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About World Stage

Tomorrow’s performance today

World Stage, Harbourfront Centre’s contemporary performance series, ushers theatre and dance audiences to new frontiers. These are productions from the globe’s trendsetters, exploring progressive directions and blurring traditional boundaries, giving you the intimate, introspective and visceral live experience you crave.

Join us this winter and spring as we welcome companies and artists from France, the United States, England, Brazil and Canada to our stages. This is your
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness these extraordinary productions.

But act fast. These productions are only here for a limited time. Don’t let the world pass you by.

“World Stage is an amazing portal into the current state of international theatre. It provides a visionary perspective which is risky, urgent, and provocative.”

- Atom Egoyan, filmmaker

Artistic Director's Statement >>

It is with great pleasure that I introduce the World Stage 2012 season, hand-picked for its innovation, its opportunity to move you and its exquisite promise for inspiration.

Going back over the history of World Stage in order to provide our graphic designer David Goldberg with the listing of all of the artists, companies and shows presented over the past 25 years for the fabulous cover art, I was struck by how enormous the responsibility, and how much pride there is, in continuing the legacy of consistently presenting the world's best and most innovative performance works from home and around the world. This year is no exception.

I invite you to a season-long celebration, to be a part of the conversation, as we unfold tomorrow's performance today. Your support means more than ever now in these trying times.

We travel the globe in search of the next big thing to bring to our shores, and at the same time have made a philosophical decision to directly support local artists and work tirelessly with them so that their work is equally part of this international continuum.

As such, our commitment to new works continues, as our National commissioning programme, Fresh Ground new works, yields us a show for all ages with Everything Under the Moon and an exciting exclusive return engagement of the worldwide phenomenon that is Dance Marathon.

This year's lineup includes three outstanding dance works that uphold our pedigree in presenting contemporary dance. Flavours of hip hop, capoeira, ballet, and more are what one can expect in these surprising and fresh options: Entity,
Paris 1994/Gallery and Agwa/Correria.

Our theatre offerings bring us works from two American trailblazers (who also happen to be women), providing a rare opportunity to see two generations from the New York experimental theatre scene, Elizabeth LeCompte’s The Wooster Group and Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company. Evan Webber and
Frank Cox- O’Connell tackle a re-imagining of the classics in an intimate and astonishingly relevant double bill about art and war.

All this is timely stuff for certain. Ideas about race, the rat race, war, our internal battles, love, loss, our environment and navigating emotional landscapes are all up for reflection and examination. I hope that this work will make you think and challenge your assumptions but I also hope it brings you pleasure, even if it is delivered in another way, one that reveals a secret on how to live in everyday life.

And finally, there are many activities that take place in and around the theatres here at Harbourfront Centre, so be sure to arrive early or stay late and explore what our 10 acres have to offer. Whether that is taking a glide on The Natrel® Skating rink, checking out the visual arts at The Power Plant or taking in the Architecture Space in York Quay Centre, it is my hope that you see your relationship with World Stage as an experience, and that it be one that you want to have over and over again.

Tina Rasmussen

The world is always within reach

Stay in touch
When you sign up for the World Stage e-newsletter, you’ll always be current and be the first to know. Receive monthly reminders about upcoming productions, behind-the-scenes interviews and more. Click here to sign up.

Stay upfront
Harbourfront Centre’s Blog offers behind-the-scenes World Stage information, interviews with our creative team and visiting artists, and more. Click here for more information.


World Stage Embassy
Now entering its third year, the World Stage Embassy is designed to educate and engage audiences and create professional exchange opportunities between international, national and local artists. Made up of local art makers, Embassy members facilitate engagement between the audience and the presented performance company. Watch for them at our World Stage performances.
Click here for more information.

The Heart of Toronto’s Waterfront
Harbourfront Centre is a Canadian charity operating the 10 prime acres of Toronto’s central waterfront as a free and open public site. We celebrate the multiplicities of cultures that comprise Canada and enliven the city through the creative imaginations of artists from across the country and around the globe.
We’re powered by the support of partners and donors like you. Join us today. Call us at 416-952-4746 or click here to visit Harbourfront Centre's website for further information.

Harbourfront Centre’s commitment to commissioning >>

Harbourfront Centre is committed to championing the creation of new artistic works. For 35 years, Harbourfront Centre has commissioned new works across all artistic disciplines. With the creation of the Fresh Ground new works commissioning programme, Harbourfront Centre continues the legacy of developing new Canadian multidisciplinary artworks.

For example, Harbourfront Centre supported bluemouth inc. with a Fresh Ground new works award in 2007 to create an unconventional participatory art experience – Dance Marathon – that combines dance, theatre, music and multi-media. With Harbourfront Centre’s ongoing mentorship, Dance Marathon debuted in 2007 at the Enwave Theatre and has since gone on to receive critical acclaim and international success in Ireland, Australia, Scotland and England.

This year’s World Stage season features another innovative Fresh Ground commission – Everything Under the Moon, which re-imagines the concept of the old-time shadow play. Using simple, analog tools, including overhead projector and acoustic instrumentation – collaborators Shary Boyle and Christine Fellows create a fantastical narrative told through hand-animated projected images, music and movement. Click here for more information on this performance.

To date, a generous group of visionary donors have supported the creation of 19 new commissions. We would like to thank the following founders of the Fresh Ground new works commissioning programme for their leadership and continued support of artists:

Peter Allen, William J.S. Boyle, Lionel F. Conacher and Joan Dea, Margaret and Jim Fleck, Michael and Sonja Koerner, Judy and Wil Matthews, George E. Myhal, RBC Foundation, Sonja Smits and Seaton McLean, and grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the J.P. Bickell Foundation

If you would like to join us in supporting the creation of innovative artistic works, please contact Reta Robinson (Senior Development Officer, Individual Giving) at 416-954-9912 or

Coming from out of town and looking for other things to do?

There’s so much going on in Toronto, you’ll have a harder time deciding what not to do. From world class theatre to fine dining, eclectic neighbourhoods and great shopping, Toronto has it all. Here are a few resources to help you with your decision:

NOW magazine

Toronto’s independent weekly for over 25 years. Check their daily listings at:


City of Toronto

Check the city’s website for info on traffic, special events, and more.


Toronto Transit Commission

Getting around Toronto by subway, street car or bus is the easiest and most affordable way to see the best Toronto has to offer.


Thank you to our dedicated partners!

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