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Where in Toronto: Getting Back to the Theatre

Inside the Ed Mirvish Theatre

Each week, our intrepid interns reflect on life
and times in the big city.

When I think of theatre, I time-machine back to junior high, where I discovered an interest in acting. Encouraged by Ms. Olsen, who was as cool and as in-love-with-Shakespeare as drama teachers come, I auditioned for—and won—a role as a Men in Black–style agent in a ridiculous student-written play called Phlegm and Larry in the Search for Elvis (don’t ask). It was the complete opposite of classics like The Wizard of Oz and Annie that I had seen performed in previous years; of course it was an instant hit.

Unfortunately, after that successful debut, my play-acting ambitions largely took a backseat to academics. It was not until university—and a few courses on Shakespeare—that theater and I were truly reacquainted. In a class full of drama majors, I took comfort in at least knowing the difference between upstage and downstage and being able to identifying a soliloquy. But reading drama isn’t the same as watching it on stage.

In those days I also learned that Toronto has quite the theatre scene. A friend raved about a Canadian Stage performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in High Park, and insisted I join her next time. We researched all sorts of possible shows to attend, only for that list to become buried somewhere beneath a stack of textbooks, casualty to the demands of time, money and attention.

Mirvish Productions is bringing The Book of Mormon to Toronto in 2013

Then, last week, I had the opportunity to cover for Where.ca the announcement of Mirvish Productions’ 2012-13 stage season. As with other press events, I assumed I’d scribble some information in my notepad, grab a news release, and run back to the office to write. But as soon as I arrived at the elegant Ed Mirvish Theatre (formerly the Canon Theatre), I realized this would not be just any event. Avid theatregoers flooded into the lushly appointed auditorium, and applauded as each of the company’s six shows were announced. Song-and-dance snippets—including “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the upcoming production of The Wizard of Oz, and amazing choreography from Flashdance—had me contemplating what my own acting career could have been like. But I’m in the media now, not on stage. Covering the Mirvish announcement allowed me to add to a new list of shows I want to see. Starting with the touring production of West Side Story—an all-time favourite being presented this spring by Dancap Productions—and ending with Mirvish’s biggest Broadway “get,” The Book of Mormon, in the summer of 2013, Toronto has given me many opportunities to head to the theatre.

—Faiza Siddiqui

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