Theatre @ York presents rochdale

November 14, 2018

Theatre @ York presents rochdale

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Department of Theatre at York University and kicking off a season dedicated to the theme of Disruptors, Theatre @ York presents rochdale, a new play by David Yee under the direction of Nina Lee Aquino, Nov 17 – 24 in the Joseph G. Green Theatre at York University.

Rochdale College was an experiment in student-run alternative education and co-operative living that opened in 1968 in downtown Toronto. As the largest co-op residence in North America, it provided space for 840 residents. It was also a free university where students and teachers would live together and share knowledge. The project ultimately failed when it could not cover its financing and neighbours complained that it had become a haven for drugs and crime. [Wikipedia].

Yee’s script explores the legacy of Rochdale, in all of its compelling fictions and sometimes difficult truths.

“We are delighted to open our season with a new Canadian play that embraces the same spirit of experimentation and social advocacy that guided the founding of the Department of Theatre at York 50 years ago,” commented department chair Marlis Schweitzer. “David and Nina have collaborated on. We are incredibly fortunate to have such Canadian innovators kick off our anniversary season, as we reflect on the past 50 years and look ahead to the future.”

Lee Aquino and Yee share this enthusiasm for the production, which is reflects their long-term commitment to creating new works with college and university students: “Almost 10 years after our first Bespoke project together, we’re thrilled to bring another play tailored specifically to a singular class of young people to the stage. Our goal is to showcase and challenge these soon-to-be-graduates and illustrate just how perfect an instrument art is for growth and change. Through the history of Rochdale, both real and imagined through the lens of the play, we have been inspired by the spirit of the rebel. We hope that spirit continues to inspire and guide this next generation of artists as they become the vanguard of their own theatrical revolutions.”

rochdale features fourteen students in the fourth-year acting ensemble. All elements of set, costume, and lighting are designed and executed by undergraduate Theatre students.

David Yee is a playwright, actor and the Artistic Director of fu-GEN Theatre Company. His play carried away on the crest of a wave won the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama.

Nina Lee Aquino is an award-winning director and dramaturge, and the Artistic Director of Factory Theatre. She is committed to the development of new works, and to the manifestation of interculturalism in theatre.

rochdale sound designer and Juno award-winning musician Debashis Sinha’s creative output spans a broad range of genres and media. Recent projects include his solo album The White Dog as well as music and sound design for Shirley Valentine at the 1000 Islands Theatre Festival and Secret Lives of a Mother at the Theatre Centre.

The 2018-2019 Theatre @ York season theme of Disruptors presents plays that focus on the impact and influence of people who are agents of change. Selected by a department Reading Group made up of three faculty members and fifteen students from across the department, the Disruptors season celebrates the unconventional, challenging actions of those who refuse to leave well enough alone.

Disruptors innovate. Disruptors interrupt. Disruptors infiltrate. Read more about the season here.

Performance Schedule:
7:30 p.m. on November 17, 19-23
1:00 p.m. on November 21 & 23
2 p.m. on November 24

Tickets $7- 20  are available online or by phone at 416-736-5888