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Matthew Jocelyn looks back at 8 seasons with Canadian Stage

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore speaks with outgoing Canadian Stage Artistic and General Director, Matthew Jocelyn.

WHO: Matthew Jocelyn

WHAT: Heisenberg

WHERE: The Berkeley Street Theatre

WHEN: Through December 17th, 2017






Amidst the bustle of a London train station, Georgie spots Alex, a much older man, and plants a kiss on his neck. This chance encounter propels these two strangers on a fascinating and life-changing course in the newest critical hit by Tony Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens (Harper Regan, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time). Peeling away the many layers of everyday relationships with subtle humour and quiet poeticism, Heisenberg brings to poignant theatrical life the uncertain and often comical sparring match that is human connection.

Matthew Jocelyn Press Release

Canadian Stage announced that Matthew Jocelyn will be stepping down as Artistic and General Director after nine seasons in order, in his own words, “to make room for what might happen next.” Jocelyn will remain in his role until June 2018 and program the company’s 18.19 season, to be announced later this spring.
He continued: "It has been a true honour to lead Canadian Stage into its present position as a flagship organization of and for contemporary performing art in Toronto, nationally and internationally. I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to work with many of our country's most innovative stage artists - as well as their colleagues from around the world – to help foster a globally-engaged network of artistic curiosity and excellence.”
“I would like to thank all of our artistic and institutional collaborators, as well as the Canadian Stage staff and board of directors, without whom this work would not have been possible, and with many of whom lasting friendships have been forged. Most importantly, I wish to acknowledge the wide spectrum of Canadian Stage audiences who - through their appetite for bold, innovative performance - have reinforced the pursuit of an artistic vision positioned at the very heart of the world within which we live. I am proud of what we have accomplished together.”

“For nearly a decade, Matthew has awed, inspired and, at times, confronted us, while paving the way for cutting-edge live performance in Canada. On behalf of the board, we express sincere gratitude for his outstanding artistic leadership and wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” said Alexandra Baillie, co-chair of the Canadian Stage Board of Directors.
“Matthew steered the company through a daring transition with uncompromising commitment to the art and set the foundation for Canadian Stage’s future. Our dedicated board and management teams look forward to working with the new wave of creative leadership to build on that strong foundation and take the company into its next chapter,” added co-chair Tony Baylis.  
An international search for Jocelyn’s successor, led by the Canadian Stage board and executive team, has begun.
Joining the company in 2009 following the 17-year tenure of Marty Bragg, Jocelynunveiled a vibrant new mandate establishing Canadian Stage as a home for boundary-breaking multidisciplinary contemporary work from Canada and around the world. Over the course of eight seasons, the Toronto not-for-profit commissioned, produced or presented award-winning large-scale creations by such celebrated home-grown artists as Robert Lepage (887); Crystal Pite (Olivier Award-winner Betroffenheit); Atom Egoyan (Martin Crimp’s Cruel and Tender); Marie Chouinard (The Garden of Earthly Delights), and Stan Douglas - whose groundbreaking multimedia noir Helen Lawrence continues to be toured by Canadian Stage, most recently with an engagement at Los Angeles’ CAP UCLA.
Promoting unprecedented global exposure, Jocelyn’s vibrant programming model – distinguished by an exceptional diversity of producing partnerships – also allowed Toronto audiences to discover renowned international companies through the Spotlight Festival series, numerous works in translation and memorable touring presentations like the critical favourite Kiss & Cry by Belgian artists Jaco van Dormael and Michèle Anne de Mey, and British choreographer Akram Khan’s sold-out hit DESH. These curatorial efforts were rewarded with a historic win at the 2016 Dora Awards: the first time in Dora history that a single company was awarded outstanding Production Awards in the General Theatre, Dance and Touring categories.
Strengthening Canadian Stage’s longstanding commitment of supporting emerging artists, Jocelyn also helped establish the professional careers of such theatre creators as Jordan Tannahill (Botticelli in the Fire and Sunday in Sodom; Concord Floral; Declarations-upcoming) and Britta Johnson, whose new musical Life After opened Canadian Stage’s 30th anniversary season to unanimous acclaim. His tenure also saw the creation of the York University-Canadian Stage MFA in Stage Direction (now in its seventh year), and the Berkeley Street Theatre Company-in-Residence Program (past: Studio 180, Company Theatre, Necessary Angel, Theatre Smash, Crow’s Theatre), currently welcoming Sandra Laronde’s Red Sky Performance and theatre composer Njo Kong Kie. Under Jocelyn’s revamped repertory format, Canadian Stage’s beloved pay-what-you-can Shakespeare in High Park summer series steadily expanded its local audiences.
Jocelyn will work with Interim Managing Director and longtime Executive Producer, Sherrie Johnson, to lead the company through the remainder of its current season.
Prior to Canadian Stage, the Toronto-born Jocelyn held the position of Director of France’s Atelier du Rhin for 10 years, creating a body of work for which he was awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. He continues to work as a freelance director and writer of theatre and opera; his most recent project, the libretto for Brett Dean’s opera Hamlet at the 2017 Glyndebourne Festival, having garnered rave reviews from international press. Jocelyn’s Canadian Stage directorial highlights include Melissa James Gibson’s THIS, the English-language premiere of Liv Stein by Georgian playwright Nino Haratischwili, and Simon Stephens’Harper Regan. From November 26-December 17, he will direct another Canadian premiere of a Stephens play, Heisenberg as part of Canadian Stage’s 30th anniversary line-up.  
About Canadian Stage 

Founded in 1987, Canadian Stage is one of the country’s leading not-for-profit contemporary performing arts companies, sharing new, innovative stage work from Canada and around the world. Canadian Stage produces and presents a new hybrid of multidisciplinary performance that pushes the boundaries of form and style, integrating theatre, dance, music, multimedia and more. Canadian Stage is dedicated to reinforcing the presence of Canadian art and artists within an international cultural dialogue, by acting as a home, incubator and exporter of leading Canadian and global performance. The company stages an annual season at three historic locations: the Bluma Appel Theatre; the Berkeley Street Theatre; and the High Park Amphitheatre, home to Shakespeare in High Park. Offering a range of education, artist training and community outreach programs, Canadian Stage is committed to cultivating tomorrow’s artistic innovators and audiences. For more information, visit


Senior ArtsEditor Mark Wigmore is heard at 8:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays during the Jazz FM91 Arts Report. And don’t miss his arts and culture interview and entertainment magazine program, Arts Toronto, Sundays between 8-9 a.m.

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