Actor Jason Priestley's return to the stage, a new mixed-media show from Vancouver's Kim Collier and her Electric Company Theatre and a series showcasing contemporary Japanese plays and dance works are all part of the eclectic lineup Canadian Stage is preparing for its 25th anniversary season.


Dawn Petten and Jonathon Young in the mixed-media production Tear the Curtain!, a production from Kim Collier and Electric Company Theatre. (David Cooper/Canadian Stage)

Artistic and general director Matthew Jocelyn unveiled a wide-ranging slate of offerings for 2012-2013 on Thursday in Toronto.

Award-winning theatre artist Collier landed the season-opening slot with Tear the Curtain!, described as a boundary-blurring piece that blends film and theatre.

Priestley, known for TV's original Beverly Hills 90120 and the raunchy, Gemini-winning Canadian comedy series Call Me Fitz, will star in a production of David Mamet's 2009 play Race. The Vancouver-born actor will portray a Caucasian man seeking legal counsel after being charged with the rape of a black woman.

"Performing live on stage is an incredible thrill — especially when given such an exhilarating role," Priestley said in a statement. "I am very excited to return to the theatre in Canada."

Canadian Stage turns to Asia for the special series Spotlight Japan, which will showcase Japanese artists such as avant-garde hip hop dancer Hiroaki Umeda, butoh dance icon Carlotta Ikeda, the Android Robot Theatre and playwright Toshiki Okada.

Comedies and dramas tackling relationship dilemmas, a new work from noted Calgary troupe the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, critically praised dance productions and a Shakespearean favourite round out the playbill. The complete lineup is:


Jason Priestley will star as Jack Lawson in the Toronto production of the drama Race by David Mamet. (Canadian Stage)

  • Tear the Curtain!, by Jonathon Young and Kevin Kerr. An Electric Company production, in association with Arts Club Theatre Company, directed by Kim Collier.
  • Political Mother, by Hofesh Shechter. A Hofesh Shechter Company production directed by Hofesh Shechter.
  • The Arsonists, by Max Frisch. A Canadian Stage production directed by Morris Panych.
  • This, by Melissa James Gibson. A Canadian Stage production directed by Matthew Jocelyn.
  • Race, by David Mamet. A Canadian Stage production.
  • The Golden Mean (Live), by Marie Chouinard. A Compagnie Marie Chouinard production.
  • Speaking in Tongues, by Andrew Bovell. A Company Theatre production, in association with Canadian Stage, directed by Philip Riccio.
  • Ignorance, by The Old Trout Puppet Workshop. An Old Trout Puppet Workshop production
  • Someone Else, by Kristen Thomson. A Crow's Theatre production, in association with Canadian Stage, directed by Chris Abraham
  • Spotlight Japan: Haptic and Holistic Strata, by Hiroaki Umeda; Sayonara and I, Worker, by Oriza Hirata, Android Robot Theatre; Madea, by Carlotta Ikeda; Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and the Farewell Speech, by Toshiki Okada.
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare. A Canadian Stage Production in High Park, directed by Richard Rose.

The program "will explore some of the big questions about our human experience while pushing the boundaries of what live theatre can be," Jocelyn said in a statement, adding that the artists featured "are creating thought-provoking work that spans every theatrical discipline."

The Canadian Stage 2012-2013 season opens in October.


U.K.-based Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter brings his new work Political Mother to Toronto. (Tom Medwell/Canadian Stage)