Cahoots Theatre Projects

Cahoots Theatre investigates and examines the complexities of diversity through the creation and production of new theatre works, development of professional artists and the engagement of communities.

Cahoots Theatre Company - Theatre in Full ColourOur Impact Why We Exist

MISSION

Cahoots Theatre investigates and examines the complexities of diversity through the creation and production of new theatre works, development of professional artists and the engagement of communities. 

VISION

Cahoots is a leader in the theatrical community, providing a much needed home for the voice of the ‘other’, a place for marginalized artists and diverse communities to share their stories. We strive to entice, confront, provoke, entertain, reveal and ultimately transcend through expression of and access to theatre.

VALUES

Celebration of diverse voices and their storiesExcellence and innovation in artistic creationEquity and inclusivitySocial engagement and community accessHonest and ethical practices

Image of paper SERIES ensemble, 2011. Photo by Richard LeeOur Story What We Do

HISTORY

Cahoots Theatre Company (formerly Cahoots Theatre Projects) was founded in 1986 by Beverly Yhap. It was incorporated provincially as a non-profit organization in February 1986 and registered as a charitable organization in 1987. Over its 27 year history, Cahoots has had seven incredibly talented and capable Artistic Directors leaders, with the average duration of leadership being 3.5 years.

Cahoots has the distinction of being the first professional company in Canada with a mandate to present culturally inclusive work, with a reputation for producing theatre of the highest artistic calibre at local, regional and national levels.  Since 1986, Cahoots has programmed work that reflects the diversity of our country, and has enriched the artistic field by nurturing the skills and experiences of emerging and established theatre practitioners.

Here is an overview of some of our major accolades and accomplishments:

  • The Wanderers, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (Mar 1 – 23, 2014); World premiere by Afghan-Canadian playwright/performer Kawa Ada, the first professional Afghan-Canadian play produced in Canada, Dora Award (Set Design)
  • Sister Mary’s a Dyke?!, The Aki Studio, Toronto (May – Jun, 2013); World premiere of up-and-coming Filipino playwright and performer, Flerida Peña, Dora Award (Lighting Design)
  • paper SERIES, in association with the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Tank House Theatre, Toronto (Mar – Apr, 2011); Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Calgary (Jun, 2012); Dora Awards (Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Sound Design), Dora Nominations (Outstanding Production , Outstanding Performance in an Ensemble, Outstanding Set Design, Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Lighting Design)
  • A Taste of Empire, The Market Kitchen, St. Lawrence Market, Toronto (Jun – Jul, 2010); Dora nominations (Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Play)
  • Fear of Flight, produced by Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland in association with Die in Debt and Cahoots Theatre Projects, Factory Theatre, Toronto (May, 2009); Magnetic North Theatre Festival, LSPU Hall, St. John’s (Apr – May, 2008)
  • Bombay Black, in association with Nightswimming; Mississauga Living Arts Centre (Feb, 2008); Vancouver Arts Club (Feb – Mar 2008), Theatre Centre, Toronto (Jan, 2006); Dora Awards (Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Set Design, Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Sound Design/Composition)
  • The Sheep and the Whale, Cahoots Theatre Projects and Modern Times Stage Company in association with Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto (Feb – Mar, 2007); Dora Award (Outstanding Set Design), Dora Nominations (Outstanding Lighting Design)
  • The Adventures of Ali & Ali and the Axes of Evil, co-production with Neworld Theatre; UBC, Vancouver (Oct 2004), Montréal Arts Interculturel, Montréal (Mar, 2004), Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto (Feb – Mar, 2004), Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Vancouver (Feb, 2004)
  • Coups and Calypsos, Factory Theatre Studio Café, Toronto (Feb, 1999); Dora Nominations (Outstanding Direction, Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Performance by a Female, Outstanding Performance by a Male)

Creation Studio in action, 2014. Photo by Jenna RodgersOur Programs How We Do It

Summary:

Every season, Cahoots Theatre produces one new Canadian work that investigates the complexities of Canada's cultural diversity and examines the intersections of these cultures, offering engagement with marginalized communities.  In addition to this programming, Cahoots also has a strong focus on development of both emerging and established artists and their new works through our Hot House Creators' Unit.  Throughout the year, Cahoots also provides an arts access outreach program for refugee and newcomers to Canada.

  • Crossing Gibraltar: Portable arts access outreach for refugee and newcomers to Canada.
  • Hot House Creators' Unit: In-house development to foster creation and provide support for artists.
  • Creation Studio LIVE:  An accessible and affordable space available to artists and members of the community. 

Crossing Gibraltar

Description:

Crossing Gibraltar is an arts access program, providing theatre training, outreach, and performance opportunities for refugees and newcomers in Canada.  This program brings artists and community members together to share their skills and their stories, empowering and informing both parties’ artistic expression.

Program Impact:

Crossing Gibraltar is a program that represents Cahoots’ core values of inclusivity.  We believe that art should not speak at a community; our works must be a dialogue with a community.  Through the program, our participants will gain the confidence and the tools to form new relationships in a new country. By bringing together newcomers and providing them with tools of artistic expression, we hope to create new and lasting ties to the larger community, to each other, to their families and to art itself.  Thus, the relevance for the refugee community is readily apparent:  Crossing Gibraltar attempts to alleviate an overwhelming sense of displacement and isolation and build community. 

"Crossing Gibraltar is a great program which allows me to express my thoughts and ideas in a way that I normally can't. It is the greatest opportunity that I have ever received.  Being a refugee in Canada is difficult.  I enjoy giving back and encouraging those who watched our performance." ~ Q.Y., Participant from China, and eventual youth facilitator

"As an immigrant who came to this country before my teens, with very little spoken English, I found myself identifying with many of the experiences shared by the new students today.  From loneliness to fear of not fitting in, these are feelings that are difficult to articulate and even harder to bridge." ~ John Ng, performer & playwright, mentor for T.L., participant from Vietnam

Toronto's Vital Signs Report:

Vibrant cities are those where residents are engaged and feel that they belong, where civic institutions fully reflect the diversity of the population, and where strong social connections unite people to each another and to their neighbourhoods research consistently links a sense of belonging with good physical and mental health). Tracking these indicators helps us to see how well we are doing at building an inclusive city, and where some residents may be left on the margins

(Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2014) 

Hot House Creators' Unit

Description:

The Hot House consists of 5 – 8 emerging to established artists/playwrights, with works in progress and proposals that reflect the mandate of the company. Over the course of the season, playwrights will develop their work under the guidance of Artistic Director, Marjorie Chan.

Program Impact:

The unit exists to jumpstart creation, nurture stories – as well as the voices telling them – and see the creation through from vision in mind to product on page. It is a place where artists/playwrights can be each other’s support system; an environment that encourages creative curiosity, artistic collaboration, the exchange of theatrical ideas and exploration of different creation processes.

Toronto's Vital Signs Report:

"Newer research from the Toronto Arts Foundation shows that not only do the arts matter to Torontonians, but they also positively impact the economy and our communities."

(Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2014)

Creation Studio LIVE

Description:

Cahoots Theatres' Creation Studio offers artists and the community an accessible and affordable space for interdisciplinary art creation.

Program Impact:

With the newly-renovated Creation Studio, we have been able to provide an inclusive neighbourhood arts hub where artists and members of the community can look to Cahoots as an anchor organization.  There is extraordinary demand for accesible and affordable studio space within the city, as many other venues have prohibitively high rental rates. Our intention is to cultivate an environment that is supportive of artists and provides a creative space for the practical application of ideas and skills.  We are unique in that our studio can provide the tools and opportunity to merge together the technical and artistic performance elements during the rehearsal phase. Cahoots’ newly renovated studio offers the opportunity for the early integration of the technical with the artistic, emboldening our artists to take risks and confidently explore. 

Toronto's Vital Signs Report:

"A holistic approach to community safety includes the understanding that safety is not simply the absence of crime or violence. Safe communities are spaces where all members can thrive and be empowered to realize their individual and collective potential. Implementing a holistic approach to the development of safe communities in Toronto includes supporting creative initiatives that encourage participation from all members."

(Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2014)

Program Partners:

Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services, YWCA JUMP (Etobicoke), YWCA JUMP (Scarborough), Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, and Flemingdon Health Centre, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Toronto Community Foundation, Canadian Heritage and Business for the Arts.

Participants from Crossing Gibraltar at Luminato 2008What You Can Do

Crossing Gibraltar

What You Can Do:

A donation of $500 provides one (1) newcomer youth participant with access to this outreach theatre training program. This donation amount will directly cover the costs of hiring theatre professionals to lead a variety of workshops (eg. movement, mask & puppetry, etc.), cover materials required, transit, field trips to the theatre, hospitality and venue costs.  

Hot House Creators' Unit

What You Can Do:

A donation of $1K makes it possible to run this program for an entire year.  Cahoots Theatre provides in-kind one-on-one mentorship to the 6-8 emerging/established artists selected to participate in this program as well as in-kind access to our Creation Studio for writing and development. Each Hot House creator is provided an honorarium for their participation.   

Creation Studio LIVE

What You Can Do:

A donation of $1K makes it possible for Cahoots to maintain its reduced rental rates and/or offer an increased rental reduction to artists and the community, providing  increased access to the Creation Studio and its theatrical equipment for exploration and development of new works at little or no cost to them. 

Volunteer

What You Can Do: 

Cahoots Theatre occasionally has opportunities to host volunteers throughout the season. Volunteers may be needed at special events, in the office or for outreach. If you want to get involved, please drop us a line.

To inquire about volunteer opportunities, please contact info@cahoots.ca.

Contact

Mark Teeple
Interim General Manager
416.203.9000
Charitable Number: 126734565RR0001

Finance & Governance

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