The Living Arts Centre (LAC) unveiled its 2018-19 season to an invite-only crowd on May 29. Guests were treated to entertainment by some of the artists performing in the new season and received an advance window to purchase tickets to the shows.

CEO Natalie Lue took the audience through the full lineup of the season, which starts in September and runs through May 2019.

“It is definitely a season worth celebrating with incredibly exceptional talent and some of the best music, dance, spectacle, comedy, and, theatre available anywhere,” she said. “We’ve packaged them in a way that provides some insight into why we programmed what we did. You’ll also see some familiar shows in the season because you’ve told us to keep bringing them back.”

Season 2018-19 highlights include:
Audacious Women, a series featuring originals who refuse to settle or go quietly and live life on their own terms such as the wit and candid insights of Sandra Shamas in The Big What Now?; the internationally acclaimed, redheaded goddess of cabaret, Sharron Matthews; and two-time Grammy winner Lisa Fischer, who sang with the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin.

Unbound features ILL-ABILITIES, a crew of eight break dancers pushing past their physical disabilities with contagious positivity to light up the stage. Also, This is the Point gives audiences a poignant and unflinching portrait, sure to touch hearts and minds, of four individuals whose lives have been shaped, in part, by cerebral palsy.

Hot Havana Nights lets audiences take a globetrotting adventure without leaving home. Celebrate the vibrant energy of Cuban culture with programming anchored by Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba, legendary and emerging musicians such as Arturo Sandoval, Havana D’Primera, Yaima Sáez, and Jane Bunnett and Maqueque.

Next Up, a showcase of the best emerging local talent features good old rock ‘n’ roll with the Dreamboats and an audience participatory choral experience led by Choir! Choir! Choir! among others.

Upstage features Cottagers & Indians, a story that is all too close to home. Telling the tale of an unraveling “neighbourly” feud (based on a true story), it shines a light on the unfortunate differences between cultures, economic status, and people. Meanwhile, standup comedian Franco Nguyen takes centre stage in Good Morning Viet Mom to share stories about Vietnam and growing up with his mother. Also, internationally-acclaimed puppeteer Ronnie Burkett in The Daisy Theatre is unlike anything you’ve seen before – and will have the audience howling with laughter.

‘Tis the Season brings back holiday season favourites such as The Nutcracker, A Swingin’ Christmas with the Toronto All-Star Big Band, and back but with a new offering, Presley, Perkins,
Lewis & Cash in a Christmas themed show for rock and roll fans. All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, offers a dramatic re-telling of a phenomenal occasion during the First World War, when opposing soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday season together, reminding us all of the true meaning of Christmas.

As well, audiences will be transported to fantasy worlds in an extravagant multimedia adventure with MOMIX: Opus Cactus and witness the hijinks of a lovers’ triangle in the Wild West in Cirque Éloize: Saloon. The high octane of Get the Led Out returns by popular demand for a fourth time; while, for the first time, fast-rising stars and Juno award winners, A Tribe Called
Red, celebrate Indigenous culture with cutting-edge electronic music. Juno nominee Basia Bulat brings her electrifying voice to the LAC stage and, for a night of laughs versus logic, catch The Debaters Live on Tour from the CBC Radio program.

Photo: The Dreamboats.