By Shannon Ryan

Forget about the remote control. Taking a break from the gluttony that is ‘reality’ television this Winter shouldn’t be difficult, especially when there’s no shortage of energy in Toronto’s artistic landscape. The real interactive experience is in seeing theatre, dance, comedy, opera, music and visual arts. Toronto is the third-largest live theatre centre in the English-speaking world after London and New York averaging 50 different productions a month. Living along the waterfront means closer proximity and access to those who are passionate about creating and presenting their artistic expression.

It’s a far cry from the mind numbing programmes currently littering our evening television (I recently viewed a man sprinting against his only competitor, a camel!!). It’s well worth it to bundle up, get out and discover this Winter what going on not so far from the waterfront. Whether your taste is mainstream or alternative; plays, visual art, comedy or opera, there’s an extensive eclectic list available. They say all the world’s a stage but quite frankly, I prefer artists engaging me so I can be transported somewhere else for a short period of time. There are numerous well-established companies, all deserving of recognition and mention for creating platforms that broaden our scope and challenge our views; here are but a few great examples right in our neighbourhood.

Artword Theatre
Tucked away in what was previously a clothing factory and renovated back in 1998, the Artword Theatre is home to two theatres and an art gallery. Artword’s 150 seat and it’s 60-seat studio, the Artword Alternative showcases a wide array of diverse and professional dance and theatre projects. The Artword Gallery exhibits a wide spectrum of visual art.

Among their many productions, Artword is featuring an AfriCan Theatre Ensemble Soirée, November 20, 2004. A gala evening of food, fun and entertainment, featuring highlights from ATE’s work-in-progress Market of Tales, and ATE’s spring production The Fate of a Cockroach by Egyptian playwright Tawfik al-Hakim. $40 ($20 for kids) – includes meal. Call 416-408-1146

75 Portland Street, Toronto, Info Line: (416)408-2783; website:

Alumnae Theatre
Originally founded by female graduates of University of Toronto in 1919, the Alumnae Theatre continues it’s run long of excellence presenting contemporary and classic plays.

Nov 19 – Dec. 4, 2004
Criminal Hearts – A screwball comedy by Jane Martin

70 Berkeley Street, Toronto, Box Office/Reservations: (416)364-4170; website:

Harbourfront Centre
Harbourfront Centre’s historic venues showcase presentations of dance, theatre and music by national and international artists.

November 10 – 13, 8 pm – Constantinople. The Calgary Herald (July 31, 2004) called Constantinople “a multimedia piece that weaves a bold and richly emotional tapestry of sound and image, a stunning triumph performed flawlessly and miraculously.”

Premiere Dance Theatre, a Harbourfront Centre Venue of choice, located at 207 Queen’s Quay W. Toronto ON (416)973-4000; website:

The variety of live entertainment at our disposal is far too vast to do justice in one small article. For more information on live productions at selected Toronto venues, check your local listings or visit, a great resource.

I urge you, bundle up the kids, hide your sweetie’s remote, bug your friends and get out there, the art community and your brain will be all the better for it!

If you are interested in having your live production mentioned in Waterfront, please contact us! Telephone: 416-504-1887, or e-mail: