January 21, 2015

Oh What a Lovely War is back to work!

After a much needed winter break, the cast and crew of Theatre@York’s Oh What a Lovely War are back to work! We visited the shops, tech boxes, and rehearsal spaces to see them get back into the swing of things. Take a look!

The show will take place in the Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre, which York’s production students have worked hard to transform into a First World War factory. First developed at the Theatre Workshop in 1963, Joan Littlewood’s epic musical satire changed attitudes towards the First World War and redefined British Theatre

In its 2014-2015 season, Theatre@York explores the theme of violence; what is violence? And who defines it? In honor of the 100 year anniversary of World War I Theatre@York responds to this question with Joan Littlewood’s Oh What A Lovely War, directed by Master of Fine Arts(MFA) Directing student Autumn Smith and featuring the MFA Acting class. In Theatre@York’s adaptation Smith, inspired by the stories of her own family, takes an industrial look at war and places the play in a factory setting.

Joan Littlewood is praised as the “mother of modern theatre” and is the founder of the groundbreaking theatre company Theatre Workshop. She created politically charged works that explored issues of the working class. Through improvisation and research she and her collaborators created works that are simultaneously stimulating and entertaining. Oh What A Lovely War is her most famous and influential piece. It contrasts music hall songs with shocking statistics and images of the First World War to inform audiences of how horrible it really was.

Autumn Smith is a director, dramaturge and artist educator. For the past seven years she has been the Artistic Director of the Dora Award-winning company MacKenzieRo: The Irish Repertory Theatre Company of Canada. For MackenzieRo she co-created and directed Teacht I dTir: Voices from Ireland Park and The Rake’s Progress: Do You Know Where Tom Rakewell Is? Other MacKenzieRo credits include the Canadian premiere of The New Electric Ballroom and bedbound, which also toured to the world renowned Druid Theatre Company in Galway. Autumn has also worked with companies including the Shaw Festival (Riders to the Sea – workshop), Theatre 20 (Bloodless-workshop), Foundry Theatre (The Heretic) and Roseneath Theatre (Chatroom).

Following Oh What A Lovely War, Theatre@York’s season continues with the Canadian premiere of Venus by Suzan–Lori Parks directed by MFA student Jamie Robinson.  In addition to tthe season’s three mainstage shows, the Theatre@York season is full of workshop productions including the annual playGround Festival, showcasing York University’s talent outside of the classroom; the Devised Theatre Festival; as well as the exhibition Scenes by Design, where the backstage of the theatre is brought to the foreground. And, of course, all the Department of Theatre’s productions are acted, designed, built, and produced by the grad and undergrad students of the Department.

York University’s Department of Theatre is the largest and most comprehensive in Canada, combining in-depth academic studies and rigorous practical training in all aspects of theatre. Through courses, students deal with both the creative processes and the technical skills needed for their careers. Acting, directing and production/design are offered alongside performance studies in historical, social and cultural contexts, theatre criticism, and playwriting.

York University’s School of Art, Media, Performance & Design (formerly the Faculty of Fine Arts) is one of North America’s premier educational and research institutions for the arts, media, performance and design. In Canada, it is the largest, most comprehensive program of its kind, bringing together some 3,400 undergraduate and graduate students and 240 full-time and part-time faculty working at the leading edge of practice and scholarship.

Previews for Oh What A Lovely War are on January 18th and 19th and the opening is Tuesday, January 20th.  Evening performances are at 7:30pm and continue Wednesday, January 21st until Friday, January 23rd. Matinees will be at 1:00pm on Wednesday and Friday, with a closing matinee on Saturday, January 24th at 2:00pm.

Preview tickets are $7.00 and regular tickets are $17.00. Discounts are available for students and seniors of $12.00 and groups of 10 people or more can purchase tickets for the price of $10.00. Tickets may be purchased online at http://theatre.finearts.yorku.ca/performance/theatre-york/box-office/ or in person at the Box Office in the CIBC Lobby of the Accolade East Building on York’s Keele Campus at 4700 Keele Street.