#Paprika22: Navigating Intersection(s)

Free and by donation tickets are available now for the 22nd Annual Paprika Festival!

Celebrating 5 seasons of the Indigenous Arts Program, Paprika Theatre Festival launches its 22nd annual festival with 14 live in-person performances and community events from May 16-21, 2023

Paprika Theatre Festival, recognized as one of the most crucial launching pads for emerging artists in Toronto’s theatre ecology, announces its 22nd annual Paprika Theatre Festival. Kicking off on May 16th, the festival’s Pay-What-You-Can ticket model  with a free option  opens doors for Torontonians to experience an amazing lineup of workshops, presentations, community discussions, staged readings, and community events in the Regent Park neighbourhood of downtown Toronto on a budget that works for their wallet. The work of eighteen young and emerging artists will be showcased, offering a glimpse into the exciting future of Canadian Theatre. The Paprika Festival runs May 16 to 21, 2023, with in-person events occurring at Native Earth Performing Arts’ Aki Studio. Learn more about this year’s programming and participants, and book your free ticket or purchase Pay-What-You-Can festival tickets here

“Over the past eight months, Paprika’s eighteen participants, seven facilitators, staff, festival team, and a whole network of mentors and guest artists have been coming together online and in person to collaborate, learn, play, and share together. We are opening ourselves up to working and being together again, and moving through big conversations and questions that come up along the way — in projects, programs, rehearsals, creation, the festival, and theatre itself.” - Keshia Palm, Artistic Producer, Paprika Festival

“This season marks five seasons since the launch of Paprika’s Indigenous Arts Program, introduced by past General Manager Leslie McCue in 2017. We’re incredibly excited to be marking this anniversary milestone and to invite you to celebrate alongside us. Since the inception of this program, we have seen 18 Indigenous Artists through the program, including 6 projects which continued to have another life beyond Paprika. We’re grateful for those who have supported us in achieving this milestone, including our partners at Native Earth Performing Arts, the Canada Council for the Arts, and TO Live.” - Julia Dickson, General Manager, Paprika Festival

“It has been so rewarding to grow my artistic leadership practice alongside the IAP program. There is so much to celebrate with our participants sharing their work in progress, and engaging artists for our additional community programming.” - Cheyenne Scott, Community Programming Producer, Paprika Festival 

Paprika Festival 2023 highlights include: 

  • Opening Night Party sharing food and drink with the community on the Daniels Spectrum Terrace, featuring a short outdoor concert by three Local Toronto Artists and Paprika Alumni.
  • Indigenous Drag Brunch featuring some of Toronto’s most talented Drag Queens, with pancakes and fry-bread served up hot by the Paprika team.
  • The Directors Lab, facilitated by Philip Geller, features Zoe Marin’s presentation of  Internet Sensation, performed by Spencer Glassman, Shaun Soutar, Priscila Gonzale, and Sofie Lefebvre.
  • This year’s Indigenous Arts Program was facilitated by Brefny Caribou. Jordan M. Burns will share a workshop production of their piece A Pineberry’s Past, which begun its process as part of #Paprika21. Emily Granville, Kole Dunford, and Cindy Dzib will share excerpts of their works-in-process, which include a piece composed on the piano, an excerpt of Skyscraper, and the devised piece MY NAME.
  • The Creators Unit, comprised of Visaree Bradshaw-Coore, Lennon Bradford, Minuet Charron, Jadon Simone Trelour, explores what happens to our senses when what we yearn for the most becomes an all-consuming flame, in DON'T — a collective creation facilitated by performance pop-art duo xLq (Jordan Campbell & Maddie Bautista).
  • The Playwrights Unit, once again facilitated by Bilal Baig, will present a triple bill of 30 minute excerpts of new works by playwrights Taija Shonee Chung, Willow Martin, and Dean Vukovic. These readings will be presented in-person and online.
  • This is the first year of new program Creative Producers co produced with the AMY Project, facilitated by Kitoko Mai, will showcase work produced by Leon Tsai entitled Blossom: A Trans Girl's Burial, and Azul Paixão who will be facilitating a community Jam Session and create a space for connection.

Vishmayaa Jeyamoorthy, Max Cameron Fearon, and Sooji Kim from the lighting focused Design Lab will collaborate with participants in the festival to provide lighting design for the Directors Lab, Playwright’s Unit and the Creators unit, with guidance from their facilitator Echo Zhou.


Community programming:

This year’s #Paprika22 Community events include a Clown & Bouffon Workshop facilitated by Janice Jo Lee on May 18th 6:00 PM in the Aki Studio, which will offer an 1-hour facilitated  exploration of this playful performance and style

We’ve also curated a fabulous line-up of Indigenous drag performers for an Indigenous Drag Brunch, where they’ll be lip syncing to your favourite tunes, over your choice of pancakes or fry bread smothered in maple syrup and cooked by your very own Paprika staff. This fun immersive event takes place in the Community Living Room in the lobby of the Daniels Spectrum Lobby on May 20 at 12:30 PM. 


Get Social

Website - www.paprikafestival.com 

Facebook - @PaprikaFestival 

Instagram - @PaprikaFestival 


FESTIVAL | Learn more about this year’s programming and participants here.


Paprika Festival | Established in 2001, Paprika runs year-round professional training and mentorship programs that culminate in a performing arts festival of new work by young and emerging artists. Paprika Festival gratefully acknowledges the support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and Department of Canadian Heritage. The Paprika Festival is also made possible by The Metcalf Foundation and the Stratford Festival. To join our community of donors to support the next generation of theatre artists, visit www.paprikafestival.com/support.  

Native Earth Performing Arts | Founded in 1982, Native Earth is Canada's oldest professional Indigenous theatre company. Native Earth is dedicated to developing, producing and presenting professional artistic expressions of the Indigenous experience in Canada. Through stage productions (theatre, dance and multidisciplinary art), new script development, apprenticeships and internships, Native Earth seeks to fulfill a community of artistic visions. It is a vision that is inclusive and reflective of the artistic directions of members of the Indigenous community who actively participate in the arts.


The Paprika Festival gratefully acknowledges support from the following:

Government Funders: Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council

Department of Canadian Heritage

Festival Partner: Native Earth Performing Arts

Lead Lab Partner Playwrights Unit Digital Partner: Stratford Festival 

Festival Incubator Sponsor: TD Bank Group  

Office Partner: Outside the March

Program Partners: The AMYProject, bcurrent, Cahoots Theatre, Metcalf Foundation, Tarragon Theatre, T.O. Live, Why Not Theatre

Printing Partner: Eva’s Initiatives

Community and Industry Partners: Paul Butler + Christopher Black Foundation, The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, Charles Street Video, Factory Theatre, The Toronto Fringe, Nightwood Theatre, University of Toronto - Department of Drama, Theatre, Performance Art, Impact Partners: Means of Production, National Arts Centre, Toronto Arts Foundation, Work in Culture


For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact: 

Juliet Jones-Rodney (Communications Producer) — juliet@paprikafestival.com