Canada’s Cutting-edge Talk Is Free Theatre
Takes Immersive Format to Unprecedented Level with The Curious Voyage
Audience-tailored Bespoke Adventure Innovates Secret Theatre Genre with Global Scale
London, UK — Canada’s Talk Is Free Theatre (TIFT) announces the international premiere of its epic, eight-hour immersive production, The Curious Voyage, running October 24 to November 10, 2018, from 1pm to 9:30pm across clandestine locations in central London. For immersive theatre aficionados, culture vultures, musical theatre buffs, and adventure seekers, The Curious Voyage is the ultimate experience as viewer becomes participant. The unique journey unfolds through one-on-one exchanges, surprise interactions, and installations devised for one voyager at a time. The maze-like narrative of encounters with performers and clues throughout the city will culminate in a stunning site-specific rendition of a Tony Award-winning musical.
“You are a pivotal character in the story, you will make key artistic decisions influencing the plot and content of your experience,” says Arkady Spivak, Artistic Producer of TIFT and the creator of the original production concept. “In 2016, TIFT broke new ground by staging The Music Man as a roving, site-specific work around the burgeoning cultural centre of its home base in Barrie, Canada. With The Curious Voyage, we’re embarking on our most ambitious production ever in the heart of London. Each storyline is individualized to the participant; with up to 36 people in each performance and two shows unfolding at any given time, we are navigating dozens of experiential narratives across multiple urban neighbourhoods — it takes the skill of air traffic controllers.”
A creative team with a roster of more than 50 cast and crew on both sides of the Atlantic is behind the unprecedented project. Canada’s most daring and lauded immersive theatre directors are at the helm: Daniele Bartolini, who is directing the experiential, audience-specific element of the production, and Mitchell Cushman, director of the climactic secret musical. The voyage launches in the middle of the bustling city of London. Bartolini has created a precise and enigmatic narrative trail that unravels through encounters with “roving strangers” and cryptic messages. Eight actors will serve as “agents,” guiding the audience through a new world of possibility and wonder through city streets. The cast includes veteran British actors such as Nikolaos Brahimllari (The Nutcracker and the Four Realms), Gianpiero Cognoli (Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Game of Thrones), and Danielle Stagg, as well as luminary Canadian talents Izad Etemadi, Craig Lauzon, Mike Nadajewski, Glynis Ranney, Michael Torontow, and Rory de Brouwer.
“I describe my practice as Audience Specific Theatre: a highly interactive form that shifts the role of the audience from viewer to actor, making them a co-creator of the experience,” offers Bartolini, Director and Creator of The Curious Voyage. The craft of Audience Specific Theatre is one that he has been developing for the past seven years. “It is a form we have shared around the globe, from Canada to India, but this London experience is unparalleled in its bespoke nature. The audience is a central player in the interactive form. It is an alternate reality experience meets psychological thriller that comes alive based on the personality of the participant. Although individuals will begin on a personal journey, this form of immersive theatre ultimately brings people together via a shared sense of discovery — The Curious Voyage is a platform for human connection because it requires such engaged presence.”
“This experience is a continuation and evolution of Talk is Free Theatre’s ground-breaking work in The Music Man, as well as the work that I have been producing with my own company, Outside the March,” explains Cushman, Director of the musical element of The Curious Voyage. “The opportunity to craft a site-specific staging of a Tony Award-winning musical is exciting enough — but to collaborate with Bartolini and contextualize the musical within such an ambitiously choreographed journey is a once-in-a-lifetime professional opportunity for me as a director, and also for the venturesome audiences who come out to experience it.”
Bartolini is an award-winning director, playwright, producer, installation artist and performer born in Florence, Italy, and based in Toronto, Canada. He is the Artistic Director of internationally acclaimed DopoLavoro Teatrale (DLT) and a 2015 recipient of the RBC Newcomer Art Access Prize.
Cushman is a director, playwright, producer, educator, and founding Artistic Director of Outside the March. He is the Co-Creator of Brantwood (with Julie Tepperman), Canada’s largest immersive musical theatre experience, which received the 2015 Audience Choice Award at the Dora Awards.
The Curious Voyage creative team includes executive producer Sara Schwartz Geller, director of design Joe Pagnan, installation designer Anahita Dehbonehie, costume designer Alice Cousins, lighting designer Lucy Adams, movement coach Cameron Carver, assistant director of the experience Raylene Turner, and more in London, Toronto, and Barrie.
The London half-day show runs in tandem with a three-day, intercontinental experience in which participants will begin their labyrinthine adventure in Barrie before boarding a flight to London and completing the voyage.
Tickets and info: curiousvoyage.com
About Talk Is Free Theatre (tift.ca)
Talk Is Free Theatre (TIFT) was founded in 2003 in Barrie, Ontario, and has since produced 84 works. The company is Central Ontario’s only professional Equity company with a full winter season. TIFT produces a wide range of work from the periphery of mainstream, concentrating on new writing, forgotten classics and drastic re-examinations of established repertoire. TIFT is particularly dedicated to esoteric works of musical theatre and in forging new types of site-specific, immersive creation, among others. Most recently, TIFT staged the roving, site-specific production of The Music Man and toured the highly successful Tales of an Urban Indian staged on a moving city bus. In the 2018–2019 season, TIFT will present Hedwig and the Angry Inch and The Gamblers, among other productions.
Notable productions of musicals also include the highly acclaimed Canadian premiere of Anyone Can Whistle (In Concert), a cross-gendered production of Guys and Dolls, the world premiere of the American musical Dani Girl by Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond, and three sold out runs of the Dora Award-winning production of Assassins, also on tour to the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Other work includes The Prince of Homburg by Heinrich von Kleist, The Libertine by Thomas Shadwell and Possible Worlds by John Mighton, which later toured to Munich, Germany.
LISTING INFORMATION Talk Is Free Theatre presents:
The Curious Voyage
Dates: October 24–November 10, 2018, from 1pm–9:30pm
Ticket Price: £46 + Zone 1–2 Oyster Card
Phone: 1. 705.792.1949 ext. 122
For further media information, contact
Laura Murray T. 647.484.9200 ext. 501 C. 604.418.2998
Ines Min T. 647.484.9200 ext. 506 C. 604.440.0791