You gotta tip your hat to the Canadian Stage Company for its love for international performance.   This year’s six week festival, Spotlight Australia runs from  March 29 – May 7, 2017 to showcase innovate cross-disciplinary performance involving stories of home, belonging, and reconciliation.

Festival headliners include ILBIJERRI Theatre (Australia’s oldest Indigenous company)  and Circus thrillermakers CIRCA.

Our Spotlight Series came into being in 2011 with the goal of creating a cross-cultural dialogue and expanding the connection between Canada and the world,” said Matthew Jocelyn, Artistic and General Director. “On Canada’s 150th, it felt like an opportune time to discover the multiple perspectives, tensions and creative forces coming out of our mirrored nation of Australia, a country whose foundation and history are so very close to, yet so radically different from our own. Each featured artist will give us a unique view into the poetic and political worlds they inhabit “down under” – from questions of Indigenous rights and society (Jack Charles V The Crown) to the very notion of homeland and belonging (Circa’s The Return).”

ILBIJERRI, the oldest Indigenous theatre company in Australia, will tell the extraordinary autobiographical tale of one of Australia’s near forgotten treasures in Jack Charles V The Crown, running March 29 to April 8. Highly regarded actor/musician/potter/Aboriginal elder Uncle Jack Charles was born out of Australia’s Stolen Generation: Aboriginal children who were torn from their families by the Australian government between 1910 and 1970. Now in his 70s, and no longer caught in a cycle of addiction, crime and doing time, Uncle Jack takes to the stage to testify. Echoing the hardships of Canada’s own Indigenous peoples, this heartening one-man show is a celebration of resilience, reconciliation and a life lived to its fullest.

After mesmerizing Toronto audiences with the sold out hit OPUSCirca will return to Canadian Stage with another groundbreaking show fusing the Brisbane troupe’s world-renowned stripped-back acrobatics with baroque opera. Incorporating elements of Claudio Monteverdi’s famed opera The Return of UlyssesThe Return (May 3-7) is a haunting circus tale of longing from home, set against a timely backdrop of loss, war and displacement.

Running April 19-23Blood Links will give audiences the chance to get familiar with celebrated performer/photographer William Yang, whose unique slide show narratives – fusing storytelling, social history, and personal documentary photography – have been hailed among “the enduring pleasures of Australian theatre” by The Australian. Tracing the scattering of his family, who migrated from China to Australia over a hundred years ago, Yang takes us around the world and back again in a visually-stunning and poignant exploration of cultural boundaries, family grudges, identity and liberation.

Part chamber concert, part performance work, Endings  (April 26-30) employs portable turntables, reel-to-reel tape players and live electro-acoustic performance in an unforgettable meditation on cycles and the endings of things. Built in part from one-on-one interviews: people’s stories, reflections, and voices, acclaimed performance-maker Tamara Saulwick, Artistic Director of Melbourne’s Chamber Made Opera, finds form for experiences – both ordinary and extraordinary – that cluster around death, dying and afterlife. Featuring songs and vocals by Australian singer/songwriter Paddy Mann (known as Grand Salvo).

Spotlight Australia’s dance offering MEETING (April 26-30) pairs the sophisticated choreography of Antony Hamilton and obsessive machine-making practice of dancer/composer Alisdair Macindoe. In this choreographic study pitting man vs. machine, bodies are carried by the meditative pulse of 64 robotic percussion instruments and dance is stripped to its bare essentials.

Ticket and venue information can be found at www.canadianstage.com or by calling 416-368-3110.

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