Free Lecture Series

To enrich your experience, we invite great minds to share knowledge and ideas in relation to each play. Join our Director of Education, Erin Brubacher in conversation with these special invited guests. At 1pm, before specific weekend matinee performances throughout the season.

Upcoming Lecture-Conversations


Peter Pasyk on Design
Sunday March 12th, 1pm
show info

This conversation offers an inside track on theatre design processes this season at Tarragon. Our Urjo Kareda artist in residence Peter Pasyk has been following design processes for all our 2013-14 shows. He is also the Assistant Director for Lungs and our upcoming production of A God in Need of Help.

Marry Me a Little

Lois Kivesto on Speaking Sondheim and Selections in Song
Saturday March 8th, 1pm
show info

Lois Kivesto holds a Ph.D. in theatre from New York University, with a dissertation on the theatre of James Lapine, and is a University of Toronto music graduate (viola). Her essay “Comedy Tonight!” is published in Stephen Sondheim: A Casebook, part of the Garland Reference Library of Humanities. Lois is a frequent contributor to Stratford Festival and Shaw Festival publications and talks.

Soliciting Temptation

Justice Eleanore A. Cronk and Justice Kathryn N. Feldman on prostitution rulings in Canada
Sunday April 6th, 1pm
show info

Justices Cronk and Feldman were two of five judges on the Ontario Court of Appeal who heard the prostitution reference (case) at the appeal level in Ontario. Cronk was one of two judges who dissented, because she felt their court’s ruling, which struck down prostitution laws, didn’t go far enough. The Court of Appeal ruling and dissenting position were recently upheld by The Supreme Court of Canada. Justice Cronk was appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 2001. Justice Feldman has been a judge on the Court of Appeal for Ontario since 1998.

A God in Need of Help

Poet Amanda Jernigan on The Gods
Saturday April 26th, 1pm
show info

Amanda Jernigan is the author of two books of poetry — Groundwork (Biblioasis, 2011) and All the Daylight Hours (Cormorant Books, 2013) — and of the monograph Living in the Orchard: The Poetry of Peter Sanger (Frog Hollow Press, 2014). She edited The Essential Richard Outram (Porcupine's Quill, 2011), and is currently at work on a critical edition of Outram's collected poems. In a 2013 article in the British literary journal PN Review, critic Evan Jones called Amanda Jernigan "the last of the mythopoets." She lives with her family in Hamilton.

Past Lectures

Flesh and Other Fragments of Love

Psychoanalyst Dr. David Dorenbaum on Love and Time
Saturday January 18th, 1pm
show info

David Dorenbaum is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Toronto. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Toronto, a member of the International Psychoanalytic Association and of the Lacan Clinical Forum in Stockbridge Massachusetts. Besides his clinical practice he has participated in multiple projects that address the interphase between psychoanalysis and the art world.

The Ugly One

Performance Artist Nina Arsenault on the Surgical Body as Metaphor
Sunday January 12th, 1pm
show info

Nina Arsenault is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in live performance, video, and writing. Her autobiographical one woman show The Silicone Diaries chronicled her relationship to the man-made substance silicone exploring the social, psychological and spiritual implications of its injection into her life and body. Many of her artworks have also explored the agonies and ecstasies of her surgical transformations. In 2012, Intellect Books published TRANS(per)FORMING Nina Arsenault: An Unreasonable Body of Work. This volume, edited by Judith Rudakoff, contains a brilliant analysis of her life and work by 13 international scholars, artists and cultural commentators.

The Valley

Documentary Filmmaker Laura Sky on Police and Mental Health
Saturday November 16th, 1pm
show info

A socially committed creative artist, Laura Sky is the Executive Director of Skyworks. In 1980, after eight years at the National Film Board, Laura Sky began her career as an independent film director /producer and established SkyWorks in 1983. She has taught film at Queens, York, and Ryerson Universities and has lectured extensively throughout Canada, as well as in Germany and Sweden. In June 2005, Laura received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Laurentian University for her achievements as one of Canada's most distinguished documentary filmmakers.

The Best Brothers

Actress Caroline Gillis on Working with Daniel MacIvor
Saturday September 28th,1pm
show info

Caroline Gillis is a Toronto based actor who has worked with many different theatre companies across the country including: Tarragon Theatre, The Belfry, Neptune, the NAC, the Blyth Festival and the Stratford Festival. She has a long history of collaboration with Daniel MacIvor, acting in the premieres of many of his plays. She was most recently seen in his production of Was Spring at Tarragon.

carried away on the crest of a wave

Dr. Clare Pain in conversation on trauma and global mental health.
Saturday, April 27, 2013, 1pm
show info

Clare Pain MD, MSc., FRCPC is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Director of the Psychological Trauma Program at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto. She has published two books on Trauma. Through her work with educational partnerships between the University of Toronto and Addis Ababa University Ethiopia, her clinical focus is on the assessment and treatment of patients, including refugees, who continue to suffer from the effects of psychological trauma. She has lectured and taught extensively on various aspects of psychological trauma including trans-cultural aspects; and increasingly on global mental health.

And Slowly Beauty

Poet and lecturer Amanda Jernigan on falling in love with words.
Saturday, March 2, 2013, 1pm
show info

Amanda Jernigan is a poet, playwright, essayist, and editor. Her works have been published in Canada, the United States and Germany, and are represented in the online archive of the Poetry Foundation. Her first book of poems, Groundwork, was published by Biblioasis in 2011. Her second collection, All The Daylight Hours, is forthcoming by Comorant Books.

The Amorous Adventures of Anatol

Pre-show Lecture at 1pm; Post-show mock psycho-analysis session “on the couch.”
Saturday, January 12, 2013
show info

Mavis Himes (Ph.D., C. Psych.) on Freud’s struggle with what he called the dark continent” of women and his posing the oft-repeated question “what does the woman want?” Himes rephrases Freud’s question to ask, “What does Anatol want?” An exploration of male desire, the art of seduction and the obsessional. After the afternoon’s performance Himes will return for a post-show “couch session” with actor Mike Shara as Anatol.

Mavis Himes is a psychoanalyst in private practice as well as a consultant at Wellspring, a psychosocial cancer centre in Toronto. She is director of Speaking of Lacan Psychoanalytic Group Toronto (SOL), a group that sponsors guest speakers, seminars and reading groups. She is the author of The Sacred Body: A Therapist’s Body.

The Little Years

Artist-scholar Sylvia Nickerson on fusing art with science and stories of women in scientific history.
Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 1pm
show info Sylvia Nickerson

Sylvia Nickerson’s artistic practice has long been influenced by her engagement with math and science. She is both a visual artist and academic. Her illustrations have been published in The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, as well as numerous magazines in Canada and the United States, and she is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto in the history and philosophy of science.

No Great Mischief

A conversation in concert with No Great Mischief
Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 1pm
show info

Performer Stephen Guy-McGrath treats us to some pre-show music and discusses the No Great Mischief journey: from it's theatrical inception through to its fourth production.

Stephen Guy-McGrath was born and raised in St. John's, Nfld. He has worked with renowned comic creators such as Andy Jones and Rick Mercer and founded a sketch troupe Cat Fud with Mark Critch (of This Hour Has 22 Minutes). Other credits include: the celtic musical SwingStep; Fire, Tent Meeting (Bluewater Summer Playhouse), The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Young Peoples Theatre), Power Of The Unemployed (The LSPU Hall in Nfld), The Edible Woman, Small Time, Raceday, Culture Shock, Marry Me A Little (Theatre On The Grand), Pélagie (Canadian Stage), Much Ado about Nothing (Resurgence Theatre Company), Three Penny Opera, The Time of Your Life, Three Sisters, As You Like it, Blink, Glengarry Glen Ross (Soulpepper), and every production of No Great Mischief to date.

The Real World?

A conversation on Michel Tremblay with John Van Burek
Saturday, May 5 at 1pm
show info John Van Burek is a director and the Founding Artistic Director of Pleiades Theatre, a producer of plays, usually in translation, originating in the many cultures of Toronto's mosaic. He is also one of Canada's foremost translators for the theatre, with some fifty works to his credit, notably the major plays of Michel Tremblay. Many of these were done with Bill Glassco, with whom Mr. Van Burek joined forces at the founding of the Tarragon Theatre in 1971. To date, eleven of his Tremblay translations have been produced at Tarragon.

In 1971, John Van Burek was the Founding Artistic Director of le Théâtre Français de Toronto, which he ran for close to twenty years. Throughout his career he has taught extensively, including at York University, Ryerson University, the Nottingham School of the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University and Victoria University. Mr. Van Burek is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Toronto Drama Bench Award for Distinguished Contribution to Canadian Theatre, l'Ordre de la Pléiade (France), the Queen's Jubilee Medal and the prestigious Silver Ticket Award from the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts. He currently sits on the Board of the Toronto Arts Council.

In the Next Room
or the vibrator play

A conversation with Erin Brubacher and Dr. Edward Shorter
Dr. Edward Shorter - Professor University of Toronto Departments of History and Psychiatry. Research areas include: Social history of medicine, and the history of sexuality
Erin Brubacher - Tarragon's Director of Education and Outreach and former Erasmus Mundus fellow in International Performance Research jointly with the University of Warwick and the University of Amsterdam.
Saturday, September 24 at 1pm
show info

Name in Vain (Decalogue Two)

Dr. Megan Macdonald completed her doctoral research in Drama at Queen Mary University of London, UK where she wrote her thesis on the performance of belief. She writes on contemporary theatre and is particularly interested in identifying the overlaps between performance and religion. Macdonald has worked with theatre companies in Canada, Germany and in the UK. In this lecture she will discuss the line between ritual and everyday behaviours. What happens when religious ritual is staged? How do our day-to-day rituals form us?
Sunday, October 30 at 1pm
show info

The Children’s Republic

Cheryl Milne, LL.B., M.S.W. Cheryl Milne is a leading member of the constitutional law bar in Ontario. She is currently Chair of the Ontario Bar Association's Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights section and the Executive Director of the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.
Saturday, November 19 at 1pm
show info

The Golden Dragon

On notions of Home: Brett Gundlock with Erin Brubacher
Immigration is essentially relocation from one home with the hope of creating a new one. What is home? How is it made? How long does it take?
Join us for artist talks on two projects that, like The Golden Dragon, draw together stories that exist in side-by-side, in a contemporary city, at a moment in time... people searching for physical and metaphorical homes.
Former staff photographer for 'The National Post', Brett Gundlock is a photojournalist and artist. He has recently participated in shows at Harbourfront Centre; the Art Gallery of York University; the Format International Photography Festival in Derby, England and the Ian Parry collaborative show at the Getty Images Gallery in London, England. Brett is a founding member of the Boreal Collective, a dedicated group of Canadian-based photojournalists, committed to documenting issues of environmental, social, cultural and political importance in Canada and abroad.
Director of Education and Outreach for Tarragon, Erin Brubacher has developed an invitational arts practice, creating situations that interrupt the everyday. She holds a BA in Fine Arts Photography from Mount Allison University and an MA in International Performance Research jointly from the University of Warwick and University of Amsterdam; her practice-based dissertation has recently been nominated for a National Thesis Prize in the Netherlands.
Saturday, January 21 at 1pm
show info

The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs

A conversation on translation with Leanna Brodie.

Leanna Brodie is a writer, actor and translator whose plays For Home and Country, The Vic, and Schoolhouse are published by Talonbooks and have been performed across Canada. Her CBC radio dramas include Invisible City and Seeds of Our Destruction. She has twice been Playwright-in-Residence at the Blyth Festival and 4th Line Theatre, and has belonged to the playwrights’ units of the Tarragon Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille – which co-produced The Vic with Cahoots Theatre Projects. Her translations include Sébastien Harrisson’s From Alaska (selected as the first project of the Quebec Translation Exchange between CEAD and the Banff Centre for the Arts); Hélène Ducharme’s Baobab and Tiger by the Tail; Larry Tremblay’s Panda Panda; Philippe Soldevila’s Tales of the Moon; and Louise Bombardier’s My Mother Dog (Playwrights Canada Press).

Saturday, March 10 at 1pm
show info

The Clockmaker

by Stephen Massicotte
Matt Bera - York University, Department of History
Saturday, September 25, 1pm
show info

The Year of Magical Thinking

by Joan Didion
William Cooke - Ryerson University, School of Social Work Field Instructor of the Year
Saturday, November 13, 1pm
show info

The Misanthrope

by Moliere
in a version by Martin Crimp
Andrew Lamb, Tarragon Theatre Director of Education and Outreach
Saturday, January 8th, 1pm
show info

More Fine Girls

by Jennifer Brewin, Leah Cherniak, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Alisa Palmer and Martha Ross
Dean Gilmour and Michele Smith, Theatre Smith-Gilmour
Saturday, March 5, 1pm
show info


by Wajdi Mouawad
Yana Meerzon, Ph.D. - Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Theatre, University of Ottawa
Saturday, April 30, 1pm
show info

Mimi, or a Poisoner's Comedy

Ross Stuart — York University
Saturday, September 26, 2009, 1pm
show info

Rocking The Cradle

Guillaume Bernardi, Glendon University
Saturday, November 14, 2009, 1pm
show info


Brenda Cossman, University of Toronto
Saturday, January 9, 2010, 1pm
show info


Mary Jane Esplen, PhD, RN. University of Toronto
Saturday, March 6, 2010, 1pm
show info

If We Were Birds

Carroll Balot, PhD, Assistant Professor of English literature at the University of Toronto
Saturday, April 24, 2010, 1pm
show info

The Black Rider

Terril Maguire — York University
Saturday, October 18, 2008, 1pm
show info


Peter Wylde — Ryerson University
Saturday, December 6, 2008, 1pm
show info


John Weiss — Cornell University
Saturday, January 31, 2009, 1pm
show info

Another Home Invasion

Ric Knowles — University of Guelph
Saturday, March 21, 2009, 1pm
show info

House of Many Tongues

Catherine Bush — University of Guelph
Saturday, May 9, 2009, 1pm
show info


Kym Bird — York University
Saturday, September 29, 2007, 1pm

How It Works

Paul Halferty — U of T Graduate Centre
Saturday, November 17, 2007, 1pm

Wild Mouth

Robert Fothergill — York University
Saturday, January 12, 2008, 1pm


Mark Kingwell — University of Toronto
Saturday, March 8, 2008, 1pm

Alias Godot

Craig Walker — Queens University
Saturday, May 3, 2008, 1pm