THE EARLY DAYS .... Photo by Thaddeus Holownia taken in 1976 during VideoCabaret's three-year Residency at A-Space.
ictured: Andrew Paterson, Janet Burke, Ron Terrill, Alan Rosenthal, Bobbe Besold, Marien Lewis, Michael Hollingsworth, Bob Nasmith, Deanne Taylor, Brian Condie
|VideoCabaret is one of Canada's most inventive, prolific and honoured companies. The founding playwrights, Michael Hollingsworth and Deanne Taylor, have written many enduring works and, with the company’s celebrated designers and actors, created unique styles of staging for plays, multi-media cabarets, opera, and masquerade.
The founders converged in a Toronto art gallery in 1976. They included: Deanne and other members of a groundbreaking video-performance troupe The Hummer Sisters; Michael who had been un-stageable since his ‘73 play Clear Light was snuffed by police; art-rock composer Andrew Paterson and video-design-prodigy Chris Clifford. Together they created the first theatre productions integrating cameras, tapes, piles of hot-wired TV’s and live rock’n’roll –genre-mashing spectacles staged across Canada, in New York and London.
Michael Hollingsworth's adaptation of George Orwell's 1984 at Toronto Workshop Productions (1981).
Campaign poster for the Hummer Sisters' municipal bid (1983).
1976 - 1980
After the world tour, VideoCab moved into the Cameron House, an art and music club on pre-hip Queen Street West in Toronto. The company wired the building for video, joining their upstairs studio and the Cameron stage ina half-real half-virtual theatre space. In this environment Michael staged adaptations of Brave New World and 1984, while Deanne and the Hummer Sisters ran for Mayor of Toronto and helped define the local zeitgeist with political cabarets involving hundreds of actors, designers, musicians, painters.
2000 - present
In 2012 the Stratford Festival presented VideoCab's production of The War of 1812 for two months of sold out performances. The following year, a two-month run of The War of 1812 at Toronto's Young Centre launched a collaboration with Soulpepper visionaries Albert Schultz and Leslie Lester, followed by a long-awaited Ottawa debut at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. 2014 brought Trudeau and the FLQ back to the political stage, continuing the collaboration with Soulpepper, and another hit for Toronto theatre-goers.
VideoCabaret's work has been honoured by scores of Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations and a total of twenty-three awards.
Our Cameron House Headquarters at Queen & Spadina, in Toronto.
Gary Farmer in the first produced History Play, NEW FRANCE at Theatre Passe Muraille in 1985.
Deanne Taylor's CITY FOR SALE (2004)
Programme covershot for THE BRITISH, at The Stratford Shakespeare Festival (2012).