Toronto’s immersive Christmas experience through the lens of Italian and Italian-Canadian culture
TORONTO – SEPTEMBER 17, 2018 – Villa Charities will present the world premiere of “If on a Christmas Night…” in partnership with the Columbus Centre and with support from the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto. The interactive theatrical experience was created by internationally acclaimed theatre company DopoLavoro Teatrale (DLT) specifically for the Columbus Centre in Toronto. A limited engagement of this original production will run from December 7 – 23, 2018, with preview performances December 4 – 6. Tickets go on sale today at 10:00 a.m.
The show is written and directed by Daniele Bartolini and stars some of DLT’s long-time collaborators, such as Danya Buonastella, Rory de Brouwer and Vincent Leblanc-Beaudoin, alongside a group of community members. It is a series of adventurous, comical and moving scenarios amid the backdrop of a Christmas celebration, through the lens of Italian and Italian-Canadian culture. Spectators are transported through a sequence of immersive interactions with actors in different locations and are invited to gather, meet each other and build a new community, in an intimate performance experience.
“Daniele Bartolini, with his unique vision of interactive theatre, shines a light on the distinctive atmospheres and rituals nurtured by the Italian-Canadians around family celebrations,” said Emanuele Lepri, Executive Director, Cultural Programming, Villa Charities Inc. “We are proud to bring this production to the community we serve.”
The production highlights traditions from the old country and intertwines them effortlessly with new flavours and ideas taken from Bartolini’s adopted home in Canada, telling a tale that is both personal and universal. “If on a Christmas Night…” is an emotional and at times hilarious journey through the small and big things that hold families together. Bartolini explores the Italian-ness with a completely fresh, unfiltered and authentic eye.
“The show is similar to a Festa Popolare, a community event,” said Daniele Bartolini. “This is an opportunity to celebrate the holidays in a unique way.
Last year DLT created a show designed for a lone participant, “An Italian Christmas Carol”, which catapulted one audience member into the main role. This year, DLT has rolled out something altogether new: the performance is a collective celebration; an act of community-building in which a group of strangers are invited to create a new family. The show’s mixed cast composed of professional actors and community members/non-professionals creates authenticity.
According to Bartolini, the show is not a regular performance, but more like being invited into someone’s home for a Christmas party filled with surprises and warm interactions. It is a collection of personal childhood memories from Italy and a reflection on how the celebration of Christmas has evolved within the years and generations.
Toronto has a wide offering of Christmas shows, but this piece offers an immersive experience for the audience. “If on a Christmas Night…” transforms the passive observer into an active agent, gives a voice to the audience and allows each participant to be creative alongside the artist through a series of gentle and welcoming interactions.
This charming and unforgettable holiday show is the perfect holiday event for family and friends. Every performance welcomes the participation of children while matinees on Saturdays and Sundays are dedicated to family participation through special performances. A VIP Christmas Dinner package with the cast is available as are corporate group packages.
A portion of proceeds from ticket sales will help support Villa Charities Foundation in its mission to provide funding for culturally sensitive senior care, as well as educational and cultural programs in music, dance and visual arts.
Previews: December 4 – 6 at 8:00pm
World Premiere: Friday, December 7 at 7:30pm
Holiday Performance Schedule:
Tuesday, December 11 – Sunday, December 23*
Tuesdays – Fridays – Regular show at 8:00pm
Saturdays – Family Experience Performances at 2:00pm and 4:00pm
Saturdays – Regular show or VIP Package Performances at 6:30pm
Sundays – Family Experience Performances at 2:00pm and 4:00pm, Regular show at 6:30pm
*No Performances on Monday, December 10 or Monday, December 17
901 Lawrence Avenue West, Toronto, ON
General admission tickets are $25 for preview performances and $40 for regular performances, with discounted tickets available for children, students, seniors and artists.
For more information and to buy tickets for “If on a Christmas Night…,” visit www.villacharities.com/christmasnight or call 416-789-7011 ext. 250.
About Villa Charities Inc.
Villa Charities Inc. is a registered charity and non-profit organization that celebrates and promotes the Italian Heritage, Culture, Language, Arts, Food and Family Values. For almost 50 years across the GTA, Villa Charities has provided culturally sensitive long-term care for seniors and offered educational and cultural programs in music, dance, visual arts, culinary arts, athletics and more. The Villa Charities family includes Villa Colombo Homes for the Aged Inc. in Toronto; Villa Colombo Services for Seniors (Vaughan) Inc./Di Poce Centre; Caboto Terrace, Casa Del Zotto and Casa Abruzzo apartments for independent seniors; the Columbus Centre; and Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery. For more information, visit www.villacharities.com
About Columbus Centre
Since its opening in 1980, the Columbus Centre has served as a vibrant community centre where people can enjoy the richness of an Italian culture within a Canadian setting. Today, the Columbus Centre remains a major hub for the GTA’s Italian-Canadian community and a popular meeting place frequented by more than 150,000 visitors every year. Patrons of all ages visit the Columbus Centre daily for dance, visual arts, music, culinary and theatre programs; view art exhibitions at the Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery; attend cultural events and programming; enjoy fine Italian cuisine at Ristorante Boccaccio and participate in a wide range of athletic, aquatics and wellness programs at our 70,000 sq. ft. Athletic Club.
About DopoLavoro Teatrale (DLT)
The foundation of their work is what they call Audience Specific Theatre, highly interactive creations where the role of the audience is shifted from viewer to actor. Their work is site-specific and often urban-immersive, where the downtown or neighbourhood of a city is turned into a stage to be explored by the participants of the experience.
About Daniele Bartolini
An award-winning director, playwright, producer, installation artist and performer, Daniele Bartolini was born in Florence, Italy and is now based in Toronto, Canada. He is the Artistic Director of DopoLavoro Teatrale (DLT) and his creations have been presented in Canada, Europe and India.
Awards and Nominations
Daniele is a recipient of the RBC Newcomer Art Access Prize and finalist of the Telus Newcomer Artist Award. The Stranger received a nomination for the Critic’s Award “Premio Rete Critica” from the Italian theatre Magazine PaneAcquaCulture for the edition at the Kilowatt Festival. Daniele Bartolini and DLT are the artists in residence at Villa Charities Inc.
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For more information, please contact:
416-640-5525 Ext. 230
Director, Marketing and Communications
416-789-7011 Ext. 309