The long-anticipated return of live performances at the Massey Theatre is quite literally—music to the ears.
The pandemic shuttered indoor theatre and music for more than a year, but the performing arts are back, and the artists are ready to shine brighter than ever.
With a thoughtful and measured approach to opening, the Massey makes a triumphant resurgence this fall/winter. Expect a lineup of exceptional comedic talent and musical diversity—all intimately engaging with enriching and impactful performances.
“The Massey is on the cusp of stepping into a whole new future, the same timing as this re-emergence from the pandemic,” says Jessica Schneider, executive director, Massey Theatre Society.
“It will happen gradually, but I believe there will be a return of confidence once people are in the same room together again. People need to be together and have shared experiences with community members and strangers; that’s the glue of society.”
There’s been a tremendous disconnect in the community without live events, and equally, a hardship felt by artists and arts organizations struggling through an unprecedented time.
“We’re the catalyst that brightens up people’s lives and makes them think, makes them feel together and makes them talk about things that may be difficult,” reveals Schneider.
“With the abstraction of storytelling, music and art, we can access difficult conversations in a way that feels safe, which I think has really been missing—that shared conversation in our community that’s manageable.”
There will be plenty to talk about, especially as a love theme weaves throughout various artists’ performances. “They’re talking about love, and they’re talking about the contribution we can all make towards more hope, more cohesion and healing,” says Schneider.
Canadian-American folk-rock musician and songwriter Martha Wainwright—dubbed her tour after her fearless new album, Love Will Be Reborn—plays Nov. 16, at 7:30 pm.
Wainwright refers to her first record in five years as her “coming of age album,” which captures her heart in transition. She wrote the title track during a dark time a few years ago, but the positivity and luminosity of the album signalled what lay ahead, joy and renewal; the process of rebirth honours the past to move forward. There’s an inherent scratchiness and edge with her vocals in these songs, an edge that makes Wainwright uncompromisingly herself, the hook that draws an audience two decades deep.
Opening for Wainwright is Toronto’s indie jazz-pop band, Bernice, with frontwoman Robin Dann.
Presented with Laughter Zone 101, Canadian actor/comedian Shaun Majumder brings his new stand-up show, LOVE, to the stage on Feb. 3, at 7:30 pm. In 2019, the Gemini award-winning Majumder—best known to most from CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes—brought his complex tour de force HATE to the Massey, a raw retort of sorts to living amid widespread Trumpism, and the hate he witnessed mounting in the U.S. and Canada.
A new dad in August 2019, he flips the script with LOVE, inspired by the love for his daughter. With a repertoire of sketch comedy and biting editorial commentary, expect Majumder to serve an evening of belly laughs. A welcomed tonic of levity that couldn’t come at a better time.
“We know how much everybody needs to get reinspired and feel reconnected to the community,” admits Schneider. “This season is designed to bring back those good feelings, those positive connections, and also lift spirits and make you laugh with other people in a way you haven’t in some time.”
In addition to Wainwright & Majumder, the 2022 season performances include:
- Jan. 28: International Guitar Night
- Feb. 15-27: Arts Club Theatre Company’s Noises Off
- Mar. 12: iskwē, Solo Tour
- Apr. 29-30: Over the Ridge: The Fugitives with Brendan McLeod & Ballet BC dancers
- Date TBD: Bill Henderson, Solo Tour
“We connect artists to people and then hope to connect people to each other through that experience,” says Schneider. “That’s what drives us. We’re about connection. But connection where there is heart, where there is beauty, and where there is truth—all of that.”
For tickets and more information visit, masseytheatre.com.