VideoCabaret is one of Canada’s most inventive, prolific and celebrated theatre ensembles. The company’s founding playwrights Michael Hollingsworth and Deanne Taylor have created many enduring plays, and with renowned designers and actors have devised spectacularly original styles of performance — black-box epics, multi-media cabarets, musicals, opera, and masquerades.
In Toronto 1976, VideoCabaret began to make the first plays integrating video-cameras, piles of hot-wired TV’s, and live rock’n’roll; and staged these spectacles in famous and notorious venues in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, New York and London.
After the world tour, VideoCab moved into the Cameron House, an art and music club on pre-hip Queen Street West in Toronto. The company wired the building for video, joining their upstairs studio and the Cameron stage in a half-real half-virtual theatre space. In this environment Michael staged adaptations of Brave New World and 1984, while Deanne and the Hummer Sisters ran for Mayor of Toronto and helped define the local zeitgeist with political cabarets involving hundreds of actors, designers, musicians, painters.
In the 80’s and 90’s VideoCab performed mainly on the stages of Toronto’s heroic new-play producers — Theatre Passe Muraille, Factory Theatre and the Theatre Centre. Deanne and long-term collaborators honed the ‘video-cabaret’ staging-style to realize her plays about mass-media politics and societies. In the same period, the company’s core artists invented the ‘black-box’ style for Michael’s epic play cycle: The History Of The Village Of The Small Huts which satirizes and dramatizes Canada’s history from Chief Donnacona and Jacques Cartier to recent times.
In 2000, at the invitation of the legendary Cameron House, VideoCab refurbished a theatre space where the company is creating new work, re-inventing their classic History Plays, supporting play workshops for Guest Artists, and sustaining a Carnival Arts Exchange that connnects Trinidadian and Toronto artists in the practice of Carnival design.
VideoCabaret’s work has been honoured by scores of Nominations and twenty-three Dora Mavor Moore Awards, most recently Outstanding New Play 2004 and Costume Design 01-03.