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3 evenings – 12 play selections

A staged-reading series spotlighting Quebec drama in English

April 4th - 6th 2022, 7PM, Moyse Hall Theatre

Audiences are invited to attend a series of free staged readings by professional actors, which present plays from English Montreal’s not-so-distant past (1980-2010). Chez Nous (Two) spotlights plays that helped shape Montreal’s English-language dramatic landscape. We’re drawing back the curtain to present a mix of drama, spoken-word, comedy, lyricism, and agit-prop across the three evenings of performances.

Each evening features a different selection of plays performed by professional actors. Attend all three nights to sample pieces from the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s by local playwrights! And stay for the talk-back with the cast and research team following the performance.

Monday 4 April: Musings, Muses and Memory

Alessandra Tom directs excerpts from:

  • A Very Modest Orgy (1981) by Patricia Joudry
  • From the Main to Mainstreet (1986) by Pan Bouyoucas
  • Michel et Ti-Jean (2006) by George Rideout
  • stuck (2007) by Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae
  • Swan Song of Maria (A Tragic Fairy Tale) (2009) by Carol Cece Anderson

Tuesday 5 April: Faith, Frenzy, and Fallacy

Sophie Gee directs excerpts from:

  • Magpie (1994) by Kit Brennan
  • The Mary Project (2002) by Ann Lambert and Laura Mitchell
  • Tulip (2006) by Don Druick
  • Toxic Bus Incident (2009) by Greg MacArthur

Wednesday 6 April: Recounting Resistance

Gabe Maharjan directs excerpts from:

  • The Consolation of Philosophy (1989) by Michael Springate
  • The Baroness and the Pig (1993) by Michael Mackenzie
  • Je me souviens (2000) by Lorena Gale

McGill Department of English, Playwright's Workshop Montreal, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montreal, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Director's Projects 2022 poster

Director's Project 2022

  1. After Magritte, written by Tom Stoppard, directed by Rose Noskwith
    The house is in shambles, Mother won’t stop playing the tuba, and now the police are here? The Harris family find themselves wrapped up in a confusing crime, but did they do it? And who was that mysterious figure they saw in the street?
  2. Action, written by Sam Shepard, directed by Owen Maggs
    The year is 1961 and the Earth has become an apocalyptic wasteland. Somehow through it all, four friends have pulled together a Christmas dinner, but has getting this far brought them to the brink? Sam Shepard’s Action is a black comedy of chair-smashing, fish-gutting proportions that hits a little too close to home in the 2020’s.
  3. Ledge, Ledger, and the Legend, written by Paul Elliott, directed by Atticus Mehers
    Pete has never killed himself before. He finds himself unprepared on the wrong ledge, at the wrong time, with no plan. Thankfully, he is soon joined by a suicide advisor from the company DROP OUT. When a competing advisor joins them on the ledge, Pete is confronted with the difficult task of choosing who to hire to help him perform the perfect suicide.
  4. Beer Girl, written by Walter Wykes, directed by Francesco Cremonini
    Heineken, Guinness, Stella Artois. Walter Wykes’ Beer Girl tells the story of a man desperately in love with that which he can never have, a girl made entirely of beer. Will he find true love, or will his drunken delusions disappoint him once again?
  5. Pleasure Cruise, written by Kira Obolensky, directed by Lucy Marchal
    Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking, it is a pleasure welcoming you on board. To ensure a safe journey, we kindly ask you to follow the cruise’s protocols. The sun is framed in the sky, the river is gentle and there is absolutely no danger here on board. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!
  6. Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen, written by Caryl Chruchill, directed by Mai Kutsuna
    It is 2060. A dystopian city “Londons” is covered in smoke from pollution. There are no plants, no birds, and certainly not enough oxygen. Mick and his neighbour Vivian are living in suffocating tower blocks. The play opens with them anxiously waiting for Mick’s son to arrive…
  7. Elegy for a Lady, written by Arthur Miller, directed by Paxton Rodriguez
    A man walks into a boutique and asks the shop owner to help him find the perfect gift for someone special in his life. As time goes on, the true purpose of the man’s visit becomes more clear, as the two engage in a battle of wits over love and companionship. Elegy for a Lady is a challenging story about the decisions we make and the webs of connection we entangle ourselves in.
  8. Bloomsbury Woman and the Wild Colonial Girl, written by Lorae Parry, directed by Jacqueline Law
    “She was the only writer I have ever been jealous of”, said Virginia Woolf in 1923. Bloomsbury Women and the Wild Colonial Girl studies the life of the writer in question, Katherine Mansfield, in her own words, as she writes her way through friendship, love, and what it means to be a woman.
  9. Afterglow, written by Peter Boychuk, directed by Huirui Zhang
    What do you do when you fall in love with your best friend but she is coping with grief? A few weeks after the turn of the millenium, the fall of a meteor near Whitehorse, Yukon brings a few changes to two friends, Alex and Anna. They go on a trip into the wilderness to find fragments of the meteorite, while in truth, seeking an answer for their troubled hearts.
  10. Accident of Birth, written by Trevor Suthers, directed by Songmin Lee
    Anthony is confined in Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital, where he is being treated for a severe personality disorder that has played a role in his run of violent crimes. One day Anthony’s mother makes a visit to Broadmoor, and the first ever encounter reveals the truths behind Anthony’s personality disorder and the nature Anthony believes he inherited from his biological parents.

Fashion Follies poster

Fashion Follies

The Department of English Fall 2022 production is an explosive collision/collaboration between three classes - Stage, Scenery, and LightingCostuming for the Theatre, and Directing for the Theatre. Our runway show is filled with physical comedy, fantastic runway outfits made from recycled materials, and fantabulous sound and lighting effects, all designed to illuminate the negative ecological impact of the fashion industry. In the great spirit of farce, anything that can go wrong will go wrong, which means that all will be very right.

November 17-19 and 24-26, 2022.

Fashion Follies stage shot

Fashion Follies stage shot

Fashion Follies stage shot

Fashion Follies stage shot

Fashion Follies stage shot

Fashion Follies stage shot

Chez Nous poster

Chez Nous: A Staged-Reading Series
Showcasing English-language Drama in Quebec (1930-1979)

This free, public series of staged readings delves into the history of English Montreal theatre in collaboration with Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal and four English-language theatre companies in the city. The series is produced by Professor Erin Hurley (Department of English, McGill University) and Playwrights Workshop Montreal.

February 24-27, 2020, at 7 PM each night.

A History of Breathing poster

A History of Breathing

By Daniel Macdonald

November 20 to 22, and November 27 to 29, 2019, at 7:30 PM

A History of Breathing explores the search for meaning in an apocalyptic world torn by cataclysm. Three boats and their mysterious passengers float on a dead ocean. In one boat Turtle, Toad and Muskrat drift helplessly and wait for the woman to fall from the sky. In another, a father and daughter paddle desperately. And in a third boat, a god-like figure appears. The passengers’ search for land will lead to violent confrontation and deadly consequences for them all. Macdonald’s visionary allegory explores creation myths, the capacity for human self-destruction, and the struggle to survive catastrophic trauma.

The McGill University Department of English Drama & Theatre Program is dedicated to providing students with practical theatrical experience.

Cymbeline poster


William Shakespeare's classic tale of romance, war, treachery and redemption.

April 3-5, and April 10-12, 2019, at 7:30 PM

Comedy? Tragedy? Romance? Cymbeline is all of this and more: a dark, poetic fairy tale full of secret plots, shocking betrayals, deadly potions, long-lost children and murder most foul.

Britain has fallen into ruin. Rome demands tribute or promises war. But Britain’s monarchy is in disarray: Queen Cymbeline mourns her lost children while her wicked step-sister plots to seize the throne. Virtuous Princess Imogen is promised to her horrid cousin Cloten, but has secretly married her childhood sweetheart Posthumus.

Meanwhile, exiled to Rome, Posthumus is deceived into thinking Imogen has betrayed him, and plots a terrible revenge.

And that’s just the beginning of the story …

The McGill University Department of English Drama & Theatre Program is dedicated to providing students with practical theatrical experience.

The Birds poster

Aristophanes’ comedy

The Birds

Adapted and directed by Guest Director

Yvette Nolan

November 21-23, and November 28-30, 2018, at 7:30 PM

In this updated version of Aristophanes’ classic comic fantasy The Birds, two men, frustrated by the modern world, arrive in the fabled land of the birds seeking freedom and a better way of life. But the men are unable to resist remaking this utopian paradise in their own image, without regard for the inhabitants who already occupy the land . . . . . .

In her playful modern retelling of this story, guest director Yvette Nolan has transformed The Birds to reflect pressing contemporary Indigenous questions about truth and reconciliation.

Combining joyful costumes, humor, dance and music, The Birds takes us on a journey celebrating the diversity of our changing society, while also emphasizing our need to connect to history and to the land in order to move forward together.

Yvette Nolan is the McGill English Department’s Richler Writer-in-Residence for 2018. Nolan is a playwright, director and former artistic director of Native Earth Performing Arts Theatre in Toronto. Her theatre practice explores the modern Indigenous experience through the transformative lens of performance.

The McGill University Department of English Drama & Theatre Program is dedicated to providing students with practical theatrical experience.

 Blood Relations poster

Blood Relations

By Sharon Pollock

“Did you Lizzie? … Lizzie did you?”

April 4-6, and April 11-13, 2018 at 7:30 PM

On August 4th1892, Abigail and Andrew Borden were found dead in their home, brutally murdered by multiple hatchet blows to their heads.

The grisly crime rocked the prosperous town of Fall River, Massachusetts, to the core, and the media obsession with the case took the country by storm.

Their daughter, Lizzie Borden, was tried for the murders but was never convicted.

One night, ten years later, she decides to let her closest friend finally learn the truth about what happened that fateful day.

Sharon Pollock’s Governor General’s award-winning psychological mystery examines what it would take to drive a woman to an act of unimaginable violence.

The McGill University Department of English Drama & Theatre Program is dedicated to providing students with practical theatrical experience.

The Cradle Will Rock

November 22-24 and November 30-2, at 7:30 PM

We invite you to join us for an evening of rousing song, passionate commitment and revolutionary politics: Marc Blitzstein’s Broadway sensation The Cradle Will Rock!

Four days before it was to premiere, the United States Government tried to stop the performance of this controversial musical by padlocking the theatre and surrounding it with armed guards. But the show must go on, and it did – in an unauthorized performance -- and so was born the legend of one of the greatest political plays of all time.

Blitzstein’s lively mix of music, comedy, and provocative ideas excites as it inspires. The Cradle Will Rock is both a non-stop pageant of great songs and a stirring exposé of the ruthlessness of the rich, powerful and corrupt, who stand in the way of democracy and will stop at nothing to maintain their own wealth and privilege. Make no mistake: The Cradle Will Rock is firmly on the side of the 99%. The political and social issues of this play are alive and well today and our production of this fast-paced, moving and passionate piece of theatre is sure to challenge and delight.

The McGill University Department of English Drama & Theatre Program is dedicated to providing students with practical theatrical experience.

Richard III poster

Richard III

March 29-31 and April 5-7, at 7:30PM

"I am determined to prove a villain / And hate the idle pleasures of these days."

Reviled and cursed, Richard III is Shakespeare's greatest anti-hero, a sinister court jester, and our charming confidante in a bloody tale of murder, betrayal and war on an epic scale.

Our production boldly re-envisions Richard III as a violent, psychedelic world of ghosts and prophesy, where murderers lurk in the shadows and mourning widows glide, haunted, through empty spaces.

In this nightmarish theatrical vision, created by an ensemble of masked storytellers, our Richard is indeed three, merging and splintering within the unbounded landscape of his tormented imagination. As Richard embraces treachery and evil, the limits of realism, and Richard’s own selves, are shattered.

The McGill University Department of English Drama & Theatre Program is dedicated to providing students with practical theatrical experience. The year-long Theatre Laboratory course prepares the actors, while classes in Stage, Scenery and Lighting as well as Costuming for the Theatre train students in technical theatre. Together, their work culminates in this production of Richard III.

The Rover poster

The Rover

A Comedy by Aphra Behn

November 16-18 and 23-25, 2016 at 7:30 PM

The Department of English Drama and Theatre program at McGill University invites you to Aphra Behn’s classic Restoration comedy of love and seduction: The Rover.
Set in Naples during Carnival season, The Rover tells the story of three young noblewomen who seek to flee from the oppression of their family in search of true love – and the costumes and disguises of Carnival give them just the chance they have been looking for.
Meanwhile a group of riotous English cavaliers on shore-leave arrive in town looking for trouble.
When they all meet during the Carnival masquerade, the result is a sexually-charged romantic comedy of errors, one full of amorous adventures, deception, intrigue, heartbreak, laughter, danger . . .
and some very unexpected twists and turns.
Aphra Behn was England’s first professional woman writer, lauded in her day for her comic genius and her scandalous sense of humor.
The Rover is her most successful play, so popular with audiences that it enjoyed an extended run (and even a sequel), and multiple recent revivals.
We are pleased to bring you our high-spirited and fast-paced interpretation of this Restoration sensation.

In The Next Room or the Vibrator Play poster

In The Next Room or

By Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Myrna Wyatt Selkirk

In The Next Room runs November 19th – 21st & 26th – 28th, 2016 at 7:30 PM

At the dawn of electricity, more than just machines were being turned on. In The Next Room, or The Vibrator Play by Sarah Ruhl introduces us to a buttoned and corseted cast of characters who grow, become charged with energy, and begin to push against the restrictions within which they live their lives. What happens when you contain an electrical current? A sly take on the sex comedy (a genre claimed by the Greeks, the Restoration, and When Harry Met Sally), The Vibrator Play excites us with a peek into Victoriana unplugged. Doctor Givings has set up shop in the living room of his family home, having invented a vibrating solution to the plight of hysterical women. The throbbing pulse of the machine in the next room has an irresistible pull for the previously docile Mrs Givings—and audiences will be shocked to learn just how difficult it is to deny magnetic attraction. The Vibrator Play creates an explosive charge that quakes traditional foundations (if not the bed springs), showing us what bursts forth when people let each other in.

Blue Planet poster

Blue Planet

By Andri Snær Magnason
Directed by Professor Myrna Wyatt Selkirk
April 2nd-11th, 2015

Attention all children, all those who are young at heart and all lovers of theatre, adventure and fun! Blue Planet is a play for children by the Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, adapted from his award-winning children’s book The Story of the Blue Planet. Although the play’s target spectators are children between the ages of eight and thirteen, Blue Planet will in fact enchant audiences of all ages.

As a child, Magnason was captivated by “the Icelandic highlands, the cruelty of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the weirdness of Icelandic folk tales, the Bible’s message of peace, the nature documentaries of David Attenborough and Space Lego”. Magnason manages to weave all of these eclectic threads seamlessly into Blue Planet. The result is a fast- paced narrative brimming with vivid characters. The play’s premise: what happens when a grown-up crash-lands on a planet inhabited solely by children? Factor in that said adult is Gleesome Goodday, Make-Your-Dreams-Come-True Man and Travelling Salesman; the possibilities for mayhem are endless! After Goodday lands on the beautiful island, he captivates the children who live there with astounding miracles. Not only does he give them the power of flight – he also nails the sun to the sky above their island so that it will “always be day and always be bright”. All appears to be well until two of the island’s children get blown off course to the dark side of the planet. They soon realize that Goodday’s intentions may not be as pure as he claims...

Bubbling beneath Blue Planet’s surface is a profound global consciousness. Eschewing a moralistic tone, Magnason skillfully turns ecological concerns and ethical considerations into rich dialogue. The students of the Department of English Drama & Theatre Program’s Theatre Lab, Costuming, and Stage Scenery & Lighting Classes have worked hard to craft a production rich in honesty, aliveness, creativity and butterfly powder. So what are you waiting for? We invite you to crash-land on our Blue Planet. Traverse its surface, explore its depths, share in its magic and allow your children (or the child in you) to experience the power of theatre.

Press Release | Communiqué de presse

How Exile Melts poster

How Exile Melts

Written by Dane Stewart (a former student)
Directed by Professor Patrick Neilson
Nov. 20–22 and Nov. 27-29, 2014

Press Release | Communiqué de presse

The Three Penny Opera poster

Threepenny Opera

by Bertolt Brecht
Directed by Sean Carney
April 03 to 05 and April 10 to 12, 2014

You are cordially invited to celebrate the marriage of Ms. Polly Peachum, the flower of Soho and only daughter of the notorious King of the Beggars, to Captain Macheath, a.k.a. Mack the Knife, the most wanted man in London. Entertainment for the evening shall include a variety of bawdy songs, shameful caterwauling, trilling sopranos, moving ballads, earnest pleas, rousing escapes, unexpected twists, saucy brothels, dirty jokes and at least one public hanging.

Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s comic masterpiece The Threepenny Opera is both a modern classic and a high-spirited mockery of the conventions of musical theatre.

It is our pleasure to bring this timeless and hilarious play to the stage of Moyse Hall for your enjoyment.

The McGill University Department of English Drama & Theatre Program is dedicated to providing students with practical theatrical experience. Costume Design by the Costuming Class under the tutelage of Catherine Bradley, Technical and Production elements by the Stage Scenery and Lighting class under the supervision of Keith Roche and Corinne Deeley.

Press Release | Communiqué de presse

Cloud 9

by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Myrna Wyatt-Selkirk
November 21 to 23 and November 28 to 30

Download the poster [pdf]

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Sean Carney
April 4th to Saturday April 6th, and April 11th to April 13th,2013

Download the poster [pdf]

Click play to watch a clip 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream video clip

A Midsummer Night’s Dream video clip

A Midsummer Night’s Dream video clip

The Revenger’s Tragedy

By Thomas Middleton
Directed by Patrick Neilson
November 21-24 and November 29 – December 1, 2012 at 7:30

Download the press release [pdf] 
Download the poster [pdf]

Click play to watch a clip 

The Revenger’s Tragedy video clip

The Revenger’s Tragedy video clip

A Dream Play

Written by August Strindberg
Translated by Michael Robinson
March 22-24 and 29-31, 2012 

All's Well That Ends Well

By William Shakespeare
An Atelier presented by the McGill University English Department's Drama & Theatre Program
November 23-25, 2011 

The Alchemist

By Ben Jonson
Directed by Sean Carney
Moyse Hall Theatre – McGill University Campus, Arts Building
March 24–26 and March 31–April 2, 2011

Read the press release online.

Click play to watch a clip 

The Alchemist video clip

The Alchemist video clip

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