Sixteen things to see, do, read and hear in Toronto this March

Sixteen things to see, do, read and hear in Toronto this March

Including an audacious retelling of Shakespeare, a taste of the city’s top chefs and a novel about a seductive scammer

Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic
A modern rendition of a classic fairy tale

1 James Kudelka’s Cinderella at the National Ballet is reimagining the classic fairy tale. In a departure from the typical rags-to-riches storyline, both Cinderella and Prince Charming are seeking a quieter life in nature while an inebriated stepmother and bumbling stepsisters stand in their way. Kudelka’s version uses nearly all of the original 1945 score, and Canadian designer David Boechler has given the set and costumes an art deco makeover inspired by the styles of the 1920s and ’30s. March 10 to 19, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

A festival for virtual bands with IRL fans

2 For the uninitiated, VTubers are virtual YouTubers with computer-­generated avatars. And, with massive followings—including more than 1.2 billion views across social media platforms—they’re a pretty big deal. The first International Anime Music Festival will bring several of these animated entertainers together on stage via high-def LED hologram projections. On the bill for the Toronto stop is #kzn from Kizuna AI, Himehina, Gumi, Marinasu and Lilypse. Each will deliver their own rousing hyperpop, glitchcore and digicore sounds, performed by a mix of human and synthetic voices. March 12, History

Photo by Getty Images
A roaring rock band’s stadium return

3 The stylistically innovative band Muse is accustomed to stardom. Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard formed the group in the mid-’90s and gained international success by layering alternative rock with shimmering electronic sounds, classical influences and synthetic pop elements. With a discography that spans more than two decades, Muse has continued blending genres and exploring themes ranging from government oppression to the simulation hypothesis. The band’s 2022 album, Will of the People, proves that some rock mavens only get better with age. March 9, Scotiabank Arena

A Can-lit icon’s much-anticipated new collection

4 Margaret Atwood’s first work of short fiction since 2014 comprises 15 stories that explore the complexity of the human experience through an often fantastical and folkloric lens. Running through the heart of the collection are seven stories that follow an old married couple, Tig and Nell, tracing the thread of their relationship until it begins to unravel in grief. In Old Babes in the Wood, Atwood employs her unmistakable wit and deft literary magic to weave tales that delight and defy. It’s a must-read from one of Canada’s most prized authors. Out March 7

Photo by Dahlia Katz
An audacious retelling of Shakespeare

5 Actor-playwright Cliff Cardinal (Huff) added trickster to his resumé when this cunning show premiered at Crow’s Theatre in the fall of 2021. Teasingly billed as a “radical retelling” of As You Like It, it offered something more subversive than another staging of the Shakespearean comedy. Beginning with the now-standard Indigenous land acknowledgement, Cardinal, who is Lakota-Dene, uses his platform to dig deep into themes of racism and colonial­ism. Funny, angry and empowering, it became last season’s must-see performance. Cardinal is giving it an encore this winter. March 10 to April 2, CAA Theatre

A concert with Nigerian Afrobeats

6 Wizkid began his musical career at age 11, when he formed the Glorious Five in Nigeria. In 2016, a record-­breaking collaboration with Drake propelled him to international stardom and made him the first Afrobeats artist to appear in the Guinness World Records. Almost three and a half billion Spotify plays later, Wizkid’s jams have helped pave the way for the popularity of an entire genre. March 19, Scotiabank Arena

Photo by Fran Chudnoff
A play about reconciling oil-industry roots

7 The world’s addiction to fossil fuels is one of the biggest challenges in battling the climate crisis. Theatre and visual artist Claren Grosz grew up in Alberta, where oil and gas drive the economy, so she knows all about their allure. In I Love the Smell of Gasoline, Grosz airs her frustrations over the way climate action has fallen prey to divisive politics and hypocrisy. Part personal narrative, part research essay, this thought-provoking show takes a hard look at the sacrifices required to kick the carbon habit and save the planet. March 8 to 19, Nightwood Theatre

A crafty workshop filled with fashion history

8 Soft, pliable shoes are so passé—time to trade them in for something truly vintage. The Bata Shoe Museum is running a series of clog-painting workshops for the wooden-shoe aficionado in all of us. On every PA day from now until June, as well as select Saturdays, patrons of all ages can paint their very own clogs. March 4, Bata Shoe Museum

Detail from White Man’s Burden by Deanna Bowen (2022), installation of giclée prints on paper and oil on canvas. Photo courtesy of the artist
An exhibition that deconstructs white identity

9 Through the lens of their biracial identities, curators John G. Hampton and Lillian O’Brien Davis examine the origins and ramifications of “whiteness” as a system of racial classification. Seeking to understand the significance of whiteness in modern discourse, the exhibition includes reproductions of historical objects from the 17th century that illuminate the creation of white racial identity. These share space with contemporary pieces by various artists who explore concepts like white guilt, white supremacism and white fragility. Until March 25, Art Museum at the University of Toronto

A novel about a seductive scammer

10 How do you trust a love that feels too good to be true? In Zoe Whittall’s latest novel, The Fake, she introduces three of her most captivating characters. While grieving the death of her wife, Shelby meets Cammie, whose fearlessness and charisma draw her in. Newly divorced, Gibson feels truly known in Cammie’s presence and falls for her. But, for both Shelby and Gibson, something doesn’t feel right. When they meet and find out that Cammie is a pathological liar, they’re left questioning how they got sucked in. The Fake is about love, lies and the seductive power of self-delusion. Out March 21

Photo by Getty Images
A soulful show of refined R&B vocals

11 Billboard Hot 100 singer Ari Lennox—the first female artist to sign with J. Cole’s Dreamville Records—has been on the come-up since her 2016 EP, Pho. In 2019, Lennox released her debut studio album, Shea Butter Baby, full of sultry tracks that blend R&B and soul. And, in 2020, she received a Grammy nomination for her appearance on the compilation album Revenge of the Dreamers III. Her second full-length, Age/Sex/Location, was released last September and features an appearance by Beyoncé protégée Chlöe. March 7, History

A fictional exploration of end-times issues

12 From the award-winning author of The Luminaires comes this psychological thriller about survival. Birnam Wood follows a group of guerilla gardeners founded by protagonist Mira Bunting, who has activists planting crops in deserted parks, random backyards and wherever else they can find space. But they’re perpetually on the brink of insolvency—until disaster strikes. A landslide renders a nearby farm vacant, and Mira seizes the opportunity, but so does a billionaire out to build himself a doomsday bunker. Out March 7

Photo by Lorne Bridgman
A Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about race

13 Racial stereotypes get an artful skewering in this 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Jackie Sibblies Drury. As the Frasiers, an upper-middle-class Black family, prepare to celebrate their matriarch’s birthday, they find themselves scrutinized by a group of white commentators. Canadian Stage and Obsidian Theatre have teamed up for the Canadian premiere of this tour de force that compels audiences to confront preconceived notions of race. March 4 to 26, Berkeley Street Theatre

A taste of the city’s top chefs

14 For one weekend only, the Food and Drink Fest is bringing together Toronto’s culinary best. The event promises offerings from local chefs, restaurateurs, winemakers, and spirit, beer and cider companies, as well as live cooking shows from celebrity chefs such as Mark ­McEwan and Romain Avril. After you’ve worked up a thirst, try a mixology class. March 31 to April 2, Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Photo by Ali Syed for Fan Expo HQ
A fun fest for ersatz superheroes

15 Comicon is back, bringing with it the year’s best opportunity to cosplay as iconic characters, mingle with artists both rising and renowned, and meet celebrities from across nerdom. Genre-hopping between comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming, the annual festival returns to the city for three days of geeking out. Stroll down Artist Alley to meet the pencillers, inkers and writers who bring comics to life. March 17 to 19, Metro Toronto Convention Centre

A true story about life behind glitz and glamour

16 To many teens in the 2000s, Paris Hilton was the ultimate it girl. Heiress, socialite and trendsetter, Hilton seemed to have it all. But behind the veneer of fame lay the trauma of her childhood, kept hidden from the world until the release of her documentary, This Is Paris. Hilton dives even deeper in Paris: The Memoir, a personal narrative brimming with her signature sass. Out March 14

Recommended watching, reading and listening

Catalyst by Brandon Crilly

Recommended by Sienna Tristen, programming manager, The Word on the Street

“Crilly’s debut novel is part solarpunk adventure, part meditation on the power of honest conversations. I love the rich, imaginative world-building. Come for the magical giant squid, stay for the gentle mending of relationships between old friends.”



With Love, Angie by Angie Reid

Recommended by Cerys Goodall, chief operating officer, Vetster

“This is a wonderful around-the-world travel diary. Reid writes from places like Argentina, Spain and India, visiting fascinating communities where she meets average families, royalty and everyone in between. You can feel the love in her adventures—she quickly becomes a reader’s best friend.”


A Colors Show

Recommended by Olga Nseya Nkuba, events manager, Institute for Canadian Citizenship

“One of my favourite music platforms is ColorsxStudios. They have an amazing series called A Colors Show, which features global artists delivering performances in a minimalist room covered in a single colour. Listeners can focus purely on the music—no distractions.”