generation would be willing to risk for the good of the following generation. Canadian indie rock star Torquil Campbell kicks off 2019 with the solo show “True Crime” (January 8 to 27), a rather bizarre journey into the dark side of a human being, as he decides to slip into the skin of a notorious con man named Christian Gerhartsreiter. “The Last Wife” (February 12 to March 3), a hit at the Shaw Festival and Governor-General Award nominee, tells the story of Catherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII of England. “The Shoplifters” (March 19 to April 7) is a raucous, biting comedy that examines the differences between the haves and have-nots in today’s complex society. What will make this production unique is that Morris Panych, its original playwright, will create a new version tailored especially for its Centaur run, in which two of the original four English-speaking characters will become Francophone characters. “Blind Date” (April 9 to 28) caps off the series, in which Rebecca Northan, as a charming clown, will pick an unsuspecting member of the audience to be her date for that evening. This totally improvised play will also feature special “date night” performances for queer and Francophone audiences.
The Presenting Series will feature a line-up of independent plays and festivals that have been familiar and popular with Centaur audiences over the years. “The Tashme Project: The Living Archives”, Julie Tamiko Manning and Matt Miwa’s acclaimed production about the internment of Japanese–Canadians during World War II, will be this year’s Brave New Looks selection (November 15 to 25). “Urban Tales”, the Centaur’s darkly delightful Christmas holiday tradition, will embark upon its 12th edition of bizarre Xmas storytelling under the theme of “The 12 Days of Christmas” (December 5 to 15). The Centaur’s “hottest two weeks in winter” – aka the Wildside Festival – will be back for its 22nd year with a wide variety of brand new works – not to mention Fringe Festival favorites – from emerging writers and artists from Canada and around the world (January 8 to 20).
The Guests of the Centaur Series will have the Centaur partner up with some of Montreal’s best known theatrical and artistic companies for some one-of-a-kind programming. That includes productions by the Black Theatre Workshop, Imago Theatre and Tohu/Montreal Completement Cirque. As well, CBC’s Massey Lectures will feature Harvard experimental particle physicist Melissa Franklin, who will appear at the Centaur on September 19 to talk about “The Width of the World”; and the Centaur will partner for the first time with L’Opera de Montreal to present “Twenty-Seven” from March 23 to 31, as part of the Opera’s Atelier Lyrique training program.
Finally, to officially celebrate 50 years’ worth of the Centaur’s rich contribution to the Montreal theatre scene, the Legacy Series will relive two of the Centaur’s most memorable productions through special live staged readings: David Fennario’s landmark 1979 play “Balconville” (September 27 to 29) and Bowser & Blue’s tasty 2011 musical comedy “Schwartz’s The Musical” (December 13 to 15). A third staged reading will take place May 9 to 11, and will spotlight a brand new play by an emerging local playwright, which will be announced at a later date.
Single tickets for all of the shows that are part of the Centaur’s 50th anniversary season line-up go on sale starting July 1. As well, early bird subscribers (before May 11) will be entered in a draw for a number of prizes including a one-night getaway at the Hotel Bonaparte in Old Montreal; renewing, returning and new subscribers will be able to take advantage of last year’s prices for 4, 5 or 6-play packages before June 30; and new subscribers 30 years of age and under can sign up for the complete Essential Series of plays for only $150, which includes a Bring-a-Friend Pass.
For more information, call 514-288-3161 or go to www.centaurtheatre.com