Arts Club Theatre unveils eclectic 2019-20 season, including A Thousand Splendid Suns, Noises Off, and Pulitzer Prize–winner Cost of Living

Today at the Arts Club’s BMO Goldcorp Centre, artistic director Ashlie Corcoran unveiled an eclectic array of programming for her second season, 2019-20. Shows for next year span a stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling tale of two Afghani women, A Thousand Splendid Suns ; carried away on the crest of a wave , David Yee’s Governor General’s Award–winning series of nine playlets that humanize the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami; a new Christmas comedy from local playwright Marcus Youssef; and a straight-from-London’s-West End production of Mischief Theatre’s production of Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

Corcoran said she was guided by her seven goals, including taking a leading role in creating new work, supporting diversity, and "what I call ‘conscious eclectisism’, which is in this case a lot of things that are really different from each other."

In the new-play category, two shows will have their world premieres: the 2018 Alberta Playwriting Competition winner Cipher , a conspiracy thriller by Ellen Close and Braden Griffiths, in partnership with Calgary’s Vertigo Theatre; and local Siminovitch Prize–winner Youssef’s It’s a Wonderful Christmas-ish Holiday Miracle , a story about a blended family trying to make things work during the holiday season that was an Arts Club Silver Commission. At the same time, Corcoran announced the Arts Club’s newest Silver Commission— Mom’s the Word 4 , the latest from the B.C.-based Mom’s the Word Collective. The Arts Club has also partnered with Theatre Calgary to commission B.C. writer Hiro Kanagawa’s stage adaptation of Forgiveness , Mark Sakamoto’s family memoir of World War II. The book won the Canada Reads 2018 competition.

In all the Arts Club is undertaking five coproductions with other countries. In partnership with Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre, the Pulitzer Prize–winning play Cost of Living will be produced for the first time in Canada, and Mischief Theatre’s production of the compedy Peter Pan Goes Wrong , by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, will be produced for the first time in North America. Presented by arrangement with Mischief Worldwide (with the same production design but an all-Canadian cast) it was originally presented in the West End of London by Kenny Wax and Stage Presence as a followup to the wildly popular The Play That Goes Wrong .

“I believe that collaborations with other artistic institutions are vital to the health of any modern theatre company,” Corcoran said in the announcement. “By partnering with organizations across Canada, the Arts Club is participating in a national conversation about Canadian identity and art, and sharing the work of our local artists with a national audience.”

Corcoran named rice & beans theatre as the Arts Club’s 2019–20 Company in Residence. The Arts Club’s newest initiative, the Emerging Playwrights’ Unit, will include Scott Button, Bronwyn Carradine, Mily Mumford, and Zahida Rahemtulla.

Some of the coming season remains a secret as the rights to two big musicals prevented Corcoran and her team from revealing a large-scale family holiday musical and a summer musical in 2020, both at the Stanley. They should be announced later this spring.

The Stanley season kicks off with A Thousand Splendid Suns , adapted by Ursula Rani Sarma, and described by Corcoran as "epic and sweeping", requiring the partnership with Royal Manitoba Theatre Company to pull off. The stage will also be home to the city’s first rendition of Noises Off , the 1982 farce about a farce by the English playwright Michael Frayn.

Meanwhile, the Granville Island stage kicks off its season with the modern-day sex farce birds and the bees , focusing on two adjoining bedrooms on a Canadian farm. It will also host the city’s first production of Trey Anthony’s musical Da Kink in My Hair.

And the BMO Goldcorp space, which Corcoran says she uses to "continue to play with the audience-performer relationship", Cost of Living kicks things off October 10 to November 3, with Corcoran directing the story that challenges traditional perceptions of those living with disabilities. Later on, in April, Naomi Wright takes on Duncan MacMillan’s hope-filled and heartbreaking one-woman show Every Brilliant Thing , about a daughter who tries to help her mother through crippling depression.

The full season release is as follows: The Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre kicks off its season with A Thousand Splendid Suns. STANLEY INDUSTRIAL ALLIANCE STAGE

By Ursula Rani Sarma
Based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini
In partnership with Royal Manitoba Theatre Company
Director Haysam Kadri
The gripping story of two Afghan women, based on the best-selling novel
September 12–October 13, 2019

A family-friendly musical masterpiece for the holidays
November 7, 2019–January 5, 2020

By Michael Frayn
Director Scott Bellis
The classic play-within-a-play farce
January 23–February 23, 2020

By David Yee
Director Stephen Drover
A boundary-pushing theatrical journey
March 19–April 19, 2020

A big-hearted modern musical

By Mark Crawford
Director Lauren Taylor
Love, lust, beekeeping, and the artificial insemination of turkeys meet in this raucous comedy
September 26–October 26, 2019

By Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon
Director Roy Surette
The festive Pride and Prejudice follow-up returns
December 5, 2019–January 4, 2020

By Ellen Close and Braden Griffiths
In partnership with Vertigo Theatre
Director Craig Hall
Hipster noir meets corporate thriller—an investigation of a decades-old Vancouver Island cold-case murder
February 6–March 7, 2020

By Trey Anthony
A resonant musical celebration of women of colour, set in a vibrant Toronto hair salon
April 16–May 16, 2020

Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver, and Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, present the North American premiere of The Mischief Theatre Production PETER PAN GOES WRONG By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields Director Adam Meggido Set Designer Simon Scullion Lighting Designer Matt Haskins Costume Designer Roberto Surace Sound Designer Ella Wahström Composers Rob Falconer and Richard Baker Presented by arrangement with Mischief Worldwide This production was originally presented in the West End of London by Kenny Wax and Stage Presence June 25–August 22, 2020 GOLDCORP STAGE AT THE BMO THEATRE CENTRE COST OF LIVING 3 By Martyna Majok In partnership with Citadel Theatre Director Ashlie Corcoran The 2018 Pulitzer Prize–winning drama about caretakers and the realities of disability October 10–November 3, 2019IT’S A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS-ISH HOLIDAY MIRACLE 4 By Marcus Youssef Director Chelsea Haberlin A new play that embraces the love and foibles of family November 21–December 22, 2019THE WEDDING PARTY By Kristen Thomson In partnership with Prairie Theatre Exchange Director Ann Hodges A ringside seat for all the laughs, debauchery, disagreements, and love at a family wedding reception February 27–March 22, 2020EVERY BRILLIANT THING By Duncan MacMillan With Jonny Donahoe Director Ashlie Corcoran Starring Naomi Wright A daughter aids her mom through depression by listing everything worth living for, with help from the audience April 2–April 26, 2020


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