Anne Michaels will be presenting excerpts from two books, Railtracks, a unique collaboration for theatre, co-written with the British writer John Berger, and Infinite Gradation, a meditation on the mystery at the heart of our mortality, about hope in art and what art makes of death.
Both books find their way to a profound solace. Michaels and Berger wrote Railtracks to be performed at the German Gymnasium at King’s Cross in London, UK, directed by Simon McBurney with his renowned theatre company, Complicite. This is a work about place and displacement – forced displacement, labour migration, political and economic exile – and, because it is about what we carry when we must leave almost everything behind, it is also about love, history, memory.
For this performance, Michaels will be collaborating with singer-songwriter david sereda, and they will be joined by musicians and actors to present excerpts from these works.
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Alberta born sax player and multi-instrumentalist, Colleen Allen first launched her musical career in Toronto. She has performed throughout Canada, the United States and Europe accompanying such notable performers as Molly Johnson, Holly Cole, Nikki Yanofsky, Lorraine Segato and Cirque Du Soleil. Current projects include a recording with gospel legend Carvin Winans, Michael MacDonald, Take 6, Martha Reeves and David Clayton Thomas. Colleen is also a resident artist at Soulpepper Theatre Company.
Anita Chong is a Senior Editor at McClelland & Stewart, where she edits literary fiction and narrative non-fiction. Recent highlights include Sharon Bala’s The Boat People and Richard Wagamese’s final novel, Starlight. Forthcoming titles include new fiction by Amy Jones, Saleema Nawaz, Michael Christie, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Tanis Rideout, and Eleanor Catton. She is also the manager of the Writers’ Trust / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for emerging Canadian writers, and the in-house editor for its associated annual anthology, The Journey Prize Stories: The Best of Canada’s New Writers.
John Jarvis has been seen recently in a Soulpepper Theatre production of Sarah Ruhl’s adaptation of the great novel, Orlando by Virginia Woolf and Beverley Cooper’s very timely play, Innocence Lost: a play about Steven Truscott. Last summer, he traveled with the company to New York City to perform in the critically acclaimed productions of Spoon River and Of Human Bondage. Outside of Toronto, John was last seen in Marc Crawford’s The Birds and the Bees at Thousand Islands Playhouse and Western Theatre Company. He lives in the city with his wife Beverley Cooper and sons Will and Mac.
Anne Michaels is a novelist and poet. Her books are translated into more than fifty languages and have won dozens of international awards, including the Orange Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, and the Lannan Award for Fiction. Among many other honours she has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, and has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize (twice), the Governor-General’s Award, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and longlisted for the IMPAC Award (twice). Her novel Fugitive Pieces was adapted as a feature film. She was honoured to be appointed Toronto’s Poet Laureate. Her most recent books include All We Saw, Infinite Gradation and Railtracks (co-written with John Berger).
david sereda is a singer, songwriter, composer and music director. One of Canada’s most distinctive voices, he has performed coast to coast for over 30 years. sereda has collaborated extensively with Anne Michaels – creating Dialogues of song and text, as well as The Woods Are Burning (on the life of Tom Thomson) and an itinerant and ongoing cabaret called Stray Dog Salons, mixing poetry, music and readings. Composing work includes collaborations in music theatre with playwrights Don Hannah and Joan Chandler, and the recent film score for Just a Ploughboy, a documentary on playwright George Ryga.