Praised Polish Drama Our Class to Get North American Premiere; Parade to Make Canadian Bow

News   Praised Polish Drama Our Class to Get North American Premiere; Parade to Make Canadian Bow
 
Studio 180 Theatre in Toronto will produce the Canadian premiere of the musical Parade and the North American premiere of the acclaimed Olivier Award-nominated drama Our Class in its 2010-11 season.

The productions will be presented at the Berkeley Street Theatre.

Parade, the tale of injustice in 1913 Atlanta, where a Jewish man is wrongly accused of murdering a girl, will play Dec. 30, 2010-Jan. 22, 2011. The book is by Alfred Uhry, with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown.

Parade will be a co-production with Acting Up Stage Company, known for the recent Toronto run of The Light in the Piazza.

Studio 180 artistic director Joel Greenberg will direct, with musical direction by Paul Sportelli (of the Shaw Festival).

Our Class by Tadeusz Slobodzianek, in an English version by Ryan Craig, will play April 4-30, 2011. Greenberg will direct. Produced in association with Canadian Stage, and recently staged at the National Theatre in London, Our Class is billed this way: "A group of schoolchildren, Jewish and Catholic, declare their ambitions: one to be a fireman, one a film star, one a pilot, another a doctor. They are learning their ABCs. This is Poland, 1925. As the children grow, their country is torn apart by invading armies, first Soviet and then Nazi. Internal grievances deepen as fervent nationalism develops. Friends betray each other and violence escalates until these ordinary people carry out an atrocious crime."

The play is based on true events in the small northern Polish town of Jedwabne during the Second World War, "where a massacre led to accusations and counter-accusations of blame that continued long after the end of the war."

Based on a 2001 book and the facts it brought to light, Polish playwright Tadeusz Slobodzianek "explores the lasting repercussions of the act by following the fortunes of the ten one-time classmates of his play from one century into the next."

Our Class will be part of the Berkeley Street Project initiative, where Canadian Stage, Studio 180 Theatre and Nightwood Theatre "have partnered to transform Canadian Stage's Berkeley Street Theatre into a dynamic home for contemporary performing arts."

Casting and creative team details for both productions will be announced in the fall.

Studio 180 Theatre is a Toronto-based company "with the mission to produce socially relevant theatre that provokes public discourse and promotes community engagement."

Studio 180's acclaimed productions include The Overwhelming (2010), Blackbird (2009), Stuff Happens (2008 & 2009), Offensive Shadows (2008), The Arab-Israeli Cookbook (2006) and The Laramie Project (2003 & 2004).

For more information about Studio 180, visit www.studio180theatre.com.

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