What went down at the virtual Fireside Chat with Weyni Mengesha, Artistic Director of Soulpepper Theatre Company
As Toronto nears stage 3 of the provincial government’s plan to reopen Ontario, industries are adjusting to the new normal with every opportunity they can. On July 22, Weyni Mengesha, Artistic Director of Soulpepper Theatre Company, joined TL Insiders for a virtual Fireside Chat to discuss the ways new measures are shaping the theatre scene in the city. She addressed how limitations are influencing the work being produced, as well as the multi-media experiences of consuming content amidst a pandemic.
The award-winning director, acclaimed for works such as Kim’s Convenience and ‘da Kink in My Hair, spoke with Jason Maghanoy, Head of Business Development at St. Joseph Media, about the success of Soulpepper Theatre Company and how keeping momentum allows theatre to shape our city as it reopens. With regard to operating during a pandemic, Mengesha emphasized the benefit of moving away from Zoom performances and having the ability to re-group a small production team (safely) that can capture their work in a more poetic way.
Though pivoting during the pandemic has required flexibility and creativity from the theatre company, “these skills have proven to allow for new and exciting opportunities of growth”, says Mengesha. Soulpepper recently collaborated with Tapestry Opera to produce their Box Concerts series, delivering curb-side concerts to community centres, care homes and frontline workers, in the city. They’ve also continued the Fresh Ink series every Thursday this summer, and are dipping their toes in television, with a green-lit children’s show for CBC called Soulpepper Kids.
Watch the recorded event here to gain the Insider exclusive and learn more about the work of Soulpepper Theatre Company.
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