Clay and Paper Theatre creates, develops and performs highly original, multi-disciplinary, community driven theatrical works, using narrative theatre and large-scale puppetry in public spaces for large and diverse audiences. Since 1994, we have produced plays, pageants and parades with and within the community, grounded in the idea that performance in public space is an act of cultural transformation. Our practice of building, rehearsing and performing in full public view is an attempt on our part to “bring back the commons”, reunite art with the daily life of the community, and to make art accessible to all. Clay and Paper Theatre has been the resident theatre company in Dufferin Grove Park for over twenty-three years.
HOW WE WORK
Clay and Paper Theatre’s work is inspired and informed just as much by oral traditions, folk tales, songs, poems, and fables, as it is by local stories, history, and current social issues. We embrace an aesthetic that honours ancient traditions in performance (commedia dell’arte, puppetry, mask, pageantry, spectacle, street theatre) and tools (clay and paper). Because Clay and Paper Theatre’s work is also predominantly image driven, we have a particular focus on the use of hand, rod, shadow and giant puppets. Music is also a foundational element to our performances in public space, where an array of musical styles, original songs, playful sound invention and, on occasion, invented instruments help us shape the performance and play environment.
WHO WE WORK WITH
Clay and Paper Theatre brings together seasoned arts professionals, theatre students, local businesses, not-for-profit organizations and community members in both the co-creation and performance process of its productions. As well, Clay and Paper Theatre has long been a training ground for young actors, designers, builders, sculptors, illustrators, musicians, stage managers and arts administrators, through our summer and/or year-long internships. Moreover, we offer pop-up puppetry workshops to communities and other arts organizations within the City of Toronto and throughout the province of Ontario. In recent years, we have formalized Clay and Paper Theatre’s curriculum offerings in public space performance techniques through the creation of our Centre for Insurgent Puppetry workshop series.
OUR SIGNATURE PUBLIC SPACE PERFORMANCES & EVENTS
Clay and Paper Theatre works with multiple communities and partners throughout the year, but we have three annual signature events that anchor our work within the Dufferin Grove community. Day of Delight, a celebration of love, courtship and desire, is a juried festival and multi-stage, outdoor summer solstice event. Night of Dread, with several thousand revelers yearly, gathers in late autumn to name, mock and banish our private and collective fears through parade and pageantry, music and masquerade, dance and a devilishly good time. Lastly, Clay & Paper Theatre produces a new Canadian play almost every summer, built and rehearsed in full public view, revealing the art-making process as it happens to all park users. To date we have produced twenty-five original plays in public space.