Encore in the works for award-winning Brantwood


Sheridan’s ambitious musical Brantwood 1920-2020 has piqued international interest and won a Dora Mavor Moore award, which recognizes excellence in Toronto theatre.

The musical was nominated for the Audience Choice Award with the support of Steve Fisher, a blogger at the Torontoist.com, and won the award for Outstanding Production of 2015.

“It was a real highlight to be able to accept that award in front of the Toronto theatre community who embraced Sheridan’s vision of what we were attempting to do,” said Michael Rubinoff, the associate dean of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. “Brantwood is a testament for what Sheridan can do and what role it can play in developing theatre.”

The show sold out quickly and was attended by major players in the theatre community clamoring to experience Sheridan’s finest.

Brantwood was cast from both fourth- and third-year performing arts students while the school site audiences explored was developed by technical production students and volunteers.

The play gave developing students the ability to work on something that was unlike anything ever attempted in the programs history.

Rubinoff explains that winning the award was a beautiful end for this part of Brantwood’s journey.

“This has helped greatly to develop a movement to remount Brantwood,” said Rubinoff.

The production team is looking to reproduce the play in Toronto and is engaged with working with both its creators Mitchell Cushman and Julie Tepperman.

The earliest the new production of Brantwood could come out is next fall.

Brantwood was created after Rubinoff was inspired to produce a piece of on-site theatre when he experienced the musical, The Drowned Man, produced by the British theatre company Punchdrunk.

Brantwood started out as an elaborate four-week workshop developed by the Canadian Music Theatre Project and took just over a year to produce.

The project was created as a result of the program morphing from a three-year diploma into a four-year degree program.

A number of shows developed from the project had critical success around the world.

The latest show to reach this level of success was the musical, Come From Away,

which started out as a 45-minute workshop in 2012 and was brought back as a full production the following year.

The show has since been picked up by a production team in the U.S. and had its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in June.

Brantwood 1920-2020 took place in a closed-down school in Oakville and told its 100-year history. The audience was able to explore the school freely and choose what plots they got to experience.

“There was so much that I loved,” said Rubinoff. “I found there to be so many clever things because we took risks and confronted some very serious issues.”

Some of the issues Brantwood covered included bullying, discrimination, transgender equality and anti-Semitism.

“It’s one thing to see that subject matter on screen, but it’s another to experience it with another living human being and witness it first hand,” said Rubinoff. “This wasn’t just a piece of entertainment, it was powerful and it had a message.”

Associate dean of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Michael Rubinoff with the Dora Mavor Moore Audience Choice Award for Outstanding Production of 2015.

Associate dean of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Michael Rubinoff with the Dora Mavor Moore Audience Choice Award for Outstanding Production of 2015.

Below is audio from the interview with Michael Rubinoff in which he talks about Sheridan’s audition process when casting students for musicals.