produced with Richard Jordan Productions UK.

The Story

Century Song is a live performance hybrid created by powerful 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.

This exquisitely unique show features music by some of the past 100 years’ most adventurous composers, as well as projections 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.

Photography by: John Lauener and Dahlia Katz


1915: Sergei Rachmaninoff (Russia)

1935: Olivier Messiaen (France)

1950: John Cage (USA)

1978: Georges Aperghis (Greece)

2015: Reza Jacobs (Canada)

The Team

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

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: Kai-Yueh Chen, Emilie Aubin

Click here to read complete team bios



April 2015: The world premiere of 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: Century Song returns to Toronto as part of the Progress Festival at the Theatre Centre.

January - February 2016: Century Songs tours to Calgary as part of the High Performance Rodeo and to Vancouver as part of The Push Festival with The Cultch.

May 2016: Century Song tours throughout the United Kingdom and Belgium: The Lowry, Manchester; mac Birmingham; Artsdepot, London and de Bijloke, Ghent.

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


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