produced with Moveable BEAST COLLECTIVE, Richard Jordan Productions UK, and Canadahub (edinburgh).
“Thrilling… Unforgettable… a must-see” - NOW Magazine, Toronto
“A beautiful, vivid, dazzling journey” - Slotkin Letter, Toronto
“A great achievement” - Stage Door
“An incredible feat of dance, music, and theatricality” - Vancouver Presents
“Extraordinary… sends shivers down the spine” - Mooney on Theatre, Toronto
“Goes beyond what mere words could encompass” - Herd Magazine, Ottawa
Century Song is a live performance hybrid created by powerful Dora-Award winning soprano Neema Bickersteth, and Dora-award winning collaborators Ross Manson (direction) and Kate Alton (choreography).
Inspired in part by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, Bickersteth seamlessly melds song and movement to inhabit a century of women whose identities are contained within her own.
Photography by: John Lauener and Dahlia Katz
This exquisitely unique show features music by some of the past 100 years’ most adventurous composers, as well as a projection design by Germany’s fettFilm – extraordinary visuals that bring alive major art movements of the 20th century. Both whimsical and riveting, Century Song is a wordless chronicle of the age, built from art.
Century Song has been developed by the Toronto-based, international award-winning performance company, Volcano, in partnership with Crooked Figure Dances, the Moveable Beast Collective, and Richard Jordan Productions UK.
1915: Sergei Rachmaninoff (Russia)
1935: Olivier Messiaen (France)
1950: John Cage (USA)
1978: Georges Aperghis (Greece)
2015: Reza Jacobs (Canada)
Soprano, Co-Creator | Neema Bickersteth
Choreographer, Co-Creator | Kate Alton
Director, Co-Creator | Ross Manson
Composition and Improvisational Themes | Reza Jacobs
Piano, Structured Improvisations, Music Co-Direction | Gregory Oh
Percussion, Computers, Structured Improvisations, Music Co-Direction | Debashis Sinha
Touring Percussionist | Benjamin Grossman
Costume Designer | Charlotte Dean
Set Designer | Camellia Koo
Lighting Designer | Rebecca Picherack
Projection Designers | Torge Møller & Momme Hinrichs (fettFilm, Germany)
Associate Video Designers | Cameron Davis, Kaitlin Hickey, Jeremy Mimnagh
UK Producer: Richard Jordan Productions
Assistant Director | Mariel Marshall /Michela Sisti
Stage Manager: Emilie Aubin, Kai Chen Yueh
July 2014: First in-progress public showing of Century Song (before it had that title) at the Theatre Centre in Toronto. Three-day run.
April 2015: Production workshop and premiere of first major draft of the newly-titled Century Song. Presented by Ontario Scene and the National Arts Centre. In association with Crooked Figure Dances, A Moveable Beast Collective and Opera 5.
January 2016: A re-worked Century Song returns to Toronto as part of the Progress Festival at the Theatre Centre
May 2016: Century Song tours throughout the United Kingdom and Belgium: The Lowry, Manchester; mac Birmingham; Artsdepot, London and de Bijloke, Ghent.
November 2016: Century Song again adjusted for a run at OFF-CINARS in Montreal. 2 performances.
April 2017: Nightwood presents Century Song's return to Toronto at the new Crow’s theatre.
Awards & Nominations
2016 Dora Award Nominee (Musical Theatre Division) for:
Outstanding Production: Century Song
Outstanding Performance – Female: Neema Bickersteth, Century Song
Outstanding Direction: Ross Manson, Century Song
Outstanding Choreography: Kate Alton, Century Song