In Association with:

Crow's Theatre & The TSO

Streaming:

03/27/22 - 05/08/22

Film Length:

82 Minutes (English)

Now Streaming until May 8th

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BOUND

82 Minutes — in English Streaming 03/27/22 - 04/24/22

HANDEL WITH CARE

ATG’S NEW FILM BOUND TO RAISE TOUGH QUESTIONS

Four life stories that challenge Canada’s myth of belonging are tied together by themes in Handel’s enduring music, a stellar cast of voices and in association with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Crow’s Theatre.

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“How welcoming are we as a country, as a city, as a community?” These questions are posed in the contemporary hybrid opera-film BOUND presented by Against the Grain Theatre (AtG), and from the creators of last year’s internationally acclaimed Messiah/Complex,” in association with Crow’s Theatre and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Photo of documentary subject Nadia Vasdani, seated and smiling. She has brown hair and is wear medical scrubs and a pink stethoscope around her neck.

AtG’s Founding Artistic Director and librettist, Joel Ivany, uses a series of ripped-from-the-headlines interviews with four Canadian citizens from diverse backgrounds who have each had challenging—and remarkably different—journeys finding their place and voice in Canada as the starting point for this new piece. Ivany is joined by Reneltta Arluk (Director of Indigenous Arts, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity) as Co-Director. 

BOUND is about the transformational experiences of our four storytellers: Toronto-born Dr. Nadiya Vasdani attended medical school in the Caribbean and did her residency in Flint, Michigan, during the water crisis. Newfoundland and Labrador-born Cindy Rivers found work across the country in the oil patch, but struggled with issues related to her gender identity. Dr. Zulfikar Hirji immigrated to Canada from Uganda in the 1970s as a political refugee only to face the barriers of racism in his new homeland. Rania Younes, meanwhile, had a thriving career in advertising in Kuwait before relocating to Canada, where she tried to break into the industry, with little success. These non-fiction narratives undergo their own transformation in the film—shape-shifting from interview segments exploring their lived experiences into melody and song.

These storytellers are represented in the film by musical avatars, including AtG alumni and celebrated Canadian singers, Miriam Khalil (soprano), Andrew Haji (tenor), and Justin Welsh (baritone), and making her AtG and Canadian debut, American trans woman Breanna Sinclairé (Lyric Soprano).

“How welcoming are we as a country, as a city, as a community?” These questions are posed in the contemporary hybrid opera-film BOUND presented by Against the Grain Theatre (AtG), and from the creators of last year’s internationally acclaimed Messiah/Complex,” in association with Crow’s Theatre and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

BOUND’s libretto is written by AtG’s Founding Artistic Director Joel Ivany, whose lyrics explore ripped-from-the-headlines social issues interwoven with interviews featuring four Canadian citizens of diverse backgrounds who have each had challenging—and remarkably different—journeys finding their place and voice in Canada.Ivany is joined by Reneltta Arluk (Director of Indigenous Arts, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity) as Co-Director. 

BOUND is about the transformational experiences of our four storytellers: Toronto-born Dr. Nadiya Vasdani attended medical school in the Caribbean and did her residency in Flint, Michigan, during the water crisis. Newfoundland and Labrador-born Cindy Rivers found work across the country in the oil patch, but struggled with issues related to her gender identity. Dr. Zulfikar Hirji immigrated to Canada from Uganda in the 1970s as a political refugee only to face the barriers of racism in his new homeland. Rania Younes, meanwhile, had a thriving career in advertising in Dubai before relocating to Canada, where she tried to break into the industry, with little success. These non-fiction narratives undergo their own transformation in the film—shape-shifting from interview segments exploring their lived experiences into melody and song.

These storytellers are represented in the film by musical avatars, including AtG alumni and celebrated Canadian singers, Miriam Khalil (soprano), Andrew Haji (tenor), and Justin Welsh (baritone), and making her AtG and Canadian debut, American trans woman Breanna Sinclairé (Lyric Soprano).

Photo of documentary subject Nadia Vasdani, seated and smiling. She has brown hair and is wear medical scrubs and a pink stethoscope around her neck.

Photo of Nadiya Vasdani in BOUND

Photo of documentary subject Nadia Vasdani, seated and smiling. She has brown hair and is wear medical scrubs and a pink stethoscope around her neck.

Photo of Nadiya Vasdani in BOUND

A closeup photo of baritone Justin Welsh. He is a black man with short hair. He is wearing a purple shirt and blue scarf. He is looking out of frame and appears to be distressed. There is a house in the background.

The power and emotion of these vocals propel BOUND, guided by composer Ken Lau’s surprising and creative score. Lau takes inspiration from a medley of George Frideric Handel’s enduring works, utilizing them to fashion an innovative sonic journey, anchored with assurance by the mighty sounds of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Nathan Brock

The musical canvas that Lau has stretched here for the singers and orchestra will have opera fans recognizing a number of segments from Handel’s iconic operas, oratorios, and melodies—but if we were comparing this work, to say, a Baroque painting, what Lau does here is enjoy the freedom to move around his source material, zooming in and out—as if the composer is plucking out pixels from Handel’s music to sample from and riff off—creating something new in the musical journey, and enhanced by the electronic design of Toronto DJ ACOTE (Jeff-Antoine Côté).

Ultimately, the stories represented in BOUND are posing to their audience some very direct and challenging questions that pull at the threads of the cozy, Canadian narrative that we are an accepting nation which celebrates diversity, and welcomes newcomers to our vast and resource-rich lands. While these stories are connected through themes of alienation, adaptation, and transformation, they also offer us unique portraits of resilience, strength, and hope. 

A closeup photo of baritone Justin Welsh. He is a black man with short hair. He is wearing a purple shirt and blue scarf. He is looking out of frame and appears to be distressed. There is a house in the background.

Photo of Justin Welsh in BOUND

The power and emotion of these vocals propel BOUND, guided by composer Kevin Lau’s surprising and creative score. Lau takes inspiration from a medley of George Frideric Handel’s enduring works, utilizing them to fashion an innovative sonic journey, anchored with assurance by the mighty sounds of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Nathan Brock


The musical canvas that Lau has stretched here for the singers and orchestra will have opera fans recognizing a number of segments from Handel’s iconic operas, oratorios, and melodies—Handel’s work emerged as a base for BOUND, which began as an exploratory AtG workshop in 2017, with singers choosing arias that resonated with them personally, and Lau adding creativity and deviations to Handel’s music. Parallels developed between the stories being told—lives which had deviated from what society expected them to be—and the deviations that Lau brought to Handel’s original scores. In BOUND, Lau enjoys the freedom to move around his source material, zooming in and out — plucking samples from Handel’s music to riff off — and creating something new in the musical journey, enhanced by the electronic design of Toronto DJ ACOTE (Jeff-Antoine Côté).

Ultimately, the stories represented in BOUND are posing to their audience some very direct and challenging questions that pull at the threads of the cozy, Canadian narrative that we are an accepting nation which celebrates diversity, and welcomes newcomers to our vast and resource-rich lands. While these stories are connected through themes of alienation, adaptation, and transformation, they also offer us unique portraits of resilience, strength, and hope. 

BOUND Sneak-Peek

Check out this clip from BOUND featuring storyteller Dr. Nadiya Vasdani, Andrew Haji (tenor), Miriam, Khalil (Soprano), Breanna Sinclairé, and ⛓

AtG is proud to Offer BOUND free of charge

AtG is proud to Offer BOUND free of charge

As a small arts organization, creating a project such as BOUND requires resources, along with a dedicated team of artists and arts administrators. If you are able, please consider a donation to AtG, so that we can bring more outside-the-box operatic experiences to you, and continue to provide employment opportunities to artists and artisans nationwide.

Thank you so much to our AtG family and audience for your support. We hope you enjoy this production, please register here for your free BOUND ticket.

As a small arts organization, creating a project such as BOUND requires resources, along with a dedicated team of artists and arts administrators. If you are able, please consider a donation to AtG, so that we can bring more outside-the-box operatic experiences to you, and continue to provide employment opportunities to artists and artisans nationwide.

Thank you so much to our AtG family and audience for your support. We hope you enjoy this production, please register here for your free BOUND ticket.

Cast Storytellers Artists

Rania Younes (storyteller)

I am a systems thinker and a grassroots strategist. I build community and break barriers.

Cindy Rivers (storyteller)

Proud trans woman, public speaker, activist, actor, and standup comedian. A little awkward and quirky but all funny. Maybe cute and adorable too.

Nadiya Vasdani (storyteller)

Family physician, lifelong learner, curious about how we connect and understand each other.

Zulfikar Hirji (storyteller)

writer/curator educator/anthropologist and historian curious about the world's diverse voices.

Miriam Khalil (soprano)

I’m a mother, a wife, a singer, a teacher and very recently a director.

Breanna Sinclairé (lyric soprano)

Born and Raised in Baltimore, MD currently residing in San Francisco, CA I’m all about family, watching housewives on bravo, friends, community and cooking great food. Music is my life.

Andrew Haji (tenor)

I'm a technophile by day and an opera singer by night. Born and raised in London, Ontario, I now live in Toronto with my wife and 2-year-old son.

Justin Welsh (baritone)

I am a fun-loving, easy-going guy of Trinidadian Heritage. I love cinema, cooking or listening to people's stories or backgrounds.

Rania Younes (storyteller)

I am a systems thinker and a grassroots strategist. I build community and break barriers.

Miriam Khalil (soprano)

I’m a mother, a wife, a singer, a teacher and very recently a director.

Cindy Rivers (storyteller)

Proud trans woman, public speaker, activist, actor, and standup comedian. A little awkward and quirky but all funny. Maybe cute and adorable too.

Breanna Sinclairé (lyric soprano)

Born and Raised in Baltimore, MD currently residing in San Francisco, CA I’m all about family, watching housewives on bravo, friends, community and cooking great food. Music is my life.

Nadiya Vasdani (storyteller)

Family physician, lifelong learner, curious about how we connect and understand each other.

Andrew Haji (tenor)

I'm a technophile by day and an opera singer by night. Born and raised in London, Ontario, I now live in Toronto with my wife and 2-year-old son.

Zulfikar Hirji (storyteller)

writer/curator educator/anthropologist and historian curious about the world's diverse voices.

Justin Welsh (baritone)

I am a fun-loving, easy-going guy of Trinidadian Heritage. I love cinema, cooking or listening to people's stories or backgrounds.

Creative Production Team

Joel Ivany (Director/Librettist)

A Penticton-born, opera-obsessed collaborator. Excited to learn, grow and discover new ways to share music and storytelling. Proud Dad and Disney + subscriber.

Kevin Lau (Composer)

I am a composer who specializes in concert music -- orchestral, chamber, ballet, opera, multi-disciplinary. My hobbies are creative writing and reading, and I've incorporated many literary influences in my own music. I live in Toronto where I'm kept company by my wife (Alexa, pilates instructor and baker extraordinaire) and my dog (Varley, lover of squirrels and snow days.)

Nathan Brock (conductor)

Normally an itinerant artist mildly obsessed with perfection who loves music, good people and good food. Currently negotiating a case of midlife-pandemic-induced crisis, necessitating a pivot to the high-risk, high-return world of startup due diligence consulting and investing.

Reneltta Arluk (Director)

I'm an Inuvialuit, Cree, Dene from the Northwest Territories, raised by my grandparents on the trap-line until school age. It is through this life experience and training that gives me the unique cultural and artistic Indigenous lens from which I works from.

Dylan Toombs (Director of Photography)

Dylan Toombs is a visual storyteller based in Toronto, Ontario. He works in both long and short-form video as a director, producer, editor, and videographer.

Astrid Janson (Costume Designer)

Award-winning production designer working in theatre, dance, opera and film. Honours for her design work include multiple Dora Mavor Moore Awards, a Gemini, the Silver Ticket Award for Lifetime Achievement, and an Honorary Doctorate from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Joel Ivany (Director/Librettist)

A Penticton-born, opera-obsessed collaborator. Excited to learn, grow and discover new ways to share music and storytelling. Proud Dad and Disney + subscriber.

Reneltta Arluk (Director)

I'm an Inuvialuit, Cree, Dene from the Northwest Territories, raised by my grandparents on the trap-line until school age. It is through this life experience and training that gives me the unique cultural and artistic Indigenous lens from which I works from.

Nathan Brock (Conductor)

Normally an itinerant artist mildly obsessed with perfection who loves music, good people and good food. Currently negotiating a case of midlife-pandemic-induced crisis, necessitating a pivot to the high-risk, high-return world of startup due diligence consulting and investing.

Kevin Lau (Composer)

I am a composer who specializes in concert music -- orchestral, chamber, ballet, opera, multi-disciplinary. My hobbies are creative writing and reading, and I've incorporated many literary influences in my own music. I live in Toronto where I'm kept company by my wife Alexa and my dog Varley,

Astrid Janson (Costume Designer)

Award-winning production designer working in theatre, dance, opera and film. Honours for her design work include multiple Dora Mavor Moore Awards, a Gemini, the Silver Ticket Award for Lifetime Achievement, and an Honorary Doctorate from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Dylan Toombs (Director of Photography)

Dylan Toombs is a visual storyteller based in Toronto, Ontario. He works in both long and short-form video as a director, producer, editor, and videographer.

BOUND

MANAGEMENT

Robin Whiffen – Executive Director

Remington North – Production Manager

Kristina McNamee – Crow’s Liason

Aidan Shipley – Stage Manager/1st Ad

Renee Fajardo – Producing Assistant

DEPARTMENT MEMBERS

Jan Venus – Costuming Assistant

Julia Howman – Crow’s Tech

Vuk Dragojevic – 2nd Camera on Principle Photography

Lesley Jones – Costuming Assistant

Nishina Loft – PA Driver Aug 21-24

Becky Wong – PA Driver Aug. 22 & 24

SOUND DESIGN

Jeff-Antoine Cote – Digital Sound Design

Doug Doctor – Sound Design

ORCHESTRA MEMBERS

Eri Kosaka – (Assistant Principal Second Violin), Violin 1

Sergei Nikonov – Violin 1

Terry Holowach – Violin 1

Amalia Joanou-Canzoneri – Violin 1

Paul Meyer – Principal Second Violin 2

Douglas Kwon – Violin 2

Sydney Chun – Violin 2

James Wallenberg – Violin 2

Rémi Pelletier – Associate Principal Viola

Theresa Rudolph – Assistant Principal Viola

Joseph Johnson – Principal Cello

Winona Zelenka – Associate Principal Cello

Tim Dawson – Double Bass

Julie Ranti –  Associate Principal Flute

Sarah Jeffrey – Principal Oboe

Miles Jaques – Clarinet

Darren Hicks – Associate Principal Bassoon

Joseph Kelly – Assistant Timpani

John Rudolph – Percussion

Gary Corrin – Principal Librarian

Andrew Harper –  Substitute Librarian

Production Associates

Our Sponsors

Media Inquiries

MEDIA CONTACT

Joshua Knelman
Communications
Against the Grain Theatre
media@againstthegraintheatre.com

 

Robin Whiffen
Executive Director
Against the Grain Theatre
robin@againstthegraintheatre.com