AWAKE – Advance Press Release – May 9, 2011



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Advance Listing/Release:

Media refer: Dianne Weinrib/Brendan Ross, DW Communications 416-703-5479

Expect Theatre presents the world premiere of


Written and Directed by Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley

Musical Director: Andrew Craig

Wednesday, July 6 to Sunday, July 17, 2011

Walmer Road Baptist Church, 188 Lowther Avenue

Part of the Toronto Fringe Festival

Expect Theatre presents the world premiere of AWAKE, a new site-specific verbatim theatre piece that underscores the struggles faced by those from Toronto’s troubled Rexdale/Jamestown neighbourhood. A highlight of the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival, AWAKE runs Wednesday, July 6 to Sunday, July 17, 2011 at the Walmer Road Baptist Church and will gives audiences a glimpse into the lives of those we usually only read about in the headlines.

AWAKE is a multi-media experience that incorporates spoken word, dancehall, hip-hop, docu-theatre and gospel music and is inspired by the infamous 2006 shooting of Amon Beckles when his killer entered a Jamestown church during a funeral service, found him, and shot him six times in the chest. The idea that someone could be targeted in a church, during a funeral, shook the city to its core.


AWAKE is created and directed by Expect Theatre Co-Artistic Directors Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley; musical direction is by multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and CBC Radio 2 host Andrew Craig.

The verbatim script is based directly on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted by Mullin and Tolley over a three-year period with people from Jamestown including current and former gang members, people who had been shot, people who had probably shot others, gun runners, drug dealers, the cops who have busted them, and moms who had seen their sons die in front of their eyes and in their arms.

AWAKE is staged in the sanctuary of the Walmer Baptist Church during a funeral, using the setting as a springboard to tell the stories of a broad range of people in Jamestown –  from those who have risen above the most difficult circumstances to those who are still fighting for their lives to escape.

Audiences will arrive for a funeral, a funeral for all of the young men who have died throughout the years at the hand of gang violence.  But, what starts off as a solemn remembrance quickly turns into an examination, and eventually a celebration of, the people and culture coming out of one of Canada’s most dangerous, infamous, yet inspiring and culturally exciting areas: Jamestown.


AWAKE will give audiences a taste of the tension, danger and loss that those in Jamestown live with daily, and continually struggle to rise above. AWAKE is not only a story about mourning the loss of lives; it is also a story of honouring those lives, celebrating the culture of the area and proffering hope.

Lighting Design for AWAKE by Arun Srinivasan and Costume and Set Design by Jackie Chau.

Expect Theatre was formed in 1996 by Co-Artistic Directors Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley to create works and programs that explore modern urban life using multi-media. Expect Theatre’s theatrical and interactive environmental installations have engaged thousands, garnering both critical acclaim and national media attention. The company’s credits include cutting-edge works such as Romeo and Juliet Remixed (five Dora nominations), the walkabout play Static (Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage) and the annual urbanNOISE urban arts festival.

Funded by: The Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.






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  • venuttaddesty

    Hello! Just want to say thank you for this interesting article! =) Peace, Joy.