Debauchery and hedonism will take centre stage when the Magnetic North Theatre Festival returns to Ottawa this summer.
Since its inception in 2003, Magnetic North has showcased some of theatre’s best Canadian writers and performers, says artistic director Brenda Leadlay. The festival takes place yearly but alternates between Ottawa and a different Canadian city.
“People who work in the theatre industry come from all across the country and also internationally,” Leadlay says. “They come and see the shows with the idea of picking them up to tour them. Our festival is like a springboard to launch some of the best Canadian theatre so that those shows get a longer life and tour across the country.”
Leadlay says she chooses theatre pieces that “reflect the diversity of our country” and performances that “stimulate and challenge” audiences. “Theatre has the capability of being a transformational experience, and that’s what I Iook for when I am programming a festival.”
Those looking for queer content will want to check out a production based on the story of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine.
Written by Hawksley Workman and 2b Theatre’s Christian Barry, the piece, which features a bisexual god and explores the hedonistic side of humanity, is titled The God That Comes.
“Literally, the title is what it says,” Leadlay says.
“We felt that the whole idea of hedonism – having fun and being true to your instincts – is something that we worry people are losing touch with,” she says. “That side of ourselves is a really big part of being human. That celebratory, revelatory side gives us access to some of the better things in life, some of the things that make life more enjoyable.”