A party like this one only
happens once every thirty years…
I am in the midst of writing grants, which along with the administrative tasks, also means envisioning future seasons, the productions, the programming, the plans. It is a part of the job that I really relish, taking ephemeral dreams and making them concrete. As much as it is rewarding to look into the future, I have also had the recent pleasure and privilege of connecting with the former Artistic Directors of Cahoots over the last few months. It has been an extraordinary journey, listening to their stories of the earlier days of the company, the funding struggles, the battle for venues, and yes, the continuing advocacy for space on Canada’s stages. Their stories were at times from a different era, and at other times all too familiar, but perhaps on a different scale. In many ways, the company’s role, defined 30 years ago, remains utterly vital and relevant.
Former Artistic Director (1998 to 2003) Guillermo Verdecchia articulated in his article “Seven Things about Cahoots Theatre Projects” (2005, How Theatre Educates, edited by Kathleen Gallagher) as such:
“Cahoots was founded in 1986, and was burdened, it seems to me, with the Herculean task of having to, in some way, defend, promote, train, assist, encourage, develop and produce virtually all those professional and aspiring professional, visible, ethnic, and cultural minority theatre artists whom the mainstream theatre companies consistently ignored and who couldn’t find a home or employment…”
And yet as Herculean as it may have been, (and perhaps still is), so much has been accomplished over these past 30 years. With 35 productions and counting, it means hundreds of scripts developed, hundreds of artists engaged, thousands of audience members. Moreso, in our broader reach, Cahoots has hosted workshops, conferences, forums, resources, youth engagement and more. It is hard to encapsulate the enormity of 30 years of Cahoots. It is a legacy of work that does not live with me or our most recent production, but with the previous leadership, and all the artists, the actors, the writers, the designers, the funders, the supporters – and yes Cahoots’ legacy lives with you.
On May 8th, we will celebrate our 30 years, first by honoring our past, starting with board volunteers, administrators and then with our artistic leadership. Most of the previous artistic directors will be in attendance, including founder Beverly Yhap. Then, together as community, we will then honour and recognize the future, our 30 for 30 artists – chosen emerging artists who we believe will have impact for the next 30 years and beyond.
It is going to be a special evening as we look back to the leaders of the past, and look forward to the leaders of future. Won’t you join us?
Monday May 8th, 2017
The Ballroom at The 519
519 Church St. Toronto, ON.
Cocktails at 5:30
Welcome ceremony by Jani Lauzon at 6:00
Frank Hull performs at 6:30
Food service from Fabarnek Restaurant begins at 7
30th Anniversary Celebrations at 8 P.M.
Waleed Abdulhamid & John Millard perform at 9
ASL Interpretation provided
The 519 is a fully accessible venue