Inside The Creative Process / by Shannon Litzenberger

My interest in making a work about night is inspired, in part, by the prairie skies of my Saskatchewan homeland.

In the summer of 2014 I visited the Grasslands National Park (pictured above) near Val Marie, Saskatchewan where I was engaged in a period of artistic research about dance and landscape. I discovered that this corner of our country is home to the darkest of only 14 remaining dark sky preserves in Canada – a place where the sky is uninfluenced by artificial light.

What struck me is how fragile our relationship with night has become. In the long arc of human existence, our break-up with darkness is very recent. What are the consequences of living in a world where we never experience a natural state of night?

Night has inspired the creation of a great many works of art, no doubt because of the richness of its metaphors. For me, night is a metaphor for the sensual, the embodied and the feminine. To explore the erosion of our relationship with night is to discover our growing disconnect with our sensory world, with our natural environment, with our own bodies, and with feminine virtues like intuition, cooperation, sensitivity, and creative expression. What are the consequences of living in a world where the equilibrium of the masculine and feminine are so out of balance? 

And so, this was my point of departure for creating World After Dark, the beginning of my own creative journey into the metaphorical darkness. Inspired by the simultaneously scientific and poetic text of Christopher Dewdney's enchanting book Acquainted with the Night, the last four years of intermittent creation has been a rich journey - a winding road of discovery and experimentation. What has emerged is a work about reclamation. 

World After Dark runs March 6-9 at Harbourfront Centre Theatre
Tickets from $25 at 

Shannon Litzenberger
Artistic Director
Shannon Litzenberger Contemporary Dance
Video Trailer: World After Dark
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Creative Team

Concept, Choreography and Direction Shannon Litzenberger
Inspired by Christopher Dewdney’s Acquainted with the night: Excursions through the world after dark

Created with and Performed by Linnea SwanLouis Laberge-Côté, Syreeta Hector, Emily Law, Nikolaos Markakis and Kathia Wittenborn with narration by Irene Pauzer and Dan Wild

Dance Dramaturg / Creative Advisor Gerald Trentham
Creative Advisor Marie-Josée Chartier
Writer / Theatre Dramaturg Guillermo Verdecchia
Lighting and Set Design Ken MacKenzie
Projection and Interactive Video Design Elysha Poirier
Sound Design John Gzowski
Costume Design Alexandra Lord
Costume Assistant Kleanthi Markakis
Stage Management Laura Cournoyea
Production Coordination Jordana Deveau

Until then, more great theatre and dance to see!

Rose: A New Musical

On stage now through February 24

“Thrilling … charming …whimsical” – Toronto Star

An original Soulpepper musical three years in the making. From Sarah Wilson and Mike Ross comes an inspiring and joyful new musical about acceptance, love, and finding your own path.

The 40th Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
February 13-23
Canada’s longest-running new works festival returns for a 40th year. Rhubarb is a space for artists and audiences to experiment together by trying new things and testing their boundaries. You always get to see more than one show in one night, and no two nights of Rhubarb are the same. So come out and see what’s happening.

Featuring new works and special presentations by Pioneers Go East Collective, Hanlon McGregor & Syrus Marcus Ware, Mx Katie Sly, Maziar Ghaderi, Femmes du Feu’s Holly Treddenick, and more.
More information & tickets:
February 16 – March 3, 2019
Aki Studio, Toronto ON
585 Dundas Street East
As a young filmmaker, Nguyen goes to Vietnam looking for inspiration for his first feature film and finds an unexpected subject – his mom. Authentic and irreverent, Nguyen delves into the personal, sharing stories about visiting Vietnam for the first and being re-introduced to the mother he thought he knew. Directed by Byron Abalos, Good Morning, Vietmom is a hilarious and heartfelt story about family, history and love.

February 20 & 21, 2019
With Nikola Steer, Oliver Husain & Jasmyn Fyffe/Alicia Nauta
Dancemakers Centre for Creation
Theatre Studio 314
Toronto’s Distillery Historic District
$15 for Arts Workers/Seniors/Students & $20 for the General Public No service charges!
On sale on-line here until 3 pm on the day of performances and then at the Door - box office opens at 7:15 pm

Thursday Feb 21, 8pm at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Opera Atelier presents a brand-new, hour-long concert experience melding musical masterpieces by the great English composer Henry Purcell with baroque and contemporary dancing – and a new Canadian commission. Featuring Mireille Asselin (soprano), Jesse Blumberg (baritone), Artists of Atelier Ballet in baroque costume, violinist Edwin Huizinga and members of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Don’t miss this Toronto premiere of our most recent Royal Chapel/Versailles performance.

Buy your tickets here

Thank You

World After Dark has been generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, Power Corporation of Canada, Harbourfront Centre Performing Arts Residency Program, Soulpepper’s Resident Artist Program, Toronto Dance Theatre’s Creation Residency Program, The National Ballet of Canada's CreativAction Programme and the Residency Program of Peggy Baker Dance Projects and Canada's National Ballet School.