Curtain up (sorta)! Live theatre returns to Toronto April 8

This is not an early April Fool’s Day prank: A new in-person, live, outdoor theatre event is happening on April 8. 

The show, C-O-N-T-A-C-T, is billed as “a revolutionary experience that marries mobile technology and drama into an outdoor, COVID-safeguarded performance,” will make its North American debut after premiering last year in Europe to very happy crowds. But not huge crowds…because….well, COVID. 

The pandemic remains front-and-centre for audiences, as there will be limited tickets available — only seven per show to start, increasing to 20 as restrictions are relaxed. The show is entirely outside and there’s something akin to audience participation as the story goes along. 

“The audience follows the cast along downtown streets, starting at Younge and Dundas or College Park,” according to Enterprise Canada. “The performers do not speak — audio is synched with the action and played through a mobile app, enabling the audience to feel like they are reading minds, hearing the actors’ inner thoughts as the story unfolds.” 

This production of C-O-N-T-A-C-T is the result of a partnership between the Downtown Yonge BIA, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre. 

“This is the start of the recovery. We know there is pent-up demand for live, in-person entertainment,” says Mark Garner, COO and executive director of Downtown Yonge. “We know arts and culture will be critical to bringing downtown back to life.” 

C-O-N-T-A-C-T is currently slated for a six week run, with six daily performances Thursday through Sunday, two performances each on Mondays and Tuesdays and four on Wednesdays. 

Tickets can be purchased here; attendees will pick a specific time slot and will receive their tickets and a link to download the show’s app, along with instructions on where to go and what they need to do before the show starts.  If things change and you can’t make the original time slot for which you purchased tickets, that’s ok! There’s an easy exchange process built in.

If you prefer dinner and a show, you can purchase take-out meals from participating restaurants while selecting your ticket. 

C-O-N-T-A-C-T was written and first performed during the pandemic but it promises to “overcome the physical restrictions of the pandemic and address its emotional themes, such as the challenges of isolation and the human need to connect,” says Katy Lipson, producer of the original UK production. 

Everyone, from the actors to the audience, will be required to wear a mask and follow social distancing regulations. 

More information on C-O-N-T-A-C-T  is available here

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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