Reporting and commentary about Canadian performance culture in Internet times • August 16, 2016

#CdnCult Volume 7, Edition 8: SUMMER THEATRE

Lush city park in the summer time. People lounging in grass, crossing on bikes, bbqing.

Photo credit to .and+.

Summertime means summer theatre. Across the nation, actors, technicians, audiences and 50/50 ticket sellers are braving mosquitos, sudden downpours and less-than-ideal seating to make theatre happen in the great outdoors.

We love outdoor theatre, especially in the summer. Take a show outdoors and the possibilities for the unexpected increase that much more. While we contemplate a well-timed sunset, and enjoy the basic pleasure of being outdoors, anything can happen, and usually does. It’s theatre at its most alive.

In this week’s edition, we hear from three theatre-makers with big ideas for outdoor theatre. These are makers who are manifesting large-scale, theatrical ideas in small rural communities. Danielle Irvine explores why Shakespeare’s Elizabethan language resonates at Perchance Theatre in Cupids, Newfoundland. Courtenay Dobbie takes us through the process of playing with Caravan Farm Theatre’s epic landscape. And Sarah Conn flips the script, talking about how micro-communities and intimacy function in urban spaces in STO Union’s piece Trophy.

We hope you get to enjoy some outdoor theatre in these last few weeks of summer. And when you do, catch the eyes of the folks in the bleachers (or picnic blanket) next to you. Share a secret smile. You are making good use of your summer.

This is our last edition of Cdncult for Volume 7. We want to acknowledge Michael Wheeler, founding editor of #CdnCult. After three productive years building this online magazine, Michael is stepping away from the publication to focus on a couple other projects here at Spiderwebshow – including the ground-breaking CdnStudio. Thanks Wheeler!

And welcome to Laurel Green from Calgary who is on-board as co-editor for Volume 8, which will hit the cyberstands Tuesday October 18. See you then.

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A forest clearing at night. A large cast of actors in tableaux across the clearing, dressed in early 1900s clothing.

Our Town: choosing a play for a landscape and a community


How can a story match, domineer, or be in antithesis to the natural landscape on which it is performed? How can it lend itself to the grandeur of the cinematic landscape to provide the audience a sense of wonder and magic?

Tents with pink and yellow lights inside. In a grove of trees.

Performance in Progress


Being in Queen West, especially in the evening, we started to get a lot of attention. A number of people mentioned that they would not normally want to be in that park after dark, and so it was interesting to have created a space where everyone was welcome – both the people who normally reside in the park, and the people who would normally avoid it.

Large wood theatre building in the woods with bright colourful rainbow arching overhead.

Shakespeare in Rural Newfoundland


Founded in 1610, at the height of Shakespeare’s reign of the London stage, Cupids was the first colony in what would become Canada – the second founded in North America. Those first settlers, in all likelihood, could have seen one of Shakespeare’s plays before sailing over. They carried with them the seeds of a language and culture that came straight out of Shakespeare’s time.