Artistic Goals

To create performances that are deeply affecting

To create environmental theatre

To create new theatrical languages

To create unique experiences of theatre

Ethos – The Nature of DNA's Sensoria

For thirty-five years DNA has consistently been at the forefront of developing avant-garde theatre in Toronto. The choice of venue for every work is determined by the form and content of the piece. For each show, precise rules are developed, specific to that particular piece. These become the foundation for building a language that applies to all aspects of the production: sound, light, text, design, etc.

These rules are often expressed on a large sheet of paper, read like a musical score: horizontal lines are assigned to most theatrical elements (performers, lights, sound) and drawing a vertical line anywhere shows exactly what is happening at that moment. If a score is pleasing and interesting to the eye, it means it is well-created.

The result of all these decisions is a new spectrum of striking elements creating a strange harmony, a unique language, yet instantly recognizable by those familiar with our style.

DNA's wide array of expressions – non-linear extravaganzas; actual plays (classic and modern, straight and hyper-real); street and site-specific ventures; pure- and performance-installations; convention-smashing ballets – make DNA possibly the country's most versatile theatre company. In the process, it has garnered numerous awards for innovation and excellence.

Founded in 1982, DNA immediately captured attention with its unique polyphonic style of overlapping texts, music and compelling strange imagery. With over three dozen original works, DNA's continually radical and iconoclastic approaches have forced audiences and arts professionals alike to ponder their assumptions of performing arts' nature and how they should be presented.

DNA has always provoked, perplexed and overwhelmed audiences with its artistic daring – while never shying from controversy. Controlled chaos is inherent in DNA's brand of environmental theatre – a crash of simultaneity with many things going on all at once while performers and audience are often intermingled throughout the entirety of the space.

The resultant sensory onslaught – combined with intimacy – has charmed, delighted and thrilled countless people. Yet a seemingly-equal number find the experience bewildering, irritating and disturbingly “confrontational”, particularly when commanded exactly what to do, what not to do, where to sit, when to leave: some are flummoxed when directly addressed by someone who seems possibly not even a cast-member ...

DNA's boundaries, however, remain intentionally blurred and the subsequent impact is unquestionable and profound.

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