Skip To Content
L to R: Moya O'Connell, Jason Cadieux, Tom Rooney in The Wedding Party. Photo: Guntar Kravis.

Highlights: 9 theatre picks for the winter 2019 season

By Barbara Popel, Brian Carroll, and Greggory Clark on January 15, 2019



This winter’s theatre season will feature the stories of Dr. Faustus, Dr. Martin Luther King, Prince Hamlet, the three witches of Macbeth (on aerial silks) and more.

There’s going to be the Ottawa premiere of a hit play and the world premiere of an Ottawa play. On stage, you’ll be able to see award-winning locals Margo Macdonald, Geoff McBride, Pierre Brault, Megan Carty, Matt Hertendy, and William Beddoe.

Read more listings for art, music, theatre, film, dance and festivals in the Apt613 community calendar. Suggest an event to Apt613 readers by submitting a listing today.


Lungs is back after a successful run at the 2018 Ottawa Fringe Festival. Cart Before the Horse Theatre Company is remounting Duncan Macmillan’s show, a sellout at Fringe last summer. You can still read Apt613’s review of the world premiere. The show, which Apt613 theatre reviewer Travis Facette described as “snappy and clever… messy and real, and very funny,” went on to win one Fringe Festival award, Prix Rideau Awards for outstanding direction and performance, and two Rideau nominations.

Apt613’s Brian Carroll recently interviewed performers Megan Carty, Matt Hertendy and director Paul Griffin about the January remount of their popular show.

📍 Arts Court Library (Arts Court)
🗓 January 10–20, 2019
🎟 Tickets: $12–17

Tristan D. Lalla plays Dr. Martin Luther King in ‘The Mountaintop’. Photo: Andrée Lanthier.

The Mountaintop

American writer Katori Hall’s witty and intelligent dialogue exposes the man behind America’s 20th century civil rights movement. Hall’s award-winning play is a window into King’s thoughts. It’s 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has just delivered a speech that is now known as “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” He doesn’t know it, but this will be the last night of his life.

Dr. King is played by Tristian D. Lalla, who recently starred in Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy Of an epic, 90-minute hip hop theatre production at the National Arts Centre.

📍 GCTC (1233 Wellington St W)
🗓 January 22 to February 10, 2019
🎟 Tickets: $25–54


The story of Dr. Faustus—his prideful lust for knowledge and therefore for absolute power, his invocation of the demon Mephistopheles who mediates his pact with Lucifer—is a seminal story of Western civilization. Does it have relevance in 2018? Indeed it does!

William Beddoe is perfect in the role of Faustus. He’s also a thoroughly modern man, particularly when he is revelling in the Seven Deadly Sins via a virtual reality system, or ecstatically manipulating various recent disasters (the 2008 financial meltdown, the refugee crisis, a plane crash, nuclear war) with an iPad.

📍 The Gladstone (910 Gladstone Ave)
🗓 January 30 to February 9, 2019
🎟 Tickets: $23

‘Weird: The Witches of Macbeth’ was a sellout show at the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival.

Weird: The Witches of Macbeth

A dramatic acrobatic story on aerial silks. Produced by Theatre Arcturus, this is the Canadian troupe’s third appearance in Ottawa. On their way to a Best of Fest win and Critics’ Pick nomination, Weird: The Witches of Macbeth sold out a Academic Hall at the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival. Their show Rough Magic was a repeat hit at the 2017 Ottawa Fringe Festival and earned an honourable mention from Apt613 reviewers for best performance.

Weird and #Faustus are playing on a double bill at The Gladstone Theatre. Shows are at 7pm and 9pm.

📍 The Gladstone (910 Gladstone Ave)
🗓 January 30 to February 9, 2019
🎟 Tickets: $23–33

The Wedding Party

A chaotic comedy set at an alcohol-fuelled wedding reception, The Wedding Party is an ensemble creation by Trish Lindström, Tony Nappo, Moya O’Connell, Tom Rooney and Bahia Watson (regulars of the Stratford and Shaw theatre festivals). The relatively small cast plays dozens of characters, swapping roles frequently in a very high-paced show. Director Chris Abraham was named “one of the country’s best directors” by The Globe & Mail’s theatre critic Kelly Nestruck.

📍 Babs Asper Theatre (National Arts Centre)
🗓 January 30 to February 9, 2019
🎟 Tickets: $52

Undercurrents Festival

The contemporary theatre festival presents indie shows from Ottawa creators and always one or two from out of town. Local works include Kim Kilpatrick’s Raising Stanley / Life With Tulia which sold out at the GCTC last summer. There’s also Margo MacDonald and Geoff McBride’s The Persistent Stain about an aging punk band; award-winning playwright Pierre Brault’s Coach of the Year about abuse in youth sports; an all-ages show by Second Step called Lightless; and a bilingual University of Ottawa student production titled By-Product.D-rivé.

Visiting artists are Vancouver’s Carmen Aguirre with Broken Tailbone; whose Blue Box was a popular show at the 2012 undercurrents festival; as well as Craig Lauzon (from Royal Canadian Air Farce) who is performing the site-specific Tales of an Urban Indian.

📍 Arts Court Theatre (Arts Court)
🗓 February 6–16, 2019
🎟 Tickets: $20–32

Christine Horne plays Hamlet. Photo: Dalia Katz.

Prince Hamlet

“This is no ordinary Hamlet, wrote Karen Frickner, theatre critic for the Toronto Star. Adapted from Shakespeare by the award-winning actor, director and producer Ravi Jain, Prince Hamlet uses the Bard’s text as the jumping off point for a creative, gender-bent retelling of the famous play starring Christine Horne as Hamlet. Dawn Jani Birley, who plays Horatio, is a deaf actor who signs both as Horatio and as a narrator for audience members fluent in American Sign Language. The production is billed as bilingual in English and ASL.

📍 Azrieli Studio (National Arts Centre)
🗓 February 27 to March 9, 2019
🎟 Tickets: $48

Love and Human Remains

Any play by Brad Fraser is worth attending; this is one of his most famous. We saw this, years ago, and still remember how good it was. Toto Too Theatre always delivers the goods. This should be a dynamite production!

The award-winning play, originally titled Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, launched the career of the Edmonton-born playwright, and he is now one of the most widely produced Canadian playwrights. It was named one of the ten best plays by Time magazine in 1992.

📍 The Gladstone (910 Gladstone Ave)
🗓 March 6–16, 2019
🎟 Tickets: $23–39


Another highlight of the winter season includes the world premiere of Ottawa playwright Darrah Teitel’s Behaviour at GCTC. On why he chose the play, GCTC’s Artistic Director Eric Coates: “The unpredictability of this script provides enormous tension. I have always liked Darrah’s writing, but I feel that she has turned a corner with this one.”

The GCTC program has a note that this show has elements of sexual assault that may elicit strong reactions and encourages prospective patrons to contact the box office for a detailed description of the show if you feel you may be affected.

📍 GCTC (1233 Wellington St W)
🗓 March 12–31, 2019
🎟 Tickets: $25–54

See the calendar for more show listings.