It is going to be one incredible season at Soulpepper. The company, known for its classical mandate is developing into a powerhouse or as J Kelly put it "... a civic theatre that takes gender equality and cultural diversity seriously."
Perhaps most exciting, is Soulpepper's coup in securing the rights to produce the first three parts of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks', adaptation of The Odyssey set during the American Civil War, Father Comes Home from the Wars.
According to Artistic Director Albert Schultz the plan is to present the remaining six parts over the next three seasons. An ambitious plan certainly, but Soulpepper has a proven track record of installment offerings like 2013's Angels in America which was such a hit it ran again last season. That six hour epic ran in two parts.
Other highlights for 2016 include Ins Choi, writer and star of the national hit Kim’s Convenience, taking on Michael Golamco’s Cowboy Versus Samurai, a comedy based on Cyrano de Bergerac about the only Korean-American in a small Midwest town. Cowboys Versus Samurai will run in January.
We are also looking forward to Gregory Prest, one of Soulpepper’s best young actors, who will make his directorial debut with the company with Wendy Wasserstein’s Tony-winning comedy The Heidi Chronicles.
Also in May, Nancy Palk makes her much anticipated return to the Soulpepper stage after a year off to tackle The Testament of Mary, a Tony-nominated one-woman show about the mother of Jesus, by Colm Toibin and directed by Aaron Willis .
In total five emerging directors will debut at Soulpepper this season as well as four female writers, three directors of colour and two writers of colour. Schultz also estimates at least ten actors of colour debuting with the company this year. You can check out the full season at Soulpepper.ca.