Theatre Inamorata, Feminism and Toronto Theatre

Theatre Inamorata is a new theatre company comprised entirely of women dedicated to adapting classical scripts for the female voice. They wrapped up their debut performance Gray, this past September. Gray, ironically written by a man—Kristofer Van Soelen, is a female adaptation of the classic play, The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde. Being Irish and a feminist, I wanted to see the show. The funny thing is, I’ve never read or seen the original so, I was going in blind.

After seeing this adaptation, I looked up the actual show. I was able to appreciate the liberties that were taken and how they made this classical work, relevant.

Tennille Read and Ximena Huizi – photo by Ross Spencer

Toronto is a great place to find art; theatre, dance, visual—whatever you like, we’re very experimental here. However, we’re also very Canadian, meaning; we have a certain apologist attitude when it comes to the work you see. For example, how many times have you been to a show you thought sucked and it got a standing ovation?  We lie to save face; we put up with bad work just to be polite. I have seen some shows that had me weeping and others I have walked out of, which brings us to the best moment in Gray.

A female Dorian is watching her lover Sybil’s opening night of Romeo and Juliet. Sybil’s performance is so bad, Dorian’s friend Opal refuses to waste any more of her precious time or money and walks out. Now, you might be thinking, that’s totally ignorant and rude, it takes courage to get up on stage. 


NOPE. Not good enough. Opal makes a very valid point. If you are charging people money to see you perform, it damn well better be worth watching. Just because you’ve done the hard job of getting onstage does not mean you’ve done your job. You’re job is to speak to me and keep me in that seat. Earn my money.

Yes, of course art is subjective but you can’t expect to get a participation medal if there’s no substance to your work. Art is about telling truth, whether it’s yours or not, we can always spot a liar. It was like finally, someone was addressing the elephant in the theatre, so to speak. You don’t get a standing ovation just because you got on stage, you have to work for it.

I still don’t know if I liked what I saw but, it has kept me thinking. I can always respect someone who makes me think. These are talented women who don’t appear to be afraid of pushing the envelope. I like that they brought up a very relevant topic when it comes to seeing art in Toronto and in general.


About The Author


Heather McNiece likes long walks through the mountains of Ireland and sleeping beneath the stars in the Sahara desert. Eating streetfood in Amsterdam or wandering the streets of Prague while sipping absinthe. Heather McNiece is one cool chick. A Toronto native but, while her feet remain on the ground, they are taking her places. A passionate artist with a desire to learn and inspire people; through food, fashion, art and above all: travel. Her belief is simple; whether you think you can or cannot, you’re right. Oh, and it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. Her attitude has brought her unique experiences, you wouldn’t believe are real. From hitchhiking from Rome to Amsterdam, to spending the night under the stars in the Sahara desert. If you want to know how to travel, by yourself and on a budget, she’s the girl to talk to. While her interests are broad there is still a focus on sustainability and supporting local artists. One of the fundamental rules of acting is: take a risk and commit to it.

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